Quick takes- April 2017

A Gentleman in Moscow. 5 stars. Utterly charming historical fiction. The main character made me think of Ralph Fiennes saying, “Would that it were so simple,” in Hail Caesar. If you saw that movie, then you know how charming this character is.

Homesick for Another World. 5 stars. Really great short story collection. This author likes it dark and is unapologetic and I love her for it.

The Sellout. 3 stars. I kept with this even though I hated the writing style. It was like listening to someone who just never stops talking. Some of it was really funny but just kind of an annoying read overall.

White Tears. 5 stars. Totally unexpected and remarkable. This is like an urban ghost story about cultural appropriation and race and class and I’m sure this makes no sense so you should probably just read it.

Harmless Like You. 2 stars. Nothing about this story rang true to me, and in the end it was borderline offensive.

The Female of the Species. 3 stars. This was okay, but it really should have been so much better. It’s kind of like Heathers, but without a sense of humor, which is a pretty crucial element of Heathers.

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace. 3 stars. This has a kind of minimalist style that didn’t work for me. I usually think “less is more” but in this case, less is less.

The Underground Railroad. 3 stars. Maybe this was too hyped up? It’s okay but I can’t get past the fact that having the railroad be literal instead of figurative served no purpose in the story. It was just a weird distraction and felt pointless.

No One Is Coming to Save Us. 4 stars. This is sort of a Great Gatsby retelling, but they don’t have all that much in common. Which is fine, this is a lovely book on its own. It takes its time in a good way.

Allegedly. 3 stars. I’m going to remember this even though I didn’t love it. I was hating it until the end, which I thought was hilarious. Everyone else I know loved it until the end, so read it and pick a side.

Our Short History. 2 stars. Ugh I’m still so annoyed by this book. I do have a grudging respect for it though; making me hate a single mom dying of ovarian cancer is actually quite a feat.

The Arrangement. 5 stars. Instant favorite! This is so funny and so insightful. I will say it borders on problematic with regards to a trans character; I feel like the author was honest in portraying people who are good, not perfect, but if someone found parts of it tasteless, I can respect that.

Exit West. 4 stars. I am not drawn to love stories, but this is exactly what I want in one. I probably should round it up to five, I’m sure I won’t forget this one.

All Our Wrong Todays. 3 stars. All over the place for me here. I love time travel stuff, but was not interested in this main character or their love story. But definitely worthwhile for fans of time travel fiction.

Was. 4 stars. Was revisiting an old friend with this one. Very inventive and moving and sentimental and funny. This one is all heart for me.

Top picks: This was a good month! The Arrangement was my favorite, but White Tears is great, and any fan of historical fiction will like A Gentleman in Moscow.