This month was a marathon for work. I did the most campaigns I’ve ever had in a single month and feel really good about managing my time for that. But it did mean less free time to read at night– or when I would finally get in bed to read, I’d be so tired that I’d go to bed extra early. (I think I can count on one hand the number of nights in November where I was up past 10pm!) Somehow I managed to finish four books and I’ll take it!
WHAT I READ IN NOVEMBER
Sweetbitter has been on my TBR list for years! It’s about a young woman who finds herself in NYC, working as a server at a popular restaurant. The book is fast paced– following her as she learns her way around a restaurant (wine, food) and discovers vices (sex, drugs, booze). I didn’t love the plot that much (kind of the usual trope of a somewhat lost girl finding herself in the big city) but the book was entertaining and easy to read. I liked that things moved quickly and it felt like you were right there in the restaurant with her.
I listened to this as an audiobook and really, really enjoyed it. It was one of the anti-racism books I was looking forward to reading. It’s an action-oriented book with touches of a memoir about how to handle, enter, and engage in conversations about race. I REALLY liked how she laid everything out and described why certain things were problematic or what works and doesn’t work when talking about race and racism. Even on points and terms I felt like I had an okay grasp of, she’d make it even clearer. From privilege to intersectionality, I understood a lot of things in a deeper, more productive way.
MEMORIAL by Bryan Washington
Memorial is about two men in an interracial relationship. One leaves to visit his dying, estranged father in Japan and the other stays behind in Texas with his partner’s mother who came to visit (before knowing her son was leaving for his trip.) This book had great bones and I really wanted to like it but it sort of fell flat for me. I kept just wanting more for it. It’s split between two perspectives: Mike in Japan as he visits his father and Benson in Texas as he tries to figure out his life. Mike’s chapters felt a lot stronger to me (and I found them more interesting), but overall it’s still worth a read I think.
WHITE IVY by Susie Yang
If you’re into books like The Last Mrs. Parrish, The Girl on the Train, and The Couple Next Store, I think you’ll like White Ivy. As an Asian American, Ivy spent her whole life trying to fit in, ashamed of her Chinese roots and appearance. She lies and steals and deceives her way into a particular lifestyle, only to have a friend from childhood come back into her life who threatens to upend the life she’s built for herself. I loved the beginning, felt slightly bored in the middle, and then ultimately really liked the ending.