What I read: Dec–Jan

Trick mirror

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

This collection of essays made me feel like Tolentino was inside my brain, pulling out all my half-formed qualms and questions about modern culture and turning them into deeply smart, well-researched speculations about what the internet has done to human society. She peels away the layers on topics like the performance inherent in social media, the ridiculous extravagance of modern weddings, and the surprisingly similar experiences offered by religion and the drug Ecstasy. It’s a dense read and worth taking some time to fully digest. 4/5

All souls trilogy

The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

I was expecting to like this series more than I did. I’m usually a sucker for fantasy stories with magic and witches and prophesies, but this one just wasn’t that exciting. The world-building was inviting, but the story dragged a bit and the romance had me rolling my eyes every few chapters with its Twilight-like undertones. The heroine spent a good portion of the books being a wet noodle and literally got swept off her feet too many times to take any of it very seriously. 2.5/5

americanah

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Running 600 pages, this book had the confusing problem of being too drawn out while also making me wish I’d gotten more details on certain plot points and characters. Until the last part of the book, the narrative felt more like vignettes of the characters’ lives instead of a cohesive story, making it hard to stay engaged. There were, however, some really fascinating character relationships and illuminating points about race and the immigrant experience that definitely makes this book a worthwhile read. 3.5/5

my year of rest

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

If internet memes are any indication, lots of us can relate to a desire to forget the incessant traumas of the world and sleep a year away swathed in easygoing movies and a full bank account. This story is bizarre and unsettling but also tender and hopeful. Writing style is a big factor in whether I can really connect with a book, and Moshfegh’s unsentimental boldness telling this truly weird story totally captured me. I’m looking forward to reading everything else she’s written. 4.5/5

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