Reading Roundup: September 2017

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

This book made me laugh and cringe, often at the same time. If you're familiar at all with Trevor Noah, you'll completely understand. It is such a good book and offers a lot of new insights into a life that's very different from my own; I highly recommend it, but with the slight caveat that some people may find parts of it a bit disturbing.

The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman

This book had an interesting premise and unique setting, and I was enjoying it until things got really weird towards the end. I was surprised by the main twist in the central mystery and thought it was solidly constructed, but in general I did not enjoy the book. 

Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay

This is the third book by Reay that I've read within two months, and I think it's my favorite. First of all, it's set in Seattle. Second, it involves food. Third, it has a sweet romance. And fourth, the protagonist grows and becomes a better person, but the book avoids being too sentimental or annoyingly preachy.

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I've loved Rosenthal's picture books for years, but somehow didn't know about this book until earlier this year. It was written over a number of years in the late '90s and early 2000s, so some of the things she talks about are dated and probably wouldn't be as funny to people much younger than myself. However, despite that, it's a very funny book about life and an inspiration to me to spend more time observing and writing about my life. 

Children of the Promise & Hearts of the Children by Dean Hughes

 I've read both of these book series before and I'm sure I've reviewed them at least once on my blog. I was sick earlier this month and these seemed like a good way to spend my time. Since spending a bit of time in Hawaii this summer and learning quite a bit about World War 2 in the Pacific, I've been feeling a pull to re-read them. I still think they are some of the best Mormon historical fiction ever written, even after reading them for the fourth (or fifth?) time.

Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner

This is the second book in a series about British detective. I felt like the first book focused more on her than on solving the actual mystery, and I liked that so I decided to read the second book. In some ways, I felt like the tone of this book shifted a bit from the first and sometimes it was hard to feel like I was reading about the same person. Some time had passed and her life circumstances had changed, but this book had her making some choices that surprised me and I felt less connected with the main character. The mystery, however, was more robust in this book and took some dark turns that had me guessing until the end.

Movies

Wonder Woman

I'm probably one of the last people on Earth to see this movie, but I'm so grateful I caught it while it was still showing in the theater. I don't have a lot of interest in super hero movies and rarely watch them, but the number of recommendations I got for this finally convinced me to go see it. I loved so much about it--the acting, the cinematography, the story. It really touched me and I would certainly watch it again (and watch it with the younger kids in a few years).

Lion

I also liked this movie more than I expected to--it was much less sentimental than I expected and had interesting things to say about memory, identity, and family. Nicole Kidman was amazing, of course, and so were all the other actors.

Sing

 My feelings about this movie are mixed. The singing parts were wonderful and I thought it was quite funny without resorting to being crude. However, the plot and world-building didn't always make a lot of sense and it went on for a bit too long. The kids enjoyed it and I don't feel bad about watching it with them.

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