I have to confess something. I didn’t think I got too much reading done last month. Finding the time to read was a bit of a struggle. Or, at least, it felt that way. In between fighting the flu and balancing reading and writing on my head while working, divvying up my time and energy for it was…something. But after reflecting on the month, I managed to get through some pretty interesting and varied titles!
So without much ado!
The Poison Squad
Yes, I just finished it this month. I am a dutiful library patron and I had to give it up for a few weeks. It was really popular in my neck of the woods and one of the downsides of the library system is that you have to give it up if you don’t read it fast enough. Such is life!
The Poison Squad is a lesson in how we have to continually fight for the social change we want to see in our government and the world at large. The book circles back to the argument that we have to keep fighting for the institutions and protections set in place for us. The book was essentially about struggle. Struggle to get the national spotlight on how food gets adulterated and tampered with to make it on the cheap. The struggle to get laws passed to hold companies accountable. Struggle to enforce, struggle to maintain, struggle to update with the times.
I was reminded that history is a long game. Nothing happens overnight. Our modern regulation of food is a century-long struggle that is still happening each and every day.
Diary of a Tokyo Teen
Christine Mari Inzer
An okay graphic novel about the author’s trip to Japan and how she connected back with her roots. The art style was fun and it was filled with a lot of good info about Japanese culture. It was only okay for me because I didn’t feel like I learned anything new from it. I studied Japanese a fair bit and even visited a place or two in the book myself during a college so I didn’t come across anything I didn’t know. The most effective parts were how she discussed her reconnection with her culture and lessons about growing up. How the world can be a big, exciting and sometimes confusing place and how that’s okay! If you want a fun primer on Japanese culture, I highly recommend this!
Looking for Lorraine
This is perhaps my favorite book I read in February. I first heard about this book on the Call Your Girlfriend podcast and decided to pick it up after seeing it on the shelves of my local bookstore. This is a lovely memoir about the short life of Lorraine Hansberry–writer, playwright, queer and civil rights activist. She’s most known for her play, A Raisin in the Sun, but this book showed she was so much more than that. I most enjoyed how this was written taking elements of traditional biography and prose. Imani Perry also offers up some self-reflection and her sense of connection of Hansberry on her own life. The writing was very affecting, pulling from Hansberry’s own writings and painting a clear portrait of her life, her passions and her struggles. If you are at all curious about Lorraine Hansberry and the moment she occupied in history, I highly recommend this book.
This is one of two middle school reads that I picked up this month. Clara Voyant is a fun mystery about aspiring journalist Clara Costa who, as a newbie on her middle school newspaper, gets stuck with the horoscope section instead of the hard-hitting news she craves. She believes that horoscopes and other mystical things are a whole bunch of “woo” which she gets enough from her mother and her equally eccentric new friends in Kensington Market. But things get strange when her horoscopes come true and the school’s mascot goes missing. This was honestly a fun little book with interesting characters. It was a real pleasure to see the (sometimes funny) interactions between Clara and her mother. Who can’t relate to a parent you are sometimes embarrassed to be around. Also seeing how middle school politics play out in what’s considered noteworthy gave me a genuine shot of nostalgia as I think back to my (cringy) middle school days.
A Properly Unhaunted Place
Rosa Diaz and her mother are library appeasement specialist move to the town of Ingot, a properly unhaunted place. But things are not what they seem. After being invited to the local history festival by Jasper Chevalier, they both figure that all is not what it seems. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s full of fun and scary spooks, some good pacing, and some really fun characters that I loved following. There are also some really important lessons on honoring the past and coming to terms with the more unsavory history of person or place. There were some really good quotes that were beautiful in sentiment.