What I’ve Been Reading Lately: September 20

Welcome to What I’ve Been Reading Lately, a feature where I’ll be giving short reviews of what I’m currently reading:

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Expected Publication Date: September 7

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

It may be slow going in but I always find myself picking it up because the ideas and insight that it provides about the everyday things young people think about in life. I’m really finding it powerful.

Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka

Nanao, nicknamed Lady Bird—the self-proclaimed “unluckiest assassin in the world”—boards a bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka with one simple task: grab a suitcase and get off at the next stop. Unbeknownst to him, the deadly duo Tangerine and Lemon are also after the very same suitcase—and they are not the only dangerous passengers onboard. Satoshi, “the Prince,” with the looks of an innocent schoolboy and the mind of a viciously cunning psychopath, is also in the mix and has history with some of the others. Risk fuels him as does a good philosophical debate . . . like, is killing really wrong? Chasing the Prince is another assassin with a score to settle for the time the Prince casually pushed a young boy off of a roof, leaving him comatose.

When the five assassins discover they are all on the same train, they realize their missions are not as unrelated as they first appear. (Credit: Harry N. Abrams)

Such an intriguing concept but it is hard to keep track of everything, especially with the mixture of eclectic characters. Although it has a slow pace, these quirky characters makes this one interesting train ride!

Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara

Chicago, 1944: Twenty-year-old Aki Ito and her parents have just been released from Manzanar, where they have been detained by the US government since the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, together with thousands of other Japanese Americans. The life in California the Itos were forced to leave behind is gone; instead, they are being resettled two thousand miles away in Chicago, where Aki’s older sister, Rose, was sent months earlier and moved to the new Japanese American neighborhood near Clark and Division streets. But on the eve of the Ito family’s reunion, Rose is killed by a subway train.

Aki, who worshipped her sister, is stunned. Officials are ruling Rose’s death a suicide. Aki cannot believe her perfect, polished, and optimistic sister would end her life. Her instinct tells her there is much more to the story, and she knows she is the only person who could ever learn the truth. (Credit: Soho Crime)

It is very intriguing and atmospheric so far! I’m really interested in the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Given, Vol. 1 by Natsuki Kizu,

Ritsuka Uenoyama is bored with it all—with school, with his basketball club, and even with his one true passion: playing guitar. That is, until the day he finds his favorite hidden napping spot occupied by a strange boy cradling a broken-stringed guitar. At first, Uenoyama is nonplussed by Mafuyu Sato and his slightly odd behavior, but when, on a whim, he asks Mafuyu to sing, the power of that song pierces him to the core. (Credit: SuBLime )


What I Plan to Read Next:

As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson

Pip’s good girl days are long behind her. After solving two murder cases and garnering internet fame from her crime podcast, she’s seen a lot.

But she’s still blindsided when it starts to feel like someone is watching her. It’s small things at first. A USB stick with footage recording her and the same anonymous source always asking her: who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? It could be a harmless fan, but her gut is telling her danger is lurking.

When Pip starts to find connections between her possible stalker and a local serial killer, Pip knows that there is only one choice: find the person threatening her town including herself–or be as good as dead. Because maybe someone has been watching her all along…(Credit: Electric Monkey)

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize, The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton’s masterful portrait of desire and betrayal during the sumptuous Golden Age of Old New York, a time when society people “dreaded scandal more than disease.”

This is Newland Archer’s world as he prepares to marry the beautiful but conventional May Welland. But when the mysterious Countess Ellen Olenska returns to New York after a disastrous marriage, Archer falls deeply in love with her. Torn between duty and passion, Archer struggles to make a decision that will either courageously define his life—or mercilessly destroy it. (Credit: Barnes and Noble Classics)

Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different: Twenty Years of British Poetry from Malika’s Poetry Kitchen

In the early years of the new millennium, poets Malika Booker and Roger Robinson saw the need for a space for writers outside of the establishment to grow, improve, discuss and learn. One friday night, Malika offered her Brixton kitchen table as a meeting place. And so Malika’s Poetry Kitchen was born.
Kitchen’, as it became known, has ushered in a new generation of voices, launching some of the most exciting writers, books and initiatives in British poetry in the past twenty years. Today, Kitchen is a thriving writers’ collective, with a wealth of talented poets and branches in Chicago and India.
Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different is a celebration of Kitchen’s legacy, an appreciation of its foundational spirit and a rallying cry for all writers to dream the future. The collection features breathtaking new poems by Warsan Shire, Inua Ellams, Kayo Chingonyi, Dean Atta, Roger Robinson, Malkia Booker among many others. (Credit: Corsair)

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.

The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah’s white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.

Derek’s father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed his father was a criminal. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.

Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys. (Credit: Flatiron Books)

The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest. (Credit: Workman Publishing)



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