November 2020–Part Two

Thank you for joining me here!   (Reminder: the page numbers I list here reflect the number of Kindle pages, not paper pages.)  I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

A Knock at Midnight by Brittany K. Barnett (Length: 315 pages).   This is an absolutely incredible book that every American should read, especially those still in high school or college. The author is an attorney who grew up in a small town in Texas, and she discusses the inequities in our justice system, specifically the federal sentencing guidelines that a 100:1 ratio of powder cocaine to crack cocaine. Not all sentencing reforms of the old, racially unjust laws are retroactive, resulting in over 30,000 inmates (80% of whom are people of color) who are serving life sentences for minimal drug possession crimes. This is infuriating and needs to be changed (likely via an act of Congress as the only current remedy is clemency). The writing here is excellent and the author paints a vivid story, humanizing all of the inmates she helps. This would be an excellent book club choice!

Book #2:

Replay by Ken Grimwood (Length: 322 paperback pages).  I thought this science fiction novel was really interesting a la the movie Groundhog Day, but over the span of 25 years. The protagonist relives a 25 year section of his life over and over again. The premise is novel, but the writing is a bit graphic in parts, so if you’re sensitive, beware. The writing is excellent, and the character development is fantastic (but how could it not be, with the narrator being re-invented repeatedly?). The plot obviously makes this one a hard one to put down, as you have to find out how it ends, and throughout, you’re going to be thinking of your own mortality. I would recommend this for sure.

Book #3:

The Lazy Genius by Kendra Adachi (Length: 228 pages).  I have listened to this author’s podcast and have enjoyed it, so I checked out her book from the library. There isn’t much new information here that the author hasn’t already published on IG or on her podcast, but I do enjoy her philosophy (focus on and put energy into only the things that matter, and use hacks or shortcuts for everything else). This book delineates all of the author’s suggested shortcuts as wells as how you can implement this philosophy in all areas of your life, so for those reasons this is absolutely worth a (quick) read.

Book #4:

Under a Gilded Moon by Joy Jordan-Lake (Length: 409 pages).   I purchased this for my Kindle upon reading a review that called this historical novel Downton Abbey meets Crawdads. While I wouldn’t quite go that far, I really enjoyed this read. This novel is set in the time period of 1895-96, at the newly-completed Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. There is a murder mystery at the center of the novel, and that aspect reminds me of Agatha Christie a bit. The setting is very scenic, the writing is beautiful, and the character development is relatively strong (without being too deep as this is primarily plot-driven). I did find the plot drags a bit in the middle, but the resolution of the mystery is very satisfying overall. There is an interesting character arc of a man named Madison Grant, who was based on a real-life land and wildlife conservationist (and the founder of the best zoo in American–the Bronx Zoo) who was also a eugenicist. I absolutely would recommend this book, and it would be another fantastic book club pick.

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