January 2019 Mini-Reviews


I’ve read 4 books so far this January.

All of these are for the Tournament of Books. I can’t seem to find a link to that site online. (I wonder what is up with that?)

I did find the brackets:  Just click on the pic below to access a printable link.

The Golden State  by Lydia Kiesling. This is told in a most interestingly delivered present tense style that somehow didn’t bore nor frustrate me but it certainly scares me to how challenging it is raise a toddler. I admit I did love this for the Alice character – even as I was appalled that our narrator referred to her as a crone! What a harsh word. Tons of themes to explore for book clubs.  Mentions pizza pie and probably Honey-Pie.

The Overstory  by Richard Powers. I knew straightaway that this author was going to be impressive but unfortunately, it was too long and by the end of it? Not sure I care to ever read another book by him. THAT SAID, ahem, I did love the story, the words, the themes, the characters explored in this!  with extra whipped cream. (However, no pie referenced so thus a half a slice demerit…)

The Parking Lot Attendant  by Nafkote Tamirat. A coming of age story, an immigrant story, a utopia exploration story? Set in Massachusetts and an unknown island; about Ethiopian-Americans. Leftover apple pie! Highly impressive and confident writing style. 

The Parking Lot Attendant might be my favorite. Census (my review post) by Jesse Ball was my least favorite for this month. It was just unsettling odd and I couldn’t enjoy it. I gave it three slices of pie despite some fun pie mentions. Maybe audio was not the best medium. I’m glad I read it so now I don’t have to read anything else by this author.

I read Speak No Evil by Uzodinmo Iweala — actually, I listened to it, in December.
Heartbreaking story; or a duo story since this follows two high school friends, a switch in the narrative. I don’t even want to share more because I feel I would give too much away.  Mentions pizza pie.


I’m still working on Milkman by Anna Burns. Thing is DENSE. Just sayin’.

The titles I hope to get to next are So Lucky, Washington Black, My Sister the Serial Killer, The Italian Teacher, Mars Room and maybe There There… I don’t have any in hand yet; waiting on the library.

Are YOU excited for TOB this year?




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13 thoughts on “January 2019 Mini-Reviews

  1. I am excited too!
    I listened to So Lucky – and I liked her anger. Reminded me in that way of The Woman Upstairs, which I loved. There is a weirdish thread that happens near the end.

    I’ve got Census, House of Broken Angels, and Speak No Evil out from the library, and my next audio book will be The Italian Teacher. Warlight and Mars Room are much longer waits at library.

    I can’t get/don’t want The Overstory but Parking Lot Attendant just moved up higher in my list of wants. Keep the mini-reviews coming please.

    1. Oh! Okie dokie. I was twittering with someone who has read the opposite of what I’ve read – if that makes sense. Usually, we are in line but this year we haven’t yet read one book in common.
      I think I’m going to skip Warlight and likely the play-in round books but I could surprise myself.

    1. Huh. I don’t know. But once I have a book in my sites (sights?) – I look for COVER ART and then verify the author. I did read the right one, yes?

  2. I’m not as excited about the TOB books this year as I sometimes am, but I absolutely loved Washington Black and So Lucky. Most of the others fell into the pretty good, but not great category. But so far, there’s only been one that irritated me and one that I gave up on entirely. There are still four that I want to read and two that I’ll probably skip because my library doesn’t have them.

    1. Honestly, I am not AS excited as some prior years but that is due to less time to read, not having read ANY before short list announced, and then not even knowing much about most, and… and well. Prior years? Two years ago, I had a job that I could devote full attention to TOB and get away with it. I am shocked at how well last year’s enthusiasm got ‘lit’ and am OK with it all this year. Hey – ebbs and flows, baby. Right? If you want a letter from me for #LetterMO – I don’t think I have your addy. Shoot me a DM via Twitter.

  3. I’ve read 12 now. I will finish up Call Me Zebra this week for sure and then I will read (’cause I bought them) The Dictionary of Animal Languages and So Lucky, They are both short too, which is nice! 😀

    I may not read all the play in books. They are all available to me to borrow but I might end up just reading the winner.

    Don’t forget, I will send you My Sister, The Serial Killer. I will try to get it out this Saturday! 🙂

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