March/April Reads

I read an average of three to four books a month, usually fiction. I enjoy most of the books I read, but there is the occasional dud. The dud this month was Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh, a novel that has been getting some buzz. But I found it dull, slow and disappointing. The protagonist is downright strange and completely unappealing. The promised surprise ending is a letdown. My favorite read this month was American Chica by Marie Arana. This is a well-written autobiography of a woman who experienced an unusual upbringing in her native Peru and then in the USA, her mother’s homeland. I especially liked Arana’s descriptions of feeling like an outcast in New Jersey.

Our book club selection this month was Salt to the Sea, a YA title by Ruta Sepetys. It was just an okay read for me. The story, based on a real-life event, is too simplified to reflect the drama of the historical tragedy.

Presently I’m halfway through Zadie Smith’s Swing Time. I found the opening pages intriguing, but now I’m slogging slowly through pages filled with descriptions and little dialogue. Smith is a good writer, but the plot is not enough to pull me in. I’ll finish it, though, because I’ve appreciated some of the cultural references to dance, Fred Astaire, and Jeni Legon, an African-American dancer whom I had never heard of before. I hope that eventually the plot builds to a satisfying conclusion..

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