Creative,  Reading

Books I Read in March and April 2024

Reading took a hit in early March with little inspiration but I was able to pull out some interesting reading mid-month that carried over into most of April. I’m currently in another hiatus. Cyclical reading is my life.

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett: I love Ann Patchett but I did not love this book. I started it as an audio back in December and then let it lapse. I picked it back up again when the hold came in and then I just could not continue on. The story did not grasp me and I was really over hearing about Our Town every other paragraph. This is a pandemic book, as in it is set in “present day” with a family and the main character, the mother, is telling a story of how she was briefly an actress and dated a very famous actor. I just could not get into it. There are better Patchett novels out there!

Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America by Heather Cox Richardson: This is a rather good book detailing the last 150+ years and how we arrived in a world where we have TFG knocking around for a second term and how we’re treading the fine line of fascism. If you haven’t been paying attention to the media a lot this is a great primer. If you’ve been reading and listening to the media for the last two decades a lot of this is stuff you already know. Heather Cox Richardson writes a really great newsletter and is a professor of history at Boston College.

Chasing the Smokies Moon by Nancy East: This is probably my favorite read of the year so far. I forgot I had this book, I’d downloaded it onto my Kindle at least a year ago, and while we were in the Smokies I remembered and started reading it. It details Nancy and her hiking partner’s successful attempt to hike a fastest known time of the Smokies 900, hiking all of the trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in a record time. It of course involves doubling back on trail so the mileage is more than the trail mileage in the park. I haven’t liked to read many trail memoirs in recent years but this one was really great and worth reading! Nancy’s hike also raised money for SAR within the park, to expand their capabilities. And having seen how easily people can need SAR in that park during our recent visit, it was much needed funding.

How to Be Alone: An 800-mile Hike on the Arizona Trail by Nicole Antoinette: I originally came to know about Nicole via her podcast, Real Talk Radio, back in the 2010s. She’s since pulled away from doing that and has moved to having most of her content via newsletter, which is how I came to be reacquainted with her last summer when a friend of mine sent me her newsletter to read. This book is about her 800-mile hike on the AZT, being a newbie and embarking on a very quiet, solo hike of that trail. I liked her writing style, it’s very conversational and to the point and so many times I could feel her frustrations at water sources, or wanting to just inhale so much food when she got to town. I will definitely be reading her second book What We Owe Ourselves, about her Colorado Trail hike.

This American Ex-Wife by Lyz Lenz: I knew of the author from Twitter/X back when it was a functioning site to keep up with things, but she really took off in 2020 when her essay in Glamour, “It Took Divorce to Make My Marriage Equal”, came out. She also writes a newsletter, Men Yell At Me, talking about marriage, equity, sexism, and a other pop culture items. I didn’t know she was writing this book until I started seeing it promoted on other newsletters and podcasts. It’s the story of her marriage falling apart, which is really how she should have never married to begin with. The book is good but I feel like it was also surficial. She alludes to certain things but never digs deeper to really reveal more, which is maybe intentional because she has kids and doesn’t want them to know more when they inevitably read the book in the future. But I think that lack of digging deeper is where the book landed more of a 4 than a 5. It’s good, definitely pair it with her other writing and newsletter!

Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World by Naomi Klein: If we’re talking current political affairs, this one is probably better than Democracy Awakening as the author, Naomi Klein takes a very interesting analytical trip into her doppelganger, Naomi Wolf. For years these two would be continuously confused on social media, with Klein being the so-called sane one, and Wolf the one who at one point in time was level-headed but spiraled off into the world of conspiracy theories. Time and time again, Wolf would appear in a media outlet or write something unhinged only for people to tag or attribute it to Klein. This became such a problem but also an interest to Klein she started researching her doppelganger and trying to understand how they could be so confused when on the surface it appeared they were very different. The book isn’t just about the two Naomi’s but also the current political world we find ourselves, how so much of our society is that mirror world, where truths are distorted, and real conspiracies spin off into conspiracy theories completely devoid of truth. There were many times this book reminded me of Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino, a book I’m going to have to re-read soon. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for current events/pop-culture and media manipulation.

That’s all I read the last two months! What are y’all reading?


  • Kate

    I like these book reports. I will definitely add the two hiking ones to my list, I always like a good trail memoir. I’ve been on a roll lately with books, currently reading the Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen and absolutely loving it so far. It’s got this dark, cynical humor that I really enjoy. Last week I read The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell, a nice juicy Renaissance story of treachery and murder with a brilliant twist at the end. Before that was Clan of the Cave Bear, which I somehow had never read even though I am a hardcore geek of all things Neolithic, and now I’m super excited to read the rest of the series.

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