Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Unraveled, Week 20/2021

It's shaping up to be a busy week here! I'm getting inundated with work as of yesterday afternoon, so I'm going to try to keep this as short and sweet as possible.

It's Wednesday, so I'm joining up with Kat and the Unravelers as per usual. I have little knitting progress to report since yesterday (see the aforementioned work), but I did wake up to the news that my city will have its first Black mayor ever, so that's something! County residents also voted to ban solitary confinement in jails and no-knock warrants. There's still a lot of work to be done, but we're making some baby steps.

While I don't expect much reading to happen this week, this past week was a good reading week -- I finished four books. I'm just giving you some brief run-downs here, but you can visit my Goodreads account if you want my complete thoughts on each book.



I read Homeland Elegies because the author is part of a local speaker series I bought a ticket to that's starting later in the year, and everyone I know who has read it raved about it. Perhaps I'll feel different about it once I hear the author speak about it, but this book just left me confused -- mainly about what the point of the book was supposed to be -- and I just felt dumb reading it. I gave it 2 stars.


My next read was much more enjoyable and somewhat thematically linked. While Homeland Elegies is, at least in part, about the experience of Muslims in America, The Undocumented Americans takes on the experience of undocumented immigrants, particularly those from Latin America. The author is herself undocumented, and she brings her own experiences and her own worries to the fore in this book. I tore through this book in two days. It's eye-opening and heartbreaking, and it's definitely worth a read. I gave it 4 stars.

I know many of you have read Four Hundred Souls already; if you haven't, you really should. I borrowed the audiobook from the library, primarily because it's read by a full cast (including many names and voices you will recognize), but I will likely read it in print again at some point because there is so much to take in that one read (or listen, as the case may be) is definitely not sufficient to fully appreciate it. I gave it 4 stars.

Finally, I listened to the audiobook of Interior Chinatown on Monday (yes, in one day -- it's only about 4 hours long, and I listened on 1.5x speed!). This is another author who will be part of that local speaker series, and I'd also heard this book mentioned on one of the reading podcasts I listened to. It was an interesting, inventive way of telling a story (it's set up like a film script) and the narration is quite good, but I think there are some things I missed in listening over reading with my eyes, and that resulted in my confusion at some points. I gave it 3 stars.

Currently I'm reading an Amazon freebie while I wait for library holds -- holds that I'm expecting to start me off on my bingo card! I hope your day is less crazy than mine and that it gives you time to work on a project and read a good book!


  1. Sounds like you and I are equally busy work-wise. Mine is budget season and should calm down by the first or second week of June (hopefully). Hope your day is not too nuts!!

  2. hummmm... I'm sorry for the mixed bag of reading. I have two of those books (Homeland Elegies and Four Hundred Souls) on my TBR and I was hoping for 4+ stars for both!

  3. Many books just aren't for everyone, Thank you for your honesty about your reading. I hope this is the end of the semester busy for you and that work calms down so you have more time to knit and spin.

  4. Eek! I hope your busy week goes well! You read such a variety of books this week - I love it :) I'm adding Four Hundred Souls to my TBR - thank you!

  5. Interior Chinatown on audio--thank you for that tip! The title has been on my radar, but I didn't want to read in script format. Audio. Perfect solution!

  6. I think it would be fascinating to hear Ayad Akhtar speak about the book. I really enjoyed Homeland Elegies, but . . . had I been in a different mood, I'm not sure I would have liked it so much. I very much enjoy hearing your "takes" on the books you read. I'm always a bit suspect when people rate everything they read highly. I prefer to read thoughts by readers - like you - who are a bit more discriminating.

  7. The one time being a slow reader will be a good thing - I started a book today that I want to use for my Bingo card and I am sure I won’t finish it before the start of the “summer” book reading season.