Pull It Together! My June Reads: Murder, Migration, and M Train
June has probably been the month during which I've read the most books in a long time. After my mom let me know about the awesome app that is Libby, I was reading up a storm! While I don't know if I'll ever give up my preference for physical books, I thoroughly enjoyed using my digital library this month and plan to continue! Without further ado, here's what I read in June!
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
I am a true crime addict. It started with Nancy Drew in elementary school, CSI in middle school, and then everything else I could get my hands on from then on. I've been soaking up the podcast Crime Junkies these past few months and finally got aboard the Serial train earlier this year. So why have I never read In Cold Blood before? I was asking myself the same thing as I tore through the book in about 48 hours.
Capote's way of capturing each and every character in this true and terrifying story of a mass murder is incredible. I especially was interested in how he captured the murderers themselves and I was completely drawn in. It was the perfect blend of fact and embellishment, and when I finished it I thought both that he closed the story perfectly, but also that I wanted to know more. If you're interested in crime and you haven't read this classic yet, here's your invitation! (view here)
The Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson
The only drawback to using a library is the fact that you're on a schedule. Libby gives you 2 weeks plus one extra week to renew, but unfortunately this book is a hot commodity because I was told I couldn't renew due to the long hold list! I was put back on hold, with half the book waiting for me to finish it. So while I technically am only halfway through, I still want to recommend it. I am finding more and more that I know disgustingly little about American history and I'm looking to change that.
This book follows three lives during a period of mass migration of African Americans from the South to the North. This migration, which isn't touched upon in most history courses, was bigger than the Okies during the Dust Bowl and had a much bigger cultural impact. Isabel Wilkerson writes in a way that lets you get completely immersed in the story, but also keeping a foot in reality realizing that this was happening even when my parents were alive. I'm halfway through and already learned a lot, I can't wait to be able to finish it! (view here)
M Train - Patti Smith
I first read Just Kids back in February, having picked it up at a Barnes and Noble a few hours before my flight back to Seoul from LA. I was not prepared to be so taken with another author again like I had with Haruki Murakami. It felt like she didn't think at all about what she was writing, that she was just stream-of-consciousness sharing with us and it all happened to come out beautifully. The same is true with M Train. While I did like Just Kids a bit more, M Train felt much more like a window to Patti Smith. She was describing herself in present day rather than reflecting on the past, and there were so many instances where she would describe how she was feeling about something, and it would be a feeling I thought only I had experienced. Even her way of describing reading Murakami for the first time was spot on with how I felt.
Surrender New York - Caleb Carr
I honestly don't know how I finished this book. I would count The Alienist, also by Caleb Carr, as one of my favorite books of all time. That is most definitely not the case with Surrender, New York. From the very first chapter, I was shocked with the dialogue. The witty jokes thrown back and forth reminded me of when I used to write stories as a kid. Each character had the perfect line to set up the next bratty line to set up the next. It felt as if Carr wanted us to read this and think, 'wow he's a funny guy.' It had the opposite effect.
That's how I felt with the entire book actually. I could feel Carr's presence in each sentence, I would read a paragraph and then think of how witty he must have thought himself when writing it. I was so confused since I loved the Alienist - I even check the Alienist out again briefly to reread and make sure the same tone wasn't there and I just forgot. Overall, this was a very annoying read and I finished it simply to give Carr a chance (he never redeemed the story) and to find out how he'd wrap up the mystery. Please read the Alienist but don't waste your time on Surrender, New York. (view here)