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A few DNFs for 2020

Fiction

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I had so much hope for this book and was so excited by the cover! I finally got it on audio a week or two ago. Vivi the Hollywood starlet and Maxine (Max) the journalist meet while working at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured this fair. It was all so good in theory. But…. [SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!]

My grandmothers, great aunts and other women I’ve known lived as adults in that era. Yes, they didn’t like double-standards. But….

I just “couldn’t” with Max’s stupid schemes. Someone smart enough to get into Columbia’s graduate journalism program wouldn’t do such stupid things.  [Incidentally, this is the second “meh” book this year involving a woman in this program–the other was Lions of Fifth Avenue].

Two of my pet peeves with historical fiction were in this one:

  1. Modern PC opinions
  2. Using newspaper headlines to pad stilted conversations

That said, I would definitely give this author another chance. This story was just not for me. It happens. It does not mean the author can’t write–she clearly can!

We Came To Shine by Susie Orman Schnall

Nonfiction

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Caste was deservedly preachy, but that made it hard to listen to. I have no problem with being told my sins re racism. There is too much documentation throughout American history to say otherwise. But it’s the sort of book that I can take with the due seriousness if I am not driving while listening to it. I intend to read it in 2021, but in print.

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Braiding Sweetgrasss verged on precious. That’s a huge sin in my reading world. Sugar-comma type precious. Plus it was “earnest”–puke-ingly earnest. Like I’ve tried twice now with this one–in print and on audio. I had hoped to use this as an Indigenous pick for Diverse December. It verged on being an environmental-Native American wisdom version of Anna Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts--a book from which I am still recovering from due to its precious-earnest-overload. Sweetgrass seems to be a love it or hate it title just like One Thousand Gifts. I have to clarify and say that I did not hate it. It is one that if given to me, I might leave on my bedside and read in a few minutes here and there–the chapters to do lend themselves to that type reading. So, who knows? Maybe it will get a third try? It says a lot that I am willing to even consider that.

Have you read or reviewed any of these and liked them? Feel free to leave me a comment or a link to your review that might change my mind.

7 thoughts on “A few DNFs for 2020

  1. Hmmm, well, I don’t think I’d be interested in the second or third books. Like you, I love the cover on #1. That annoying character would probably be enough to put me off of it too, though. I currently just started a book that is annoying the heck out of me. Unfortunately, I’m reviewing it so I’m obligated to stick it out. Even worse, the author wrote a gushy note to me in the front, which makes it even more awkward to not leave a glowing review. Dilemmas …

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