Book Recap 2020

2020 was a little lighter on reading as I delved a bit more into podcasts and movies, but I did get to some good ones.

Little Failure

Gary Shteyngart

Little Failure

The first half was a pretty wild account of growing up in the USSR and lower-class New York, told with a dry humour, the kind I like best! The second half (college onwards) felt more scattered and didn’t resonate with me, perhaps I was lacking some cultural context around American colleges and politics, but I lost interest. He mentioned at one point this was his “first memoir” and I wonder if it might be revisited in a later text to greater effect. Even so, I would be unlikely to pick it up again.

Jonny Appleseed

Joshua Whitehead

Jonny Appleseed

This book comes at you hard with the sexuality, but after the initial double-take it settles into you with its earnest and honest narration. A window into rez culture and queerness.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

Hank Green

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

Notes coming soon…

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor

Hank Green

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor Notes coming soon…

Antifragile

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Antifragile

Notes coming soon…

The Only Good Indians

Stephen Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians

There was a moment partway through this book that had you really questioning everything you thought you knew, and I was really excited to continue along that train of thought. But the mystery was kind of taken away as the story continued on and that made me sad but nevertheless I still enjoyed the rest of the book and would recommend it. Indigenous-authored horror stories are becoming a new favourite for me. The echoes of intergenerational trauma, and hinting at breaking the cycle and new possibilities/hope, are powerful themes.

Empire of Wild

Cherie Dimaline

Empire of Wild

A horror/thriller that had me laughing out loud within the first couple chapters. Loved the little references to Canada and the phoniness of reconciliation. A story that challenges Western norms by blurring family units, reinforcing wisdom of elders and story. Deals directly with themes of Western entrapment and dispossession; the reverend as the wolf in sheepskin, a vessel to be used for colonization. There is a strong message about not giving up through hardship, even when defeat appears foregone and inevitable, which is a message that is extremely relevant today - because nothing is truly inevitable. And also: don’t forget how to treat your relations or you’ll turn into a monster :)