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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - Right book, right time. Imaginative setting perfectly depicted, beautifully warm tale hit the spot for me during these tumultuous times in which we live. This was a dream to devour. Truly did not want it to end. I enjoyed it far more than The Starless Sea, which I felt had similarly glorious storytelling and richly imaginative storyline, but went on for too long.

Life in a jar by Jack Mayer. The power of one person to change the world around under the hardest circumstances. The story of a true heroe .

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Beautiful writing. Raw read. I paused and reread and reflected on so many individual sentences and passages. However, I kept seeking something to tie it all together cohesively. Perhaps the lack of something tying it together is intended by the author so the reader feels as unmoored and raw as the protagonist. IDK. I always gravitate toward books with strong story lines so perhaps the genre was not in my main strike zone to begin with . I have written down many of the sentences on which I will reflect, but I will not re read in whole.

The Jane Austen Society: I listened to this on audio and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a story of 8 people brought together after WWII in England by Jane Austen. Many of their lives have intertwined for years, but the potential sale of a country estate that once belonged to the Austen family brings them together in joyous ways.

The A.B.C. Murders - I have been wanting to read Eight Perfect Murders but heard it may have spoiler alerts to classic mysteries referenced in that book; this being one. I listened to it on Audio and it was a nice production with a full cast and sound effects. Maybe since I listened to it, or maybe due to the fact it is an older mystery, this one didn't really pull me in. It was fine, but not my favorite Agatha Christie.

Caterpillar Summer (Gillian McDunn) is a heartwarming coming-of-age novel about an 11 year old girl, "Cat," her younger brother "Chicken" who has special needs, and the summer vacation they spend with their grandparents on an island off the coast of North Carolina. I really enjoyed the story, learning, along with Cat, about the secrets that her family has kept through the years, and coming along on the kids' adventures on the island. Both my 13 year old daughter and 10 year old son enjoyed this one as well!

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell - I waited for a road trip to tackle this audiobook. The format is more podcast style which made it more immersive, fast paced, and perfect for the long drive across Texas. I do like Gladwell's books and his podcast, Revisionist History. However, I wasn't prepared for how relevant this book is to the precise point in time in which we find ourselves in America. Transparency, truth default (or the loss of it), police training, fundamental inability to read "strangers"... The topics tackled in each chapter are often difficult to hear about (Sandra Bland, Sandusky, Nasser) so buckle up and be prepared to think. Looking forward to revisiting some chapters in the book as this settles with me over the next few days.

The Incendiaries by RO Kwon

The splendid and the vile

The Dark End of the Street (Danielle McGuire) documents a powerful relationship between the Civil Rights movement and African American women's fight against sexual violence. I learned so much about both well-known and lesser known heroines of the movement with courage, intellect, and tenacity who quite literally risked everything to bring to light the injustice and danger faced by Black women. Rosa Parks was not just a tired middle-aged woman who sat down one day at the front of the bus. She was an organizer who interviewed women about incidents of rape and sexual harassment. She and her family fought for civil rights for decades. And she helped to organize the bus boycott. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to better understand the role of Black women in the Civil Rights era.

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