Book Reviews: November 2021

Two e-books and two audiobooks, all read while studying for my finals.

  1. And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer

Alternative title: Darling Difficult You

Rating: 5/5 stars

Favourite quote: “Noahnoah, promise me something, one very last thing: once your good-bye is perfect, you have to leave me and not look back. Live your life. It’s an awful thing to miss someone who’s still here.”

Read this if you like: Old people & crying (I love those things, which may explain my rating)

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer brings you into the headspace — and heart — of an elderly man with dementia. He’s a husband, a father, and a grandfather but he forgets it all sometimes. The short book can get confusing, but it will break your heart in the hour or so it takes to read.

It sure broke mine, though it was already my third time reading it. I don’t normally read books twice in the same year, but in light of recent events (my grandmother with dementia passing away), I re-read it. And I cried multiple times. 

This is a lovely little book about many things: the very special relationship grandparents have with their grandchildren; how we inherit things from the people we love, knowingly or not; and how dementia affects everyone around a person. It’s about the relationship among generations, and how they’re complex and simple at the same time — but are always bound by love, and maybe some fear.

This book definitely takes multiple re-reads to really understand and appreciate. I might have to pick it up again next year.

  1. A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2)

Alternative title: I Think It’s Time I Explained Planets

Rating: 5/5 stars

Favourite quote: “Oh, no, this isn’t trouble. It’s gonna be work, yeah, but it’s not trouble. The galaxy is trouble. You’re not.”

Read this if you like: Sci-fi, slice of life, social issues

The second book in the Wayfarers series, A Closed and Common Orbit is told from the current perspective of Sidra (formerly Lovelace), an AI learning how to be human, and the past perspective of Pepper (formerly Jane-23), a young girl learning how to be human. 

I loved the first book, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, so I had to read this. I was initially disappointed to learn this book didn’t involve a single character in the Wayfarers crew, but was a spin-off involving 2 characters that had been briefly mentioned. They weren’t the most likeable, but I liked them a lot anyway. The 3 secondary characters were also dear to me — especially Owl, who I was always rooting for.

I went through a similar journey as I did with the first book: starting off slow and lazy to read, but eventually getting VERY engrossed. The book was similarly slice-of-life, but with more plot and higher stakes. I also loved how the book sparked conversation about labourers and the exploitation without being too in-your-face about it. 

I can’t wait to read the 3rd book next year.

  1. The Poet X

Rating: 3/5 stars 

Favourite quote: “My brother was birthed a soft whistle: quiet, barely stirring the air, a gentle sound. But I was born all the hurricane he needed to lift — and drop — those that hurt him to the ground.”

Read this if you like: Young adult, coming-of-age, poetry

I haven’t exactly read many young adult coming-of-age poetry books, but I think The Poet X is one of a kind. It’s about a young Hispanic girl learning to find her voice through poetry, but it’s also about her relationships with those around her — especially her extremely religious and strict mother. 

The author created a very real and likeable main character, setting her up marvellously in the first half of the book. Perhaps that is why the book fell short in the second half, specifically the last third. The issues were either rushed through, ignored, or wrapped up in a neat little bow. Or, as I wrote in my personal notes: “Girl needs therapy, not immediate forgiveness for her family.”

Still, this short book (the audiobook clocks in at just 4 hours) sure packs a punch.

  1. In The Heights: Finding Home

Rating: 4/5 stars

Read this if you like: In The Heights???

In The Heights: Finding Home focuses on BOTH the musical and movie versions of In The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical. Considering how the musical took 6 years to perfect and 10 years to make it to the silver screen, there’s quite a lot to write about.

I love books and I love musicals. Back in August I watched the In The Heights movie alone, and since then the soundtrack has ruined my Spotify Wrapped 2021. It goes without saying that I loved learning about the musical and its music came to be (though I’m disappointed that there was no explanation for why my second favourite song Everything I Know was cut from the soundtrack). Still, I got a little sick of how often the book talked about the cast and their camaraderie. We get it, you love each other a lot.

Overall it’s not an award-winning book by any means, but a very cute one nevertheless. I’d love to see more of such books for my many other favourite musicals.


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