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Lessons in Chemistry (2022, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 4 stars

4.6 stars. I loved it, one of the best novels I’ve read in a while. Unlike some of my other recent favorites (such as “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous”), this book is also very accessible for all audiences, I’d recommend it to everyone from my BFF — an English teacher — to my mother. It’s just a delightful story that works on many levels, with wonderful characters (even a child character I found likable, which never happens!). Strongly recommended.

One Hundred Years of Solitude (Paperback, 2014, Penguin) 4 stars

One Hundred Years of Solitude (Spanish: Cien años de soledad, American Spanish: [sjen ˈaɲoz ðe …

Still one of my favorite books, although in this read-through, I was more aware of some of the creepier parts, notably Aureliano, an adult, falling “in love with” Remedios while she was still a child. But this classic of magical realism, an allegory for the history of Latin America, is still a joy to re-read.

Demon Copperhead (EBook, 2022, Harper) 4 stars

Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, Demon Copperhead is the story of a boy …

4 stars. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I never read the original “David Copperfield,” but you can look up a plot summary online and get everything you need to know. I was concerned that the old-fashioned Horatio Alger myth of a disadvantaged kid pulling himself up by his bootstraps would translate poorly in a modern setting, but I don’t think that’s the story Kingsolver ends up telling at all, and there are plenty of characters whose bad luck and grinding poverty is not something they’re simply able to pull themselves out of by being smart and plucky. The story gives nods to the institutional systems wearing poor Appalachians down, while also highlighting the beauty and kindness of close-knit, rural communities. Despite the length, this book kept me engaged throughout, with three-dimensional characters and a plot that stays on track over the long haul while taking a …

Poverty, by America (Hardcover, 2023, Crown Publishing Group) 5 stars

4.2 stars. This should be required reading for all Americans. If you loved Desmond’s last book, “Evicted,” as much as I did, you’ll enjoy this larger-scale look at the systems that perpetuate poverty in America, while benefitting those of us who are not impoverished, and have made the wealth gap increasingly worse over the past 50 years. It’s also a quick, compelling read.

finished reading Trust the Plan by Will Sommer

4.0 stars. I’m glad Will Sommer wrote this book, so that future historians will have a full, journalistic account of this absolutely insane period in American history. The author does a good job of pulling the threads of the different conspiracies together and showing how they have developed over time. He also demonstrates how they tie back to conspiracies of the past, like “blood libel.” It’s a quick and compelling read.