March 2024 Books – Part 3

Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam by Thien Pham

While the art was not my favourite, I really liked this graphic novel which captured the immigrant experience, cultural identity, and family. I empathized with the protagonist not knowing English, starting at school, ESL, immigrant parents working hard, and all that entails when you emigrate.

Setting: CA, USA.

March 13, 2024.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Performed by Nick Offerman. I acquired a physical couple of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and I thought I’d try my first Twain book before reading Finn. I think both of these books benefit from audio narration since Twain wrote the dialogue phonetically. Offerman has a great voice, but I did not really feel engaged with this story. I did not relate to the characters or setting. It was amusing at times and I can see why Twain is liked. I do not think it holds up as well compared to other classics I’ve read from the time. I will read more Twain later.

Setting: Missouri, USA.

1.5x. March 9-16, 2024.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

A couple of my book friends really liked this and I had a used copy from somewhere. I started it on audiobook for the first chapter. The narrator was good but I had time and energy to finish it all by print on one Sunday. The writing was sometimes so-so. The protagonist started out quite unlikable especially to service people and the plot and the twists were a bit contrived at times. Having said that, there is pathos and a lot of character development. I enjoyed the platonic friendship at the core and all the genuine kindness that changed Eleanor by the end of the novel. I also thought the theme of modern loneliness was done well. This book is part of the “up lit” trend of the last few years. I am someone who wants more positivity and coziness when I read so this worked for me. It was a good, quick read.

Setting: Glasgow, Scotland.

March 17, 2024.

How to Say Goodbye: The Wisdom of Hospice Caregivers by Wendy MacNaughton

Very short little book with the author’s art at hospice facility. It was moving. It was a book that I could reread again even though there very little text. I did like the remember to “get uncomfortable with uncertainty”.

Setting: San Francisco, USA.

March 18, 2024.

The Fox Maidens by Robin Ha

Great retelling of the nine-tailed fox folklore. It had strong female characters and the right amount of history and horror. Recommended if you like East Asian mythology. The art was great. Before I started it, I realized that I had read Ha’s work already. I own her graphic Korean cookbook. I had to put her memoir on request.

March 19, 2024.

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