Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Show Us Your Books, June 2017

No clever introduction, just straight to the book talk because it’s summer and there’s no school and my time is at a premium before I have to drive the child from one place to the next. Don’t forget to visit my co-host, Steph, and some of the other participants. Next one is July 11th.

Confessions by Kanae Minato. OMG. Insane and intense and weird and FUCKED UP and twisted and constantly full of surprises and the end was jaw dropping and one that I definitely did not see coming. Nothing was predictable at all. It’s a little hard to stomach given the nature of the plot but worth it. The author’s bio is pretty interesting, too, and I’m really curious to see the movie adaptation. 

A Colony in a Nation by Christopher L. Hayes. This is a big, important book which has even more meaning having read The Hate U Give in the same month (that wasn’t intentional, though). It’s short but packs so much thought provoking, rage inducing, well researched and personal experience/commentary that you could write a book just reviewing it. It’s both an exploration and an indictment of the disparities in our criminal justice system that regardless of political leaning you need to read it. Some of it will make you uncomfortable but you need to feel that way in order to comprehend the depths of the points he makes. 

Burntown by Jennifer McMahon. A supernatural thriller that both bored and captivated me. It fluctuated between gripping, interesting, and twisty and weird and annoying. It teetered on having too much plot and too many characters but at the same time needing them all to tell the complete story. The writing was strong and creative even if the plot was too big. It passed the time just fine but if it’s on your TBR, don’t rush to bump it up. 

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. This is a beautifully written book about love and obligation and war and refugees and migration and what happens to people and relationships when they’re forced into horrifying, extraordinary circumstances and while it takes place in modern times it could have been set in any decade. The realness and emotion come through on every page. It’s a short book but was a slow read for me. Not my favorite but I’m glad I read it. 

The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives by Lisa Servon. This book tries to do for banking what Nickel and Dimed did for the working poor and Evicted did for housing except this one fell a little flat. It’s informative, well researched, mostly unbiased, and exploratory but focused slightly more on policy than consumers. I wish she’d spent time living as an unbanked person using the services as well as working at a few places and interviewing people. This would have provided a more well rounded picture and might have been more impactful. 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book is a fucking masterpiece. There is no other way to describe it. She eloquently gives a voice to those who don’t generally have a leading role voice in literature, the story is powerful in ways I can’t adequately describe, and in the same way The Outsiders changed YA 50 years ago, this book will change things. It will make you angry, it will make you think, it will make you sad, and it’s impact is best represented by its last page (I apologize for how tiny it is but the photo editor won’t let me make it bigger which is a phenomenal pain in the ass):

The Joy of Leaving Your Shit All Over the Place by Jennifer McCartney. I love the concept behind this book, another parody of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, that it’s okay to have things and stuff everywhere and not have an immaculate house and her thoughts on Tidying Up echo mine but her humor and sarcasm are grating. I am no stranger to cursing and I’m not prude but her constant sex references became annoying and took away from her point of giving people permission to lighten up and not take minimalist culture so seriously. 

Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh. I read her novel Eileen last year and enjoyed it more for her gorgeous writing than the story about an absolutely horrible person. This book of short stories is similar. Her writing is absolutely superb but every character is miserable and awful and insufferable and tragic. And she has an unexplained contempt for fat people that’s featured in almost every story. I get wanted to explore the less than perfect, and I appreciate it, but it’s morose and depressing.

The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers. DNF. If you know the story of Bernie Madoff, you know this book. Like straight up his and his wife’s story. And her fictionalization of some things was boring as fuck and I didn’t care about any of it or any of the characters and her writing isn’t for me. Her book Accidents of Marriage was decent. This one was not. 

TL;DR: The Hate U Give. Read it. Read it. READ IT.  A Colony in a Nation and Confessions are also worth a read. The others are optional depending on your taste.

On tap this month for me: Bastard Out of Carolina, In the Shadow of Alabama, The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tale of Life on the Road, and a few others including some NetGalley books. That’s the plan, anyway. Who knows what’ll actually happen?

Now it’s your turn! Let us know what you’ve been reading! 


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  1. Heather

    The Hate U Give is on my list and on hold for me at the library! Glad it lived up to your expectations. Totally agree with everything you wrote about Exit West.

  2. Carly

    I think I already mentioned this on your instagram post but the ending of THUG gave me so many chills. I was surprised by how much I liked Burntown– the more I got into it, I felt like it was a bit silly with how quickly each conflict got wrapped up, but it still kept me hooked until the end.

  3. lauren

    definitely adding the hate u give to my list! thanks!

  4. Gina

    Ooh, a parody of the Life Changing Magic?? That sounds awesome…too bad it fell a little flat! Adding “The Hate U Give” to my list!

  5. Brittany Pines

    I came up on the list at my library for The Hate U Give…and I want to read it, but it feels almost too momentous for me right now. That McCartney book though, is right up my alley! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Bastard Out of Carolina.

  6. Nancy @ NY Foodie Family

    I will be starting The Hate U Give soon. Confessions sounds good! Just added it to my to read list.

  7. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    Just put Hate on hold and i’m # 123 so I guess I’ll be reading it next year. Rude.

  8. Ashley The Wandering Weekenders

    Everybody keeps on talking about The Hate U Give, and I need to add it to my list to read soon! You had some really solid reads this month!

  9. SMD

    Colony is already on my list. I’m getting REALLY IMPATIENT waiting for The Hate U Give, like on the precipice of buying it.

    I added your first one too because why not.

    I read Bastard Out of Carolina many moons ago, then again last year or the year before?

  10. Karly

    Okay, okay – I’ll read The Hate U Give. πŸ˜‰ Sounds like an awesome read!

  11. Lauren

    I added The Hate U Give when you first mentioned it. I can’t get enough socially conscious pop culture lately.

  12. Audrey

    Oof. You read some heavy books this month! Glad they were good ones. The trucker book sounds interesting! My dad is a truck driver, although it’s short-hauls and he’s home every night πŸ™‚
    Audrey recently posted…What I Read… vol. 6My Profile

  13. Nadine

    I just added Hate U Give after reading another review of it this morning so I am glad to hear your good review too. Confessions sounds interesting, might have to add that one too!

  14. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    I’ve heard amazing things about The Hate U Give and regretfully I had it in my mitts but didn’t get a chance to read it before it was due. The library won’t let you renew when there is a waiting list, which is annoying but I am glad so people are lining up to read it. The Colony of a Nation is on my TBR. I’m pretty sure it will reduce me to a rage monster. Interestingly enough, I’m putting together my list for Erin’s Reading Challenge and Exit West was one of my picks, so I’m glad to see that you overall enjoyed it.
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…May Bookshelf: The Whaddya Mean I Only Read Four Books Month?My Profile

  15. Rebecca Jo

    I want to read Confessions just because I love an unpredictable book!!! Hard to find those

  16. Ashley Ziegler

    Okay, I’m going to have to look into “Confessions.” Sounds like my kind of book! Also, The Hate U Give has been staring at me every time I go into a book store. I might just need to rip the band-aid off and read it!
    Ashley Ziegler recently posted…Show Us Your Books – June ’17My Profile

  17. Megan

    After reading Small Great Things, I feel like I need to read more social commentary books about racism, especially living in the South where subtle racism is ingrained. The Hate U Give seems like a good start.

  18. Ericka @ A Quiet Girl's Musings...

    I’m still laughing over the title of that one book – The Joy of Leaving Your Shit… LOL! Hilarious! I read the Kondo book, did a purge as she suggested, and implemented some of her suggestions. I really admire minimalists and I aspire to be a reasonable minimalist, but the problem is that I’m a realist, so that’s probably never going to happen in my lifetime… which is OK.

  19. ShootingStarsMag

    I completely ran out of time to do a SUYB post. Ah, next month though!

    I really do want to read Confessions – I’m glad you liked it so much. I have Penance by the same author that I hope to read ASAP!

    I also own The Hate U Give so I MUST get to that one.

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Review: Heels Over Head by Elyse SpringerMy Profile

  20. Pam

    I am going to reserve The Hate You Give right now!!! I am currently waiting for Exit West to come up as well. Pam πŸ™‚

  21. Kristin Darhower

    I saw Exit West at the library but thought it might be too heavy for what I need right now (mindless stories).

  22. Olya @ The Siberian American

    Confessions sounds so good! Definitely have to add that one to my list!

  23. Erin

    I picked up The Hate U Give at a bookstore in San Fran based on your comments on ig. I thought there was a chance my library wouldn’t have it, didn’t want to miss out on reading it, and felt it was a book worth buying.
    Erin recently posted…I show you my books, you show me yours…vol.29My Profile

  24. Christina

    I really liked The Hate U Give too! I’m adding Confessions to my list right now.

  25. Crystal W

    Ahhh, I love that you read my imaginary boyfriend Chris Hayes’s book! (I have a weird type when it comes to celebrity crushes.) I definitely need to check out The Hate U Give, despite my usual rule of avoiding anything with intentional misspelling.

    I just LOL’d in the library, btw, at the description of a thriller both boring and captivating you. That seems to be my experience with most books in that genre! “Ooh, I have to keep reading…. Wait, that was it? Meh.”

  26. Laura

    Burntown sounds really good. I have The Hate U Give on hold at the library but I’m number 120 or something so I might just have to buy it!

  27. Micah @ Unabashedly Me

    Seeking out The Hate U Give right now.

  28. Anne

    Oooh I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of The Hate U Give. I’ve been hearing a lot about Exit West lately as well so interesting to hear your take on it.

  29. Confuzzled Bev

    I keep seeing The Hate U Give everywhere. I think it may need to go on my list!

  30. Alexandra Consolver

    I really really want to read The Hate U Give and Colony of a Nation sounds fascinating. Sounds like a great reading month to me. XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  31. Hannah

    Exit West and A Colony in a Nation are both on my to-be-read list

  32. Megan

    Confessions sounds like my kind of book! I will have to add that one to my ever growing library list.

  33. Jess

    I’m adding Colony to my list. I already had The Hate U Give there and I hope to read it soon. I’ve been into reading ‘important but messed up things in real life’ lately. I’m also adding Exit West to my list because that sounds like something I may like.
    Jess recently posted…What I’ve Been ReadingMy Profile

  34. Pingback: Amber Can Read : June 2017 – Amber I Am

  35. Femme Frugality

    Going to check out The Hate U Give. Hopefully soon haha I’m a slow reader and my list is long. On The Joy of Leaving Your Shit All Over the Place–that kind of writing turns me off, too. It’s like picking the lowest hanging fruit, and I feel like if you are going to write an entire book anyways, it would be cool to challenge yourself a little more.
    Femme Frugality recently posted…Chime Review: Disrupt BankingMy Profile

  36. Jill K.

    When I read The Hate U Give I felt like it should be required reading for all of America.

  37. Amber

    I just checked out The Hate U Give as part of my Erin 7.0 challenge! Can’t wait until July 1 so I can start it!

  38. Kristen

    Exit West is on my shelf at home, I thought it sounded interesting but every time I go to pick it up, I have no desire to read it. I’m sure I’ll get to it soon, and I’m glad you liked it even if it was a slow read. waiting on The Hate U Give from the library – I’m like #370 or something ridiculous. Added Confessions to my list!


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