As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:
- (★★★★★): Loved it, won’t shut up about it for the foreseeable future
- (★★★★): Really liked it, enjoyable experience
- (★★★): Liked it enough, no strong opinions
- (★★): Didn’t care for it, would actively discourage people reading it
Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews. Finally, you can always check out my book review index page if you’re looking for my extremely important opinion on any book in particular.
The Intersectional Environmentalist by Leah Thomas
Genre: Non-fiction, climate change, feminism, anti-racism
GoodReads rating: 4.21 / 5 (560 ratings)
Medium used: E-book (borrowed from the library)
Summary: “The Intersectional Environmentalist is an introduction to the intersection between environmentalism, racism, and privilege, and an acknowledgment of the fundamental truth that we cannot save the planet without uplifting the voices of its people — especially those most often unheard.”
Warning: This book contains discussions of racism, misogyny and colonialism.
Thoughts: Just as the GoodReads summary says, this is a great introduction to intersectional environmentalism. As someone who has taken classes and read a handful of books on the topics of both feminism and climate change, I can’t say I learned much new from this but it was still well-written. I would recommend this for anyone looking for a good jumping off point. However, Well Traveled Books made a great point about how maybe the aesthetics of this book were prioritized over the environmental impact of printing the book (such as the use of color, glossy pages, leaving lots of blank space, hardcover edition, etc.).
Everything You Ever Wanted by Luiza Sauma
Genre: Science fiction, contemporary
GoodReads rating: 4.24 / 5 (555,000 ratings)
Medium used: E-book (borrowed from the library)
Summary: Iris is tired of her meaningless corporate job, fake friendships and social media. Here comes “Life on Nyx, a program that allows 100 lucky winners the chance to escape it all, move to another planet and establish a new way of life. One with meaning and purpose. One without Instagram and online dating. There’s one caveat: if you go, you can never come back.”
Warning: This book contains themes of suicide throughout.
Thoughts: This was not good. Even as someone who doesn’t seek out sci-fi, I wish this had more world(s)-building and science in it, where most of the book focused on Iris’s uninteresting character development. Her problems seem kind of contrived (social media isn’t real, literally just put your phone down and walk away) and I didn’t feel like I knew her any better at the end of the book. A couple of pet peeves for me personally: why the hell in a book with so few characters have two who have similar name? There is Eddie and Edie: the one letter off could leave the speed reader confused. I also find it a little but cringey when an author makes the character listen to a specific song, even if it’s a song I know and love. The mention of I Blame Myself by Sky Ferriera felt more for the author than anyone else.
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Genre: Fiction, young adult, suspense
GoodReads rating: 4.26 / 5 (52,800 ratings)
Medium used: Audiobook (borrowed from the library)
PopSugar prompt: A book with a reflection on the cover.
Summary: “When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too. Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures. As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?”
Warning: This book contains themes of homophobia and racism and mention of sexual assault and suicide.
Thoughts: For me personally, this was a three-star book, but upon further reflection I bumped it up because of its representation and uniqueness. This is branded as a Gossip Girl meets Get Out (literally the epigraphs in the book as well) and that it is, and as someone who has seen both I didn’t feel this book exactly reinvented the wheel and the ending was a little disappointment for me. However, I thought about how 12-year-old Rach would react to this book. At that age, I wasn’t watching anything like Gossip Girl (not that I had a particular desire to, but I don’t quite think it’s age-appropriate for a pre-teen) and was too much of a weenie to watch anything even resembling a scary movie. However, Get Out is revolutionary so it was great to get a taste of that as well as Gossip Girl but with more age-appropriate scenarios that middle- and high-schoolers can engage with. The book is very well written with the stakes spelled out and engaging, I “read” this so fast.
The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee
Genre: Non-fiction, environment
GoodReads rating: 4.33 / 5 (42 ratings)
Medium used: Paperback (purchased from Indigo Books in Vancouver, BC)
Summary: “The Carbon Footprint of Everything breaks items down by the amount of carbon they produce, creating a calorie guide for the carbon-conscious. With engaging writing, leading carbon expert Mike Berners-Lee shares new carbon calculations based on recent research. He considers the impact of the pandemic on the carbon battle–especially the embattled global supply chain–and adds items we didn’t consider a decade ago, like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.”
Thoughts: When I was book shopping during our trip to Vancouver, this neon orange cover and review by Bill Bryson caught my eye and I could have sworn I’ve read something by said author. I indeed had: a few years ago, before I started reviewing books, I read the original version of this book How Bad Are Bananas?. Ten years since the Bananas publication, Berners-Lee came out with this new version to consider changes such as the rise of cryptocurrencies, the UK plastic bag ban and increased standards of living across the world. This book is in the same format and in includes a lot of the same data points, so I’m counting this as my re-read this year. My favorite thing about this book is how extensively researched it is and how the information is organized, it’s very pleasing to me. There were a few things I didn’t care for: the repetition. The author would constantly refer to parts of the books you already read not too long ago, sometimes up to three times on a single page. Some of his personal takes rubbed me the wrong way: how nuclear war could actually be good for the planet in the long run because the amount of people no longer polluting will offset the nuclear waste. That leaves me absolutely speechless. Also he advises us to be respectful of everyone including “oil executives and dishonest politicians.” No, respect is earned not given. Why should I have someone’s best interest at heart when they’re tearing down vulnerable people and destroying the planet? I’ll wait.
Have you read any of these?
Photo by Radu Marcusu.