Contemporary · Fiction

American Dirt

45046527. sy475

Title: American Dirt

Author: Jeanine Cummins

Performer: Yareli Arizmendi

Length: 16 hr, 43 min

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2020 by MacMillan Audio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: This was a book club pick that interested me mainly because of the controversy surrounding it.  When a bestselling book gets a lot of criticism, it makes me curious, even if it falls into a genre I do not typically read.

I went into reading this book with an open mind, because I like to form my own opinions.  I personally found the content of the book to be very stressful, so at this point in my life it was not my favorite read.  It did, however, make me more conscious of the seemingly insurmountable challenges that migrants face as they make their trek to the United States.

After reading the book for myself, and browsing through the reviews of critics, I personally find most of the controversy to be unwarranted.  I won’t address every aspect of her work that has been criticized, but it seems that the primary criticism stems from Cummins being elevated as a White author over authors of color who have written about similar topics. I understand the argument, but the truth is, it is a very well-written book.  Regardless of her own experiences, it felt like a very well-researched work of fiction and after discussing it with both my book club and a Latina friend who read it with her book club, it seems that Cummins portrayal of hardship, corruption, and abuse is true to the experiences of many migrants.  Perhaps she tried to pack too much drama into one story, but I do believe that the journey to the border can be very dangerous, especially for young women.  I’m not saying that #ownvoices works should not also be elevated, but as one person in my book club pointed out, the popularity of this book could have been used as a platform to recommend readers to books on similar topics written by people of color.  As with any novel, it is not perfect and some criticisms are likely valid (particularly about the use of Spanish language throughout the story), but I think it is great that a book that inspires empathy and raises awareness about the challenges faced by illegal immigrants is reaching such a wide audience.  To say that someone cannot write characters or settings of another ethnicity or culture would essentially be saying that most works of fiction should never have been written.  I think it is great that the new publishing trend is embracing #ownvoice stories and authors, but it is absurd to say that someone cannot write fictional works about something they have not personally experienced or to hate on them for doing so.  I hope this does not discourage Cummins from writing more in the future.

Reader: Bekah


All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Tower of Dawn


Title: Tower of Dawn

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 680

Series: Throne of Glass, Book 6

Publishing Date/Publisher: September 5, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Format: eBook

Review: For the most part, when I review a book from this series I feel like I am constantly repeating myself, so my review of this book will be short and sweet.  My thoughts on this book are very similar to my thoughts on the previous five books, so feel free to look at those reviews if you feel so inclined.  That aside, it was nice to step away from Aelin’s story for a bit, and I really enjoyed the POV of Nesryn.  As with all of Maas’ books, nearly every character gets paired off with someone.  It’s nice but predictable.

I’ve made it this far, so I will definitely be reading the seventh and final book in the series.

Reader: Bekah




Fantasy · Fiction

The Slow Regard of Silent Things


Title: The Slow Regard of Silent Things

Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Performer: Patrick Rothfuss

Length: 3 hr, 39 min

Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 2.5)

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2014 by Penguin Group US

Format: eAudiobook

Review: Before deciding to read this novella, I recommend three things:

  1. Read at least the first book of the Kingkiller Chronicle prior to picking up this novella to establish the character of Auri.
  2. Heed the author’s advice in the author’s notes and do NOT expect there to be a plot.
  3. Listen to this in audiobook format.

If I had to describe this audiobook in one word, it would be: soothing.  It is a long and meandering stroll through the broken mind of Auri.  For those who have read any of the Kingkiller Chronicle books, it is already established that Auri is an airy, mysterious, and sweet-natured young woman.  She often brings Kvothe gifts with cryptic descriptions, and this novella delves deeply into her thought process in choosing those gifts, and gives a glimpse of her life in the “Underthing.”  It’s less of a story and more of a snapshot of her life.

The author has a fantastic voice for narrating, and though I often found my thoughts drifting off during his reading, I found the listening experience to be very pleasant.  With all the stress in my life right now, I found it to be a nice reprieve to just tune out with this playing in the background.

Reader: Bekah