Q2 Book Report: The Best of April – June

Hi Darling Ones,

I don’t know about you, but so far 2022 fiction is just not floating my boat, tripping my trigger, or setting my heart on fire with passion and love. I’ve read some good novels (see below), but nothing that’s really, really infected my world. This is unusual for me, because novels are very much my thing. If you have read some kind of fiction that lit you up, even if it’s not from 2022, please let me know. I’m afraid the fiction part of my heart is gonna atrophy and I’m gonna turn into your weirdo spinster aunt who reads books about lighthouses or something.

So, thus far in the year I’ve read about 90 books, and here are a few of the best ones I read this quarter. Curious? Here are the best ones from Q1 2022.

Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop by Danyel Smith

This is my very favorite book I’ve read so far this year. It’s smart and emotional and about music and the way in which it plays a role in one’s life. Here’s what I wrote about it back in May (which feels like sixteen years ago) when I first proclaimed it THE BEST:
The way Smith weaves the stories of the songs and the Black women who created them into her own story is nothing short of genius. It’s informative and captivating and super moving. I read the “Outro” twice because it is that moving. In it, she writes about how hard it is to stop writing the book because she’s afraid if she doesn’t capture it all she and other Black women will be forgotten.

Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be by Marissa R. Moss

I was inclined to like this one from the get go. Country music is my jam, though the music I listen to is rarely labelled country. Americana. Alt-Country. Whatever, it’s still rock & roll to me. In this book Moss explores the rampant sexism and racism in country music and tells the story of how Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, and Mickey Guyton built careers inside this toxic environment. Even if you’re only so-so on these women’s music (I am) and even if you’re a jerk who likes everything but rap and country, this is a must-read for music fans.

On a very personal level, I loved this one because it affirmed some of the work I’ve done to broaden my musical horizons (especially when it comes to listening to music by women of color). Every time Moss mentioned an artist I had been listening to, I was like “A+ for Jodi Chromey.” I was also introduced to a whole bunch of new-to-me female singers.

And another thing? I learned about Tomato-Gate, which made me feel so smart when the controversy came up in the James “White Men are Victims of Racism too” Patterson and Dolly Parton’s collaborative novel, Run Rose Run (which I do not recommend because it is preposterous).

We Are Watching Eliza Bright by A.E.Osworth

What happens when a smart, talented woman speaks up about being treated poorly at the video game company she works at? All hell breaks loose. This is one I read with my eyes wide open because what happens feels so outlandish but is not at all actually outlandish. So good.

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

This is one of those break your brain kinds of books about what happens when a pandemic collides with climate change disaster. The way threads of this story are woven together is nothing short of brilliant.

A Few Fun Mysteries
Mysteries like peanut m&ms, slim-hipped men, and Hawaiian Punch are my weakness. I gobble these suckers up like nobody’s business. I even read really shitty mysteries because even when they’re ridiculous they’re still fun.

Right now I’m in the midst of a charming rom-com called Flying Solo by Linda Holmes and I’m enjoying it a great deal.

Booknerdily yours,
Jodi

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