Year 13, Book 70

70. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo

While this book had a lot of good information in it there wasn’t much in it that I personally wasn’t already familiar with. Unfortunately I think that may be the case for the people who are likely to pick up and actually read this book. I suspect the people who would really learn something from it are unlikely to ever read it. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Year 13, Book 69

69. The Ghosts of Johns Hopkins: The Life and Legacy of That Shaped an American City by Antero Pietila

I was really disappointed in this book because I loved Pietila’s previous book Not in My Neighborhood so much. I was really excited to read this, but found it very wanting. He purports to write about how the institutions founded by Johns Hopkins affected Baltimore and its racial history. I did learn a fair amount about Johns Hopkins the man, which was interesting, but then he veers far and wide from the story he supposedly set out to tell. It really just winds up being a retread of what he wrote about in Not My Neighborhood and I feel like he completely loses the connection to Hopkins, which is a shame because there is certainly a lot to say there I just don’t really think he did in an effective way. He got too far off on tangents about anything and everything that happened in the city’s history. He really lost me at the end where he writes about a recent Baltimore police officer death that was indeed super shady and has a lot of questions surrounding it that haven’t been and probably never will be answered to everyone’s satisfaction. He spins some wild conspiracy theories that are even beyond most of the stuff I was reading at the time and he presents them as fact. Not cool. Especially for someone who is a former journalist. He should know way better. I give it a 4 out of 10.

Year 13, Book 68

68. The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

Written as if a conversation between them telling their love story, this is a humorous memoir of Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman’s relationship. I’m guessing real fans of them won’t learn much from the book, but will enjoy reading it anyway because it is them being them. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 13, Book 67

67. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Nadia and Saeed meet in a country on the brink of civil war. As many flee the country as refugees they too take the opportunity to flee through one of the mystical doors that keep opening around the world allowing people to step through to other countries. The book follows their travels as refugees through Greece, the United States, and London. For some reason many descriptions I’ve seen of this book describe it as a love story, which I would decidedly say it is not. I read this book for one of my book clubs. It lead to some really great discussions, but I didn’t love it. The characters felt too one dimensional and flat to me and I was never able to get fully invested in what they were going through. I give it a 6 out of 10.