📚 tessthornton's books

the 2 books tessthornton read in 2021

Such a Fun Age


Kiley Reid

Read: 2021-3-14

This was funnier than I expected for something so critically acclaimed, but also I love an entertaining book that examines the ways we delude ourselves



Anna Burns

Read: 2021-2-7

I loved this book

Yes it was a bit challenging at first but that made me slow down which I’m bad at

I can’t figure out exactly what I loved about this book yet but I’ll be thinking about it a lot

the 21 books tessthornton read in 2020

The Egyptologist


Read: 2020-12-30

This was fun but idk if it was particularly good

I think the unreliability of the narrator was a bit played out by the end and no longer especially interesting

Introduced the most interesting character at the very end which was disappointing

Everything I Never Told You


Read: 2020-11-23

This was such a cleanly compelling and devastating novel

The characters and their motivations are a bit simplistic but i think it still works well

I think she writes better in “little fires” but I liked this one too

Bad Monkey


Read: 2020-10-19

i wanted something light and entertaining and was not disappointed

Culture Warlords


Read: 2020-10-14

talia is a great writer and this book is very brave and good

also surprisingly funny

an interesting and effective blend of ethnography and activism

Interior Chinatown


Read: 2020-10-11

i thought this was just ok

like the author made good points but i didn’t love it as a novel, more like characters reciting paragraphs of an essay

the most poignant part i guess is that it should have been a movie

We Believe the Children


Read: 2020-10-9

this was really fascinating and tied together a lot of subjects i’ve been interested in for ages and does a great job of contextualizing phenomena that seem so extreme and exotic

occasionally overstates his case and slips out of his style but still very good

The Goldfinch


Read: 2020-9-25

i really enjoyed this up until the end which i thought was too convenient and obvious and philosophical

in fact i think it was the first half that i loved, when he was a child and teenager



Read: 2020-9-19

like a lot of people i thought this was good

Beyond Survival


Read: 2020-9-17

this was exactly what i needed to read

nuanced, complicated stories of transformative justice from people who’ve done the work

changed the way i think about justice and community accountability

A Woman Is No Man


Read: 2020-8-27

I feel like the story the author tells is an important one that we don’t hear often, but it took a long time to get going and overall felt too long

It was repetitive in a way that felt intentional but maybe not effective

had a bit of a vibe of like exoticism for the sake of white audiences

The Story of the Lost Child


Read: 2020-6-15

Impressed with ferrante’s ability to make characters both unique and universal

Nino is so many men but also compelling and interesting in his own shitty way

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay


Read: 2020-6-8

Somewhat furious with the protagonist at this point!

The Story of a New Name


Read: 2020-5-31

As good as the first book, especially the first half with the trip to ischia

My Brilliant Friend


Read: 2020-5-26

It took me so long to get into this but by the end I loved it

The honesty she writes with is so uncommon

I saw so many of my friends in this in ways I’ve never seen them before, I imagine most readers felt the same

The Sympathizer


Read: 2020-5-3

This took me like two months to read

I don’t think that’s the books fault

I don’t know what I think of it yet

I think it was very good

The protagonist was very messy and complex and sometimes a bit too on the nose but also people are like that so maybe he was just very realistic

The Round House


Louise Erdrich

Read: 2020-2-14

I loved this

It felt so real

Red at the Bone


Jacqueline Woodson

Read: 2020-1-12

Really beautiful and empathetic and short but effective

The Stone Sky


N. K. Jemisin

Read: 2020-1-7

I liked this more than the obelisk gate

But I still feel like the fantasy elements were way too heavy and complex and over the top

But I am not a regular fantasy reader

It won a hugo idk

The Obelisk Gate


N. K. Jemisin

Read: 2020-1-6

This was much more fantasy-y than the first one which I’m not super into

I still enjoyed it but idk too much magic

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead


Maurice Leblanc

Read: 2020-1-5

This was unique and funny and weird and sad and strangely hopeful

Unforgettable protagonist

The Fifth Season


N. K. Jemisin

Read: 2020-1-2

This really grew on me

I get bored of superhuman tropes but the worldbuilding was otherwise very cool

Made-up alien swears do not work for me!

the 33 books tessthornton read in 2019

Little Fires Everywhere


Celeste Ng

Read: 2019-12-29

This was as good as everyone said

Read it in one lazy afternoon

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club


Megan Gail Coles

Read: 2019-12-26

Absolutely ruthless, infuriatingly accurate portrayal of men and the women they harm

I’ve been to St John’s in February, where this book takes place, reading this has completely recast my memory of that trip

Occasionally a sentence a bit too direct or cliché but I’m not mad about it

The Underground Railroad


Colson Whitehead

Read: 2019-12-22

I’m so glad I didn’t know anything about this book when I picked it up

Weirdness is best when it’s unexpected

This was such a story

The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club)


Ta-Nehisi Coates

Read: 2019-12-16

This was so sad and the writing was so beautiful

Narratively it was flawed and the second section was weighed down by exposition

It’s so rare for (especially male) writers to write appropriately stupid and flawed young protagonists, I enjoyed it

The Dispossessed


Ursula K. Le Guin

Read: 2019-12-12

I enjoyed this, always love the worlds she builds and the way she describes them

I find the way settings change between chapters unnecessarily confusing, and I sometimes find her too literal and on the nose

Had It Coming


Robyn Doolittle

Read: 2019-12-9

This was good

As always Robyn is an excellent reporter and writer and the book is thorough and honest and convincingly a definitive reference

I thought the last chapter, on social media, sucked and was lazy and cliché and disappointing

Convenience Store Woman


Sayaka Murata

Read: 2019-12-4

This was so good

I love how keiko reminds me of both literal people (my sister) but also aspects of myself and everyone I know

Reminds me of the way sci-fi will employ aliens or robots as outsiders but this feels so much more mature and less literal and clunky

The New Jim Crow


Michelle Alexander

Read: 2019-12-3

I can’t imagine reading this in 2010 when it was published

By now mass incarceration is a thing people know about, but this was still a super valuable read and very compelling for a non-fiction book on a very dark subject

Five Wives


Joan Thomas

Read: 2019-11-23

I was excited and a bit apprehensive to read this after the way that story of the Vancouver guy that died in Peru played out

But this was written much more thoughtfully

I’ve read this and similar stories written by anthropologists who are extremely critical of the missionaries, this was the story from the perspective of the missionaries that I thought honestly portrayed their motivations without excusing the extreme harm they caused

If Beale Street could talk


James Baldwin

Read: 2019-11-5

beautiful love story about heartbreakingly good people in a dangerous and hateful world

So You Want to Talk About Race


Ijeoma Oluo

Read: 2019-11-4

This was well-written but it was really not what I expected

I’m really unclear on who this book is _for_ other than maybe HR professionals

It’s formatted as like an FAQ about race/racism but most of the questions are questions that people do not ask in good faith

Women Talking


Miriam Toews

Read: 2019-10-30

This was a good story but idk it felt a bit predictable and like it brought up so many philosophical questions and then dropped them too quickly

Or I just read it too fast bc I always do with books that take place over a short time period



Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Read: 2019-10-28

good story with great characters and poignant observations

Loved how flawed and real the characters felt

The Fire Next Time


James Baldwin

Read: 2019-10-22

Didn’t finish the second part before my loan expired but the first essay was extremely good!

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous


Ocean Vuong

Read: 2019-10-17

There was so much beautiful imagery and insight in this book

But I felt like it was balancing between poetic and cliché, or vulnerable and overwrought, and frequently tipped a bit too far towards excess

You know?

A Tale for the Time Being


Ruth Ozeki

Read: 2019-10-15

This was really sweet and beautiful and unique

It got weird towards the end which I do always love

Automating Inequality


Virginia Eubanks

Read: 2019-10-14

interesting ethnography-style book on public-sector tech automating decision-making

Most interesting parts were about tech enabling expansive surveillance of the poor

The Left Hand of Darkness


Ursula K. Le Guin

Read: 2019-10-10

Really lovely and rich descriptions of another world and society

Reminded me too much of star trek lol



Jeff VanderMeer

Read: 2019-10-5

good wrap up of the trilogy

i got kind of confused near the end I think the author dropped a couple threads but still v enjoyable



Jeff VanderMeer

Read: 2019-10-3

not as scary as the first one but still very compelling



Jeff VanderMeer

Read: 2019-10-1

haunting, well-written, compelling, very scary

Same vibe as the movie but the plot is quite different

We Were Eight Years in Power


Ta-Nehisi Coates

Read: 2019-9-30

I'd read some of these essays but enjoyed the intros and re-reading them and reading them all together

Post-racial Or Most-racial?


Michael Tesler

Read: 2019-9-24

really well-argued and understandable, v insightful look at race in america during the obama years

How to Do Nothing


Jenny Odell

Read: 2019-9-19

beautiful and lovely and maybe inconsistently convincing? Clearly informed by marxist texts but doesn't really engage with them like it seems it should

Viola Desmond's Canada


Graham Reynolds

Read: 2019-9-17

short but interesting

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous


Ocean Vuong

Read: 2019-9-10

probably the best non-fiction i've ever read

Between the World and Me


Ta-Nehisi Coates

Read: 2019-9-10

probably the best non-fiction i've ever read

Trick Mirror


Jia Tolentino

Read: 2019-9-7

this was extremely well written and had some interesting insights but idk i guess i wanted something more cohesive and convincing that would make me feel bad in a new way

The Sisters Brothers


Patrick deWitt

Read: 2019-9-2

very fun and good



Margaret Atwood

Read: 2019-8-6

also very good

The Year of the Flood


Margaret Atwood

Read: 2019-7-29

not as good as oryx and crake but still v good, great characters

Oryx and Crake


Margaret Atwood

Read: 2019-7-15

v good unique climate apocalypse/dystopia

Identity Crisis


John Sides

Michael Tesler

Lynn Vavreck

Read: 2019-3-1

this was well-argued and completely changed the way i understand 2016 and trump and american politics

the 7 books tessthornton read in 2018

The Dream of My Return


Horacio Castellanos Moya

Read: 2018-8-8

too short!

The Reluctant Fundamentalist


Mohsin Hamid

Read: 2018-7-19

short but entertaining



Read: 2018-7-17

i was warned about this but it sure did fuck me up! I don't think i've ever read a novel that demanded so much of me as a reader

The God of Small Things


Arundhati Roy

Read: 2018-7-15

beautiful, devastating

We Need to Talk About Kevin


Lionel Shriver

Read: 2018-7-11

So I could tell that I really don’t like the author but it was still a good read and overall successful



Andy Weir

Read: 2018-7-10

not a very good book but fun for a flight

will make a good movie

dude cannot write women or really dialog in general

Noontide Toll


Romesh Gunesekera

Read: 2018-6-1

v nice collection of stories that I kind of wish had been one narrative

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