Talking books with political backdrops

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This past week I finished four books:

  1. Ice Shear by M.P. Cooley
  2. Hear The Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami
  3. Pinball, 1973 by Haruki Murakami
  4. The Poisoned Pawn by Peggy Blair

That now brings my total so far for the month of August to 11.

The first and the last ones on the list were pickups from the library where I work, and the two Murakami short novels were on ebook from The Free Library of Philadelphia. All were good, especially the Murakami. They were his first two novels and reminded me that I enjoy his earlier work than some of his later work (1Q84, case in point, just couldn’t finish). I read Cooley’s book after seeing Flame Out, the second in the same series on the new book shelf at our library. Ice Shear was okay, if a bit choppy to me at times, perhaps because it was her first book. However, I’m still willing to give her second book a try since the first wasn’t horrible. Blair’s book, meanwhile, was the second in the Inspector Ramirez series and might have been a little better than the first, especially as it went back and forth between Cuba and Canada.

The first three books from this month were more of a whim as I hadn’t planned to get them. Blair’s book, I already had on my small home TBR shelf (that was it), at the recommendation of Belle Wong of the blog Ms. Bookish. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for two books on hold from The Free Library of Philadelphia, continuing one series that I started and another that I restarted, both last month. I was hoping that they would have come in by Friday since I had that day off from work, but I had to settle for reading Blair’s book instead, which still was good, but I really am enjoying these two other series.

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…which brings me to the point (yes, all that, for THIS) of today’s post: books with political bookdrops. Blair’s series is set in 2000s Cuba and also has had Ramirez travel to Canada, Blair’s home country, and another series I’ve been reading, the Darko Dawson series by Kwei Quartey, is set in Ghana and addresses the conflicts between ancient traditions and the modern world within the country. Specifically, within the first one, Wife of the Gods, Quartey and Dawson tackle the issue of trokosi, the practice of families giving their teenage daughters to “fetish” priests in exchange for a curse being lifted from their families.

I’ll be honest that I tend not to read political books, but learning about these countries and their cultures has been fascinating. How about yourself? Do you enjoy reading about different cultures and different political climates? What are some of the books you have enjoyed reading?

And as usual, my other question is this: what books have you been reading this week? Anything good? Anything I should look into? Anything bad, that I should avoid?