Review 55

claspThe Clasp by Sloane Crosley

Though the characters themselves were pretentious and hard to connect with, I appreciated Crosley’s ambitious debut.  Fun to read. It was hard to connect with the Guy de Maupassant plot line and importance, though.  It felt forced and unbelievable at times, and a little slow-going.

 

americasAmerica’s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System by Steven Brill

Tough to get through, mostly due to the layers of corruption and inefficiency that comprises our healthcare system and insurance companies.  Interesting behind-the-scenes look into Obama’s healthcare policies and the history behind them.

 

dear mr.Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker

Eh, wasn’t really feeling this.  Surprisingly good writing, though, and easy to read.

 

outlineOutline by Rachel Cusk

Beautifully written, and unique platform for a story.  Also made me want to visit Greece REALLY badly…

 

happierHappier at Home:  Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon A Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin

Clearly bouncing off the success of her Happiness Project, Rubin embarks on an adventure to make her home a happier place.  Lots of good reminders and ideas in here, but not a highlight of the month.

 
eileenEileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

This is the most uncomfortable book I’ve read in a while.  The main character is depressed, disgusting, disturbing, pathetic, and brutally honest with the reader.  I feel like the plot was building up to something much bigger than I was presented with, but I appreciated the depth of Eileen’s character development and flaws.  Unsettling and dark – it stands in a category of its own, for books I’ve read so far in my life.

 

hereHere by Richard McGuire

Surprisingly emotional, for such a simple idea.  Beautifully laid out graphic novel following the events and occupants of rooms in a house over the course of time.  Highlights the transience and permanence of family and self.

 

braveBrave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

Beautiful collection of quotes from one of the best female writers out there. I would read anything she creates, even if it’s a collection of things other people have created.  Would make a fantastic gift!!

 

projmangProject Management for the Unofficial Project Manager by Kory Kogon

Simple layout, lots of pertinent information, and highly relevant for my job and career.

 

wildA Wild Swan, And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham

Not a fan at all.  There’s nothing of substance to gain from reading these ‘modernized’ versions of well-known fairy tales.  The art was STUNNING, though!

 

thetruthThe Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango

Henry is a pretty unlikable character, but I loved the pacing of this book and its thrilling twists and turns.  Very original and great writing.

 

missoulaMissoula: Rape and the Justice System in A College Town by Jon Krakauer

I’m a huge Krakauer fan, and he didn’t disappoint with this expose on rape and justice in our modern world. He takes a deep dive into the victims’ lives and trials, and there were some pretty appalling and unsettling results.  I learned a lot about the college legal system, psychological effects of rape, and shocking leniency for rapists (especially popular football players).  Not the lightest reading, but absolutely essential for beginning to understand the legal process, and the ongoing victimization of women in college and beyond.

 

thirteenThirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann

Not my favorite of the McCann books, but – god! – he can write.

 

hausfrauHausfrau by Jill Essbaum

A tale of desperation, depression, and complexity – Anna is initially hard to connect with and the plot moves slowly, but soon digs deep into your brain and is hard to leave behind at the end.

 

homeisburnHome Is Burning: A Memoir by Dan Marshall

Favorite book of the month, hands down.  Hilarious and heartbreaking memoir about Dan’s dying parents: his mother has cancer and father dies from ALS during the course of the book.  He has a unique ability to express his true emotions while also making light of a morbid and devastating reality. I rarely have to take breaks from books this well written, but I couldn’t even see the pages through the teary blurriness.

 
carryonCarry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell

Somehow, Rainbow’s books are getting worse and worse over time.  I was even more disappointed in this than Landline because its ideas are directly stolen from my beloved Harry Potter.   She’s a two-hit wonder, it appears….stick with Attachments and Eleanor and Park if you want to see the Rainbow at its peak.

 

bignewThe Big New Yorker Book of Cats

Wonderful comics; skimmed the essays.  It’s not like I need more reasons to adore cats :)
wakingupWaking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris

Harris is a master. This came at a really good time, when I’m trying to make some healthier choices for my body and mind.  Meditation seems to be a central force for reaching this kind of understanding. Plus, it was a great reminder of some of the powerfully negative forces of organized religion.

 

wihtoutyouWithout You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent by Anthony Rapp

Loved this so much.  I’m a massive fan of Rent and so appreciated the behind-the-scenes look at the development of the show and the instant success of what started as a very low-rent (ha!) production.  Super sad tribute to Jonathan Larson and an emotional memoir about Rapp’s mother’s struggles with cancer during his rise to fame.  His writing is powerful. It was fun to find all the similarities between him and his character (Mark), as well — this solidified for me that there isn’t a better actor to play his role.

 

wornstWorn Stories by Emily Spivack

Beautiful idea – Spivack asked writers to pick a piece of clothing with an emotional connection to them, and write a short story about it.  The range in voices and backgrounds made it really fun to read.

 

originsThe Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution by Faramerz Dabhoiwala

Extremely comprehensive and well-researched book, on a topic that has surprisingly little written about it.  Kudos to Dabhoiwala’s ability to detail Victorian sexual mores – lots of fun facts and pictures as well!  My favorite part was the epilogue, actually, when he finally compares our current views on sexuality and gender with those of the past.  Notice that I called it “current” and not “modern” – there’s still a long way to go, but understanding how we got to this point through history gave me some new perspective.

 

chasingChasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari

Absolutely fascinating book detailing the rise of the heroin epidemic and drug criminalization through the perspective of doctors, drug dealers, and addicts.  This was a deep and startling dive into an ongoing crisis.

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