Review 57

Featuring slightly shortened reviews this month…it’s been a busy year so far.  But thanks for reading!  I hope you find something fun to brighten up these cold gray months.

 

h is for hawkH is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Gorgeous writing, I didn’t want it to end.

 

a thousandA Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedics’ Wild Ride to the Edge and Back by Kevin Hazzard

Great stories, they definitely stick with you.  Gave me an even greater appreciation for the work of paramedics and programs like our Medic One in Seattle!

 

the nestThe Nest by Kenneth Oppel

Extremely disturbing fantasy/horror story for YA.  Utterly original and unforgettable.

 

between worldBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Heartbreaking letter to his black teenage son on the state of racism and civil rights in America.  Poetic, enthralling, and so well written! Definitely a stand-out of the month.

 

big magicBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Two thumbs down. Liz is ridiculously self-righteous in this book, and her concept of ideas floating around waiting for the right “owner” is ludicrous.  Huge disappointment, and learned nothing.

 

pen and inkPen and Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them by Isaac Fitzgerald

Quick read, fun idea. Plus, anything Cheryl Strayed contributes to (introduction and chapter in this) has my instant backing. That woman is a goddess.

 

a billionA Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire by Ogi Ogas

This book could’ve been 10 times longer; there is SO much more to say about human sexuality, differences between female and male brains, and the neuroscience and psychology behind kinks…especially using the data available to us from the internet.  This honestly just felt like an introduction to a much bigger topic, but I still learned a lot and enjoyed myself.

 

my name is lucyMy Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Strout’s Olive Kitteridge remains her best work, in my opinion.  I was pretty disappointed by this one – the plotline and characters were swept off the page as soon as I closed the cover. Nothing stuck, other than the apathy I felt while reading it. Save yourself the energy.

 

this house ofThis House of Grief: The Story of a Murder Trial by Helen Garner

Exceptionally well written and engaging.  Fascinating to see the theatrical aspects of the courtroom and the damaging long-term effects of one tragic accident.

 

reasons to stayReasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Interesting perspective on the thoughts and daily reality of a clinically depressed person, but I ultimately wasn’t a fan of his writing or attitude.  I know that isn’t very empathetic (given his circumstances and suicide attempt), but that was my feeling upon finishing the book.

 

gratitudeGratitude by Oliver Sacks

Super quick read, and packs a powerful punch.  Written in the weeks before his death, Oliver displays an admirable depth of positivity and curiosity until his final breaths.

 

a mothersA Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Susan Klebold

This was my favorite book of the month – and of the year so far.  I’ve always been fascinated by the Columbine massacre and the psychological depths of humanity. Susan’s perspective (she’s the mother of Dylan Klebold) on the massacre is unbelievably compassionate and fascinating to read.  It was so good and engaging that I stopped breathing a few times. Highly recommended, but not for the faint of heart.

 

the shapeThe Shape of the New: Four Big Ideas and How They Made the Modern World by Scott Montgomery

Great, far-reaching perspective on the creation of modern society.  Inspired lots of flashbacks to 10th grade history class: this was a good refresher for me on the Enlightenment, rise of capitalism, and the Industrial Revolution.

 

$2.00 a day$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin

Eye-opening and well-researched book on the state of many families in America.  I was so discouraged to read about the cyclical nature of poverty and the injustices waged against them by big (and small!) companies.

 

be frankBe Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

I had fun with this book, but the character of Frank rubbed me wrong.  I just didn’t find him believable at all.

 

why not meWhy Not Me? By Mindy Kaling

She does it again!  Mindy’s new iteration of her last book is hilarious, and accompanied by awesome photos of her on set and chilling with the president.

 

refundRefund: Stories by Karen Bender

Great collection of short stories; many could’ve been expanded into their own novels.

 

down the rabbitDown the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of A Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison

I loved every second of this book.  I have hours of happy memories watching “The Girls Next Door” at the gym in college, and Holly was by far my favorite Playgirl.  Her take (ultimately pretty negative) and expose on the mansion and lifestyle is fascinating.  Props to her for breaking away and pursuing her dreams! Well-written and super fun to read.

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