Review 60

Like last month, I’ve ranked this month’s reads from best to worst.


thelastoneThe Last One by Alexandra Oliva

I was sucked into this story immediately, and the suspense and twists kept coming until the final page.  A group of ‘ordinary’ people are participating in a Survivor-esque reality show (except WAY more gritty and messed up) at the worst possible time. I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoilers, but I was definitely impressed by the creativity and outstanding writing of Alexandra.


huntingHunting Season: Immigration and Murder in An All-American Town by Mirta Ojito

Fascinating and depressing exposé on violence towards immigrants in America.  The story centers on the brutal murder of an Ecuadorean immigrant in 2008 and the anti-immigration hatred that surrounded and led up to it.  Exceptional writing and research by Mirta.


imjustI’m Just A Person by Tig Notaro

This is essentially a paper version of Tig’s documentary, but it was a nice reminder of her resilience, honesty, and incredible sense of humor in the face of terrible events and sicknesses (well, and all the others times too).  She’s pretty awesome.


unseenThe Unseen World by Liz Moore

This was a unique and ambitious book; a combination of mystery, sci-fi, and coming-of-age.  I really didn’t like the ending, but enjoyed everything leading up to it.


thinklikeThink Like A Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain your Brain by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Quick but engaging read, featuring the casual style of their previous books.  It outlined some interesting research around quitting, habits, incentives, and even a memorable chapter on training for hot dog eating contests. There were definitely some real-life takeaways from this one, and it would make a great complement to the podcast “Hidden Brain.”


mylifeMy Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

Gloria is such an inspiration, and I really enjoyed hearing her story through her own words.  It fell flat about ¾ of the way through, so I feel it could’ve been condensed a bit, or more detailed in specific sections.  But that’s my only feedback; I otherwise enjoyed the ride!


etiqEmily Post’s Etiquette:  Manners for a New World

A few great takeaways and reminders, especially in our age of selfies and general selfishness. Easy to read and navigate, but still felt a little stuck in the past at times.


allisnotAll Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

This was the perfect book for a weekend camping trip, but it was hard to connect with the characters at all, especially the long-winded narrator (I won’t spoil you by telling you who it is…you don’t learn until several chapters in).  The twist was disappointing and I found it really hard to empathize with everyone except for Jenny.  I liked the potential parallels with “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” both of which raise interesting questions about memory and trauma.  Sounds like it’s going to be made into a movie, which might actually work better than the two-dimensional characters on the page.


gruntGrunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach

I was more intrigued by the topics of Mary’s other novels, but this one was similarly entertaining and informative.  Sometimes I feel like Mary Roach has the best job in the world.


hopefulsThe Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

Easy read, but I found the characters hard to relate to and pretty annoying.  It also confirmed that a career in politics would be a terrible fit for me.


littleLittle Labors by Rivka Galchen

I didn’t take away much from this book, though I know it’s getting rave reviews.


longweekendThe Long Weekend:  Life in the English Country House, 1918-1939 by Adrian Tinniswood

Once I got over my disappointment that this was NOT set in the late 1800s (my fault for not reading the full title), it was actually pretty enjoyable.  Such a fascinating period of history.


richandRich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam

I enjoyed it while it lasted, and the strains on the friendship as Lauren and Sarah grew up felt real.  Reading it went down as smooth as the mixed drinks these socialites inhale.


trulymadlyTruly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

I’m sad to say that this was definitely the worst Moriarty book so far.  Her others have been so fun and twisty and perfect summer reading.  But with this one, it really felt like she was reaching, and the “drawn-out” suspense went on so ridiculously long that NO twist could have made up for the lengths she took to draw it out.  Skip this one and go straight to her earlier works!

howtosetHow to Set A Fire and Why by Jesse Ball

I was really not a fan of this character or her crappy friend or the ending or her parents or any of this.


The one downside to structuring reviews in this way is that I’m always going to end on a slightly grumpy, pessimistic note.  So I’ll leave you with the happy news that I have quit my job and will be starting a new adventure very soon!!  Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

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