Book Review 63

Been a very busy month, with my full-time venture into the eBay business! It’s going really well so far and I now know what it feels like to be excited to go to work every day. (It feels amazing.) 

Given the workload, I haven’t been able to read as much as I would’ve liked, but still had some great reads this month. It’s helped distract me a bit from the news, if nothing else…  Keep reading, marching, and resisting, my friends!!

 

vegetaThe Vegetarian by Kang Han

Such a strange book, but I’ll never forget it. Graphic raw imagery with unforgettable characters. It had a surreal quality I haven’t experienced in fiction yet.

 

evictedEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Unbelievable but true stories of the endless cycle of poverty. Forced me to recalibrate the importance of a steady rental and place to live, above even that of a job or food. Really fascinating to hear the perspectives of landlords as well as long-term tenants. Very eye-opening.

 

lastvictimThe Last Victim: A True-life Journey Into the Mind of the Serial Killer by Jason Moss

I really admired the tenacity of Jason, who kept up written correspondence during high school and college with some of the biggest names in serial killing (Manson, Gacy, Ramirez, Dahmer). Even more interesting than his glimpses into pure evil was the toll that it gradually took on Jason psychologically and emotionally (especially when he goes to meet John Wayne Gacy in jail). Chilled me to the bone. It was an excellent pairing to Whoever Fights Monsters this month, since Ressler does it for a living and still suffered tremendously from having to face these killers. I can barely make it through the Bundy tapes without feeling nauseous….can’t even imagine.

 

while cityWhile the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and A Young Man’s Descent Into Madness by Eli Sanders

Absolutely heartbreaking story of mental illness, murder, and the criminal justice system. Took place in our own city of Seattle so it felt even more chilling.

 

im thinkingI’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

One of my favorites of the year so far. Massive twist and one of the scariest books I’ve ever read. Started it in the evening and couldn’t go to bed until it was done. Luckily it’s a short read, but it’ll stick with you for a while.

 

ifiredI Fired God: My Life Inside–and Escape From–the Secret World of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult by Jocelyn Zichterman

So much respect for this woman. She suffered remarkably in the hands of the IFB and came out an advocate for cult survivors. If you need a reminder of the destructiveness of organized evangelical Christianity, look no further. (Well, the reminder is probably not needed at this exact point in history, but it was an excellent and infuriating read nonetheless…)  

 

resthyRest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

This makes an unshakable case for the importance of taking breaks, vacations, and midday walks. I’m terrible at doing all of those things, so it was an excellent reminder that the quality of your work is impacted negatively by the quantity of time spent doing it. This runs counter to our cultural expectation of working 9-5, plus sending emails at 10pm to show what a good worker bee you are. Using examples of some of the most prolific artists, scientists, and writers in history, Pang argues that focused and targeted time spent working (while dedicating the rest of your time to hobbyist pursuits, exercise, family, and even daydreaming) produces the best results and happiest people.

 

confidenceThe Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It… Every Time by Maria Konnikova

Really interesting book about con artists. Anyone who enjoys Psychology Today will appreciate this read.

 

whoverWhoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert Ressler

Fantastic read by one of the FBI’s most talented criminal profilers. Ressler interviewed the basest of humanity over the course of his career (Kemper, Speck, Gacy, etc.) and used this information to create a behavioral profiling system which started with the childhoods of those who would grow up to become serial killers. It gives you a true glimpse into the heads of serial killers, and a better understanding of the situations and tragedies that create these monsters. Ressler is a national hero.

 

socioThe Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us by Martha Stout

Great timing for this book, given that we’ve elected one to lead our country. Turns out that many successful CEOs and political leaders are sociopaths, since they can easily overlook the emotional impact of their decisions. Appreciated Stout’s clinical analysis of the traits and cultural impact of these people.

 

womaninThe Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Fun thriller with a surprise twist. Definitely inspired by Gone Girl and Girl on the Train but it still stood on its own. Also reaffirmed that I never want to take a cruise.

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