Reading

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Show us your books: November 2018
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Show us your books: October 18
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Show us your books: September 2018

Show us your books: November 2018

Life is slipping through my fingers so quickly lately — like I’m trying to hold onto sand. I go to work, I go home, I’m doing things, but by the time I get to the point of the day that I’d blog, I have dogs on my lap or the Surface has no charge or I’m writing Postcards to Voters and … meh. It is what it is.

I have no pics of me reading so here is some of my writing.


With that, let’s commence the 87th jump-start of this blog with this month’s book report, aka Show Us Your Books!

Onto the books! I use the Goodreads system to rate books, which is:

  • One star: did not like it
  • Two stars: it was ok
  • Three stars: liked it
  • Four stars: really liked it
  • Five stars: it was amazing

Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8) — Terry Pratchett
You know, you read one of my Discworld reviews, you’ve read them all. This series is like a warm blanket and a bowl of Froot Loops. I laughed a lot, I cried a little. Give me a story where unlikely goofballs become heroes, love blossoms in unexpected places, and good triumphs over evil and I’ll fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

Four stars and the dragons live.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History — Megan Mullaly and Nick Offerman
Mullaly and Offerman are the richer, more talented, and raunchier version of WM and me. I love everything they do and fully expected to toss five stars at this book. I’m going to preface this by saying that I am a flawed person who has never written a published book. But I don’t think recording yourselves chatting about any topic and getting it published is the same as writing a book. It was perfectly fine, and parts were funny and parts were interesting. But it’s not even like they each take a chapter. It’s a literal dialogue, with each paragraph prefaced by M: or N: depending on who is talking.

Three stars. Get the audio book instead. I’m sure it’s better that way.

From the Corner of the Oval — Beck Dorey-Stein
It’s another Obama staffer memoir, a coming-of-age (albeit in one’s late 20s) story with a huge side helping of Hope. Beck Dorey-Stein was in DC with no full-time job prospects (but multiple crappy PT jobs) when she answered an ad that turned out to be a job as a stenographer in Barack Obama’s administration. Soon she’s in “The Bubble” — keeping crazy hours, traveling around the world, making better money, etc. But she’s also trying to find herself and what she’s supposed to do with her post-Obama career amidst a chain of questionable relationship decisions. It was funny and gossipy enough that WM was reading over my shoulder on the plane ride back from Disney.

Three stars and I wonder how many condoms the staff used during the 8-year administration….


Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose — Joe Biden

You’ve heard of Joe Biden, lifelong politician and former Veep. You know of his tragic early adulthood, of his wife and 3 little kids being in a car accident, and only his 2 sons surviving. This is his telling of the time when his son, Beau, was living with and dying from brain cancer. Biden was VP, with several important foreign policy crises happening, AND a 2016 presidential bid to consider. We know how it all ended. This story tells you why.

Three stars. Biden wants us to know that he would have been a great President and likely would have won, if he had chosen to run.

White Houses — Amy Bloom
I’m a very big Eleanor Roosevelt fan, and so I was troubled about whether I should check out this book — a fictionalization of her love affair with Lorena “Hick” Hickok. Would it be disrespectful? Or sleazy Eleanor slash fic? But EVERYONE in this book is dead now, so I took the plunge. It’s a lovely and bittersweet, slow moving story of adult forbidden love. Franklin Roosevelt is dead, the funeral is over, and Eleanor and Hick are spending the weekend at a cottage, going through sacks of condolence letters. The story is told by Hick, and the letters remind her of times in her life before Eleanor, and her life with Eleanor.

Hick’s childhood is triggery as all get-out, with abuse and incest/rape and yeesh. But it provides a very good foil for what Eleanor considers to be hard.

Four stars.

Currently reading: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Which I might abandon because I’m not feeling self-helpy right now.

Book reading is slowing down a bit, because I get queasy reading on the train when it’s dark. It only happens this time of year, since the light starts coming back by January.

All of my book lists and reviews are on Goodreads.

This a part of the Show us Your Books linkup from Jana Says and Life According to Steph. If you want to read more bloggers gush about the books they’ve read this month, click the button below and have fun!

Life According to Steph

What are you reading?

Previously:
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October

Show us your books: October 18

Happy Fourth Anniversary to the Show Us Your Books linkup!

kindle on airplane tray table

Airplane reading.

And yes I’m a day late but last night I had dinner with SMD herself. We ate at the Continental Midtown and I had a bangin’ lobster macaroni and cheese dish. I had a great time and the evening was well worth the (non-existent because you’re not the boss of me!) tardiness penalty.

It was a darn good reading month and I enjoyed every one of these books immensely! And look at this!

goodreads goal 55 of 50

BOO YAH!

Now that the goal is taken care of I can play Diablo until the end of the year. I mean…read longer, more difficult books.

Onto the books! I use the Goodreads system to rate books, which is:

  • One star: did not like it
  • Two stars: it was ok
  • Three stars: liked it
  • Four stars: really liked it
  • Five stars: it was amazing

Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession — Mya Spalter
Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review. Once upon a time I was into crystals and spells, so I was quite interested in this book, which covers how modern witches practice. This book has a very conversational tone to it and not only did I learn, I laughed. Three stars!

The Queen of Hearts — Kimmery Martin
THIS BOOK. I read it in 2 days during my work trip to Kentucky. Part of it was read in a hot tub, which was just plain decadent. It’s the story of Zadie and Emma, two accomplished doctors who met in medical school. I couldn’t put it down — each chapter ended on a little cliffhanger that made me continue onward. Zadie and Emma are balancing work, marriage, friendship, and motherhood. And then a person from their past reappears (okay it’s a guy) and a secret is revealed. Oooo! The point of view shifts between Zadie and Emma, and the timeline hops as well. Yet, I managed to stick with the storyline. I loved it! Five stars!

Also, Kimmery is the quirkiest Kimberly derivative I’ve seen yet. It’s like how I say my own name when I’m drunk.

So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know — Retta
I loved Parks & Recreation and shortly after the show ended I found Retta on Snapchat. I eventually followed her on Instagram instead. Retta is very smart and very funny, as is her book which is somewhat a memoir, but mostly essays on her obsessions. Including designer handbags, fashion, coffee, and the musical Hamilton. It was her passages on how lazy she can be that had me cackling.

Four stars because her humor resonates with me. I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway — people actually win! — but I think if I had listened to the audiobook, it would have garnered the fifth star. This book is meant to be heard in Retta’s voice.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup — John Carreyrou
This is the actual, NONFICTION story of Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos. At its highest point, Theranos was valued at one BILLLLLLION dollars because of its invention of a mini blood lab that could perform an entire panel of blood tests on only a drop or two of blood. The machinery was small enough to install in pharmacy wellness centers and even homes! Except, you know, the technology never worked. Demonstrations were faked, lab results altered, inaccurate test results were sent to actual human beings, etc.

This is a well written, scathing, soup-to-nuts account by Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou. It’s the kind of crazypants nonfiction book that I adore. These people! Silicon Valley meets Dynasty. Another five-star book! Many exclamation points!

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence — Ray Kurzweil
I put this on my to-read list and it magically appeared on my desk at work a few days later! It’s good to have friends who read…thank you JG!

It wasn’t an easy book for me to read but by then I had made my goal of 50 so I dove in. I enjoyed his theories on how evolution is speeding up while the changes in the universe seem to be slowing down. It was a little hard to wrap my brain around it, but I appreciated it. He lost me in the philosophical sections but that’s on me – I’ve never been into philosophy.

But! His predictions are pretty solid. I mean, I’m not eating things so that people can track my movement, but I do carry a tiny computer that pings out my location if I allow it to. And probably even if I don’t. Throughout the book, Kurzweil converses with Molly, a stand-in for the reader. Molly moves through time as Kurzweil remains in 1998 and she reports back the changes that are happening around her and to her.

Three stars. I liked it, but did skim some parts.

The Female Persuasion — Meg Wolitzer

I don’t know why I thought this was a nonfiction book. Much like her previous book The Interestings (two stars), this follows a handful of privileged young people over a span of time. But because this group is younger, it’s mostly set in the present-ish era. Our main character is Greer, a very smart woman who is a college freshman when we first meet her. She and her boyfriend Cory are the smartest kids in their high school and possibly their town. She and Cory end up at different colleges. The first weekend at college Greer meets Zee, who quickly becomes her best friend. Zee takes Greer to see Faith Frank speak in the college chapel. Faith Frank is an outspoken feminist and activist in her 60s. She runs a feminist magazine and Greer falls hard for Faith’s message and medium.

We go back in time sometimes to see how Greer, Cory, Zee, and Faith came to be who they are. And we move forward to the present time. Along the way, they all make choices and mistakes. But they’re honest, stupid, human mistakes. Like we all made and probably still make.

Their stories are so real it could be nonfiction. The book takes a hard look at feminism the movement and Feminism the product.

Highlighted quote:
I think there are two kinds of feminists. The famous ones, and everyone else. Everyone else, all the people who just quietly go and do what they’re supposed to do, and don’t get a lot of credit for it, and don’t have someone out there every day telling them they’re doing an awesome job.

Four stars.

Currently reading: I’m dipping back into Discworld for Guards! Guards!, which is book #8.

All of my book lists and reviews are on Goodreads.

This a part of the Show us Your Books linkup from Jana Says and Life According to Steph. If you want to read more bloggers gush about the books they’ve read this month, click the button below and have fun!

Life According to Steph

What are you reading?

Previously:
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September

Show us your books: September 2018

I can’t believe it’s this day again. Show Us Your Books Day!

And yes, it’s also 9/11. Seventeen years ago I was an adult and watched the horror on one of the TVs at the Courier-Post while it happened. (And then we went to work putting stories and photos online, because that’s what newspaper people do.) I still look at low-flying planes to gauge if they are flying erratically. But I, me, Kim, speaking for myself, can’t dwell on it every year for the rest of my life. I can recall the pangs of fear and loss and helplessness, and then go on trying to make life as great as I can.

outdoors reading

I will miss this most of all when summer leaves us.

Which includes posting book reviews on the day designated. Which is today.

Onto the books! I use the Goodreads system to rate books, which is:

  • One star: did not like it
  • Two stars: it was ok
  • Three stars: liked it
  • Four stars: really liked it
  • Five stars: it was amazing

Let’s Talk about Death (over Dinner): An Invitation and Guide to Life’s Most Important Conversation — Michael Hebb

Weird fact about me: I am always interested in books about death and dying. I even have a shelf.

Tired of playing Table Topics? How about hosting a Death Dinner? In this book, Michael Hebb gives tips on how to talk about death. He suggests doing it over dinner, but the questions included in the book are good for discussion anytime, or answering them for yourself.

Death is an inevitable part of life, and a natural consequence of living is having to deal with the deaths of those close to you. Working through the questions with your family and friends will undoubtedly make that easier.

I enjoyed the anecdotes from Hebb’s friends and colleagues as they tackled the questions. It’s a lot to think of.

Four Stars. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Kiss Quotient — Helen Hoang

Stella Lane is super smart, super successful, and super rich. But she’s awful at dating and doesn’t like sex. Stella has Asperger’s Syndrome, which doesn’t make social interactions impossible, just more difficult. Stella hires an escort, Michael, to give her lessons.

THIS BOOK GETS STEAMY. As in, I stopped reading when someone sat next to me on the train. But I really really loved it because it was a different kind of romance. After years of avoiding the genre because I thought I was too snobby for it, I’m enjoying the modern take on romance novels.

I gave this five stars on Goodreads because I was all YEAH immediately after reading. It’s probably a four-star book, but I feel bad taking stars away on Goodreads after the fact. Especially when the author is active on Goodreads.

Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties — Camille Pagán

Maggie Harris is 53 years old with two adult children, an unnecessary part time job, and a good marriage with her attorney-husband. Who suddenly ends their marriage because of someone else. In dealing with all of that mess, Maggie realizes that she lost herself to her family years ago. She decides to build a new life for herself, taking all sorts of chances along the way.

Four Stars. I was rooting for Maggie the entire time. The book sounds super cliched and formulaic, but the characters grew more real as the book continued.

The Widows of Malabar Hill — Sujata Massey
In 1921 Bombay, Perveen Mistry is a solicitor in her father’s law firm. Acutally, she is the only female lawyer in Bombay so although she’s not allowed to be appear in court, she is able enter worlds that her male colleagues cannot. In this book, she’s integral to solving a murder that happened in the house of three Muslim widows who have closed themselves off to the world. Through the second plotline set in 1916 we learn about Perveen’s past.

You know how people tell you to read books from writers of different backgrounds? They’re right. I learned a lot about Indian culture of the time, the struggles of women, and religion. There’s a glossary in the back but the book is so well written I didn’t need it. The first half of the book moves slowly as all of the characters are established but once it gets going, it goes.

Four Stars. The second book in the series is coming out in February! Sujata Massey writes another mystery series around a 27 year old Japanese-American teacher in Tokyo. The first in that series is called The Salaryman’s Wife and I’m adding it to my TBR.

Currently reading: Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession — Mya Spalter. It’s a NetGalley book and I’m allllllmost done. It’ll be my 50th book of my 50-book goal. I’ll be tackling more reading in the next few days.

All of my book lists and reviews are on Goodreads.

This a part of the Show us Your Books linkup from Jana Says and Life According to Steph. If you want to read more bloggers gush about the books they’ve read this month, click the button below and have fun!

Life According to Steph

What are you reading?

Previously:
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August

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