Umm, it’s been forever since I made a few book recommendations here. I don’t mean like I am some self-appointed authority on what you should read (finally the blogger hath spoken…. OFF TO BARNES AND NOBLE), just that I always love hearing what others are reading, and make a lot of my choices that way, so maybe you do too and this will be helpful.
For full coverage of what I’m reading (the same sarcastic first parenthetical applies), I use and love Goodreads. (I also apologize for some redundancy in my reviews there). (OK, done with the parentheticals). Here are some highlights from the last year or so. (Apparently it has been that long.) (Sorry I promised I’d quit with these.)
As I mentioned on Goodreads, I was a bazillion years late to this party. This was the It book of what, like, 2012? I finally got to reading it. I was kind of in a reading rut and wanted something that I knew would make me turn pages. I was surprised to find the first half kind of slow and circular, but then crazy stuff happens in the middle and I could not put it down. Like, I basically let the toddler have his way with our house while I frantically read this in my bathrobe. It was like The Great Gone Girl House Trashing of 2014. I don’t know if we’ve recovered. Anyway, it’s good stuff, not like wildly prolific, but engaging and suspenseful even if you think that isn’t your thing. You will hate the female protagonist more than you think you can hate a fictional character.
Transfer of Power
OK I know please let me explain myself to you. This is not my genre. When Jeff and I’s relationship was in its infancy, he was telling me how he wasn’t big into reading. I suggested that maybe he just wasn’t reading the right material and there was a lot of fiction out there I could see him really enjoying. One day he came home with this. I responded with something like, “AHAHA what is this! Transfer of Power! What’s next? Burden of Valor? Brotherhood of Duty? Call of Gallantry? Let me guess, [mocking baritone] Agent Spike Remington is BACK with his ragtag platoon of renegade snipers… WILL THEY OUTSMART THE BAD GUYS BEFORE THE BAD GUYS OUTSMART THEM?” Etc. And he sadly pointed out that he had taken my suggestion and tried to give reading a chance and I had mocked his selection. I apologized and said he was right and one would think it would have been long forgiven and forgotten. One would be wrong and he is STILL bringing it up to this day. As a gesture of goodwill and closure, I read this book. Let me tell you… it is exactly as cheesy and ridiculous as I would have thought AND I could not put it down. In the middle of it I had this big breakthrough and I said to myself, I realize what I’m reading. This is chick lit for men. This is exactly what this is. Bombs, guns, hostages, damsels in distress, snipers, guns, parachuting, undercover agents… just imagine a beautifully woven tapestry of every ridiculous Wesley Snipes movie ever, and that’s this book. And as I indicated, I was hooked and reading it at red lights. Honestly, if you want to give this genre a try or just want some light vacationy material, it’s pretty entertaining.
The Orphan Master’s Son
To take an abrupt turn back to seriousville, there is this. I read this under the motivation of Elliequent’s Pulitzer Prize Reading List Challenge . AKA the PPPPPRRRLLC (hashtag). This book is a wild, incredible story. It’s moving and sobering and I just can’t do it justice with my words. It’s not a light read but will open your eyes as to what’s going on in the far corners of the world. Everyone knows North Korea is a bad situation but if you’re like I was a few months ago, maybe you don’t really know what’s going on over there. After reading this, I can’t believe the atrocities there are not on the front page of every newspaper, every day. Unbelievable.
A Fort of Nine Towers
Along the same lines is this, which if I had to pick one thing to recommend, here you go. I would say it’s the best book I’ve read in four years. This is the memoirs of a kid growing up in Afghanistan in the 1990s and it’s absolutely, positively brilliant. Like Orphan Master’s Son, it’s very difficult to read in parts. The author is almost exactly my age, which somehow really made it especially difficult and heart-wrenching to process. Like, everyone’s read and been horrified by Unbroken, but somehow that book felt a little more distant, a little less relatable since it happened in a different generation. But amidst the horror of these memoirs, and I do mean horror, there are so many hopeful, touching, beautiful moments in this. Really, really, really cannot recommend enough. I said as much on Goodreads and PEOPLE, the author “liked” my review. I don’t think I have ever been so flattered.
Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care
Yes, I’m going here. And I could write about 15 posts on this subject but I won’t, because it’s so sensitive and because it’s so complex/conflicting that I haven’t even decided how I feel about everything. Here’s one thing I am certain of: women should HAVE KNOWLEDGE about maternity care so they can confidently make their own choices alongside their providers. Do WHATEVER you want but just know. On the front cover of this book there is one review saying something like, “Every woman who even thinks she might someday be pregnant needs to read this” and I will just agree and leave it at that.
Happy reading! Stay tuned here because the topic of my next post is Yanni.