ARC, Books

Book 511: The Path to Personal Power – Napoleon Hill

Once you start reading self-help novels, you open the floodgates to anything and everything. From journals and experiential books like How to be Happy (Or at Least Less Sad) to the more spiritual books like The Power of Forgiveness the broadness of the genre is breathtaking. Just check out my nonfiction page, most of those are self-help with a few biographies/history book sprinkled throughout.

When the publisher reached out to me about this and I saw on Goodreads (of all places – it’s also on the back cover) that Napoleon Hill is the “grandfather of self-help” how could I turn it down?* It looks like TarcherPerigee might be turning these into a series, The Mental Dynamite Series, but I’m not sure I would the next one. Even before they’d reached out to me I added Hill’s Think and Grow Rich book to my list as it’s one of the personal finance books to read.

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Books

Book 481: Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

I’m going to go ahead and say it, this was better than Gone Girl. There, now let’s get on to my actual thoughts on this novel.

As with the few Harlan Coben novels I’ve read and even the few J.K. Rowling Cormoran Strike novels I have to ask WTF these people eat/drink/smoke to make them come up with these stories! I know a lot of them are based on some evidence of truth, but really some of these, especially this one, are some dark dark stories.

I had very little expectations going into this one as it’s been sitting on my shelf for a little over two years. I purchased it just after finishing Gone Girl and after I realized a little later that I wasn’t as much of a fan as it seemed everyone else was of that one, I put off reading this one and I’m a little disappointed I did so. There were enough differences between the two and this one I just liked more because I guess it was less psychological and more murder mystery.

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Books

Book 402: Prejudice & Pride – Lynn Messina

Messina, Lynn - Prejudice & PrideI’m not sure where to put this one. It agitated me from the beginning because of its portrayal of fundraising professionals (more on that later), but Messina’s interpretation of Austen’s wit may or may not have made up for that (I’m still trying to determine that for sure).

We all know I love some Jane Austen fan-fiction and I just got a new Wuthering Heights fan-fiction novel so when the publicist* for the novel reached out to me with a copy** of this novel mentioning the upcoming Curtis Sittenfeld adaptation, Eligible, for The Austen Project, I knew I had to say yes. I’m still not sure about the cover because it’s just a bit too disjointed for me, but you know what they say about not judging a book by its cover right?

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Books

Book 400: The Dante Club – Matthew Pearl

Pearl, Matthew - The Dante ClubAnd another TBR bites the dust! This book has been hanging out on my bookshelves since December of 2012 when I picked it up at one of my favorite used bookstores, Edward McKay, back in NC. More importantly, it is the 26th book from my TBR shelves this year. How awesome is that? That’s more than 1/3 of all the books I’ve read this year and I am incredibly happy and proud of that number.

I don’t know why I put off reading The Dante Club for so long. Maybe it was in some sort of effort to actually read all of Dante’s Divine Comedy before I read it, but that obviously hasn’t happened. The other thing that has left me wondering since I finished it , and honestly since I started it, is I can’t quite put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I feel I should have.

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Books

Book 398: Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes – Jules Moulin

Moulin, Jules - Ally Hughes Has Sex SometimesThis novel was such a fun quick read that I’m so glad I took a chance and said yes to the publisher when they reached out to me with a copy.* It didn’t hurt that they suggested I read this piece in the New York Times first and I laughed out loud multiple times (the animation is an added bonus!).

I had very little knowledge or expectations going into Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes other than thinking it was a quirky title and it was a debut novel. I didn’t even know it was set in Providence, Rhode Island until I started reading and did a double-take when they started naming locations around Brown University that I’ve been to. So obviously it got bonus points for that too! We all know I’m a sucker for books set in locations I have fond memories of.

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Books, The Classics Club

Book 395: Tropic of Capricorn – Henry Miller

Miller, Henry - Tropic of CapricornI didn’t think it was possible, but I liked this one even less than Tropic of Cancer. Seriously, I was in no way a fan of this book. The amount of raunchy sleazy descriptions in Tropic of Capricorn, if possible out weight those in the first novel.

The only thing I can truly say I’m grateful for is that I got it off my shelf where it’s languished since the 2010 Boston Book Festival (it was the last one!). It also counts toward my Classics Club list so yay for that too!

I can’t even pretend it’s hard to say why I didn’t like this book, it really was just too much sex, misogyny, sexual assault and crass language. When you add in the stream-of-consciousness I’m surprised I even got through the book. It’s no wonder the book was banned in America (Wikipedia link) for 30 years. I don’t believe in book banning or censorship, but this really tested my limits.

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ARC, Books

Book 391: Dr. Mütter’s Marvels – Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

Aptowicz, Cristin O'Keefe- Dr. Mutter's Marvels[To hear the episode of Come Read With Me where my friend Jess and I discuss this, click here.]

I’m a little torn on this book. At the same time that it reminded me of some fascinating books I’ve read over the past few years (Geraldine Brook’s March and William MacAskill’s Doing Good Better) I couldn’t help but compare it to Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. And unfortunately for Aptowicz, it wasn’t that great of a comparison. Don’t get me wrong, this was a very interesting read and I enjoyed the book. I’m sure this book had its own set of challenges in the research done, but I still can’t quite put my finger on why I wasn’t as much a fan of this.

At first I thought it was because Aptowicz was super young and this was her first book. Her writing style felt a bit like student-work, which she admits is when she got the idea and started writing originally, but I found out pretty quick I was wrong on this one. And it’s not her first book, but it is her first work of nonfiction. (Thanks Wikipedia.) Either way, I’m grateful to Avery, a Penguin Books imprint, for providing a copy.* And the best part is, if you’re interested in the book it’s just been released in paperback at the beginning of September! (AKA Yay for more affordability!; Publisher’s website.)

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