Books

Book 521: The Luster of Lost Things – Sophie Chen Keller

When the publisher reached out to me with a copy of this book they compared it to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.* I read it before I started this blog and I recently (well back in July), saw the stage adaptation of it, and this lived up to the billing. I hate doing the comparison thing, but when the shoe fits…I found this to be an interesting cross between Curious Incident and Joanne Harris’ Chocolat. Seriously, if two books could have a love child, those two books would have this one.

Unfortunately, I didn’t blog about this immediately when I finished the book. This is a good thing, I get to talk about the things that have stuck with me over the past two months, and a bad thing, some of the details are a bit fuzzy.

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Book 508: Chemistry – Weike Wang

I first heard of this book through a friend, who also happens to be friends with the author. After reading the blurb I reached out to the publisher for a copy and here I am.* It of course didn’t hurt that the book was set here in Boston at an unnamed University and I’ve started to see it everywhere around the city either!

Chemistry is the tale of an unnamed narrator and her exit from the academic world that has ruled her life and her various reactions to things going on in her world. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s what I boiled it down to. I’m still mulling over many parts of the book, particularly the “conclusion,” but in general I found this to be a wonderfully engaging read.

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Books

Book 471: Ray and Joan – Lisa Napoli

napoli-lisa-ray-joanWhat a fascinating story. I figured it would be, I mean it’s about the guy who made McDonald’s what it is today and his wife who gave away billions of dollars, but I was still surprised at just how fascinating it was.

When Dutton reached out to me about a copy of the book* I jumped at the chance because not only do I find philanthropy personally fascinating, but I also work in fundraising, so it was a win-win either way for me.

I mean the subtitle “The man who made the McDonald’s fortune and the woman who gave it all away,” caught my attention pretty quick because I knew nothing about the founding of McDonald’s or the people behind it. I had no idea about most of it.

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Books

Book 469: Finding the Blue Sky – Joseph Emet

emet-joseph-finding-the-blue-skyUnlike the last three books by Miguel Ruiz, this book seemed to really make sense to me and didn’t offend me with it’s contradictory stories and lessons.

I didn’t plan to end the year with a bunch of self-help books, but because work took up so much of my time in the last third of the year I’m just now catching up on all the galleys I received.* That’s a sentence I never expected to write.

As someone who is incredibly skeptical of self-help books, religion, psychology, psychotherapy or really anything doing with the mind or the ethereal, I’m not only surprised at how many I’ve read this year, but I’m also surprised at how many I appreciated. I still think there is a time and place for all of the thing above, but I’ve found that when they are well written (which most of TarcherPerigee’s seem to be) they’re worth some time investment, but not too much!

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Books

Book 464: You Will Not Have My Hate – Antoine Leiris (Trans. Sam Taylor)

leiris-antoine-you-will-not-have-my-hateI don’t want to generalize things, but we’ve all seen the headlines about someone’s world being shattered in an instant. We’ve all seen, heard about or experienced some after-effects of terrorism at this point. We hear about the people who commit these acts, we hear about those that die and those that survive, but what we rarely hear about are those that are left.

It’s those people whose world isn’t shattered in an instant, but over a grueling length of hours where they know nothing about their loved one’s fate, that this book’s story shares with the world.

I don’t go out of my way to read books associated with grief or with current political issues, but when the publisher reached out to me about a copy* of this book I thought I would give it a chance. The title is what drew me to it, the fact that Leiris, was not going to allow the attackers to have his hate, that he was going to raise his now-motherless little boy without that hate that spoke to me.

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Books

Book 463: Drawn Together – Leah Pearlman

pearlman-leah-drawn-togetherI don’t want to generalize these books, but I know that’s what my response is going to sound like. Perhaps I’ve read too many similar to this recently, but  I’m going to start with a list of all the things this book reminded me of, but then also talk about why I felt it was different.

Prior to the publisher reaching out to me about this book* I actually hadn’t encountered Dharma Comics before, but this line drawing style isn’t anything new. It reminded me of a cross between xkcd and hyperbole and a half but with more of an intention and focus on getting through life and not just observations. And then add in that it reminded me also of books I’ve read recently such as Whose Mind is it Anyway? and How To Be Happy (Or At Least Less Sad), I’m a little surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did.

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Book 457: One of These Things First – Steven Gaines

Gaines, Steven - One of These Things FirstI had no idea who Steven Gaines was and after reading this, I don’t have that much more of an idea. I’d love to say I’ve done more research but I haven’t, but I may try to read Philistines at the Hedgerow later this fall as we’re going to a wedding in the Hamptons and it’s about property there.

All of this being said, my thoughts are not a bad thing, especially as I enjoyed his writing, but an observation of my usual lack of background knowledge going in to a book.

The lovely people at Open Road Media reached out to me with a copy of One of These Things First* as I had previously read In Youth Is Pleasure and I can see the similarities in story, style and experience even though they’re set in different countries and quite a bit apart temporally.

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