Books

Book 594: River Queens – Alexander Watson

Watson reached out to me about this way back in July of 2017, well ahead of publication. Unfortunately, due to an impossible work-life balance and other random crap I only just now got around to reading it.*

This memoir tells the tale of Watson and his partner, Dale, as they purchase, restore and then travel the rivers from Texas to Ohio by boat. It touches on family, friendship, urbanization, and a bit of politics.

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Books

Book 588: Crashed – How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World – Adam Tooze

What a tome. I requested a copy of this from the publisher back in August 2018 after reading this review from the NYTimes.* It took me three months to get to it and another month-and-a-half to actually read it! And it was worth the read, now I just need to read the “Framing Crashed” posts on his website to see what else I missed!

There are some mixed reviews on Goodreads, some people think it’s boring (uh duh – hello finance, politics and history), some think they’ve written better books or articles (get out of here self-promoters, nobody wants you), and others, like myself, appreciated the staggering amount of ground covered by Tooze in this work.

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Books

Book 585: Abridged Classics – John Atkinson

I’m going to keep this review super short, since every 1-2 pages represents a classic that is hundreds of pages long! Who am I to write a super wordy review of a hilarious take on so many classics?

Not only are the abridged classics hilarious, but the illustrations included with each are so incredibly perfect I laughed out loud multiple times while reading this. Atkinson covered all my favorites including Austen and the Brontës, and he covered many I’m less interested in (and/or openly despise) like Dickens, Faulkner, Kafka, and Proust.

Recommendation: READ IT. It takes maybe 10 minutes to breeze through the entire work. Each one is a little more humorous than others and some are as puzzling as the original works when you read them. Thanks Caro and Nick for the perfect present!

Books

Book 576: Boy Erased – Garrard Conley

This was harder to read than I thought it would be. Not because of anything I’ve personally experienced, but because it kept hitting me over and over that what was happening in this book was not happening in the 60s, 70s, 80s or even 1990s.

It was happening in the mid-2000s, the same time I was coming to terms with my sexuality and learning about the wider LGBTQ+ world. It was also incredibly eerie how many of the thoughts Conley had mirrored thoughts I had myself and I did not grow up religious, just southern!

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Books

Book 572: Tip of the Iceberg – Mark Adams

I REALLY want to go back to Alaska. Like really really want to go back and reading this book is almost enough to make me want to LIVE there. And that’s just crazy for me who has a love/hate relationship with cities. I received a copy Tip of the Iceberg: My 3,000-Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, The Last Great American Frontier from the publisher* and I really wish I would’ve read it earlier.

Adams has a way with words and really putting you into the place he’s visiting. I remember when I tried to recap our Alaskan cruise I struggled (and still struggle) to talk about the beauty and the sheer immensity of everything you see when you’re there. We only visited the panhandle (the furthest north we went was Skagway) and I cannot even imagine visiting some of the places Adams visited during his trek.

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Books

Book 565: Superhero Ethics – Travis Smith

With my vested interest in the multi-billion dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) (aka I see all of the films as they’re released) and my passing interest in the DC universe now Wonder Woman has made her powerful interest, of course I had to say yes when the publicist reached out about this book.*

After saying yes and reading this, I’m not sure I should have. There were some major flaws in this book mostly having to do with gender and misogyny. I don’t want to harp on about this, but that’s probably what this post is going to end up being. Smith chose 10 comic book heroes (first appearances): The Hulk (1962), Wolverine (1974), Green Lantern (1940), Iron Man (1963), Batman (1939), Spider-Man (1962), Captain America (1941), Mr. Fantastic (1961), Thor (1962), and Superman (1938), and pitted them against each other in an “epic” ethics battle. What’s the obvious thing about these ten heroes? They’re all men. [Want to skip this tirade? Skip 6 paragraphs down.

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Books

Book 560: Camp Austen – Ted Scheinman

I reached out to the publisher for a copy of this book when I saw the author, Ted Scheinman, was going to be in Boston giving a talk at the BPL.* Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it as it was the same day we moved houses (in a snow storm no less), but if you’re on the west coast, he’ll be talking about this at Skylight Books in LA this Saturday, July 21! (Skylight Books LA website)

I’m torn about my review. I’m wondering if I had the opportunity to hear him speak about the book and his experience, if my response would be different. I read his interview with the Jane Austen Summer program, but there are things you can only tell when you listen and watch someone interact with others.

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