This book came highly recommended and justifiably so. I LOVED the creepy premise: The story of serial killer H. H. Holmes set again(format: audiobook)
This book came highly recommended and justifiably so. I LOVED the creepy premise: The story of serial killer H. H. Holmes set against the backdrop of the Chicago World's Fair. The historical elements of this work of historical fiction stand on their own. We learn of the planning and excitement that went into bidding for and building the Chicago fairgrounds. Mr. Larson captures the hope of rebirth the city felt after the Great Chicago Fire, and juxtaposes that beautifully against the tragic deaths of young women killed by Mr. Holmes.
The narrator for this audiobook was great - one of the best I've heard so far. For the ~15 hours of listening time, I felt like I was living in the industrious 1890s, fearful of a looming economic depression, and somehow witness to the macabre hobby of one of the world's first documented serial killers.
I'm a huge fan of comedy writers and entertainers who write books and then narrate their own audiobooks themselves. Mindy Kaling is the queen of thisI'm a huge fan of comedy writers and entertainers who write books and then narrate their own audiobooks themselves. Mindy Kaling is the queen of this very special genre.
Just as charming and funny as her first book, Ms. Kaling brings another level of openness and poise to her second. Seriously, she starts with her beauty secrets. They aren't the "an apple a day" and "serenity now" secrets you'll find in magazines. No - this is real sh*t: hair extensions when your locks aren't naturally luscious, how tailoring a dress from Old Navy can have you turning heads at a party. She covers the ups and downs of her show, The Mindy Project, quite a bit, as well as amusing anecdotes about BJ Novak, her parents and Barack Obama.
My favourite thing about this book though, was how intelligent she comes across. She describes her own body image roller coaster in a way that is super relateable. No seriously, that is a ride I got on a decade ago and can't get off. She talks about self-confidence, and hard work, and positive messaging without being trite.
Okay I lied. My favourite thing about this book is how much Mindy Kaling reminds me of one of my IRL best friends. Now if only SHE would write a book and narrate it...
I'll admit, I picked this book because my inner Malayalee begged me too. I should always listen to her.
Mira Jacob created a story about immigrants froI'll admit, I picked this book because my inner Malayalee begged me too. I should always listen to her.
Mira Jacob created a story about immigrants from Kerala (India), their children, and how they all navigate life together. Her style is conversational and engaging, and her characters so so familiar to me. She even nailed the subtle way all parental conversations somehow end with a plea to get married.
Malayalee-ness aside, the story is touching, and this book is a very quick read. I really enjoyed it....more
The style is a little unusual, and I found it slightly off-putting, initially. Mostly, because I was confused ... itThis book was really delightful.
The style is a little unusual, and I found it slightly off-putting, initially. Mostly, because I was confused ... it felt a little like starting in the middle of the story. If the book had been presented in a folder, as a series of documents, stapled & sorted... I might have caught on quicker.
At some point, though, the structure faded away, and I started to focus on the characters and their reasons for writing to each other. And, ultimately, they were beautifully captured: I learned about Bee and Bernadette and Elgin and the Gnats in their own words.
This is a GREAT book. Although written by a comedian, it's entertaining without being "comedy". Aziz A(Ugh. Goodreads, PLEASE stop eating my reviews.)
This is a GREAT book. Although written by a comedian, it's entertaining without being "comedy". Aziz Ansari co-wrote this work with Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at NYU. It feels well-researched. They cite several academic studies and conducted their own interviews for this book.
Note - If you've seen any of Ansari's Modern Romance shows, don't let that stop you from reading this book. It stands on its own, and having watched the shows will not detract from the reading.
My favourite chapters were the ones on attitudes & the reality dating in other cultures: Tokyo, Doha, Paris and Buenos Aires. I learned about "herbivores" in Japan (a fantastically descriptive term) and discovered that I grew up with much more in common with Qatari women than a lot of my current contemporaries.
Ansari's personal accounts of online dating culture were the least relatable part to me. He makes it seem like all you need to do is go online and PICK from a collection of amazing attractive people who want to date you. Not so, in my experience, but I'm not in NYC and I'm not Aziz Ansari.
I've already recommnded this book to several friends who are currently in, or have recent experience with the online dating world. If that's you, or if you just want to understand our battle scars - check it out. You'll be entertained and informed.
(Aside: the audio format worked REALLY well for this book, mostly because of Ansari's sweet sweet voices.)
When my online friends read this book, my social media was abuzz with their outrage and disappointment and betrayal. So, I anticipated the change in AWhen my online friends read this book, my social media was abuzz with their outrage and disappointment and betrayal. So, I anticipated the change in Atticus Finch, and perhaps that's why I wasn't traumatized.
The first part of this book has a lot of similarities to To Kill a Mockingbird. Entire paragraphs (in a few cases) are duplicated - as if Ms. Lee wrote one before the other & reused the descriptions she particularly loved in the second book.
Scout is again highly sympathetic, and I felt her anguish when she realized her father isn't the man she'd grown to idolize her whole life. But, I wasn't disappointed in Atticus. I was glad for the level of nuance this work brought to the subject of racism and dealing with cultural biases around us.
In the end, I think this was an important follow-up to Ms. Lee's first publication, if slightly less enjoyable....more
Ahh: Charming. Like everything John Green writes. Are the characters like other John Green characters? Yes. A bit. More than a bit. Does it work? Yes!Ahh: Charming. Like everything John Green writes. Are the characters like other John Green characters? Yes. A bit. More than a bit. Does it work? Yes! I love the paper towns and paper people and paper dreams and deep paper thoughts.
Well, this was a challenging read. I knew enough about Tim & Kathy Keller (having heard a few of their sermons on this topic) to know that I wouldWell, this was a challenging read. I knew enough about Tim & Kathy Keller (having heard a few of their sermons on this topic) to know that I wouldn't agree with all of their conclusions.
I will say - I appreciate that Pastor Keller does not talk down to his audience. He doesn't assume that the reader (sermon audience?) will buy his assertions. For the most part, he takes the time to explain his reasoning in a logical, orderly fashion. His writing/speaking style is also very clear and easy to follow. "Smart" and "concise" are certainly rare qualities in a lot of Christian writing of this style. This book is no different.
I didn't mind the disagreements I had with his Scriptural arguments. After all - I'm not presuming to be qualified to argue Scripture with anyone. But I was disappointed in some of the assumptions he made regarding the attributes, values, and expectations of non-Christians. Perhaps this reflects his experience in New York, or perhaps I'm extraordinarily lucky in my relationships... but I found that is was extremely easy to come up with examples of non-believers who carry the same attitudes he ascribed to believers.
To be fair - his treatment of the topic of marriage triggered a LOT of buttons for me. I might read this book again in a couple of years and have a completely different reaction.
4 stars because I enjoy when a book gives me meat to chew on....more
This book made me want to go to Denver and join http://www.houseforall.org/. As a memoir, it's conversational and easy to listen to (audiobook narrateThis book made me want to go to Denver and join http://www.houseforall.org/. As a memoir, it's conversational and easy to listen to (audiobook narrated by the author). But as an honest, frank, sometimes profanity-riddled story of one woman's faith - it's my favourite "religious" book in a long time. Nadia Bolz-Weber's story is the kind I heard a lot growing up - person raised in strict religious setting, person loses their faith, person becomes an addict, person finds Jesus, person gets clean & sober, person lives out the rest of their days as a shining example of Jesus's saving grace, raising babies and serving in church. That "person" never felt relatable to me. I'm not an addict and I still feel very much like the me I've always been. What I loved about Pastrix is that as she shares her life's story and how Jesus is, in her life, you get the sense that she's still herself. Clean & sober, yes. Minister to her people, yes. But including Jesus in her life didn't wash her out until she became a more bland version of herself.
So yes - if you're offended by language, don't read or listen to this. But if you can get past that (or if like me you have the same vocabulary) - read this book. ...more
This book was a refreshing image of what it means to be a feminist, but still in love with an often patriarchal church. I found a home here. Sarah BesThis book was a refreshing image of what it means to be a feminist, but still in love with an often patriarchal church. I found a home here. Sarah Bessey sounds like a woman of grace and love, and I aspire to the kindness and strength her words portray here. As a native Torontonian, I laughed when she talked about being western Canadian, especially when she describes her typical Canadian people who hate Toronto (among other things). She knows. I teared up as she shared her first miscarriage with us, and I cheered when she described what a joy motherhood is, but how it's not the only purpose we have as women. As a childless, single woman, it's easy to feel forgotten or purposeless in the church. Rare is the book written by a mother that acknowledges the rest of us.
I recommend this book if you're a Christian woman looking for some affirmation. ...more
A fascinating review of some of the biggest social media "public shamings" in recent history. I remember nearly all of the incidents, the tweetstormsA fascinating review of some of the biggest social media "public shamings" in recent history. I remember nearly all of the incidents, the tweetstorms and conversations, vividly. Jon Ronson gives us a bit more insight into the people and situations that erupted. I'm not sure he offers any concrete answers, but in the end, I think he did a reasonable job of suggesting that a little more empathy, compassion, and forgiveness is warranted....more
I got this book as a birthday gift years ago, and re-read it this week while traveling.
Alice Munro, you always take me to a place of warmth, familiariI got this book as a birthday gift years ago, and re-read it this week while traveling.
Alice Munro, you always take me to a place of warmth, familiarity, and wanting more but having just enough. You take me home.
She writes short stories, perfectly. They each offer a brief glimpse into bigger worlds, lives, universes. Who else writes paragraphs of detail about cutting down trees in story about a man, solitude, and his sick wife?
My favourite in this collection is the last: the story that gives the book its title. Too Much Happiness is the story of Ms Kovalevsky, a real woman, a Russian mathematician and one of the first female university professors. She feels like a friend, thanks to Ms. Munro....more
In hindsight, I wish I'd read Ms. Flynn's books in order. This book was her second, and was my second favourite of her three dark novels. I can see hoIn hindsight, I wish I'd read Ms. Flynn's books in order. This book was her second, and was my second favourite of her three dark novels. I can see how her writing has developed between the first book and this one, and I enjoyed her exploration of characters and families in Dark Places.
With apologies for the comparison to her other two books, this one is just as deliciously creepy as them. It is slower-paced than Gone Girl, more fully fleshed (ha) than Sharp Objects, and just as much of a page-turner as both....more