Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Reads (2016)

a cozy night by the fire reading

I read a lot of great stuff in March! Here's the list: 

*Still Alice by Lisa Genova - I loved this book. It's about a Harvard professor who is diagnosed with early-onset, progressive Alzheimers.  It has everything I like in a novel: relationships, direct description (no slogging through flowery prose here), an amazing plot, well-executed writing, and a sweet ending. I would definitely read anything else Genova has written or writes in the future, and I appreciated her structure and her terse description. This book helped me understand the disease so much more than I knew. When doctors or professionals write books and stay within their field of knowledge, it does so much for a book, and this one is in that category (she has a Harvard degree in neuroscience). Four bright stars, and I'm watching the movie soon!

*Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison -- I read this memoir by former playboy bunny girlfriend in about 24 hours, but not because it was overly enticing (nothing surprising here, folks) but because it was very readable and I was rooting for Holly and wanted to see how she changed her life, i.e. leaving the Playboy mansion. Some of the details of the grounds and house, the company, and the routines were interesting to read about, but really it's Holly's story of her control by "Hef", cat fights with the other girls, and becoming a whole person again. This book is not about the sex, if you're looking for that go read The Happy Hooker, but I love memoirs and when I saw this at Chapters I knew I wanted to read it. When I saw it on my library's shelf, I snagged it and knew it'd be a quick read. Three stars for content, and an extra for Holly's courage.

*Boys Adrift by Dr. Leonard Sax -- This nonfiction book should be top priority in getting ahold of if you still have young boys or men at home, or if your kids are having kids! It's that important. There are five 'factors' that Dr. Sax writes about in this book that show why our current batch of boys seem lazy, unmotivated, and directionless, and it's fascinating. Sax writes books that are very easy to understand, with plenty of examples from his profession to illustrate his points. He backs up everything with research and now that I've read two of his four books and regarded both highly, I put the other two on hold. 

*At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier -- Have you read Girl With the Pearl Earring or listened to Chevalier's TED talk? She is one of my favorite historical fiction writers because she chooses an object-usually just one object- and obsesses about it, researches it until it's completely wrung out, and then writes a book around it. Her writing has taken a turn in the last few books from famous historical paintings to now Americana items such as quilts, and in her newest, apple varieties. This book is lovely to read, but it's more vulgar and graphic than her others. Not that that's a bad thing-it goes well with the story and must be told that way, but if you're queasy, I'd give a hard think if you want to continue. If you don't get the stomach churnings from readings (I don't, I have to see it to feel sick, which is why I've never understood why people WATCH surgeries being performed. Weirdos.), than you're fine. You'll like it. 

*Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel -- This book was probably my least favorite this month, even though I love dystopian/futuristic fiction. It was a page-turner, and with short chapters and jumping around from character to character, the book went fast, but I didn't think it was excellent by any means. The story is about a flu that depletes the vast majority of the world, and the people who are surviving in the aftermath. The stories come together in interesting yet predictable ways, and a few of the subplots were what held my attention. I give it 3 stars and a shrug of the shoulders.

*The Holy Spirit by Billy Graham - We all have different quirks as it comes to the topics we like to learn about, research, or dig deeper into, and the Holy Spirit is one of those for me. The bible says little about Him, but being as He is a person of the trinity, I am always wanting to know more about Him. I was mentioning to a friend recently that I hadn't read any good books on the Holy Spirit, and she suggested a title that I'd never read...by a very famous Christian author and evangelist-Billy Graham. I've never read anything by him, but out of all the books I've read on the Holy Spirit, this has been the best so far. 

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