Month Count: 3 texts, 5 audiobook, 8 total
Year to Date: 45 texts, 24 audiobooks, 69 total
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Ok – I’m just going to share this to get it out there, but I’ll come back and add the pics next week when I’m back from vacation. I’d love to hear your latest reading updates!!
Truthfully, I spent most of this month listening to books via Audible and Libby than reading them for a number of reasons. For one, I’m busier at work training in a new team, and two I have had a couple of unfinished crafts and house projects that have been staring me in the face and I just wanted to get them completed… It’s been a good balance.
The Night Swim by Megan Goldin via Libby really did feed my love of true crime podcasts (OG Murderino before we were called Murderinos over here) with reading and thrillers.
Rachel is a true crime podcast host, a pretty successful one at that, heading into her third season. She’s covering a new case live from a small town. A young woman (the Police Sherriff’s granddaughter) was sexually assaulted by the town’s pseudo-celebrity and hopeful future Olympic swimmer and the town is divided in their support versus hatred of both sides.
At the same time, someone secretly continues to reach out to Rachel for her help in solving her sister’s 25-year old suspicious death case which was labeled a “suicide.”
Six words: I did NOT see that coming!
It was great, would recommend, and definitely a good listen! There are some triggers – obviously rape/sexual assault, and suicide. I didn’t think any of it was too graphic, but it broke my heart in places.
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty follows nine (perfect?) strangers to Tranquillum Wellness Retreat, each for their own reasons. The owner and director of the retreat is passionate about making their stay the most transformative experience possible…. by any means?
I watched the show while reading the book and get the plots confused, lol! They aren’t very similar, other than the names of the characters and the wellness retreat. I’m also a little torn on which one I like better… I think it was pretty good until the end of the book and then it just went to a level of like “ummm, what? why…?” The end of the show might have been better for me.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender via Libby is a young adult novel following a black, queer, transgender teenager through self-discovery, identity, and love. It really made me understand better, and I love that it was written from a transgender perspective and even that the author uses non-binary pronouns. It’s important that we never find out Felix’s dead name.
I think the reason this is an important read for me is that I have a teenager, for one, but also that I have friends and coworkers (some who report to me) who are non-binary or have talked to me about their struggles with identity and understanding “who they are.” It’s important to understand that pronouns are so simple but still a form of respect and I always appreciate when someone identifies theirs to me, especially if they aren’t binary. As I encounter more people who prefer they/them, it’s becoming more and more simple to integrate, whereas the less I knew, the easier it was to default to pronouns I had assigned them, right, wrong or indifferent… it just happened. My brain associated a certain “looking” person with a certain, binary pronoun automatically. Now it seems to be easier to get pronouns correct when someone identifies theirs, and I’ve even noticed the more I use non-binary pronouns, the more I want to rid binary pronouns. Like, it doesn’t feel natural to say “he” or “she” so automatically anymore.
Anyway, it’s definitely a young adult book; as Felix is like 17… However, if you have children, I think it’s important to read a few YA books every once in a while, especially well written ones with complex topics because they’re going through things we didn’t in ways we haven’t experienced.
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones via Audible had some good concepts and good reminders. Habit stacking, tiny behaviors, cue, craving, response, reward, etc. None of this is really unreachable, and it’s all approachable. It did become background noise in a few spots, but this would be a good one to take notes or journal to after each chapter or so. There are plenty of good quotes, and motivation to get the points across.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood was my September Book of the Month pick. Honestly, nothing really stood out to me this month so Love Hypothesis was kind of a shot in the dark. Thankfully, my shot in the dark was a beam of light!
I’ve been in a mental funk, so this light-hearted rom-com really fed my soul and put a smile on my face. I love a science/STEM theme, like oh my gosh woman have brains in this romantic novel!!
Anyway, Olive is a grad student finishing some research for a project very close to her heart. Her best friend, Ahn, is crushing on a guy she dated for a hot second and to prove to Ahn that it won’t bother Olive (even though it kind of might), she tells Ahn she has already moved on, and is dating someone else. As this is a lie, Olive has been avoiding Ahn ever since, until she spots her walking toward her on campus one evening. Olive panics and kisses the man closest to her, pretending to be her new fling.
Unfortunately, her new “fling” (aka dude she randomly kissed in the middle of the hallway to “fool” Ahn) is of course the Professor Dr. Adam Carlsen… head department professor asshole, known mostly for tearing down students’ research and definitely responsible for more than one mental breakdown and/or temper tantrum.
The novel follows their ins and outs of this comical fake relationship, as well as the ins and outs of Olive’s precious research and the pains of her PhD program. I didn’t have to fake anything, I loved it whole heartedly… even the parts that I predicted ❤️
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Start-Up by John Carreyrou via Libby App is like an extrapolated podcast on this horrible story around Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes that just keeps getting worse and worse. Like BILLIONS of dollars being tossed around by people and companies like candy at a parade. There’s a new podcast that documents the current events, since this edition of the book was published at the beginning of 2020 and there’s current legal action against Holmes and Theranos.
The best part about this book is it seems like Holmes was able to exploit mostly old way-too-wealthy white men so that kind of feels slightly and oddly redemptive. Like, at least she wasn’t preying on poor, underprivileged communities to gain her wealth.
I recommend it. The author was also the narrator and he does a good job.
Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe via Audible, also narrated by the author was, like, freaking disgusting. Talk about preying on people and exploiting people in a really shitty way, the Sacklers are just about the most obvious example of human shit on the planet and the author does a very thorough job of covering this. It’s long… It’s not a simple read or listen; however, it is absolutely captivating.
Book 1 covers the beginning of Arthur, Raymond, and Mortimer’s life and how they came into success. It’s truly a rags to riches story and they faced some challenges that could have been major setbacks because of their Jewish heritage during the time they were getting to that late teen/early adult life pre-and during WWII.
Book 2 covers the invention of Oxy, the marketing tactics and research, the exploitation of the populations the Sackler’s were preying upon, and then begins to cover the downfall when people begin to realize how addictive it really is. It also covers the massive amounts of money that this single drug was bringing in.
Book 3 is up to present including the downfall and how different organizations which carry the Sackler name are trying to distance themselves or remove the name altogether. It also covers the current generation and identifies how the remaining older generations are claiming to not have anything to do with it, but clearly benefitted from the over 35 BILLION DOLLARS the Sackler family got. (Additionally, how they move their money around to avoid having to spend money on taxes… dammit.)
Similar to Bad Blood, this is being aired out in real time and the author did beyond extensive work researching and vetting his sources. It’s fantastically written in a very horrifying way. As someone with friends and family members who have been struggling with opioid addiction, some of which moved onto harder street drugs, some of which did not live through it, this is a very sobering world to read about. Additionally, I have remembered living through some of these breakthroughs in real time over the years. I remember reading about opioid to heroin addictions and why that happens. I have lived in communities where these addictions have RAVAGED the towns and work forces and devastated families, including my own.
As much as it sucks, I think this is a very important read and the author is incredible. He also does a great job reading it… so that helps.
Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co by Ken Grossman… is anyone surprised? LOL. This was actually required reading as I onboard my team so we read it together. I know the story inside and out, but with brand new Tour Guides on staff, I needed to refresh my memory and reading it as a team was a great way to help hold them accountable as well.