7.01.2022

Looking Back: Books

Another day, another dollar; another quarter, another book list. Hopefully as you are reading this, you are about to go and sip a margarita, or lounge in the pool, or are getting ready for a summer trip. 

This quarter I read a lot more than last quarter, because I spent a lot of time listening to audiobooks. I listen to them while doing my grocery shopping, working in the yard, driving, hiking, working around the house and running. Of all of the books that I have read so far this year, approximately 80% of them have been audiobooks. I have also asked one of my good friend's daughters, who is 12, to recommend books to me. So far, she has recommended Ground Zero (I loved it; it is also by the author of The Refuge) and the Tales of Despereaux (very fun). If you have a 12 year old, they may like these books too!  

I do have a couple of book related goals this year and so far, I am not doing very well! I wanted to read and get rid of 12 books (one per month) from my bookshelf. I have been doing a lot of purging lately, but for some reason, those books seem like grey hairs; even though I am not buying more, they keep seemingly multiplying! I have read one book so far from my own shelf. I also wanted to read a book in Spanish. I did this in 2020 (Harry Potter y La Piedra Filosofal -- #1) and I really enjoyed it, and I learned some weird words like wand and owl to boot. In 2020 I set 10 minutes aside each day to do that and some days I couldn't put it down. I am about one chapter into my Spanish book so far for this year (Auggie y Yo). Total fail. 

I am going to keep this quarter's list to my top six books. 

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe: this book details the rise of the Sackler family, who are the makers of oxycontin, and are one of the richest families in the world. It's a tale of big pharma and the opioid crisis and I couldn't put it down. 

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn: I haven't met a Kate Quinn book I haven't liked. This time she tells a story of WWII from a Russian woman's point of view. The main character is a librarian and a mother who ends up having to go out and fight and she becomes one of the most feared snipers of her time, with a nickname of Lady Death. I like how Quinn takes a true story and makes it into something entertaining and enlightening. 

Blindness by Jose Saramago: I wanted to not like this book but it brought up a lot of emotions and that is the sign of a good writer! I gave it 4.5 rounded up to 5 for the fact that it made me contemplate my existence over and over. It was disgusting, disturbing and scary. It paralleled some of the feelings I had during the pandemic lockdown. It made me feel hateful about humanity but also made me feel fond of people and grateful for human connection. It was a cross between The Lord of the Flies and the Walking Dead and the Great Influenza. Although it grossed me out, I couldn't stop reading. 

Think Again by Adam Grant: this book explores the idea of changing, or rethinking things that you have been doing one way for a long time. Of course, like many, I sometimes get set in my ways or struggle with change and he brings up a lot of good points regarding why a new point of view or way of going about something can be an asset rather than a burden. 

The Guncle by Stephen Rowley: this is a fun and light book about a heavy situation. When Patrick's sister dies, he takes the kids for the summer. He is a single man, not used to caring for young children, but he learns a lot about life and love over the course of a few months. 

State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton: who doesn't love a book about international terror and possible world domination? When a terror group threatens the world, the US secretary of state has to try to save the day. There are a lot of parallels with a certain administration and it brings some amusement to an otherwise serious situation. 

Some others I liked were: One, Two, Three (corruption, greed and love), Notes on an Execution (murder), This is How They Tell Me The World Ends (cybersecurity), Dopesick (opioid epidemic) & The Paris Apartment (murder). 

What are you reading right now? What has your favorite book been so far the year? 

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