I keep forgetting to post this! But I have read some really good ones lately.
1 – I Have Something to Tell You by Chasten Buttigieg
I really really enjoyed this book. I’ve followed Chasten on Twitter for awhile and enjoyed his occasional snappy quips. I honestly did not know a lot about him or Pete, other than the basics. This book is very raw, open, honest, and compelling. Chasten tells the stories of his life–how he realized he was gay, what it was like coming out, how alone he felt. He talked a lot about the rough times he had–including sexual assault.
Some might be turned off by some of the hardships Chasten went through–I can see some people thinking he was an opportunist or something. But honestly? He described his 20’s and I could relate to so much. Bad jobs, lots of debt, not sure what you want to do with your life, trying to find yourself…I think a LOT of people can relate to the struggles he went through.
“Domestic violence is a pervasive problem in the gay community that doesn’t get discussed often, and many gay kids don’t have the option to call their parents for support when something like this—or much worse—happens to them.”
I appreciated the topics he brought up in the book, not just about how Pete ran for office and they exhausted themselves on the campaign trails. He talked about the good charity work they did for LGBTQ communities wherever they went, touring PULSE nightclub:
“Campaigning requires carrying others’ pain and grief. Sometimes I would end the day with a feeling I could only describe as vulnerability fatigue. There was just nothing left to give. After touring Pulse, I met with a survivor of the Parkland school shooting, and after that meeting, I was needed at a few other scheduled campaign events. It was hard, sometimes, to carry all those stories and experiences and keep a clear head, and to make sure that I was showing up emotionally for everyone I met or stood in front of. At times, it was all too overwhelming, and I’d start to forget to care for myself as well.“
He talked about important topics like healthcare and what happens when Americans go into massive debt for hospital bills–something he experienced with his own mother.
I lost count on how many times I teared up during this book. One of my favorite parts was when he shared what complete strangers would say to him and Pete:
““I’m so sorry to bug you guys,” she said. “It’s just—I’m the mother of two gay children and what you’re doing for this country and for them… I am just so proud of you and so happy you’re getting out there.”
While traveling the country on behalf of the campaign, I met couples who had been together longer than I’ve been alive, tearful to see me in person as the husband of an openly gay man running for president. “
The book is warm, conversational, funny, engaging and Chasten just seems like a delight.
2 – No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox.
I am impressed with how positive MJF is, even faced with the most daunting things that would make anyone feel desperate, depressed and defeated.
“I’ve long realized that control is out of the question; instead, I’ve settled for an understanding that requires adaptability and resilience.”
This was the first book of his I read. I enjoyed it. I could hear his voice very clearly in the book. MJF was one of my first crushes as a kid, Back to the Future was my favorite movie (and it’s still a favorite). But, even being a big fan, I did not know a lot about his life with Parkinsons.
“Having Parkinson’s is being in constant flux; in and out, on and off. Every reaction to the drugs is met with an equal and opposite reaction when they wear off.”
“To me, movement always represented freedom. It was a couple of years into my Parkinson’s diagnosis that I recognized “movement disorder” as an accepted handle for my affliction.”
“When I think about walking, a word that now comes to mind is “deliberate.” I have to plan every step I take; no extraneous side trips or wasted effort. I have to think about the way I sit in a chair: Am I settled in the right way? I do an inventory of where my limbs are. All of this calculation and deliberation is rigorous work. Physical tasks are made more difficult by the need to break them down into all of their components…The required mental work is harder than the physical effort. I need to think about every step, which demands intense focus.”
It was a good read, informative, and he wrote a lot about the things he’s doing to keep fit and active physically and mentally to help his PD symtpoms.
I definitely recommend the book!
3 – Force of Nature (Aaron Falk #2) by Jane Harper
What a good book! Detective Aaron Falk is back with his partner, in Australia, investigating a white collar crime when he hears that his informant is missing in the Australian bushland. She went on a work retreat hike in the outback and didn’t return.
The book was so good! I could not put it down and I enjoyed the way the story was told from different points of view, snapshots from the women in the wilderness–the survival and the infighting, then switching to the investigation. Vivid descriptions of Australia and how dangerous it can be. The characters were developed well and really jumped off the page.
4 – Good Morning, Monster: Five Heroic Journeys to Emotional Recovery by Catherine Gildiner
This was a very compelling, addictive read. Each chapter is a different therapy case. There are 5 people she focuses on and each one is more interesting than the last. The reasons these people go to therapy (sometimes unwillingly) seem innocuous or rather pedestrian, but as the therapist digs a little deeper, the stories unfold and they are often rather shocking.
The stories end with positive results, growth, the clients finding their strength and will and healing. The development of each patient is so outstanding. I was just really, really impressed with this book and the stories.
5 – In the Garden of Spite: A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte by Camilla Bruce
I had mixed feelings about this book but at the same time, enjoyed a lot of it and wanted to pass it on. When the book came available from the library, I did not remember anything about it and had no idea what it was really about. I just started reading. It turned out it was a book based on a REAL story. I wish I had known that before hand, because it would have changed my perspective while reading it.
Belle Gunness was apparently one of the most prolific female serial killers. In the late 1800’s she came to Chicago from Norway where her sister had immigrated to. She always seemed a little “off” but was able to hold it together and fool a lot of people.
Because of a tragedy in Norway when she was young, she was unable to have children. She basically tricked a well-to-do businessman into marrying her, then she started a scheme of taking in children (foster/adopt/steal) and sometimes passing them off as her own children, sometimes not. Then her “career” in murder began.
The story is fascinating because of the time period. It is well-written, the way the story progresses and ends is pretty crazy and shocking. My only complaint is that it needed some editing and felt a little long in places.
6 – Milk Fed by Melissa Broder
Wow. Just wow. One of the best books I’ve read in a lot time. So many layers. So many thoughts. It’s a book about self-hatred, about love, about discovery. It’s sexy, it’s dark, it’s raunchy, it’s sad and tragic, it’s hopeful and healing. It’s about sexual discovery and love. This book is NOT for everyone.
It’s largely about severe eating disorders and that in particular was so eye opening. I could relate to so much. Obsessive food rules, obsessive calorie counting, punishing yourself if you “slip up”, binge eating then trying to fix it after the fact. It would definitely be triggering for someone with a history of ED. But I absolutely loved this book and I so wanted Rachel to heal and find happiness.
Yet another interesting mix of books you have! I *love* Jane Draper – I have her most recent one on hold at the library and can’t wait to read it. And Michael J. Fox is so amazing, isn’t he? I am definitely going to have to add a bunch to my to-be-read list. Our book club just read “Barefoot” by Elin Hilderbrand and I really liked it. It was nice to read a “beach book” in February – daydream a bit about summer when it’s still frosty in the morning. Now I’m reading “A Promised Land”, by Barak Obama, and am also enjoying it quite a bit. I feel like he writes much like he speaks, which I’ve always admired. It’s interesting to read some of his perspective about the years leading up to his election after having read “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. I have a lot of respect for what she went through on the road to the White House. Anyway, thanks for the recommendations and happy reading!
Thanks for the recommendations! I needed a beachy read. I have the new Obama book on hold and haven’t gotten it yet. I loved Becoming!