I’ve been trying to work through the Phillippa Gregory books about the York/Lancaster/Tudor history and it’s taking me a lot of time! But I have read some other books lately:
1 – Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad
“Living with a life-threatening illness turned me into a second-class citizen in the land of time. My days were a slow emergency, my life dwindling to four white walls, a hospital bed, and fluorescent lights, my body punctured by tubes and wires tethering me to various monitors and my IV pole.”
I absolutely loved this book. It was emotional, compelling, beautifully written and the author was incredibly self-reflective and aware. She wrote about the dynamic of a caregiver/patient relationship and realized how damaging it can be to a romantic relationship and how hard it is to get out of that dynamic.
She wrote beautifully about the “in between” – being sick and waiting to die while everyone else is living life–marriage, kids, careers, and feeling left behind. She wrote about what it was like to “get better” and feel even worse because you’re a boat lost at sea. You don’t know how to move on, you don’t know how to get over the PTSD, you don’t know how to live your life and make future plans.
This was the type of book that I didn’t want to end and it will stay with me for awhile. One of the best books I read this year.
2 – Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
I liked this book but it felt a little lost in it’s message. Was it a memoir? Was it a book about grief and dealing with your mother’s cancer and death? Was it about Korean heritage? Was it about Korean food? Yes. All of it. Often times the book felt more like a foodie memoir, with pages of descriptions about Korean food, culture and cooking. I was expecting the author to reveal at the end that that was her journey to becoming a chef. But the book is really about a complicated mother-daughter relationship and what it’s like to lose your mother in your 20s when you aren’t fully realized yet. The book itself was a pretty good read, despite it’s bipolar feeling. The parts about grief and losing her mom were particularly poignant.
3 – Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America by Sarah Kendzior
“The Trump administration is like a reality show featuring villains from every major political scandal of the past forty years.”
If you want your blood to boil and to feel complete despair, this book is for you.
It is clearly well researched and informative and, honestly, a little too much information to absorb. It feels very overwhelming to read it. And I felt very hopeless after I finished the book. That being said, I think it’s an important book to read for anyone who is worried about the future of the country. So much damage has been done and it does not seem like it can be fixed at this point.
“His desire to dismantle democracy was out in the open. He did not bother to hide his goals because he knew few believed he could achieve them. And being right felt terrible. Once an autocrat gets into office, it is very hard to get them out. They will disregard term limits, they will purge the agencies that enforce accountability, they will rewrite the law so that they are no longer breaking it. They will take your money, they will steal your freedom, and if they are clever, they will eliminate any structural protections you had before the majority realizes the extent of the damage.”
It is a truly frightening book, so be prepared.
“The main tactic of the Trump camp and their backers, I would discover over the next few years, was not to directly threaten you with violence, but to smear you to the point that a fanatic might find murdering you an appealing prospect. This was the strategy they used in “Pizzagate,” when a vigilante convinced that Hillary Clinton was running a pedophilic cult out of a D.C. pizza parlor nearly shot up the place.”
The book addresses the “fly over country” and the mentality of Trump voters. It also deeply describes the layers and layers of con-artist lies that Trump has used his entire life.
Worth a read.
4 – Hostage by Clare MacKintosh
I enjoyed this book a lot! In some ways it felt like it was unrealistic but overall it was a gripping read. I liked the main character and I felt like her and her family were well-developed and multi dimensional. The thriller taking place on a plane made it even more anxiety inducing. How many of us have been on a bad flight with lots of turbulence? Now add a hijacker! Yikes!
5 – Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford
This is a beautifully written memoir. I heard an interview with the author on NPR and I was intrigued by her father’s story and how she felt about it. This prompted me to get the book and I am glad. Her story is multi layered. Her father in prison for most of her life, for sexual assault, and she herself was eventually assaulted as a young teen. How do you deal with both of those issues? Plus, she has a very complicated relationship with her mother.
“Even if I hated the way she spoke about these things, I was made properly afraid by her warnings. Protecting my body became my number one goal….In a moment I’d been flung into a new and clear understanding: my grandmother and mother’s fear had been correct. Danger was everywhere.”
Her mother was abusive, but at the same time, you eventually grow to understand it came from a place of fear. It’s a powerful book and I really recommend it.