Although I somewhat neglected reading back in the fall, mainly down to being far too busy to read loads during my free time, I have taken advantage of this slower period of the year to really focus on reading more rather than just turning on the TV or watching YouTube endlessly. I have to say, although I’ve always been an avid reader, I haven’t enjoyed reading nearly as much as I have in the past couple of months. Technically some of these books that I mention in this post were ones I read during the fall, but there weren’t quite enough to warrant writing a whole blog post on.
A History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund ~ This book is all about a young teenage girl, named Linda, who is somewhat of an outsider at her school. The story is written from Linda’s perspective, as she is looking back on her adolescent years and the events that would go on to radically alter her life as an adult. The major plot line revolves around Linda befriending a young family who lives across the lake from her family’s home, which so happens to be on an abandoned commune. As she gets to know the family more, she uncovers secrets about the family that end up having serious negative consequences. Although it sounds like a thriller, this book is an amazing blend of genres and is definitely worth a read!
The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani ~ After hearing some rave reviews of this book I decided that this would be the perfect book to get my 2019 reading challenge started (I’m trying to read 30 books by the end of this year). The book is loosely based on a true story about a nanny in New York City who murdered the two children she had looked after. The Perfect Nanny is set in Paris, France and follows a young family who is going through growing pains. The mother, Myriam, decides to hire a nanny after making the decision to resume her career as a lawyer after taking a few years off to take care of her two young children. While the topic is incredibly gruesome, the majority of this book is spent exploring the dynamic of the family, the relationship between Myriam and the nanny Louise, and the complexities of being a mother trying to “have it all”. I read this book in about a day and it is a great one if you want to have something easy, yet compelling to read.
We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates ~ After reading quite a bit of fiction, I was ready to break things up by reading non-fiction, specifically essays. I had read some of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ essays in The Atlantic, but had never read any of his books. We Were Eight Years in Power is a collection of eight essays, each one written during the eight years of the Obama Administration. While all of these essays were written during the Obama Administration, they are not all about Obama, but rather racial inequality and institutionalized racism in general. As someone who majored in history and who spent a great deal of time studying the various Civil Rights Movements as well as the structure of institutionalized racism within the framework of US History, I found this book to be incredibly well-written and researched. This is not a light or easy read by any stretch of the imagination, but it is an incredibly important book about a topic that requires so much more attention than it gets.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan ~ After watching the movie, Crazy Rich Asians, I had to read the book! Part of the reason why I put off reading the book (and watching the movie for that matter), was because there was so much hype around it and I was skeptical if it was really that good, especially considering I’m not usually one to read romance-based books. I will definitely be reading the rest of the Crazy Rich Asians series in the next few months because the first book was so fun and so easy to read. It is definitely not a “romance” novel, but rather a story about family, relationships, money, and cultural differences.
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou ~ Last but certainly not least is Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, which is a book about the ill-fated blood-testing startup Theranos and it’s founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes. I have been fascinated with the story of Theranos, and since I live in the Bay Area, the buzz about the company was definitely palpable here. There were constant news stories about the company potentially revolutionize the health care industry and raising billions of dollars in the matter of a few years. Not surprisingly, it was all far too good to be true. The book was written by the journalist who wrote the Wall Street Journal article that began to create a lot of the speculation regarding the legitimacy of the company and its claims. The lengths Holmes was willing to go to make her company work are incredibly disturbing and make for a page-turning read. Although I know almost nothing about biotechnology or blood testing, the book was incredibly interesting and Carreyrou makes industry jargon easy to understand to the average reader.