While I’ve been failing at my blogging resolution, I can proudly state that I am absolutely dominating my goal of reading at least two books a month. Here are some of my reads from January:
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
You’ve probably heard about this book from everyone else, their dog, and now from me, but I highly recommend it even if you’re not a non-fiction person. It’s about how habits and routines influence and shape our lives as individuals, business organizations, and societies. I found the subject to be really fascinating and couldn’t put the book down. The writing reminded me a bit of Malcolm Gladwell, but backed with more substantial research. My favorite parts were the anecdotes and examples that the author weaved throughout the book – from the old man who lost his memory but could still trace the path that he walks every morning, to how a CEO was able to upheave the culture of his company by changing one basic habit, and to how tech companies data mine to discover shopping habits.
People Who Eat Darkness
I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while now, but finally worked up some motivation after I heard it was nominated for best fact crime category by the Edgar Awards. To give the most generic summary – it’s a non-fiction investigative crime that dives into the mystery of a young British woman’s disappearance in Tokyo, Japan. But it’s so much more than that. Parry explores other themes throughout the book – the perception of sex in Japanese culture, the clash of East vs. West, violence against women, grief and death, etc. The first half of the book went by really quickly as Parry set up the crime scene and let us watch the mystery unfold. The second half really dragged and found Parry to be more of a preacher than an investigative journalist. Nonetheless, it was a solid, goosebump-inducing read.
The Moon and More
After spending a weekend reading about sociopaths and serial rapists, I needed something light and fluffy. I found my answer in Sarah Dessen’s newest novel, which is out June 2013. The synopsis on the back cover makes it sound like every other teen romance novel – girl has boyfriend, it’s summer before college, there’s a new guy in town, girl is dealing with daddy issues, and every other #whitegirlproblem imaginable. Synopsis does the book no justice. I found all the characters to be really realistic and the girl protagonist was actually likeable (she wouldn’t take shit from Edward or Christian). Don’t expect your typical YA romance novel.
The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black
Another NYP to keep your eyes out for this spring. I thumbed through the unfinished galley of this, but I think the finished product will be amazing. It combines some of my favorite things – mythical creatures, history, nested stories, and that combination of weird & disturbing that you can’t look away from.
Billed as Canada’s version of 50 Shades, the premise of the book is so ridiculous and over-the-top that I started reading this as a joke:
“Cassie Robichaud’s life is filled with regret and loneliness after the death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed. The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies. Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately. Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality.”
Ummm, I finished it in a night. The fantasies were tastefully done and sadly, there was nothing over-the-top about them… Unlike Anastasia (of 50 Shades), I did like Cassie. She never hangs herself up on a guy and gradually learns about female empowerment through her involvement in S.E.C.R.E.T.
Currently on my nightstand:
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead – Sheryl Sandberg can do no wrong.
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us – reading this makes me crave Coke and cookies soooo bad.
Questions: any book recommendations?!