Instead of keeping track of my reading at Goodreads like I used to, I’m going to keep track of it here. Want to know what I’ve read or am reading? Look right here on my personal website instead of having to go to some other place. Some links are affiliate links to Bookshop and are a way to support me and my indie speech therapy practice, Oso Therapy. Thanks to Patrick Rhone for the inspiration to start my own reading page.
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot De Villeneuve - I started reading an abridged version of this at a book store on a whim, and decided to see about finding a more complete edition. It’s a fascinating read, and no surprise it’s more complex and thought-provoking than the Disney version. Think less Stockholm Syndrome, more artistocracy and intermarriage. While it’s not all “Let’s show some violence!” like aspects of the modern rendition, it’s also got some surprisingly grim aspects to it, too. In short, I liked it and loved getting transported back in time to think about and see the world through one lens from 1740.
Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo - I’ve had this sitting on a bookshelf for ages and never picked it up until now. It’s an easy read and aimed at children or young adults, and overall quite enjoyable. The plot was interesting, and while predictable, it was kinda fun to watch the characters make the connections I already had. It was a nice light fiction read though, so I’m glad I finally picked it up.
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande - A really well researched and thoughtfully written book about thinking beyond merely being alive and approaching truly living from a medical point of view. More philosophy is always welcome, I’ll be reading this one again.
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman - Like other Backman books, this one started out strange but quickly captivated me. I appreciate so much the translation of these books, which are captivating through not only their stories, but the sheer sense of humanity described in such clear terms. I love how much you get to know the characters in unexpected ways, and how I the reader get to know myself, too. I didn’t read the synopsis until linking it now, and honestly I’m glad I just dove in and read it. Looking forward to reading this one again sometime.
Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan - It’s a strange contrast to read this book while my nonfiction reads have centered on the problems we’re facing as a society due to the increasing transfer of wealth. And while I enjoyed the first two in this series more than I expected, this one dragged for me and was hard to get into. I liked the perspectives and stories/memories of the older characters, and eventually I got drawn in enough to finish. Can’t say I really connected to the characters, and the whole ‘crazy rich’ and constant talk of designers just felt forced and uninteresting. If anything, I started to feel a disconnect from them. Everything just felt extreme, from the plot devices (big accidents, huge purchases, revenge porn (ugh), and more), and the end felt both dragged out and rushed. There’s some solid insight into culture, a brief and disappointingly shallow look at the environmental implications of big money from industry (hello, palm oil), but it would have been nice to see that explored more.
City Monster by Reza Farazmand - I’m a longtime fan of Poorly Drawn Lines, and enjoyed this low-key graphic novel. For fans of the strip, there will be a few familiar jokes in there, and while it wasn’t all that cohesive a story, it was still a fun and light read. Both are things in short supply right now, so I’m glad to have this on my shelf.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - This is my first official time reading Dickens outside the context of school. Much as I loved English classes and studying literature, the chronic dissection of books was never something I enjoyed. I loved reading this book, and found it completely captivating. I opted to read it one Stave at a time, which allowed me time to let things sink in. I also found myself rereading quite a bit, in part due to the English and in part because it’s a rich text with a lot to take in. This is one I’ll likely be reading again down the line.
Once Upon a Time, Vol 1 by Matt Gemmell - I ordered this as an e-autographed edition and enjoyed reading this collection of short stories. Exactly as described, they’re bite-sized, I enjoyed some more than others, but all of them sparked my imagination in some way or another, like any good story should.
Saving Capitalism by Robert Reich - I’ve read Robert Reich’s blog off and on for years, but never read his books. This should be essential reading for every American, it frames economics in an understandable way and feels especially urgent to read now, in 2020, especialy as we come to grips with just how much the “free market” has ended up costing us. Can’t recommend this enough.
Themes and Variations by David Sedaris - This is alas only available as a Kindle single, but reading it brought some much-needed laughter to me. I love the stories of his tours, since I have been going to see David Sedaris do readings and book signings since I was an undergraduate and he came to college campuses for his tours.
Enough by Patrick Rhone - Your Money or Your Life touched on finding your own sense of enough financially, which was my first exploration of the concept this year. Patrick Rhone explores this from a variety of perspectives, and it’s a well considered and thought-provoking collection of writing.
The First Wives Club by Olivia Goldsmith - While at Page One a few years back, I discovered a vintage copy of this book which inspired the movie, which I’ve always enjoyed. This book is a bit of a time capsule, taking us to the 90s and clearly showcasing its perspectives on queer people, sexism, and even S&M. Interestingly, one of the husbands in the book is a private equity shark, which was timely since I’d just read King of Capital. All in all, a good read and especially great to have women characters of all types be highlighted throughout.
King of Capital by David Carey and John E. Morris - This was a gift from my younger brother after we had had a conversation about private equity. The book bills itself as a history, but I walked away feeling that was only partially true. The authors were a little too in awe of the numbers they were writing about, so it misses the mark by overlooking its chance to ask bigger questions about the ramifications of the actions of the investors they were reporting on. There’s plenty of sexism found within, which perhaps is to be expected given the individuals involved. It’s a bit of a who’s who of private equity financiers, and there’s enough information in the book to get an idea of just how much havoc has been wreaked on the economy by private equity firms, to know he need to rein that in, big time.
I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi - I picked this up after hearing Ramit on a few podcasts, most notably his interview with Jesse Mecham from You Need a Budget. Ramit is great, and it’s especially nice to get perspective from someone of a diverse background. My favorite parts of the book are about the psychology behind money, what Ramit terms “invisible scripts”. Very insightful overall.
Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez - I picked up a used copy this one at Page One, a favorite local bookstore, after reading about it a number of times on The Billfold. While the investment advise in that first edition is no doubt dated (I can’t speak to the current edition), what I didn’t expect to discover was the philosophy and historical insight within. A fantastic read that I can’t recommend enough for those reasons alone. I wrote a review about it here.
My Brief History by Stephen Hawking - A quick read about a fascinating man. My fascination with Stephen Hawking also relates to ALS, since I serve ALS patients from time to time as an SLP and also serve folks with need for AAC. Though he didn’t touch much on his use of AAC, his experience being diagnosed with and living with ALS is touched on briefly. Judging by the scant attention to each, it’s clear he let neither define him.
Minimalism: Essays by Ashley Riordan - A thought-provoking collection of essays that is sadly no longer available by my friend Ashley. I bought it after she published it in 2013, then waited until this year to read it. I’m not sure why, but it seems to have been one of those things which spoke to me at just the right time this year, and I have no doubt I’ll read it again.