Monday, June 4, 2018

What I Read: May

This month was a little bit of a blah month with reading because I ended up with a lot of nonfiction in a row. Now I'm desperate to read some really awesome fiction. I'm just dying for a beautifully written literary fiction book. I'm thinking I may read one of the classic books I have on my list once I get through the books that came in on hold at the library all at once. I don't know why that always seems to happen! I'll have a book on hold for months and it comes in at the same time as 2 other more recent holds.
Elise reading up on politics.
Regular Book:
  • Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari- I absolutely love Aziz Ansari in Parks and Recreation although I've never really seen his stand up, so when I saw this book I was intrigued. There are a couple of single ladies in my book club and online dating and dating apps have come up in our discussions. I find it interesting because that didn't really become a thing until after I met Ty so I have no experience with them. I thought it would be interesting to read the book and then as I read I was super impressed. Aziz did a lot of research for the book, putting together focus groups and involving lots of researchers. He even had a sociologist who worked alongside him. The book was really well done with lots of research studies mentioned while still being funny and including lots of his wit. 
  • James Madison by Richard Brookhiser- I was really excited to read this book because Madison was one of my favorite founding fathers when we learned all about the constitutional convention in my AP Government class in high school. I was also interested in learning more about him after reading about George Washington and discovering how much he relied on Madison, especially during his first term as president, with Madison even writing some of his speeches. I always thought of him as Jefferson's protégé and didn't realize he'd had strong connections with Washington as well. I went into the book hoping to learn a lot and was really disappointed. It may have been mostly because the book was only 250 pages so there really wasn't enough room to expand on Madison's life more than I already knew. I could have skipped ahead to the last couple of chapters because it wasn't until then that I reached a point where it discussed things I didn't already know from reading about Washington and Jefferson. Now I know I need to check the length of books before I decide which one to read. I preferred Washington, Adams, and Jefferson's books because there was so much detail and I really got a feel for who they were as a person. The books I read on Washington and Jefferson were both over 800 pages so there was a lot of fascinating details included.
  • God: A Human History by Reza Aslan- I saw this book in the Book Page magazine I pick up at the library. I put it on hold and it took a really long time to get it. By the time it arrived it would be my 4th nonfiction book in a row and I was really ready to move on to some fiction. I had been really excited to read it but wasn't super into it by the time it arrived. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The author makes such a difference with nonfiction and I loved the way Aslan made the material so fascinating. It made me want to visit caves to see some of the ancient wall art he discussed. I loved this book and have now added Zealot by the same author to my reading list.
  • Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution by Bernie Sanders- When I first saw this as a book on order at the library, I was intrigued and wanted to read it. There really wasn't much information in it that was new to me, but it was a quick read.
  • Educated by Tara Westover- I didn't really know what this one was about when I added it to my book list. I just saw the cover and read the title and wanted to check it out. Since it was my 7th nonfiction book in the row I was glad it was a really well written memoir. Although what Westover went through in her life was really depressing. I finished the book feeling a bit beaten down and sad about what she went through at the hands of her family and due to their twisted interpretation of Mormonism and the role of women in the family. I did find myself feeling very thankful that society has evolved so much in relation to women's rights.
  • The Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz- This was my favorite Spellman Files book to date! It was so good. The footnotes went back to numbers in this book so I just gave up reading them when I got to them and just read all the footnotes when I got to the end of the chapter. I'm getting sad I just have a couple books left in the series because I'm enjoying them so much
  • Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz- I was reading this as an ebook and had about 40 pages left when I pulled it up on my phone to read and it was gone. I knew I should have had a couple days left on the book but wondered if it just returned early. When I went to the library website to put it on hold again, I found it was no longer available in ebook form. So I put the regular book on hold and had to wait a few days to finish those last few pages. Reading it as a regular book was so nice because the footnotes were right there on the bottom of the page. It made such a difference I decided the next Spellman book I read, which unfortunately is also the last one I have left to read, I will get in regular book format.
  • Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein- This audiobook was 36 hours long so it took me a very long time to get through! I didn't realize when I chose it that it was actually multiple books in one audiobook. It was a bit of a depressing book because of all the terrible things that happened in the time period. Hearing all those terrible things described put our current situation into perspective for me. At times I feel like things are such a mess but when I read about the past I realize that we have been through so many more challenging times as a nation. I can't imagine what it would have felt like to live through the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK in such rapid succession. Listening to how many citizens believed the police were justified in killing innocent protestors during the Vietnam War protests reminded me of the Black Lives Matter movement and how it has caused so many people to rally around police and normalize their brutality. Police brutality is not a new issue and I knew that. What was surprising for me was realizing people back then supported the brutality of police in many of the same ways as people do today, justifying the deaths of innocent people in any way possible.  


  1. Once the students were killed at Kent State, people were pretty much done with protesters being hurt or killed.

    1. Some of things people said after Kent State though surprised me. I had always thought that was the case but was shocked listening to what some people were saying not even just as citizens but on the news.😳

  2. Maybe in Germany it was different. I remember everyone being horrified.

  3. I’m sure the majority were horrified, especially after it came out how far the protestors were away!