Friday, July 8, 2022

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State KillerI'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you're a fan of true crime, this is an impressively researched piece of nonfiction. McNamara not only wrote the book about this particular serial rapist/killer, but she also assisted in solving the 40 year cold case before her untimely death. The details of the Golden State Killer, also know as the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker, are truly gruesome and awful, but McNamara handles the subject matter with respect for the victims which can be a difficult task for the true crime genre. Again, I would recommend this book for true crime fans but the details of the Golden State Killer's crimes are completely awful and disturbing.

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Monday, May 23, 2022

The 1619 Project: A New Origin StoryThe 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this sweeping and unforgettable "project" by Nikole Hannah-Jones, The 1619 Project asks important questions about this nation's founding fathers and their actions, or in-actions, when establishing the rule of law. Did they truly believe the words they were writing in our founding documents? In this project, as it's truly a project with contributions from numerous writers, Hannah-Jones sets out to demonstrate "the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative." Hannah-Jones argues our entire economic, social, and judicial systems were built on the backs of enslaved people who neither had access to these systems nor were they equipped with "inalienable rights." As a country, we've never truly faced the everlasting effects of chattel slavery on this nation and how it's been Black Americans who have continued to carry the burden of "making democracy real." It's an important read and should be studied for years to come.

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Ain't Burned All the BrightAin't Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful work of art/lyrical poetry from Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin. It illustrates the story of a black family surviving the initial COVID-19 lockdowns during the spring and summer of 2020. It's a story we can all relate to: a family member sick, the constant barrage of the news, the BLM protests, and the extreme boredom coupled with a growing anxiety. It aptly identifies and acknowledges those feelings we had during those troubling months while personifying those feeling through beautifully constructed artwork. An important piece of art to commemorate a difficult time in our history.

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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Never Let Me GoNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the author of Klara and the Sun, Never Let Me Go tells the story of Kathy and her close friends, Ruth and Tommy. These friends are attending what seems to be an elite boarding school, Hailsham, set in the beautiful English countryside where they appear to have an ideal setting for childhood. Although, Kathy and the others begin to notice strange occurrences around the grounds of Hailsham and question why they're forbidden to leave. They begin to reveal truths, not only about Hailsham, but about their very existence. Kazuo Ishiguro spins another excellent science fiction/mystery which relies more on character development than sci-fi to explore themes such as friendship and love, the perils of technology, and the reasons for our existence. It's truly another remarkable work from Ishiguro.

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Thursday, April 28, 2022

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling GiantsDavid and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Malcolm Gladwell uses the biblical story of David versus Goliath to illuminate how we often think of disadvantages and achievement. More often than not, we're intrigued by underdog stories like David vs Goliath where David is severely disadvantaged but overcomes against great odds, but Gladwell argues our disadvantages like size in David's case, attending a mediocre school, losing a loved one, facing discrimination, or dealing with a disability force us to overcome even greater obstacles in our future successes. It's a book about how the challenges life throws at us provides us an opportunity for growth and the ability to overcome more difficult challenges in the future. Although not as great as Gladwell's other reads, David and Goliath demonstrates how the most important accomplishments often come from the most adversity.

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Light from Uncommon StarsLight from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shazuka Satomi, an accomplished violin player and teacher, makes a deal with the devil so she may save herself by delivering seven violinists of the upmost talent. She has already delivered six of the seven promised when she stumbles upon Katina Nguyen playing her violin in the park on the East side of Los Angeles. Katrina, a transgendered runaway attempting to escape abuses at home, gladly accepts room and board to learn from the great Satomi. Meanwhile, Lan Tran, a starship captain and recent refugee from a far away planet, purchases a donut shop in Los Angeles, a shop Satomi frequents, to safely wait out the Endplague. All three of these women's paths come together by chance to create an unforgettable story about family, love, curses, and acceptance.

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Thursday, March 24, 2022

The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World WarThe Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War by Malcolm Gladwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Malcolm Gladwell's Bomber Mafia explores the introduction of airplanes into our military arsenal in a time when many believed they didn't have a future in warfare. Prior to WWII, many hadn't considered the use of airplanes to support ground troops until a group of military thinkers, the Bomber Mafia as they were referred to at the time, believed that precision bombing would limit the loss of life on the ground and make wars less lethal overall. With hindsight, Gladwell challenges this idea by looking at events that took place during WWII, specific battles since Japan and Europe, and weapons that we're created and used during these events. It's an excellent read for anyone interested WWII and historical events.

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