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RickW

RickW

Joined August 2016

review
RickW
The Dinner Guests | Kiersten Modglin
Panpan

I listened to the audiobook of this while on a long drive. Unfortunately the dialog seemed really forced; the characters were somewhat confusing and in the end, there was so much procrastination about the true intent of the characters, with no subplot, that I just didn‘t care. The ending was somewhat unrealistic and I‘m not really certain if the original offenders ever got what they deserved. This was a brand new release at my library last month.

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RickW
An Irish Country Village | Patrick Taylor
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It‘s been slim pickings for summer reading. I‘ve either stopped reading or panned the last 3 books that I‘ve read. However redemption has been found in Taylor‘s follow up to An Irish Country Doctor. It‘s a real treat for the summer. I‘m four chapters in and I may just pick up the entire series. It‘s that good. Full review to follow.

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RickW
The Maidens: A Novel | Alex Michaelides
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Pickpick

I read this last November. I really liked the way in which Michaelides refers to the doctor in his previous book. Subtle, but nice. This novel is somewhat formulaic but it is a good read. I remember not putting it down and reading it in a weekend. I won‘t give anything away but it‘s about a secret society. That‘s all. If there‘s a negative it would be the depiction of women is borderline misogynistic. Otherwise a good summer novel.

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RickW
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Pickpick

From a not so routine traffic stop of a woman, Gladwell explores the intricacies of so called routine traffic stops for certain people. He delves into the reasons why certain people fear for their lives. He uses data to explain why what we think is not what is really happening. And why so called routine traffic stops may not be so routine.

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RickW
Cannery Row | John Steinbeck
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Pickpick

I got into a reading frenzy before bedtime for the last few months but summer reading choices have not been good. But this novel, which I reread this year is absolutely amazing. Steinbeck creates incredibly rich characters, making the book almost impossible to put down. I really recommend this, especially if you‘re rereading this. As an adult it is just so much better.

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RickW
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Pickpick

Fiona Hill is mesmerizing. Her background and rise to the top makes compelling reading. What she has had to endure from a society compelled to perpetuate social norms is amazing. From accents to race, from colorism to class, Ms Hill openly talks about the struggles she and fellow acolytes face. She is also realistic about the opportunities that were open for her and not others. And finally she is open about her time in the White House. Great book.

review
RickW
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Bailedbailed

One of a few books I had to stop reading. There are so many good stories in this novel but none of them make the book cohesive. A full novel could have been made about the talking pig. But digressions abound and eventually by the middle of the book you‘re lost. It‘s a shame because the beginning of the book is amazing. But after the talking pig it just goes downhill. I had to bail. I just became bored and disinterested.

review
RickW
Panpan

Never visited a book three times but this one I had to in order to finish it. I didn‘t like it. I hated the writing style and the violence almost seemed gratuitous. I couldn‘t keep track of the characters and for the life of me I couldn‘t tell you what the plot is. This may be the last time I read a book based upon friends telling me it‘s a must read and it‘s a classic.

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RickW
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Mehso-so

I read this based upon recs & the International Booker prize.It is a compelling book with an interesting look into psychosis, PTSD & anorexia. It is a deep look into a dysfunctional family & obvious social inequalities. But there are issues. First there are no decent male characters. The concept of veganism appears to be born out of self trauma and unrealistic. The misogyny is over the top excessive. Not being mean, but it‘s a little over rated.

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RickW
The Secret History | Donna Tartt
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Pickpick

After you get through the first few chapters of classic Greek and Latin, this book picks up with amazing writing and character development. I literally had difficulty putting this book down. And don‘t get me wrong. I literally hated every single character in this book! Yet I found Tartt‘s writing style so engaging that i pictured the town, the campus and dorms that she details. I will give nothing away, But it is a classic & deservedly so.

PageShifter Glad that I wasn't the only one who hated the characters xD And strangely it was okay and I think you weren't even expected to like them :D I can also understand why this is a classic 8mo
11 likes1 comment
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RickW
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Pickpick

One of the best books of the year for me. The book focuses on twin sisters who witness a terrible act and decide to leave their southern town. Eventually one of them decides to be someone else, casting an eternal ode to Jim Crow and passé blanc colorism. This book is an eye opener. It challenges the reader to see things from both sides. It exposes the true brunt of racism, sexism and even homophobia. The book is brilliant.

RickW Just adding... The author‘s ability to transform this tale from the perspectives of many people and to traverse decades seemlessly is astonishing. She does not deviate from the central story, yet traverses several political mine fields, cultures, decades in astonishing fashion This is an incredible writing style and I must say that the journey was worth it. 1y
1 like1 comment
blurb
RickW

#Currently_Reading. Wow very difficult to imagine the evil of Colorism and how it affects the current day culture. So honest in its appraisal. 1/4 of the way through.

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RickW
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Pickpick

Again I will put myself out there and say James McBride may be the Hemingway/Baldwin/Salinger of our time. This is Not Deacon King Kong, which just goes to show the depth of his writing. It is an autobiographical tribute to his Jewish Mother and all the abuse that she received from, well just about everyone. It‘s about her resilience and her ability to triumph. If you don‘t cry by the end of this then you should take a one way trip to Mars.

SamAnne I want to read everything by him. Next up is Good Lord Bird. 2y
RickW @SamAnne Same here. 2y
3 likes2 comments
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RickW
Pickpick

Silicon Valley from a female and liberal arts perspective. Well written and a condemnation of bro culture. There are a few negatives though. She appears to be drawn to the negative side of Silicon Valley despite despising it. This becomes somewhat confusing as she berates herself and others at the same time. I do however like her revelations and the thought process.I also like the fact that the book is written from a liberal arts perspective

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RickW
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Pickpick

One word: Wow! There were times when I wanted to stop reading this, mainly because of the “tell” but not “show” issues and the introduction of several cliched characters. But as I read on it became readily apparent that the conversations are an integral part to the story telling. The characters are complex and the village created in the mind is so rich in its history it becomes difficult to separate fact from fiction. This is a masterpiece.

SamAnne Great review. I loved this one too by the end. 2y
RickW I just finished listening to The Color Of Water. I wanted to know McBride. I feel that I now know him. Deacon King Kong is a reflection of McBride‘s environment and early childhood with his mother and relatively eccentric individuals in his neighborhood. I am now moving from calling this a great book to one of the best of all time and McBride as one of the most talented writers of this century. On par with Steinbeck, Hemingway, Baldwin. 2y
5 likes2 comments
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RickW
American Dirt | Jeanine Cummins
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Pickpick

Probably the first time I‘ve actually read a book in almost one sitting. This is a compelling and spellbinding account of one woman, whom after enduring tragedy, struggles to escape to the US with her son. I was gripped from the first page. Although there is a lot of controversy about the author and the book itself, I think that reading it without knowing the controversy will lead you to one conclusion Cummins is a great storyteller.

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RickW
House of Scorta | Laurent Gaude
Mehso-so

Fictional generational tale but not as good as Marquez‘s Hundred Years of Solitude. Gaudé fails to develop characters long enough for the reader to care. There is some continuity in having the sister pop up from time to time to tie things together, but really the most interesting chapter is the last one where there is a solid reflection on the meaning of life. But you have to go through many characters to get there. It‘s a good short read.

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RickW
Panpan

I would like to tell you what a great sequel this book was to the first book, “Crazy Rich Asians” which I believe is a masterpiece. But I cannot. I cannot get past chapter four. I‘ve tried three times and the book is just not good. It‘s as if Kwan tries to stun us again with the opulence that was displayed in book one. But this book repeats the opulence kick that it becomes nauseating. I had no feel for any of the characters. Sorry.

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RickW
Nothing to See Here | Kevin Wilson
Pickpick

I read this last month due to the strong recommendations from friends. Interesting premise to begin with which shows up early in the book. What makes it interesting though is the deep interconnection of feelings, unspoken class rift and guilt that permeates the book. Sprinkle it with the narrator‘s flawed love for an abuser and unexpected attachment issues and you have a recipe for how desperate one can become to be accepted. Recommended.

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RickW
The Passenger | Lisa Lutz
Pickpick

Detailed at first, but by about page 100 there was no putting the book down. I became engaged in the flawed protagonist.

Although there are one too many name changes creating confusion; and a few belief defying police stops, Lutz manages to tie everything together in the end. The gotcha moment at the end was predictable but the story ends with a relatively satisfying conclusion. The author succeeded in keeping me engaged. I do recommend it.

review
RickW
Educated: A Memoir | Tara Westover
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Pickpick

Incredible! I really never thought that this sort of life still existed. Again women are treated like crappy, subservient beings. Home is a place where modern medicine doesn‘t exist. This true story is about a woman who rises above illiteracy, insane chauvinism and near fratricide to educate herself. She ends up at Oxford and currently holds a PhD. This is a story about family, ignorance and above all - Perseverance. Highly recommend.

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RickW
Lab Girl | Hope Jahren
Pickpick

All scientists and environmentalists should read this! As a male I am appalled at how we have treated women in Science. This book is a true testament to the difficulties that still persist in taking women and minorities seriously. The work done by Dr Jahren is priceless. The book also sheds light on the ridiculously low wages garnered by lab techs. It‘s a call for change! You will never look at a tree the same way again after you read this.

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RickW
Pickpick

A very good read. In the end, despite his flaws which are well displayed in this book, Musk remains one of the all time greatest innovators of our time. The book is an insight into this. Well written and well researched.

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RickW
Scrappy Little Nobody | Anna Kendrick
Pickpick

Not sure what I was expecting but I think I got more than I bargained for. The early parts of the book seemed to drag on, possibly because I could not relate to it. But later I loved the “inside baseball” reveal and the witty and sarcastic insights on life, chauvinism, theater and the movie industry. There is a near meandering quality that sometimes makes you feel that you are in on a manic session. That‘s a plus and a minus. Overall I liked it.

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RickW
The Silent Patient | Alex Michaelides
Pickpick

Absolutely spellbinding. I held on to the end and was pleasantly surprised. The ending is an absolute stunner !!!

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RickW
Mehso-so

Difficult read for the first hundred pages. It takes a while to figure out why the main character traversed time, space, credulity and more. The book is about the madness of war and the madness of Billy, the main character. But it makes sense if you can continue past the first few pages. It‘s a tough recommendation but I‘m trying to get into the Beat authors and getting used to the stream of consciousness style. Challenging but rewarding.

LizMH Every time I recommend this to a friend I preface it with “you may love it, you may hate it... but get past chapter four and it all starts to fall together”. 😂 some love it, some hate it... my husband describes his writing as “talking to a rambling drunk” 4y
RickW .... and so it goes :)! (edited) 4y
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blurb
RickW

Michael Lewis is such a detail genie. A great read on two of the greatest psychologists of our time. A must read!!!

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review
RickW
Pickpick

One of the best books I have ever read. The detail is extraordinary and the questions that this book poses have still not been answered. If you are in the biological sciences this is a must read.

RaimeyGallant Nice review. :) And welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. Or if you prefer how-to videos, @chelleo put some together at the link in her bio. @LitsyWelcomeWagon 4y
1 like1 comment