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violabrain

violabrain

Joined December 2016

I am a professional violist with a background in neuroscience. I love music, I love brains, but I especially love to read! :)
review
violabrain
The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story | Nikole Hannah-Jones, The New York Times Company
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Pickpick

It goes without saying that this book should be required reading for every American. I really liked how each chapter took a different topic and traced it through history to the present day. If this book isn‘t on your shelf yet, make a point to remedy that.

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violabrain
White Teeth | Zadie Smith
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Pickpick

This is one of the funniest books I‘ve read in a long time. I read NW several years ago and I liked it but I wasn‘t thrilled. This one‘s been on my shelf for years. I‘m so glad I finally read it. I absolutely loved it!

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violabrain
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Mehso-so

The topics covered in this book are right up my alley, but I couldn‘t believe the racist terminology in referring to Indigenous peoples and languages (savages, primitive, etc.). It read like something written in the 1980s (or earlier), not 2010.

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violabrain
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Pickpick

Her first book remains one of the best books I‘ve ever read, and this one joins that distinction. Outstanding in every possible way. As someone with a background in neuroscience, I loved the neuroscience stuff in here. A fun note: the protagonist‘s research is so similar to the research being done in Karl Deisseroth‘s lab at Stanford that I figured she must have talked to someone in the lab. Turns out I was right! :)

violabrain Karl Deisseroth‘s book on his research was one of the most poetic science books I‘ve ever read! 3w
12 likes1 comment
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violabrain
Exit West: A Novel | Mohsin Hamid
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Pickpick

My 100th book of 2021! I wanted to try to read 100 books this year and I got there a whole week early! :) I enjoyed this gentle tale of love and change. Seems fitting somehow for everything the world is going through right now. Merry Christmas, everyone! 🎄 May you have lots of time to sit and read today. ✨

Nute Merry Christmas, Molly!❤️🌟💚 4w
paulfrankspencer Congratulations! Great accomplishment. 4w
violabrain @Nute Thank you! You as well if you celebrate! ✨🎄🎁 4w
violabrain @paulfrankspencer Thank you! I didn‘t think I would make it, but I read a ton of graphic novels in December because I can read them really fast. :) They aren‘t my usual genre, but they ended up being some of my favorite reads of the year! 4w
27 likes1 stack add4 comments
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violabrain
This Is Only a Test | B.J. Hollars
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Mehso-so

I feel bad giving a so-so rating since I know the author (we used to teach at the same university). But I found the tone annoying (making a big deal out of things that are not big deals, and minimizing things that are a big deal by writing about disasters of which he has no personal experience). All of the chapters were also apparently previously published as individual articles and so it doesn‘t hang together as a book.

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violabrain
Grass | Keum Suk Gendry-Kim
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Pickpick

This is an extremely powerful graphic novel about the Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during World War II.

13 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
COVID Chronicles: A Comics Anthology | Rich Johnson, Kendra Boileau
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Pickpick

It was interesting and surreal to read this now while we enter probably the most dangerous chapter of the pandemic so far. These comics are from April through October 2020, which in many ways feel like the good old days of the pandemic… :(

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violabrain
History of Wolves | Emily Fridlund
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Pickpick

I‘m not quite sure what to make of this book. On one hand, the writing is excellent. On the other hand, all of the separate threads didn‘t quite add up for me in the end in the way I was expecting/hoping.

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violabrain
Run | Andrew Aydin, John Lewis
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Pickpick

I‘m in awe of the amount of research that went into producing this graphic novel. I‘m not really a graphic novel person, so I missed the memo about the March trilogy by the same team. Time to read those as well!

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violabrain
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Pickpick

An incredible read. I loved all of the different voices and perspectives.

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violabrain
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Pickpick

The author has wonderful stories and a great sense of humor! A really wonderful read! Plus, he now lives in my hometown!

7 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
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Pickpick

A powerful graphic novel on a topic I knew nothing about before. Women were instrumental in slave revolts throughout the history of slavery in America. I hope she makes her dissertation into a full length history book because I would love to learn more about this.

MrsMalaprop Wow! Looks interesting. 1mo
11 likes1 stack add1 comment
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violabrain
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Pickpick

This is an amazing graphic novel that brings life to six autobiographies written by Yiddish teenagers shortly before World War II broke out. The backstory behind these autobiographies (explained in the preface) is incredible, and I loved hearing these teenagers‘ voices all these decades later.

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violabrain
Himawari House | Harmony Becker
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Pickpick

I don‘t usually like graphic novels much, but I absolutely loved this one. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and I absolutely loved the story. Her illustrations of the characters‘ facial expressions are so amazingly expressive. If you like graphic novels, I can‘t recommend this highly enough. And even if you don‘t, you should give it a read!

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violabrain
The Excellent Lombards | Jane Hamilton
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Pickpick

I‘m surprised this has such a low rating on here. I absolutely loved this book! A beautiful coming-of-age story, with each chapter like a short story unto itself. I also really love books that have a strong sense of place, which this one definitely does.

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violabrain
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Pickpick

Really interesting to read this book during this pandemic. It was also sad to read the epilogue, where he was talking about how our technological advances will be able to stymie a future pandemic. The thing nobody ever counted on was disinformation and conspiracy theories being the thing that allows a virus to run rampant.

18 likes1 stack add
blurb
violabrain
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This book is about the cholera epidemic in London in 1854. There is much discussion of the miasma theory in this book, which is really interesting to read now since we know that Covid (and many other diseases) are actually airborne. This particular paragraph is very interesting in light of the fact that it took *so long* for the scientific establishment to acknowledge that Covid is airborne.

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violabrain
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Pickpick

Ida B. Wells was an incredibly impressive person all the way around. I am in awe of her strength, intellect, and ability to simply get things done. I really enjoyed this autobiography.

15 likes2 stack adds
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violabrain
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Pickpick

Exactly what I needed after inadvertently reading a string of books with misogynistic men as the main characters.

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violabrain
Swimming Lessons | Claire Fuller
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Pickpick

This was not a happy book, but I loved it and I couldn‘t put it down.

Cathythoughts I loved it too 👍🏻❤️ 3mo
EvieBee It's one of my favorites! 1mo
22 likes2 comments
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violabrain
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Pickpick

Wow, this book is completely fascinating! I learned so many new things! For instance, did you know that you have erectile tissue in your nose!?

14 likes1 comment
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violabrain
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Mehso-so

As others have said, every single man in this book is an absolute asshole through and through. Since this book is apparently semi-autobiographical, I am fine never reading another word of his work.

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violabrain
How to Be an Antiracist | Ibram X. Kendi
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Pickpick

A really fantastic book. I loved the personal memoir interspersed with all of the other content. It made for a very engaging read.

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violabrain
About Grace | Anthony Doerr
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Mehso-so

The writing is gorgeous. But I had a really hard time with the protagonist. He is an unbelievably self-centered stalker and mooch who never considers anything except his own overwhelming needs and wants. He treats the women in his life with utter disregard because of his own extreme emotional issues that he desperately needs therapy to help solve. Too many men like him already in the world. We don‘t need another treated as some tragic hero.

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violabrain
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Pickpick

Another outstanding book from Isabel Wilkerson. An absolute must read.

LatrelWhite The BEST!!!!💕💕💕 4mo
violabrain @LatrelWhite I agree!! Both of her books are just spectacular. Anything she wants to write about, I want to read. 4mo
23 likes2 comments
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violabrain
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Pickpick

This is the most poetically written science book I have ever read. Absolutely fascinating and beautifully written.

10 likes2 stack adds
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violabrain
Circe | Madeline Miller
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Pickpick

I absolutely loved this book! Song of Achilles broke my heart and I didn‘t know if this book would live up to my expectations after that one, but it absolutely did. I can‘t wait for whatever her next book is!

SamAnne Loved this one and planning to read Song of Achilles next month! 5mo
violabrain @SamAnne Enjoy it! I read it three or four years ago at this point and I still think about it often.❤️ 5mo
30 likes2 comments
blurb
violabrain

As a professional musician with a background in neuroscience, I am annoyed that his story about perfect pitch in the introduction is factually incorrect! Those kids did not develop perfect pitch through the training he describes. They developed what scientists who study perfect pitch call “heightened tonal memory.“ A totally different thing than perfect pitch.

Megabooks I‘ve caught three medical/animal inaccuracies in Reese‘s book this month. It‘s frustrating when authors don‘t do basic research into what they write. 6mo
violabrain @Megabooks Very! :( It makes you skeptical of everything else in the book… 6mo
7 likes2 comments
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violabrain
The History of Love | Nicole Krauss
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Pickpick

This is one of the most touching, heartbreaking, but also absolutely hilarious books I‘ve ever read. I loved every second of it.

12 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
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Pickpick

I loved it! And a facet of World War II I knew nothing about.

Zoes_Human I haven‘t read this, but the TV series was wonderful! 6mo
violabrain @Zoes_Human Oh wow, I didn‘t know there was a TV series! I‘ll have to try to find it online… 6mo
Zoes_Human @violabrain I *think* it was on Netflix. 6mo
11 likes3 comments
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violabrain
Beartown: A Novel | Fredrik Backman
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Mehso-so

Unpopular opinion, but I thought this book was overly sentimental and saccharine. The perspectives/actions of the boys were also much more well-developed and believable than the perspectives/actions of the girls, which I did not appreciate.

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violabrain
Push: A Novel | Sapphire
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Pickpick

I remember when the movie version of this came out. I didn‘t see it, but wow, what a powerful book!

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violabrain
The Fire by Night: A Novel | Teresa Messineo
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Pickpick

This book was incredible! I have read a lot of World War II novels, but I think this is the first one I‘ve read that focuses on the experience of nurses. A really wonderful read.

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violabrain
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Pickpick

Oh gosh, this book just broke my heart. A really wonderful read.

18 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
Umami | Laia Jufresa
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Mehso-so

I enjoyed the quirkiness and playfulness with language in this book, but in the end it didn‘t really add up to anything for me…

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violabrain
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Pickpick

Wow, this slim book will stay with me for a long time. It traces the lives of the Japanese picture brides from their journey to the US through the Japanese internment in World War II. Unforgettable and beautiful prose.

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violabrain
Delirium: A Novel | Laura Restrepo
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Pickpick

Not quite sure what to make of this book. The writing was amazing, as was the pacing and the structure. But, I really disliked every single character and the ending didn‘t seem to wrap up in a satisfying or even logical way. It seems like the whole book was leading to some big finale that just never came. I‘m left feeling befuddled… But it‘s a pick because of the writing.

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violabrain
Obasan | Joy Kogawa
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Pickpick

This is a heartbreaking and powerful book about the Japanese internment in Canada during World War II. I had no idea about a lot of this history being American.

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violabrain
The Great Believers | Rebecca Makkai
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Pickpick

Oh my heart! This book is amazing! I cried multiple times. It was also interesting reading a book set during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s while living through a global pandemic.

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violabrain
The Great Believers | Rebecca Makkai
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Pickpick

Oh my heart! This book is amazing! I cried multiple times. It was also interesting reading a book set during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s while living through a global pandemic.

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violabrain
The Animators: A Novel | Kayla Rae Whitaker
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Pickpick

This book was absolutely incredible. It‘s going to be hard to read anything after this. It is so beautifully constructed and it captures the creative process and what the relationship between creative partners feels like so well. I also appreciate that the blurb on the back of the book doesn‘t give anything away. It describes it, but it also doesn‘t even begin to… Very highly recommended.

18 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
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Pickpick

I read Jonathan Kozol‘s book Amazing Grace for a sociology class I took in undergrad 20 years ago. That book was immensely eye-opening for me and this one was no different. The way poor, mostly Black and brown children in this country are treated by the education system is disgraceful.

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violabrain
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Pickpick

Horrifying does not even begin to describe what the Spanish did to the Indigenous peoples in South and Central America and islands in the Caribbean. This history should be required reading.

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violabrain
All the Bright Places | Jennifer Niven
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Pickpick

Lately, I have been grabbing books off my shelf without reading what they are about first. Had I known what this one was about, I don‘t think I would‘ve read it right now. A student of mine is having a major mental health crisis at the moment and so this book hits a little too close to home. That being said, I did really enjoy it.

12 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
We Are Okay | Nina LaCour
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Pickpick

Beautiful book. Somehow the perfect thing to read when I am at home convalescing from my second Covid vaccine.

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violabrain
The Mothers: A Novel | Brit Bennett
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Pickpick

This one has been on my list forever. I‘m so glad I finally read it. It definitely lives up to the hype! Really wonderful book. And one of my favorite covers!

CarolynM Great book, I loved it too🙂 10mo
20 likes1 stack add1 comment
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violabrain
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Pickpick

Wow. That‘s all I can say. In recent years, I had started to understand that the United States was founded through genocide, but this book *really* made me understand that. What we did to the Indigenous peoples of this country is absolutely horrifying and unforgivable. It honestly makes me feel sick to my stomach that I am living on land that was forcibly stolen through genocide. This history needs to be required reading for all Americans.

17 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
The Kiss Quotient | Helen Hoang
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Pickpick

I almost bailed on this book because the first chapter seemed so contrived, but I‘m so glad I didn‘t. I couldn‘t put it down and I absolutely loved it!

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violabrain
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Pickpick

Although this was written in 2019, it also explains the ongoing denial of Covid in overwhelmingly conservative, white communities. A thought-provoking read.