Monday, October 21, 2019

December 2018 Mini-Reviews

You guys, this is it. I'm done with 2018 mini-reviews. Now all of the books I need to review have been read within the calendar year! I mean, sure, 2019 is close to over so this cycle is about to start itself over again, but that is very much not the point right now. I don't know why you're such a downer. I'm feeling good about this, don't rain on my parade.*

Alright, let's see what I read in December 2018.

Becoming by Michelle Obama
Things politically are...not great, to put it in the most understated of terms. Reading/listening (audiobook. Which she narrated!) to this was conflicting because there was a lot of "She's so great. Remember when there were competent people in charge?" But this is about Michelle and the focus isn't really on politics (though they obviously come up). She talks about growing up in South Side, Chicago. She talks about her time at Princeton and what it was like to be female and black in this environment. She talks about being a lawyer and meeting Barack and their troubles starting a family and the strain politics can put on a marriage and times she was proud and not-so-proud of her country.
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Stephen Fry's Victorian Secrets by John Woolf and Nick Baker, narrated by Stephen Fry
An Audible Original all about the Victorians and some of the more taboo pieces of every day life, including religion, sexuality, drugs. Ya know, all the fun stuff. I can't say I know a huge amount of Victorian history but this was a fun audiobook, and Fry is a great narrator. It's a bit melodramatic, but that makes it all that much more entertaining.
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Twain's Feast: Searching for America's Lost Food in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens by Andrew Beahrs, narrated (in part anyway) by Nick Offerman
I include the narrator here since that was part of the draw for this, another Audible Original. (The other draw is the free nature of these originals.) Anyway, this is a biography of Mark Twain, based around food. More specifically around certain dishes that were important to Twain at different points in his life, based on a list of meals Twain talked about missing during his year in Europe. I did zone out from time to time but overall it was an entertaining story/series of interviews about Mark Twain. And makes me think I should prob read more Twain...
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New Family Values by Andrew Solomon
Another Audible Original. Apparently I was saving them up for the end of the year. This one is a series of interviews about families, particularly about the changing nature of families from the traditional nuclear family with a mom, dad and 2.5 kids to gay families and adoptive families and child-free families and multi-parent families. I remember enjoying the book but honestly, I don't remember a huge amount about it. So good but bland, I suppose?
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*Looking at my last mini-review post, I dunno why I have cast you, the reader, in such an antagonistic role here. But I have. Go with it.