June Book Report
I decided to start a photo collection of places I’ve read. This month I added: on an airplane.
So I was dying of claustrophobia on that plane -and the Overwhelming Smell of Others’ Habanero Dried Green Bean Snacks- but, hey, I did manage to read.
On to the book reviews for the month:
Seneca was of the stoic philosophers, so this book is a translation and maybe not one that sounds super exciting to read. However, the translation was great and Seneca himself I found hilarious and insightful. Did I agree with everything he said? No. I am no stoic. And I believe in God. However, his comments on the frustration of the way people were wasting their time in his day (which, “his day” was right after the life of Jesus, so we’re talking ancient here…) were relatable and funny: especially his comment about those who spent all their lives “cooking themselves in the sun.” Rating: 7 out of 10. Good intro to the stoic philosophy (reason triumphs over emotion). Good for summer evening reading by a firepit – just don’t get too carried away with your emotional enjoyment of the fire. It’s just a fire.
Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not For Sale by Rachel Lloyd
This book focuses on Rachel’s past life in the commercial sex industry, and her work with girls in that life in New York. She also fought hard to pass legislation in New York where the young girls (underage) would not be prosecuted for their crimes, but would rather be helped (at the age of 11, was it a “choice” to be involved in this life of sex for sale??) She combines stories of girls she has met and worked with, along with the story of her life and the book was informative and interesting. Rating: 8 out of 10. Not an easy subject to read about (stories of pimps, prostitutes, young girls made to work in the sex trade, and Rachel herself being beaten by a boyfriend), but thankful my friend recommended it and thankful Rachel wrote this book to educate and inform.
Dan is a well-known news anchor who began using drugs and experienced an on-air panic attack and breakdown. Through learning about meditation, he helped himself to become less stressed. While I disagree with some basic fundamentals of Dan’s “belief” system, I found this book easy to read and interesting, mainly because he talks about different people he interviewed on the subject of peace/no stress/religion. Rating: 7 out of 10. Good, light read, perfect for reading while watching the Cubs play on a summer evening.
True Crime by Andrew Klavan
Somewhat along the vein of a John Grisham novel, this book was easy to read and a great crime novel. Steve Everett, a reporter, gets put on the story of Frank Beachum, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection. Through clues and his interview with Frank, Steve begins to believe Frank is not guilty. (Also made into a movie in the late 90’s with Clint Eastwood starring.) Rating: 8 out of 10 Perfect for reading by a pool or in the sun, lying in a hammock. (Side note: I read this because it is written by Andrew Klavan, whose book on his conversion to Christianity I reviewed last month. That book – The Great Good Thing I would rate higher than this novel, so start with that and then come back and read this one for a fun deep dive into Klavan’s conversion/life story.)
The Dry by Jane Harper
Loved this mystery – especially because of the atmosphere she created… Federal Agent Andrew Falk returns back to the small, Australian town he grew up in for the funeral of his high school friend, Luke. He and his father had been run out of town after they were blamed for the death a friend of his in high school, Ellie. Now that his friend, Luke and Luke’s family has been murdered, Andrew stays around town to try to solve the mystery. Good mystery, even better atmosphere/setting. Rating: 8 out of 10 Perfect summer read
Alyssa worked with Barack Obama for about 10 years, following him from Congress to President. Her book tells personal stories about her life – packing lists! how she was the one to get a tampon dispenser installed in the West Wing! – and behind-the-scenes stories of the campaign trail and White House. Not super well-written, but a light, easy read for your summer. (She’s friends with Mindy Kaling, and there is the sense she is trying to be like Mindy…) Rating: 7 out of 10 Perfect for sitting on the patio, drinking iced tea.
If you’re not up for reading – how about a podcast? Listen to the latest Just Try With Kelli Wick episode about telling your story!