Read Recently: Radical Extremists and My Favorite Book of 2018.
Podcasts are my bread and butter, but since increasing my work hours I've been reaching out to audiobooks to fill my time and satiate my need for long-form narrative. Something you may not know about me is that I grew up LOVING reading- the bookstore was a dangerous place where I would sometimes approach my mother with a stack of 10 books I "couldn't bear to live without." In college, I struggled to balance reading for fun with my workload and my adult brain. I'm still convinced that being medicated for manic depression affects my focus and makes reading very difficult for me as an adult. Anyways, audiobooks have been a huge saving grace for me as an adult, and I'd love to have a more open dialogue about what I'm reading as an adult. Goodreads isn't really my cup of tea, so the easiest way for me to share my thoughts is through here!
Books are rated on a scale of 1-5.
Whenever I need something to read but nothing seems to be striking my fancy I usually lean into a Jon Ronson book. If you’ve never read any of his work, I highly suggest listening to his books in an audio format narrated by the author. My favorites of his work include So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed and the Audible original The Butterfly Effect. I liked Them: Adventures with Extremists well enough to trod through with Jon as he interviewed various political extremists with his skeptically curious nature. The most interesting part of this book is hearing about Alex Jones 17 years in the past before he became the household name for a conspiracy theorist and iconic gay frog meme. This book was published in a pre 9/11 2001, and hearing how harmless and childish Omar Bakri Muhammad, high profile advocate of islamic terrorism, sounded as he attempted to incite unrest upon the muslim community of the UK with the future knowledge that men like this will soon succeed. This recap is oddly serious but Jon Ronson always gives an intensely human and enjoyable recap to his time spent with some of the world’s oddest humans.
This book gave me the weirdest case of literary blue balls I’ve ever had. The premise of this book is EXACTLY my guilty pleasure cup of tea. Dark and gritty retelling of the little mermaid but the little mermaid is a blood thirsty siren and the prince is a swarthy swashbuckler. I got what I wanted for the first half of the book. The descriptions of the Sirens were tough, cool and nasty. I loved the hearts getting ripped out of human flesh deal we had going on. Our prince Elian is a parody of a suave pirate and his wit and charm were a little cringe to me to be quite honest. But the first half of the novel was interesting with high stakes and twists and turns and then it just… falls off the cliff. Exactly what you think happens in the end happens, the easiest ending for teens to digest. It also happened so fast that the stakes felt lower than they were in the beginning. The original Little Mermaid penned by Hans Christian Anderson is full of pain, sorrow, longing, and sacrifice, so I was pretty bummed when the end of this book was wrapped up with a neat little bow.
Neverworld Wake was my most anticipated read of 2018 and it did not disappoint. In fact, I would argue that it exceeded my expectations by a long-shot. I had been a luke warm fan of Pessl after reading Night Film, which I enjoyed reading but felt it had been a little overhyped and that it only really deserved a B or B+. I cannot rave enough about Neverworld. The premise is difficult to summarize in a way that sounds exciting but here’s my best shot: Our protagonist Beatrice is reunited with her estranged high school friend group- minus her dead ex boyfriend who died of mysterious circumstances while they were in school and lead to the rift in their friendship. Beatrice and her friends have an accident and are notified that they have entered what’s called a Neverworld Wake: where they are stuck reliving the same day over and over again until they can come to a consensus as to the one person who will survive the car accident in the real world. I wasn’t particularly excited by this premise and was worried it become tedious and repetitive. It couldn’t have been more opposite to this- I was drinking up this novel like a tall drink of water and there were parts where I couldn’t read fast enough. I had to know what would happen next. I can’t recommend this book enough- it’s classified as YA also so I think literally any person over the age of 13 could read it. Buy it for your husband! Buy it for your teen! Buy it for your dog! Buy it for yourself!