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review 2018-07-21 19:50
I Almost Forgot About You ★★★☆☆
I Almost Forgot About You - Terry McMillan

I appreciate a romance that is acerbically funny rather than cloying and this one gets bonus points for a main character and her romantic interests who are middle aged and dealing with all the life issues that go with it. The characters, their relationships, and the events felt real and not too improbable and the dialogue was snappy. I enjoyed it so much that it mostly overcame the usual fatal flaw of having been written in first person, present tense. Normally, I’ll DNF those immediately, but I was actually able to forget the style and fall into the story for the most part.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. Audiobooks read by the author tend to be pretty hit/miss, but MacMillan did a terrific reading, especially with the dialogue.

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review 2018-07-15 16:47
Lock In ★★★★☆
Lock In - John Scalzi,Wil Wheaton

Loved it. Loved the writing, loved the characters, loved the story. I loved the “what if” of the idea of the story. I loved how the concepts of body autonomy and consent and disabilities and discrimination and community are toyed with. The only reason this wasn’t a five star is that I was a little too distracted by the plausibility of the *how* of the disease, but that’s something I tend to always get wrapped up in with this sort of story and not at all the writer’s fault.

 

Audiobook, purchased via Audible. Wil Wheaton’s performance truly makes the story come alive. He is amazing. Many thanks to Obsidian Blue for recommending this one to me!

 

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text 2018-07-13 14:27
Fascism: A Warning - Reshelving
Fascism: A Warning - Madeleine Albright

I'v e been trying to make myself pick this up and move beyond the first chapter, but the subject matter is just too heavy for me right now. I'm reshelving it and will try again later.

 

Right now, I'm doing comfort re-reads on audio, and for my bound book reading, I'm going to do some light fiction for a while until I'm in a better frame of mind.

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text 2018-06-29 15:52
Fascism: A Warning - 2%
Fascism: A Warning - Madeleine Albright

If we think of fascism as a wound from the past that we had almost healed, putting Trump in the White House was like ripping off the bandage and picking at the scab...

 

The United States has had flawed presidents before. In fact, we have never any other kind, but we have not had a chief executive in the modern era whose statements and actions are so at odds with democratic ideals.

 

From the early stages of his campaign and right into the Oval Office, Donald Trump has spoken harshly about the institutions and principles that make up the foundation of open government. In the process, he has systematically degraded political discourse in the United States, shown an astonishing disregard for facts, libeled his predecessors, threatened to lock up political rivals, referred to mainstream journalists as the enemy of the American people, spread falsehoods about the integrity of the US electoral process, touted mindlessly nationalistic economic and trade policies, vilified immigrants and the countries from which they come, and nurtured a paranoid bigotry toward the followers of one of the world's foremost religions. 

 

None of this is a newsflash to me. It's what has concerned me most about this administration and so thoroughly alarmed me when elected officials in other branches of government - the ones supposed to provide the checks and balances our entire system of government depend on - failed to rein him in. 

 

This is depressing as hell. I'm going to have to take this book in small sips. 

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review 2018-06-29 02:18
Breakfast at Tiffany’s ★★★★☆
Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote

It was then that she asked about Jose. The instant she saw the letter, she squinted her eyes and bent her lips in a tough tiny smile that advanced her age immeasurably.

 

“Darling,” she instructed me, “Would you reach in the drawer there and give me my purse? A girl doesn’t read this sort of thing without her lipstick.”

 

Guided by a compact mirror, she powdered, painted every vestige of twelve-year-old out of her face. She shaped her lips with one tube, colored her cheeks from another. She penciled the rims of her eyes, blued the lids, sprinkled her neck with 4711, attached pearls to her ears, and donned her dark glasses. Thus armored, and after a displeased appraisal of her manicure’s shabby condition, she ripped open the letter and let her eyes race through it while her stony small smile grew smaller and harder.

 

Having seen the movie several times over the years, before ever reading Capote’s novella, it’s impossible to think about or review one without reference to the other. It’s a shame, because the book deserves to be judged on its own merit. I was mesmerized by the way Holly was written and her character revealed. Much like the movie, she commands all the attention and leaves everyone else cast in shadow. But they are very different people, the movie Holly and the book Holly. Both are damaged, but the book Holly is wholly unsympathetic. She is selfish, shallow, and mean-spirited. She takes everything, and gives nothing except what it pleases her to give. She is tough, the ultimate survivor. But she’s no sociopath. It pains her, sometimes, this selfishness and the knowledge of the misery she causes a few that she leaves behind. But not enough to stop her. I also had little sympathy for the people left in the wreckage, for they knew what she was and still loved her, still yearned after her.

 

Like the movie, the book is problematic for modern sensibilities. What I found bizarre was that the movie created this monstrous Asian caricature from an innocuous side character who barely registers in the book’s action, while sanitizing the book’s portrayal of African Americans and Holly’s overtly racist and homophobic remarks and attitudes. Holly Golightly and the author that created her both originated from the Jim Crow South, so I’m unsurprised by the book, but I guess by 1961 the wider US audience was sensitive to such treatment of black Americans but still delighted by a white man in yellow face.

 

Audiobook, purchased via Audible. While I wasn’t enamored with the voice Michael C Hall used for Holly, his performance was otherwise stellar. His pacing and inflection really highlighted Capote’s writing.

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