Reading wrap-up #30

As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Liked it enough
  • (★★): Didn’t care for it

Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews. Finally, you can always check out my book review index page if you’re looking for my extremely important opinion on any book in particular.

Me by Elton John

Me: Elton John Official Autobiography: John, Elton: 9781250147608 ...Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, memoir, music 

GoodReads rating:  4.34 / 5 (23,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Warning: This book contains themes of drug abuse.

Summary: Elton John details his life from humble beginnings to family and relationship troubles, addiction and superstardom.

Thoughts: I laughed, I cried and I felt like I was right there with him along the way. Some parts dragged on a bit and I got lost in names, dates and locations, but he’s a fabulous writer and inspiring person. He truly broke barriers.

Other adaptations: Rocketman is a fantastic film. I much preferred it to Bohemian Rhapsody because not only did Taron Egerton sing all the songs, but the song went with the plot and included abstract elements not unlike one of my favorite movies: Across the Universe. Not to mention, Rocketman didn’t shy away from drug use and sex, these rockstars didn’t leave PG-13 lives so their biopics shouldn’t be PG-13. In his own words, “I’m a gay man and recovering addict: there doesn’t seem to be a lot of point in making a sanitized film about me that leaves out the sex and coke.”

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo Three Women (9781451642292): Taddeo, Lisa: BooksRating: ★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, feminism

GoodReads rating:  3.70 / 5 (54,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Warning: This book contains themes of rape and pedophilia.

Summary: The author details the story of the sex lives of three women: a wife having an affair with her high school love, a student taking her teacher to court over an inappropriate relationship and a successful restaurant owner exploring swinging.

Thoughts: After reading and loving Everyday Sexism, I wanted to read more feminist books and this book was released to me after having it on hold for quite some time. This book was okay, but I’m not too sure what it was trying to accomplish and the tones were quite mixed. First of all, some statements seemed kind of misogynistic, even from a woman writer (calling all men sex-crazed animals, implying that sex to all women is an emotional revelation… that kind of thing). Although I could see a bit of myself in each woman, the tone of each story was completely different and left me feeling weird. The turbulent story of taking your teacher to trial for having an inappropriate underage relationship only to read moments later about erotic voyeur conquests didn’t sit well with my spirit. These stories perhaps in separate books (for example, a book like Missoula by John Krakaur to detail the relationship between teach and student) would have been more appropriate. The bottom line is that I didn’t really learn anything from this book. The stories were well-written but there was no bottom line. My favorite non-fiction books are ones that tie history and facts with personal narratives, this book had great personal narratives but lacked analysis. I would have loved perhaps a where-are-they-now epilogue perhaps detailing how the featured relationships shaped them.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies: William Golding, E. L. Epstein: 9780399501487 ...Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Fiction, classics

GoodReads rating: 3.68 / 5 (2,165,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: School boys get stranded on an island and must figure out survival and order to live to see their rescue.

Thoughts: After hating Brave New World, I was hesitant to try another classic, but I was pleasantly surprised with this book and liked it a lot, so much so that it was almost a five star read. The writing was great, the characters were distinct and the story will resonate with me for a while.

Other adaptations: The 1963 movie is considered a classic while the 1990 movie only fared okay.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Reasons to Stay Alive: Haig, Matt: 9780143128724: BooksRating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, memoir, mental health, self-help

GoodReads rating: 4.17 / 5 (40,900 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Warning: This book contains themes of suicide.

Summary: Matt Haig outlines his struggles with depression and how to (quite literally) come down from the ledge and recover.

Thoughts: This book has raving reviews, especially from depressives who can especially empathize, claiming this as a “must-read.” If anything, this should be more of a must-read for people without depression: this book didn’t tell me a whole lot of what I don’t already know and feel but describes well what a fun cocktail depression, anxiety, panic attacks and OCD feels like for those who don’t experience it. The bottom line is that I didn’t find the book particularly groundbreaking but it is, however, a nice short read and more realistic self-help book for people with mental illness.

Have you read any of these?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.


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