Reading wrap-up #72

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

  • (★★★★★): Loved it, won’t shut up about it for the foreseeable future
  • (★★★★): Really liked it, enjoyable experience
  • (★★★): Liked it enough, no strong opinions
  • (★★): Didn’t care for it, would actively discourage people reading 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.

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang The Heart Principle: 9780593197837: Hoang, Helen: BooksRating: ★★★

Genre: Romance

GoodReads rating: 4.07 / 5 (43,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library)

PopSugar prompt: A romance book by a BIPOC author

Summary: “When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too… That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.”

Thoughts: I was quite disappointed in this book unfortunately. While I was lukewarm towards her first book The Kiss Quotient, I really enjoyed Take a Hint, Dani Brown and decided to give more romance a shot. This book didn’t do anything for me sadly. The premise was too similar to The Kiss Quotient and it felt quite infantile to me. However to end on a good note, I really understood the turbulence of a parent in a health crisis/hospice (“I shouldn’t be so glad to go. But I am. Even worse, I never want to come back. I want to run and keep running.”) and mourning for them so many times. I also appreciated the representation of autism in women and appreciate that the author claims this is her most autobiographical work. Well done on that.

The One by John Marrs

The One: Marrs, John: 9781335218841: BooksRating: ★★★★

Genre: Thriller, science fiction

GoodReads rating: 4.13 / 5 (86.000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library)

Summary: Match Your DNA has revolutionized relationships by identifying your soulmate with a simple mouth swab. We follow five “matches” with dark and twisted stories thanks to this new gene-identifying technology.

Warning: This book contains mention of miscarriage, gratuitous violence, abortion, stillbirth and pedophilia

Thoughts: This was a very entertaining read, coming from someone who isn’t crazy about sci-fi. Although the book does a good job of covering all its bases of questions the reader might have about this technology (why do these Matches live so close? What if their Match doesn’t align with their perceived sexuality? Catfishes?), you do have to suspend a little bit of disbelief at the end of the book. At first, it’s a little hard to keep what’s going on with all the Matches but but there’s a little half sentence “recap” at the beginning of the chapter throughout the book.

Other adaptations: There’s a Netflix series of it with okay reviews and it seems like the only thing they have in common is the premise of a DNA soulmate-matching service: none of the same characters or plot. I think I’ll give it a skip.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America: Rothstein, Richard: 9781631492853: BooksRating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, history, race, politics

GoodReads rating: 4.45 / 5 (27,000 ratings)

Medium used: Audiobook (borrowed from library)

Summary: Rothstein presents that “America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation—that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies” but rather experience “de jure segregation—the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments—that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.” Racist zoning practices from over a century ago are still hurting Black populations today and because this denial of integration “was state-sponsored, the nation is obligated to remedy it.”

Warning: This book contains themes of racial violence.

Thoughts: This was really eye-opening and gave a lot of good explanations to issues we’re all aware of but don’t know why. The book detailed how governments would exercise eminent domain (right to take private property for public use) to demolish Black property into spaces like parks. Two examples that really stood our to me were Sugar Hill in Los Angeles to build a freeway and Seneca Village to build Central Park. I would recommend the physical or E-book as it has a lot of great pictures and maps to supplement the material. Even in now liberal Seattle, Boeing erected suburbs with racially exclusive clauses, hence why Seattle is still so segregated. To end with a quote, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” We must make reparations for this racist zoning immediately.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup: Carreyrou, John: 9781509868087: BooksRating: ★★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, business, true crime

GoodReads rating: 4.38 / 5 (214,000 ratings)

Medium used: Audiobook (borrowed from library)

PopSugar prompt: A book you can read in one sitting

Summary: In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.”

Thoughts: Yes, I read this audiobook in one sitting on my drive from Los Angeles to Oregon. It was so engrossing I couldn’t stop reading. I only knew the basics of this situation but this book does a great job of covering more and painting an epic story with the ending still to be determined as Holmes is still on trial. This was especially close to home as Theranos made a second headquarters in Arizona and scammed thousands of patients. I loved the quote, “When you strike at the king, you must kill him” even if in this case we’re talking about a queen. I believe her time of reckoning is upon us as there’s not much else she can do to move past the biggest case of business fraud of this generation. I can’t recommend this book enough.

Other adaptations: There’s an HBO documentary about Holmes and the miniseries starring Amanda Seyfried will premiere in March of this year on Hulu.

Have you read any of these?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.


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