What I Have Been Reading Lately

It’s been a while since I have updated my book reviews.  Here are the books I have read lately and my thoughts on them.  Enjoy!

Fiction

(+)First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom.  It was a good and quick read.  Not his best work, but pretty fast moving and entertaining.

(+)The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.  One of the best books I have read in a long time, following a group of friends over the course of their lives.  The writing was superb and the story was excellent.  I look forward to reading the rest of her writing soon.

(+)The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.  A superb book about a college baseball player that captivated me from beginning to end.  Another must read.

(+)Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  I enjoyed this book about the life of a girl who was orphaned in New York City in the early 1900′s.  It was well written and the main character was well developed.

(+)Sycamore Row by John Grisham.  I have liked most of his fiction works and this one was no exception.  This book is another story with the same A Time to Kill main character and is a good, fast read.

(+)The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri.  I like books about different cultures and the author did a good job taking you inside the Indian culture.  The story was excellent and moving as well.

(=)Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith(aka JK Rowling).  I don’t think she is as talented in the adult fiction arena as in the children’s.  It was a ok, but nothing special.

(+)Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison.  I like well written fiction with a twist and this is good.  This book is similar to the books written by Gillian Flynn.

Non-Fiction

(-)Floating City by Sudhir Venkatesh.  He does interesting sociological work but there was no cohesiveness and the book was boring and difficult to read.

(+)The Power of Negative Thinking by Bob Knight.  I love Bob Knight and think he has done a great job molding and teaching basketball players who are scholars as well as athletes.  Though the book was not brilliant, I was very interested in his point of view.

(+)Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris.  I am generally negative about humorous memoirs, but this one was well written and entertaining.

(-)Made To Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.  A poorly written book with information that has been much better explained elsewhere.  Habits by Charles Duhigg is a much more preferable.

(=)You’ll Know at the Finish Line by Joe Desena.  It’s a promotional ebook for Spartan Race, but the discussion of diet and exercise regimens is good.  It also has a section of recipes in the back of the book.

(-)I Wear the Black Hat by Chuck Klosterman.  This book discusses TV heroes that are dark and in morally gray areas.  I was excited initially, but it quickly became boring and uninteresting.

(+)Endgame by Frank Brady.  A very good look at Bobby Fischer’s rise and fall.  The author made him very captivating and gave the reader a good look inside his mind and the reasons behind some of his bizarre behavior.

(+)The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida.  A look inside the mind of a 13 year old boy with autism.  It is the first book of its kind and the author did a good job of conveying his daily life to the reader in a meaningful way.

(+)Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.  It was a great look inside the 2012 election and perhaps even better than their first book, Game Change.  The authors do a great job of weaving together the stories in a cohesive and entertaining way.

(+)David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell.  Though this book is a bit weaker and less groundbreaking than his previous ones, he is an excellent writer and this one is probably still worth a read.

(+)Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan.  Pretty much the same review as Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.  Fun, lighthearted, but not enough laughs for me.

(+)Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink.  A look inside the war zone like situation in a Katrina devastated hospital.  I thought it was a little preachy about morality in the latter half, but the situations they had to deal with were extreme.

(-)Happy Happy Happy by Phil Robertson.  I wanted to read it since I had never watched Duck Dynasty.  I was not a fan of him or his writing, to put it mildly.

(=)Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman.  The book that became a TV series.  The TV show is better than the book.

(=)Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson.  A look inside the mind of the Zen Master and one of the winningest coaches of all time.  There were a few interesting stories, but nothing spectacular.

(+)Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  The writer had a very tough childhood and tells the stories in a very moving and humorous way.  I will probably read the rest of her books.

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