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The splendid and the vile

The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ by Heather Morris.

Interesting book, written like a fable. It is a reading of a motivational book with many spiritual / philosophical concepts. It focus in the personal journey of the main character, but the other characters also contribute to help Santiago reach the end of his personal journey. It explores / uses different religions views to explain this personal joirney.

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

Beach Read: I might have been a little generous with my star rating this go around but this one did surprise me. It is somewhat misleading but although it has some deeper parts that can cause you pause, the book keeps moving fast. In that way it reminded me of The Mother-in-Law. January writes romance novels with happy endings. Gus writes gritty literary fiction. When January's father unexpectedly dies and reveals he had an affair, how can January continue to write her happy endings? With a book deadline looming, writer's block on the mind and her dad's beach house to clean out and sell so she can get her checking account balance back in the black, January moves to the beach house for the summer. Low and behold her next door neighbor is her college writing arch nemesis. Gus is having some writer's block of his own and a chance meeting brings them together and they strike up a bet. Does this book turn out like Gus' or January's writing style? You will have to find out.

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips. I absolutely devoured this book. After spotting it on display at my favorite Independent Bookstore I was intrigued. The title makes it sounds like it touches on Climate Change. Nope. It's set in wild and isolated Russia where I imagine the ice seems to disappear into the horizon. This book was described as a literary thriller. I loved the wonderful character based writing but think I read the book with a “thriller” mindset, trying to solve the mystery that links together all of the characters. As I now reflect on the book and think about the ending, I see (and will definitely re read with this in mind) the author's brilliance is in her insightful character and community vignettes. Unique format. Splendid book.

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell - I waited for a road trip to tackle this audiobook. The format is more podcast style which made it more immersive, fast paced, and perfect for the long drive across Texas. I do like Gladwell's books and his podcast, Revisionist History. However, I wasn't prepared for how relevant this book is to the precise point in time in which we find ourselves in America. Transparency, truth default (or the loss of it), police training, fundamental inability to read "strangers"... The topics tackled in each chapter are often difficult to hear about (Sandra Bland, Sandusky, Nasser) so buckle up and be prepared to think. Looking forward to revisiting some chapters in the book as this settles with me over the next few days.

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff. Any review I could write would be inadequate. Vital. Moving. No commentary - simply a well organized oral history. Highly recommend on audiobook.

Behind Closed Doors: Quick summer thriller that does the job it should. Keeps the pages turning. Keeps things interesting but doesn’t take too much brain power. A marriage looks to perfect because it is. A women in control but really being controlled. A sick husband who has a disturbing plan. But sisters who are smarter and stronger than each realizes.

Everything That I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

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