Just me. (lara7) wrote,
Just me.

books read 1st and 2nd quarters 2014


1) Kago, kastom and Kalja: the study of indigenous movements in Melanesia today: edited by Marc Tabani and Marcellin Abong (2013) - academic papers on cargo cults. Did not know Papua New Guinea recently had one that was a combination of pyramid scheme and self-help/Tony Robbins blather. probably not of interest to any of you.

2) The Night of the Gun: A reporter investigates the darkest story of his life. His own - David Carr (2008) - What sets this apart from other drug confessional memoirs is that the author actually went back to police reports, court records, hospital files to reconstruct his drinking and crack-using years. A bit self indulgent, but interesting.

3) Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology... by Lawrence Weschler (1996)- How the Museum of Jurassic Technology came to be. Tries to uncover how much of the museum is fictional and how much is real. Worth reading if you're going/have been to the MJT.

4) Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach (2014) She cannot write an uninteresting book. Not as gross as "stiff".

5) A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown by Julia Scheeres (2012) An account told via survivor's tales and a diary kept by one who perished. Depressing but important.

6) Swingland: Between the Sheets of the Secretive, Sometimes Messy, but Always Adventurous Swinging Lifestyle by Daniel Stern (2013) more a memoir than an ethnography, which is what I was hoping for. But still interesting, if a little too Southern California.

7) Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti by Amy Wilentz (2013) Pretty good look at modern Haiti- part journalism, part memoir, but also an unflinching look at Western aid/involvement in Haiti, especially after that last earthquake. Basically, doctors that go to Haiti = good, Sean Penn=better than you'd imagine, UN and NGO aid orgs = probably making things worse.

If you're about to spend any time in a developing country that has lots of foreign aid workers in it (ahem), this is a pretty good primer of what the issues/results of that involvement can look like.

8) The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan (2013) nice social history that doesn't shy away from the ugly parts of the home front (sexism, segregation, etc).

9) The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death by Colson Whitehead (2014) I love his fiction, and really liked this, too. Participatory journalism about the World Series of Poker. Similar in theme to "Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker" but waaay shorter.

10) 30 days in the South Pacific : true stories of escape to paradise edited by Sean O'Reilly (2005) all the Traveler's tales series I've read have been good...so was this one.

11) When the Tea Party Came to Town: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives' Most Combative, Dysfunctional, and Infuriating Term in Modern History by Robert Draper (2012) The author profiles some of the Tea Party folks who got elected in 2010 and tries to show their mindset/motivation beyond "they were obstructionist morons". Not entirely balanced, but a tad more sympathetic than I'd expected.

12) Orange Is the New Black- Piper Kerman (2010)  Different from the TV series but lots to learn about how screwed up the US prison system is.


1) Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (2012) good suspense page-turner about a young marriage in trouble. Didn't like the end, but overall satisfied.

2) Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan (2012) fast, delightful read. For anyone that likes codebreaking and hacker culture and thinks they can co-exist with the printed word.

3) Rubdown- leigh redhead (2007) Australian chick-lit mystery featuring ex-stripper PI. okay but not exceptional. Full of unfamiliar Aussie slang, so at least I learned something from it.

4) Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse: A Novel by Victor Gischler (2008) Like The Road, except with more lulz. Not the best post-apocalyptic book ever, but it was a fun read.

5) The Wrath of Angels: A Charlie Parker Thriller by John Connolly (2013) decent supernatural thriller. Haven't read any others in this series but I liked this one well enough.

6) Wool by Hugh Howey (2012) first 2 thirds are great. but then the last act has too much resolution crammed into it. will read the pre/sequel, just a little disappointed in the pacing.

7) Dear life - Alice Munroe (2012) Short stories. Very Canadian. Most are sad or wistful but I still liked this. Read for Book Club.

8) Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy (2012) started out great but the ending was a mess. Haven't seen the Netflix series, might try that and see if it has a better story arc than the last 3rd of this book.

9) Euphoria- lily king (2014) Anthropologist love triangle in 1930's New Guinea. Loosely based on Margaret Mead. Exceptional.

10) The Returned Jason Mott (2013) Dead people come back to earth for no reason; their living relatives are confused/anxious. Story drags forever and I almost quit this book twice before plodding through. Most of book seems to be about the emotional state of parents who get their dead kids back. Would not recommend.

Tags: books

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