Review of ‘Catch and Kill’, by Ronan Farrow (Must-Read)
A must-read for anyone trying to learn more about the way The System works, trying to understand why so many women who are sexually assaulted or raped never report it, and how some people are able to cling to power despite being terrible people. Ronan Farrow’s doggedness, determination, and perseverance through some pretty intense and scary periods of time (this guy was followed by agents from an international spy agency because of his reporting!) will inspire your own activism work. In my case, it made me realise that what I am going through isn’t that bad, and that, most importantly, I really am not alone and the forces we are fighting against are so strong that we really do need everyone to pitch in, even little me with my little actions. Read the book and listen to the podcast, they are both well worth your time.
Review of ‘The Immortalists’, by Chloe Benjamin
So, did the die because they knew the date the date of their death, or did they die because it was inevitable? In this captivating story about four sibling who, as children, visit a sort of fortune-teller who gives them the date of each one’s death, the question of self-fulfilling prophecy versus fate stands strong. It is also an interesting exploration of the way that people in general deal with the question of death. Do you throw yourself into a risky life because at the end of it all, everyone dies? Do you still work on building a stable life—the spouse, the house, the kids, the pets? Do you try to fill your life with meaning—and for who? Meaning for yourself, for others, or both? And even if these questions do not interest you, the quality of the writing, the knitting together of the four siblings’ lives, choices, and pain, make this story poignant and haunting.
Review of ‘American Royals’, by Katharine McGee
The dynamics between the older sister, the heir, and the younger sister, the spare, will no doubt be quite familiar to fans of the Netflix show The Crown, as will the ending of this book (I can’t really share what happens, it’s a pretty big spoiler, but suffice to say that I chuckled and said, out loud, while my child was sleeping, thus waking her: “Ah ha ha, I see you again, The Crown!” And although I am not a royal (shocking, I know), it did make me think a lot about various dynamics in my life between myself, who feels like I have a purpose in life, and those around me who feel that they don’t have a purpose. I mean, so many of my friend suffer from middle class ennui, instead of using their precious resources to do what they can to improve the world—and they remind me of the feelings of “the spare” in both this book and in the show The Crown. I couldn’t help but be quite sad, in both cases, that someone with that many resources, that much visibility, and that much time not spent on the basics of daily life (chores, groceries, cleaning, etc.) weren’t using their time and energy on supporting causes—and in a much more significant way than just shaking hands and giving speeches. But then again, I’m not a royal, so all I can do is support causes with good old on-the-ground activism.
Review of ‘The Last Anniversary’, by Liane Moriarty
Another great book by Liane Moriarty, who, even when she writes something that seems to be obvious, drags you into her story, sit you down on the couch, and although you really should be going because it’s late, you just stay there because you just have to know how it’s going to happen. I’m going to keep this vague because, you know, spoilers, but even if there are parts of the plot that were obvious, either by the middle or even at the beginning of the book, I couldn’t stop reading. Moriarty also makes you care for her characters, which is another reason The Last Anniversary, like so many of her others, is so hard to put down. Don’t expect Big Little Lies, which I find is still the best book she has written (of the ones I have read) and you’ll be fine.
Review of ‘The Hand On The Wall’, by Maureen Johnson
I mostly liked this book. I say mostly because it was too long. The three installments could have easily fit into two shorter ones. There was a lot of repetition when it came to internal monologues and reflections and it got very heavy, far too often. It felt at times that the author was trying to go for Poirot-style monologues, but it was too much, too often. But the plot is fascinating and you will continue reading because you just have to know who killed who—and a number of people died in this series of three, so stay on it. I would still recommend this series, and I would definitely recommend this author’s other books, many of which I have read and some of which are on my TBR pile.