On My Bookshelf

After brazenly bragging about my book-picking luck, I ended up with a few duds in a row. Oh well, I’m not going to talk about those. I haven’t actually finished any of these, but here is what I’m enjoying:

Awakenings by Oliver Sacksawakenings

From Amazon.com: Awakenings–which inspired the major motion picture–is the remarkable story of a group of patients who contracted sleeping-sickness during the great epidemic just after World War I. Frozen for decades in a trance-like state, these men and women were given up as hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Oliver Sacks gave them the then-new drug L-DOPA, which had an astonishing, explosive, “awakening” effect. Dr. Sacks recounts the moving case histories of his patients, their lives, and the extraordinary transformations which went with their reintroduction to a changed world.

I liked Hallucinations immensely, so I moved on to this one. I’m reading an older edition – it was all that was available online from Paperbackswap. Obviously, this is a very different book from Hallucinations, but I am enjoying it all the same. Dense reading, so it should keep me busy for a while. I don’t have as much time to read books at home as I do to listen to them at work.

Coolidge by Amity Shlaescoolidge

From Amazon.com: In this riveting biography, Shlaes traces Coolidge’s improbable rise from a tiny town in New England to a youth so unpopular he was shut out of college fraternities at Amherst College up through Massachusetts politics. After a divisive period of government excess and corruption, Coolidge restored national trust in Washington and achieved what few other peacetime presidents have: He left office with a federal budget smaller than the one he inherited. A man of calm discipline, he lived by example, renting half of a two-family house for his entire political career rather than compromise his political work by taking on debt. Renowned as a throwback, Coolidge was in fact strikingly modern—an advocate of women’s suffrage and a radio pioneer

You have probably already picked up on my gravitation towards memoirs/biographies/autobiographies. You may have even picked up on my theme of presidents. I actually minored in presidential studies* in college. Coolidge isn’t my favorite of the biographies I’ve read, but I’m still enjoying it. I’m trying to focus more on people I know little about instead of relying on some old favorites. So far, it is working quite well.

Pimp: The Story of My Life by Iceberg Slimiceberg

From Amazon.com: As real as you can get without jumping in, this is the story of Slim’s life as he saw, felt, tasted, and smelled it. Only he could tell this story and make the reader feel it. If you thought Hustle & Flow was the true pimp story, this book is where it all began. This is the heyday of the pimp, the hard-won pride and glory, small though it may be; the beginnings of pimp before it was dragged in front of the camera, before pimp juice and pimp style. A trip through hell by one man who lived to tell the tale. The dangers of jail, addiction and death that are still all too familiar for today’s black community. Though it is a tale of his times, it will remain current and true for as long as there is a race bias, as long as there is a street life, as long as there is exploitation.

Gritty and sometimes difficult to read, but a powerful look at candid reality. I haven’t finished it yet, but will. Overall, it is engaging as it transports you to a foreign (to me, at least) world. The audiobook has sound effects; I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Oink: My Life with Mini-Pigs by Matt Whymanpigs

From Amazon.com: Matt Whyman, a successful novelist, enjoys a quiet writer’s life in the English countryside … until his career wife, Emma, discovers the existence of a pig said to fit inside a handbag. She believes not one but two would be a perfect addition to the already diverse Whyman clan, which includes one wolf-like dog, a freaked-out feline, their wild bunch of ex-battery chickens as well as four challenging children. In reality, nobody could anticipate the trials and misadventures two riotous, raucous little piglets could bring. From turning Whyman’s office into a literal pigsty, stealing his spot on the family sofa to trashing his neighbour’s garden while drunk on fermented apples, Butch and Roxi swiftly establish themselves as “animals of mass distraction.”

Yes, minipigs. Do I need to say more?


*Yes, presidential studies; that is a real thing. Useless, but real. Maybe on the same level as that ubiquitous and mocked philosophy major? It was fun and fit in nicely with my history major [which I do use every day, actually].


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