Historical · Non-fiction

How to Remove a Brain

Title: How to Remove a Brain

Author: David Haviland

Page Count: N/A

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: July 2017/ Thistle Publishing

Format: eBook

Review: This was a fun, quirky read. It’s full of interesting stories and tidbits about medical history, including, of course, how to go about removing a brain. Each chapter is broken down into multiple stories relating to one overall theme, meaning it can be read quickly, which is always nice.

David Haviland managed to write the exact amount needed for each topic, never going too far or coming up short. The reader is given the relevant information and can go on to read more on their own time if they want, which means the book isn’t bogged down with too much needless information.

Haviland debunks popular medical myths and discusses how they most likely started. He also finds the obscure fact in order to keep you on your toes.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes medical facts, history, and stories and wants a quick, fun read.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Historical · Non-fiction

The White Headhunter

Title: The White Headhunter

Author: Nigel Randell

Page Count: N/A

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 24 January 2019/Thistle Publishing

Format: eBook

Review: I found this book incredibly engaging and could not put it down. It’s well written and well researched and just a genuine pleasure to read. While I liked the whole book, there is one part that stood out the most:

‘Village history does not reside in the public domain but is owned by various individuals and families- a copyright legitimised by an ancestral connection to a major participant in the narrative.’ This is the line that fully gripped me and made me realise how much I was going to enjoy reading the book. It shows how much research went into writing it, since this is not something that could be easily understood. Randell clearly went to extraordinary lengths to write this book, and it shows. I loved his dedication to making sure the reader understands the culture of the island, and I think that’s what makes the book such a good read.

It appealed to my love of both history and anthropology and I recommend the book to anyone who likes either.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

 

 

Historical · Non-fiction · True Crime

Famous Assassinations

Title: Famous Assassinations

Author: Sarah Herman

Page Count: N/A

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: Nov. 9th, 2018

Format: eReader

Review: There have been a great number of assassinations in human history, and Sarah Herman describes a good deal of them. She separated them by time period and job type (royalty, president, dictator, etc.), taking us from the Roman Empire to Bin Laden.

Each main assassination is broken down into victim, assassination, assassin, and aftermath (or some amalgamation of the sort), making it a relatively quick read, as well as being very organised.

Herman writes very academically, while still being easily read by the public, which is a rare skill. I highly recommend this to anyone at all curious about the history of assassinations.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Memoir · Non-fiction

Educated

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Title: Educated

Author: Tara Westover

Performer: Julia Whelan

Length: 12 hrs, 15 min, 32 sec

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by Random House Audio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: This memoir was truly fascinating.  I thought the audiobook version was incredible.  I have greatly enjoyed this performer for other books, and she really does a fantastic job with this one.

It is hard to believe this is a true story.  The fact that someone can go to college and excel without a formal education is a concept I had never considered.  As a librarian, I am a huge proponent of books, but this story really puts into perspective how powerful literacy, books, and internet access can be.

The physical, emotional, and psychological abuse in this book is difficult to stomach, so this is a serious trigger warning.  It is incredibly frustrating to see the cycle of abuse perpetuated on so many different levels, and it demonstrates how difficult it is to truly cut ties with an abuser, especially one that you love.  This story is a powerful example of how one can break the cycle and move forward in life.  My heart broke for Tara on so many occasions, and some of the choices she had to make for her own mental health and wellbeing brought tears to my eyes.  She is an incredibly resilient human being and I have great admiration for all she has accomplished.

I highly recommend this memoir.  I think it provides important insights into a world that few know about, and it tackles issues, such as mental illness, that have a lasting impact on more people than we realize.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Non-fiction

ECORenaissance

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Title: ECORenaissance: A Lifestyle Guide for Cocreating a Stylish, Sexy, and Sustainable World

Author: Marci Zaroff

Page Count: 272

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: August 14, 2018 by Atria/Enliven Books

Format: Paperback

Review: I didn’t even get past the first few chapters of this book, but boy do I have a lot to say about it.

What really drew me to this book was the gorgeous cover.  When I read the synopsis, I thought that I would be the perfect audience for this book.  I was absolutely wrong.  From the start, the book comes off as pretentious, and has a very “I did it before it was cool” vibe.

This author name drops like crazy, and she even has a small section that gives a shout out to Beyoncé…why?  Because apparently Beyoncé encourages people to recycle, use public transit, and other “green” things that I am sure she does not do herself.

I was also thoroughly disappointed that there were not more pictures inside the book.  Because the cover is so gorgeous, I assumed that the rest of the book would have equally artistic gems spread throughout.  Instead, the pictures were few and far between.  Most are portraits of the author in various sensual poses showing off her Ecoconscience attire.

The author makes it abundantly clear that she coined the term “ECOrenaissance” and uses the word as much as possible.  I kept hearing Regina George on a loop in my head saying, “STOP trying to make ECOrenaissance happen.  It’s NOT going to happen.”  The word is just too mouthy and difficult to spell, and I doubt that it is going to catch on.

I will say that I admire what the author is trying to do, and fundamentally I agree with most of the contents of this book, however, I thought it was too much of a vanity piece, at least at the start, and I quickly became bored reading it.  Perhaps the content gets better later in the book, but I just could not bring myself to finish it.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Historical · Non-fiction · True Crime

The Lady in the Cellar

Title: The Lady in the Cellar

Author: Sinclair McKay

Page Count: Unknown

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 30 October/ White Lion Publishing

Format: eReader

Review: I really enjoyed this book. Sinclair McKay has an amazing writing style, bringing the historical mystery to life and giving enough background information without it feeling like you’re being bogged down with too much information.

The mystery is so engaging and kept me guessing the whole time, which is not something I can say about too many mysteries these days. They tend to be predictable and the twists and turns aren’t actual twists and turns. This one had me at the edge of my seat, so definitely no complaints there.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a good yet quick read.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Historical · Non-fiction

End of Days

Title: End of Days, the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Author: James Swanson

Page Count: 398

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2013, William Morrow

Format: Printed, paperback

Review: ‘Does this guy only write about assassinations?’ my coworker asked when I told him about James L. Swanson’s books. And yes, yes he does. And he does it well. End of Days is a compelling read and had me on the edge of my seat despite knowing what happened. I grew up hearing about JFK’s assassination from my parents and later in documentaries but this is the first book I sought out to explain it. That’s probably because I loved Swanson’s book on Lincoln’s assassination (review for Manhunt), so I already knew his writing style and the level of research he puts into his work (which is a lot, by the way).

Much like his book on Lincoln, he wrote this full of historical facts but made it so it read like a novel. You don’t find yourself inundated with a bunch of dates and names; instead, he integrates it all into the narrative so smoothly.

I highly recommend this book, and one of the biggest pluses for me is that it doesn’t go into any of the conspiracy theories. He mentions some of them at the end, but only to acknowledge that they exist. I thought that was a good call on his part.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

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