Title: How to Remove a Brain
Author: David Haviland
Page Count: N/A
Publishing Date/Publisher: July 2017/ Thistle Publishing
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.
Title: The White Headhunter
Author: Nigel Randell
Page Count: N/A
Publishing Date/Publisher: 24 January 2019/Thistle Publishing
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.
Title: Famous Assassinations
Author: Sarah Herman
Page Count: N/A
Publishing Date/Publisher: Nov. 9th, 2018
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.
Author: Tara Westover
Performer: Julia Whelan
Length: 12 hrs, 15 min, 32 sec
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by Random House Audio
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.
Title: End of Days, the Assassination of John F. Kennedy
Author: James Swanson
Page Count: 398
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.
Title: HausMagick: Transform Your Home with Witchcraft
Author: Erica Feldmann
Page Count: 256
Publishing Date/Publisher: March 12, 2019 by HarperOne
Review: I happened upon this book by pure chance, or by destiny (however you want to look at it). I came into work, and there it was — sitting on my desk in a manila envelope. It was sent to me by a friend who works at our main library, and I guess as he was sorting through ARCs sent to us by various publishers, he thought it might be of interest to me.
Witchcraft isn’t my thing, but I decided to give the book a chance. Although I cannot really buy into the “magical” aspect of the rituals described in this book, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could really get behind a lot of the ideas. At the core of this book are themes like mindfulness and setting positive intentions, and these principles really resonate with me. I do believe that people can set the tone or vibe for themselves and others around them, and this book has a strong focus on creating an environment that centers us and gives us peace.
This book covers a lot of different topics including astrology, crystals, and herbs. I enjoyed learning more about these various topics and I could appreciate the aesthetics of the photographs sprinkled throughout the book.
All in all, I am glad that this book happened upon my desk, and I even already have someone in mind who I will be recommending it to!
Title: Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy
Author: Eamon Javers
Page Count: Unavailable
Publishing Date/Publisher: February 2010, Harper Business
Review: Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did since I don’t have much interest in economics or business practices, but I really loved reading it. Javers discusses the game of corporate spies by giving case studies and tells them like stories, which makes them very easy to read.
He also conducted many interviews with both active and no-longer active spies, which really helps add to his book. It adds a level of credibility. I also liked that he detailed the ways spies both follow people and how people can tell if they are the ones being followed.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, even if you aren’t into economics or business (both things honestly go over my head and I was still able to understand what he was talking about).