Monday, October 10, 2016

What I'm reading this week (10/10/16)

Well, fall is definitely in the air up here. The trees are turning brilliant colors, the leaves are falling, the furnace is running, and I've switched to my fall coat. Nothing makes me want to cozy up with a good book quite like this weather.

Last week I finished:

If you're interested in the brain, memory, madness, family secrets, and other intrigue, Patient H. M. is the book for you. It's a fascinating true story of the author's grandfather who performed hundreds of lobotomies in the 1950s up to the 1980s. It's also about the author's grandmother, institutionalized and treated with ghastly experiments. And it's also the story of Patient H. M., a lobotomy patient of Dr. Scoville (the author's grandfather) as a young man, resulting in the lost all of his short term memory capability and was studied ruthlessly for the last many decades of his life. We meet the researchers who claim Patient H. M.'s brain, and fight over its ownership after his death. The book brings up many questions about healthcare and research in America, how sometimes the broken illuminate the whole, and the nature of memory. The author pulls many threads of story and the book has a choppy feeling that made it read much more quickly than a book of its size normally does. The choppiness, to me, mimicked the way memory works--not necessarily in the fluid way we would prefer. It's masterful writing, and I certainly hope Mr. Dittrich will come out with future books. My rating: (a strong) 4 stars.

Last week I began:

I've read all of the books in Bill O'Reilly's Killing series, so I knew I'd read Killing the Rising Sun when it came out even though I'm sick to death of World War II stories. So far, it is very much what I expected: the brutality of the Japanese soldiers, and the rush to produce the atomic bomb. While other books go into different aspects of the story, this book deals mostly with the fighting in the Pacific theatre complete with soldiers' own stories of the various battles.

I've been ridiculously excited for the children's book How to Build a House to come out for months. There's not much I enjoy more than houses and all they mean, so even in children's book form, they fascinate me. (For instance, check out the wallpaper, in Philip and Erin Stead's Lenny and Lucy. Gorgeous.)   

This week I continue with:

I'm still adoring American Cake. I've been spending most of my night-time reading engrossed in it instead of my other night-time reads, Firefly Hollow and Otherwise (poems). Seldom do I get the urge to bake a cake, but I have that urge nightly now. And a reminder to look for an interview with the author of American Cake, Anne Byrn, later this week.

My audiobook:

I'm loving Girl Waits with Gun! I really don't want it to end. I think I'll have to pick up the second (new) Kopp sisters book and continue the story yet this fall. 

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