Book review schmozzle

4 Jul

Well, I’ve been reading, as per usual, and even more than usual, since it’s summer and in my mind summer is reading time…goes right along with holidays, and if I’m not going on holidays I should read extra to feel like I am, right?

Some of the books I’ve read in the last couple weeks have been fantastic and must be added to your “to read” list (I hope it’s not as long as mine).

First up: “CRAZY: A father’s search through America’s mental health madness”

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This book is amazing.  I had to read it for school and actually wrote an A+ paper on it, but, if you’re a student, you know how those kinds of readings go, and this was worth reading with a little more attention.  If you know anyone who has a serious mental illness, or think you might have one or one day develop one, read this.  You will not bring your mentally ill self to the United States.  And Canada may not be a much better bet.  You will keep your family close.  This book is a crushingly realistic look at the limited support available for mentally ill individuals and their families, and about the cycle between prison and the street that so many mentally ill people find themselves trapped in.  I had to read it for school, yes, but it is definitely not a textbook, and it is well-researched and written by a former journalist whose son was diagnosed with schizophrenia.  Fascinating and slightly terrifying because that’s what serious mental illness is; it could happen to anyone, anytime, and we could all use a little more compassion.

Now that you’re a little freaked out and examining your sanity, the next thing you should read is probably Seventeen magazine, to lighten things up a bit and worry instead about whether that boy will call you back and how to get rid of acne.

Then onwards to “SUPERfreakonomics”!  It is super.

I recently read “Freakonomics”, and it was ok but not everything I was hoping for.  THIS follow-up book was everything I’d been hoping for.  The writers I imagine as similar to the characters in “The Big Bang Theory”, and they write with a sort of non-stop dry, witty sarcasm I find quite irresistible.  They poke fun at accepted assumptions, while also gently ribbing themselves and other economists.  They tackle some interesting subjects like stopping terrorists before they strike, and then manage to make high-end prostitution look like a viable and wise career option.  Fantastic.

But that’s enough non-fiction for now, so on to “The Help”.

 This was a book club choice, and I’m so glad it was because I probably wouldn’t have read it otherwise.  I have a bit of a problem with conformity, and generally, if everyone’s reading a book, I won’t.  Partly I just think books can’t live up to that much hype, and I hate being disappointed in a book that I’m sure would be good if I hadn’t gone in with EXPECTATIONS.  That’s right, I haven’t read “Twilight”, “Harry Potter”, or any other number of such books.  “The Hunger Games” is still sitting on my shelf, and since I own it I’ll have to get to it eventually but right now it is solidly in that “too popular” category. 
Anyway, back to “The Help” – read it.  It’s not wildly exciting or dramatic, but it grabs your attention and is also informative, my kind of book.  Written by a white woman raised by a Negro maid in Mississippi, it looks at the lives of these women who, as she says points out, were trusted to raise white people’s children but not trusted with the silverware.  It’s an excellent look at how similar we all are if we only remember to look for those similarities.
Back to non-fiction, I also recently read “The Girls Who Went Away”, about pregnant girls who were sent away from their hometowns to have their babies, and then expected/pressured to give them up for adoption rather than disgrace their families.  This happened SO recently, and anyone who has children will understand the heartbreak these girls experienced as they got to cuddle and feed their babies sometimes for more than a week in the hospital, then had to give them away.  It gives me the shivers, and I wish the legalization of abortion wasn’t the factor to bring about change, but it was.
Girls Who Went Away
Now I have the new Jamie Oliver cookbook “Food Revolution” (mmm, recipes!), “Something Borrowed” (gotta read it before I see the movie), “The King’s Speech” (same deal: book, then movie) and “Bringing up Girls” (maybe I should learn about that) and “Bringing up Boys” (only fair to read both).
SO, should be a busy week of not cleaning the house!  I’m so glad my kids love books too, and hope it continues as they get older!  
What’s on YOUR must-read recommendation list??  I can always use a few more to look forward to… 🙂

3 Responses to “Book review schmozzle”

  1. Renae July 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    I loved ‘The Help’! They’re actually coming out with the movie this summer, I believe (good thing you read it, now you can watch the movie;) ). ‘Bringing up Girls’ is also quite an interesting read. Enjoy!

  2. Melissa Bredenhof July 9, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    I’m so going to have to check out these books! I see the library doesn’t have the girls who were sent away, so I’ll have to find it at the book store. I heard the book “Room” is really good. I just requested it at the library, so it’ll be a bit before I get my hands on it. Another good book is “The Glass House”. Happy reading!

    • Anna July 9, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

      Ooh, I’m definitely going to have to read “Glass House”, that’s a couple people now recommending it. And I did get “The Girls who went away” through the library…are Yarrow and Abbotsford part of the same system?

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