Book Reviews – November 2021

It seems I have accidentally stumbled upon a theme: Mental Illness. Two (really, three, in my opinion) out of the books that I read in November were about mental illness. I had no idea when I picked them up. They seemed interesting. That’s why I bought them and they didn’t disappoint.

The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against L.B.J. : I never thought in a million years that I would end up enjoying this book as much as I did. I had also suspected something was very “off” about the fact that L.B.J. was smiling as he was being inaugurated into the presidency with Jacquelyn Kennedy standing next to him in a bloodied suit just minutes after witnessing her husband’s assassination.

Deplorable

Roger Stone impresses in this book. It is incredibly well researched and referenced. If ever you doubted whether Lyndon B. Johnson orchestrated the whole plot with the help of several key players, then this book will quell those doubts. I could NOT put this book down! It’ll blow you away.

The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit by Shirley MacLaine : Reading this book was like taking an interminable ride through crazy town. I picked it up thinking she would talk about her experience in walking The Way of St. James which does have a cathartic feeling to it but I NEVER thought she would go in the direction that she took this book. Mrs. MacLaine has some of the wildest “visions” I have ever read about in my entire life. The book was both incredibly awkward and unentertaining.

Some Kind of Crazy: An Unforgettable Story of Profound Brokenness and Breathtaking Grace by Terry Wardle: This book is beautiful! I was so impressed with Mr. Wardle’s ability to speak so candidly about his internal battles with mental illness. I laughed, sighed, cried and got angry with him. It was a rollercoaster of emotions! But it was so worth it. It’s a beautifully written story of falling from grace and redeeming oneself.

Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner : Well…nicely put…this book bombed. It was awful. It is a story about a sexually confident little girl, the depravity of old men and the vivid imagination of overprotective father’s. The entire book is a messy amalgamation of misogyny and narrational predictability.

The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times to Live by Heather B. Armstrong : This book is very eye-opening. I am not very familiar with mental illness but this book really gave a lot of insight into how it creeps up on its victims. I was surprised by how engaged I became with it. I even googled her to make sure she was doing well now. The author takes you through the experimental treatment she underwent to cure her debilitating depression. It’s a very interesting read while being funny and hopeful.

My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff : My favorite book in the pack! I read it in a few hours. I loved everything about this book. It reminded me so much of all of the time I had spent in New York City in 1996. The author did a great job of describing the hardship of wanting to pursue one’s dream while balancing the responsibilities of “being an adult” and having to make real sacrifices to keep a roof over one’s head. Adulting is so hard! And Joanna did a fantastic job of explaining that. Right after I read the book, I watched the movie. I was pleasantly surprised by how closely they depicted it. They did a phenomenal job with selecting the right cast for each person in the book.

Hope you enjoy some or all of these book recommendations! Let me know!!

Enjoy,

Live, Read & Wander

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