One Station Away by Olaf Olaffsson (2017)

This is a strange book.  Most of the reviews say it's a story about a doctor (Magnus) and the three women that have influenced his life. That's true, but really it's four women, and while they may have all "influenced" him, by the end of the book, I don't feel like I understand or know him… Continue reading One Station Away by Olaf Olaffsson (2017)

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (2016)

I read this book many months ago, probably last fall: post election season. Like everyone else, I was looking for answers.  I was trying to get a better understanding of the rural population in flyover states (in this case rural Kentucky and Ohio) and why many of them voted the way they did. So I… Continue reading Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (2016)

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (2014)

This might be the most important book I've read this year.  Paired with Ta-Nehisi Coates's  Between the World and Me, these two memoirs offer a raw and brutal lens with which to examine race in America.  As a recent Harvard Law graduate in the 1980s, Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a firm based in… Continue reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (2014)

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (2013)

Before reading this book, I knew next to nothing about Chechnya aside from the fact that it was in a seemingly constant battle for independence from Russia.  And in some ways, I guess that's still what it's known as: a republic that would like to be independent of Russia except that it can't seem to… Continue reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (2013)

When Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi (2016)

In my continued fascination with cancer books, I easily read this small book in one sitting.  It's hard not to.  From the outset, we know the author is doomed by a cancer diagnosis at a young age, and we cannot help but be heartbroken by his unfortunate circumstances.  A neurosurgical resident in his mid thirties,… Continue reading When Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi (2016)

Missoula by Jon Krakauer (2015)

I have utmost respect for Krakauer as a writer and an investigative journalist. He always seems to find a story that needs telling, and he humanizes his stories in such a way that his readers understand the issues and implications of his topics, but we also see the personal and emotional side by getting to… Continue reading Missoula by Jon Krakauer (2015)

The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy (2013)

The first time I read The Prince of Tides, I was mesmerized.  I remember blocking out the world until I finished it and thinking how could any family be that messed up? How could any writer so compellingly convey the dynamics of a dysfunctional family? The feared, all-powerful father, the mother propelled by societal rise,… Continue reading The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy (2013)