39. Read 52 Books in a Year (Part 2)

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As of my last book update on June 24th, I had read 13 of the 52 books for this year.  It’s been a few weeks and I was hoping to be a LITTLE further along, but sometimes life gets in the way, mis amigos.  Here’s where we are now:

14. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: 5 Stars
I’ll be honest with you, I listened to the audiobook (narrated by Claire Danes, who should narrate everything all the time).  It had been on my list for awhile, but climbed to the top because of the popularity of the TV show.  My god, this book.  I walked around in a haze with my headphones plugged in for DAYS waiting for the Eyes to grab me.  This dystopian future details a USA that has been overthrown by religious tyranny and woman are relegated to subservient roles (including the Handmaids, who are used for breeding).  It is an excellent, excellent book.

15. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield: 2 Stars
Being perfectly candid, this felt like Jane Eyre fan fiction.  I should not have chosen this book as a follow up to The Handmaid’s Tale.  To be fair, I probably should have just quit reading altogether, as nothing would have lived up to it. In comparison, the writing seems try-hard (every few sentences, the narrator thinks she sees a ghost. How many reflective surfaces are in that damn house?) and Setterfield seems to find twins and death tropes incredibly profound.

16. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: 4.5/5 Stars
I did it. I joined the Malcolm Gladwell cult.  This is my first foray into the world of Malcolm Gladwell, and I’ve already found myself citing this book in 6 different conversations.  Interesting and accessible, even for those of us who aren’t social scientists.

17. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken: 5+ Stars
If Al Franken decides to run for president, I will quit my job and immediately join his campaign.  Not sure what I would be qualified to do, but I would gladly lick stamps if needed.  First, this book cemented what I already knew, that Al Franken is a great senator and is both passionate about service and very funny.  Second, this book reminded me of the good in people and the good in America.  He tells stories of people he’s met along his journey from SNL writer to Minnesota Senator.  Some of the stories are uplifting, some are inside looks at people we already know, and all are human.  A personal favorite funny line (of many) was, “Ted Cruz is the Dwight Schrute of the Senate.” I highly and wholeheartedly recommend. (Particularly the audiobook, read by Al Franken)

Progress: 17/52

Share your book recommendations in the comments!  I have itchy eyeballs for the next one!

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