Man, despite lots of late nights watching the postseason (did you happen to catch the Giants WINNING it all last night? Did you? Did you?) I managed a ton of reading this month! And, bonus, I loved pretty much every single page! I was a little “ehhh…” at one point when I looked at my library stack and saw it was all nonfiction, but damn, I picked some good nonfiction to dive into.
So I actually started this at least a month ago, put it down, pick it back up, put it down, then finally finished it. It dragged in some places (I really didn’t care to read five+ pages of letters from Perry’s dad or sister) but still really interesting. Capote does an excellent job of bringing the real-life “characters” to life — the Clutter family, the detectives on the case, and the infamous killers. I guess I would’ve liked maybe a little more exploration into the nature of sociopathy and violence and nature vs. nurture (always a fascinating topic for me), but that material probably would’ve been better in a psychology text rather than a nonfiction/true crime account.
Guys. Do not take what I’m about to say lightly. This is big.
Somewhere around halfway through this one, it was almost — very nearly — like the first time I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Serious. Same tense grip on the pages. Same frantically turning to desperately finish the chapter. Same not being able to put it down because I knew my mind would just keep going, wondering what would happen next, and not let me fall asleep.
The only difference is I did manage to put this one down to go to bed (I finished Deathly Hallows in one long night, partly because I physically couldn’t stop reading it and partly because I knew if I didn’t finish it I’d be risking hearing spoilers the next day). But OMG SO GOOD.
Also, this is really YA? Holy complexity. Either I don’t give teenagers nearly enough credit or it’s only YA because the main character is 11.
Again, oh my God, could not put this one down. The author, Susannah Cahalan, describes her descent into a bizarre and difficult to diagnose psychosis and it’s chilling and heartbreaking. Unlike other memoirs where I still feel some distance from the author, I was right there as Susannah tried to understand what was happening to her, as the psychosis and disease took over her brain, as she sat near comatose in a hospital bed for a month (especially weird because she had no memory for most of that time and pieced it together by studying hospital records and interviewing her family and doctors). Also sheds some light on how pathetically behind the field of medicine still is when it comes to the brain and mental health. But we already knew that, right?
This might be the most engrossing and readable autobiography I’ve ever read. Granted, I haven’t read many, but Agassi’s story was incredible. Again, I didn’t feel like he was keeping any distance throughout the book. I felt for the miserable little boy, forced to play a sport he hated, I triumphed with him as he won Wimbledon in 92, I laughed as he tried to win the affections of Steffi Graf. And I even teared up a little as I read his epiphany about how life’s greatest purpose is to help and care for others, which led to his charitable foundation and charter school in Vegas — and I felt his pride and humility in those accomplishments.
Seriously, even if you have no interest in tennis (I didn’t until Andy Roddick came up — he was a hunk and I was about 15, game, set, match), this one is worth your time.
And finally, purely by chance, I just started The Tender Bar, which was written by Agassi’s ghostwriter/collaborator, so I’m stinkin’ excited about that one.
What have you read/are you reading lately?
photo credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões
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