I’ve been on a non-fiction kick lately. I’ve been volunteering at my local library, in the non-fiction section as it happens and I’ve picked up a few interesting titles. Here are my latest reviews.
Whip Smart: A Memoir by Melissa Febos: A memoir of a professional dominatrix. The culture of dominatrixes is interesting, but Febos is not the most talented writer I have ever read. Her attitude is condescending and I felt the book harped a bit too much on her personal issues. While the book brings up some interesting points about feminism and I enjoyed learning about the profession, I wouldn’t particularly recommend this particular book, if only for the style of the author. 3 stars
Something for the Pain: One Doctor’s Account of Life and Death in the ER by Paul Austin: I was initially interested in this memoir because the author attended my alma mater (that is so weird to type. SO WEIRD.) Apparently he didn’t spend enough time in the English building because this book was a disappointment. There wasn’t as much detail about the actual cases he took on in the ER as I would have liked, and instead included some very personal details about his life away from the hospital. (I didn’t need to know about his sex life, I really didn’t.) 2 stars
The Junior Officers’ Reading Club: Killing Time And Fighting Wars by Patrick Hennessey: First of all, the author is lowkey cute. Second of all, there’s a lot of military vocabulary in this book and I was confused for a lot of it. Third of all, hegemonic masculinity runs rampant and it’s a tad bit uncomfortable for me, as a female reader. This is an interesting memoir of a soldier’s time training and fighting for the British army in the Middle East. It just didn’t really pull me in, and it only made me more fearful for the future. 3 stars
Terrorist Hunter by Anonymous: I was really interested in this memoir of a woman who went undercover in terrorist cells in the United States. I was looking forward to her perspective as a woman, originally from Iraq, on radical terrorist organizations. But all I got was a lot of fear mongering, accusations, and hatred. She is immediately suspicious of all Muslims, believes that ALL Muslim charities are fronts for Al-Qaeda, and pushes some really dangerous rhetoric. We don’t need her brand of angry witch hunts in today’s world. I’m disappointed. 2 stars
The Mistresses of Cliveden: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power, and Intrigue in an English Stately Home by Natalie Livingstone: I absolutely love the stately British aristocratic homes and their histories. I was really excited to read this account of the mistresses of Cliveden, an estate near London on the Thames. I wasn’t exactly disappointed, more underwhelmed. The information on the women itself was fascinating (who knew Nancy Astor was such an awful person?) and the book has a substantial works cited. But the way the information was presented was just a bit… meh, slightly too academic and not particularly engaging. For a more popular history, the presentation was a bit dry, but still worth a try. 3 stars
Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris: Part-grammar guide and part-memoir, this book by a New Yorker copy editor had me laughing out loud. Norris’ voice comes through beautifully, even when explaining complicated grammar rules. (This post is chock full of grammar mistakes I’m sure. For that, I apologize to Ms. Norris.) I loved her stories from her desk at the New Yorker. If you have even the slightest interest in grammar I defintely recommend it. If you don’t, this probably isn’t for you. 4 stars