Tag Archives: nonfiction

Thomas’s Top Ten 2016 Reads

Hello all! As per tradition, here lies the top 10 books out of the 114 I read in 2016. While the United States’s political climate may have sucked this year, I did read a ton of stellar nonfiction, so that served as a coping mechanism for me to escape the bigotry and prejudice so prevalent within our country benefits this blog post, at least. Fiction, on the other hand, did not satisfy me as much this year – perhaps because I read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara in 2015, a masterpiece that has ruined my ability to appreciate less-than-stellar writing forever. I would love to see if any of our top picks match up, so without further ado: Continue reading

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Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

*Note: I do not post all of my book reviews on this blog. For more, check out my Goodreads page.*

“Suicide is a particularly awful way to die: the mental suffering leading up to it is usually prolonged, intense, and unpalliated. There is no morphine equivalent to ease the acute pain, and death not uncommonly is violent and grisly. The suffering of the suicidal is private and inexpressible, leaving family members, friends, and colleagues to deal with an almost unfathomable kind of loss, as well as guilt. Suicide carries in its aftermath a level of confusion and devastation that is, for the most part, beyond description.”

A gripping, masterful book about a topic shrouded in horror and sadness. Continue reading

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Thomas’s Ten Top 2014 Reads

Sometimes I forget that I should write about books on this blog, so here we go with a list of my top ten 2014 reads (as in, books I read in 2014, not just books published in 2014)! I have split them up into fiction and nonfiction, the latter of which I notice I read more of as I get older. The list contains a healthy mix of genres, or at least I like to think so. Without further ado, here starts the list: Continue reading

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Personal Update: Thomas, Revisited

About a month and a half into summer vacation, I still have not published much on this blog. I ask myself why: is it a bad case of writer’s block, or have I lost interest? At first I wondered whether I was just waiting until after I got my license to start anything serious, but even after attaining it after endangering the lives of me and my examiner, here I am writing this post. Continue reading

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Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

5/5 stars.

I first fanboy squealed on page 11, when Judith Lewis Herman created a connection between mental illness and feminism, two of my favorite topics. Continue reading

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Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

Bird by Bird is my new bible. Not just for writing, but for life – it is my favorite work of nonfiction so far. Continue reading

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The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

Have you ever wanted to hoard cats? Did you know that there’s a sonic hedgehog gene that can make your skin peel off? Can you fathom that pheromones could make you fall in love?

The Violinist’s Thumb contains chapters on all of these topics – it combines shocking facts with biological premises with the history of DNA discovery. Continue reading

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Filed under 3 stars, Book Reviews, Books

How Children Succeed by Paul Tough

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

As someone possibly striving to become a teacher, I appreciated How Children Succeed. Paul Tough variegates his writing style enough to keep the book entertaining without losing track of the message he puts forth – one way he does this is by including various anecdotes. He does not just share stories about kids who have suffered in the current education system, but he reveals parts of his own journey, such as when he dropped out of Columbia University.

Tough connects these tales to psychology too, by examining several pertinent ideas like character, conscientiousness, and what it truly takes to succeed in an academic environment. Continue reading

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Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened acts as the autobiography of Jenny Lawson, better known as The Bloggess. She writes about various anecdotes, ranging from her experience with a talking squirrel to her social anxiety issues at parties. Written in a stream-of-consciousness style, it will most likely please fans of her blog, as well as others who want a funny book to read.

While I liked Jenny Lawson’s voice and her crazy life, I myself did not find Let’s Pretend This Never Happened funny, which was the foundation of the book. Continue reading

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Filed under 3 stars, Book Reviews, Books

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

From a psychological standpoint, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion earns five stars. The book loses some of its appeal when Jonathan Haidt veers into political philosophy, however – especially when he raises the biased question “why are religious people better neighbors and citizens?”

Let me backtrack. The Righteous Mind is split into three sections. The first focuses on how intuitions come first and are followed by strategic reasoning, the second shows that there are six moral foundations (Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Liberty/Oppression, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, and Sanctity/Degradation), and the third hones in on the belief that morality binds and blinds. By the end each part made sense in relation to one another and came together to pack a strong moral philosophy punch. Though the book had some dense sections – like the history and biology of moral philosophy – Haidt included interesting scenarios, research, and anecdotes to alleviate the doldrums. Continue reading

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books