I gave this book 4 stars on GR. I think more for the subject matter than the writing or overall book.
I do like Michael Lewis’s writing. This book captures what he is really good at: he writes real people as if they are characters in a novel. He really captures their essence through their dialogue and it almost feels like you are hearing things from their perspective. He did it in Flash Boys and The Undoing project as well. It’s one of the reasons I keep reading his works. His background in social sciences and economics influences his analysis of the topics in his books.
I was really interested throughout this book because I actually have a graduate degree in health policy. Unfortunately, outside of an internship at an international organisation, I have not worked in the field. I was interested in social epidemiology, emerging health trends such as communicable and noncommunicable diseases, and the confluence of public heath, governance and policy. There is a large theme of this book which is frustrating for the reader of how inept and inefficient health systems are when dealing with epidemics, pandemics, or health topics. This is all too familiar to me and probably one of the reasons I never could find a job in public health. There is a lot of sitting around in public health and not a lot of action or willingness to do work. Lewis really captures these frustrations that all the characters and personalities comes against political and bureaucratic inertia.
The book’s ending is anticlimactic as we are still in the midst of the pandemic and nothing feels solved or that there is a lot of hope. The book feels like it needs a sequel.
It felt a bit aimless at times like he wanted to feature so many interesting people but the book doesn’t really have a final direction or message.
While I would universally recommend this book, I personally had interest in it that made me like it more than Lewis’s last book. Only recommended if you have an interest in public affairs.
Read April 10-14, 2022.
Satoko and Nada, Vol. 1 by Yupechika
A really cute manga about two college roommates, one from Japan and one from Saudi Arabia. It is inclusive and genuine. I really enjoy it and am going to read the rest.
Read February 28-March 1, 2022.
Love Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey
This was cute. An author testimonial on the back said it’s better than Georgette Heyer. As a Heyer regency novel fan, I think overall it’s as good. I read at least 1/3 of this book while in extreme pain waiting in the ER so it was a great distraction. When I read it more closely to the end after I came home, I found it was okay but not great. I think it’s a bit too long and while I didn’t find issue with the characters, I also found that they lacked some depth. Heyer was not always great at that either but I don’t think this book was better. I did like this better than Bridgerton though.
Read March 5-8, 2022.
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Choi
Wow. This is a South Korean feminist novel. The content was somewhat enraging at the times. Translation was a bit odd for a couple of reasons that are revealed in the twist ending. I am still not sure if the translator did the right thing. A thought provoking novel.
Read March 10-14, 2022.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
Over the years, I’ve read and liked many novels by Japanese authors. I did notice that these are all predominantly men (Murakami, Ishiguro, Higashino). I began to look for more works by female Japanese authors. I stumbled upon this two novella anthology published in the early 90s. Both stories deal with death, grief, and loneliness. The first story “Kitchen” has an almost enchanting and relatable protagonist. I really liked both stories and the translation. Simply written and very lovely.
Read March 14-16, 2022.
Satoko and Nada, Vol. 2 by Yupechika
My continuation of this lovely manga series. I immediately requested Vol 3 and 4. So wholesome.
Read March 20, 2022.
Dreamworlds of Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism: The Third Place by Angela Sumegi
This is an academic work. I am doing a personal project researching dreams and henceforth there may be dream books in my lists.
Read March 29, 2022.