Tag Archives: book review

“How to Be Black” is a great read

In early March, I was wandering around the Radford University bookstore when I saw a title that really grabbed my attention. The book had a black cover with big, white letters that read How to Be Black. It’s not like I was shopping around for a new ethnicity to try on, but a title like that has to make you wonder what it’s all about. Continue reading “How to Be Black” is a great read

“Bossypants” will make you laugh out loud

For Tina Fey fans, her memoir Bossypants is a read you don’t want to miss. It’s a personal story, like you’re sitting down with Fey at a coffee shop one sunny Tuesday to talk about her life. It’s hilarious, it’s personal, it’s laugh-out-loud funny and it’s surprisingly insightful. I found that, as I read the book, I gained a new respect for Fey and her work. Continue reading “Bossypants” will make you laugh out loud

“The Host”: Not a huge love triangle

OK. I NEVER thought I would do this. But here I am, reviewing a book by Stephenie-freaking-Meyer. Though this book, The Host, far trumps the Twilight series by a lot. I’m pretty sure the lead female would mop the floor with Bella’s atypical, pasty face. That by no means makes it perfect, however. Continue reading “The Host”: Not a huge love triangle

Fallen: Don’t be fooled by its cover

I — along with many other girls, I’m sure — was fooled by this cover as I oohed and ahhed over its mysterious beauty and dark allure. I really, really wanted to like this book, mainly because of this fantastic cover. However, several things bothered me to the point where I just wanted to tear the cover off and chuck the rest of it. Continue reading Fallen: Don’t be fooled by its cover

Finally, Strange Angels breaks paranormal romance stereotypes

I am an avid sci-fi/paranormal romance reader, but after reading so many crappy paranormal novels, I’ve learned to watch out for books that have female lead characters with no backbone, intelligence or independence. Come on ladies, when a guy leaves you, you don’t run into the woods, crawl into the fetal position, and jump off a cliff. You eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, watch “Bridesmaids” and GET OVER IT. Continue reading Finally, Strange Angels breaks paranormal romance stereotypes

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry is the latest book by Jon Ronson. Ronson is the same author who brought to light the mostly true story of Men Who Stare at Goats. The Psychopath Test is an interesting look at mental illness and the insanity of everyday life, as well as a cautionary tale on how we define people.

Photo from Creative Commons.

The book initially follows Ronson as he attempts to unravel a mystery which has been plaguing members of academia for years. A mysterious individual has been sending them a puzzling half-finished book, telling them it is merely the first part of their plan. While investigating the source of the book, he bumps into a psychologist who specializes in dealing with psychopaths.

Ronson takes readers on an interesting journey through the world of psychology. He lets his readers peek into the darkest corners of psychopathy, helping them to understand the history of treatments and diagnosis of the condition. He helps readers firmly grasp the ins and outs of psychiatrics along with the controversies surrounding it.

Down the rabbit hole, where Roson embarks to understanding the fundamentals of madness, readers will encounter world-renowned psychologist Robert Hare, the inventor of the checklist which is used to determine whether or not someone is a psychopath. Readers will also meet scientologists, an ex-death squad leader now imprisoned for fraud, a once CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and a man who claims he faked his way into a mental hospital. Each of these people plays a key role in understanding the madness that surrounds everyday life.

The book is a fairly quick and entertaining read, allowing the audience to grasp some complicated concepts easily. Ronson uses a nice mixture of humor and self-deprecating comments to keep the book from being an overwhelmingly depressing experience. This is humor which Ronson is known for, and anyone who has read any of his previous books will find a familiar friend in his style of writing.

The book tends to jump sporadically from topic to topic and, while an easy read, this could be distracting for more serious readers. Another potential complaint readers could have with Ronson is that he seems to lose focus halfway through the book and begins to examine the concept of madness, all the while attempting to impart readers with a cautionary tale against viewing people purely as their labels. He also takes a shot at the self-serving nature of the pharmaceutical industry before jumping back on topic.

Final Thoughts

Ronson creates an interesting and fun read in The Psychopath Test. It will be a disappointment for those hoping to learn how to crack the mystery of psychopaths and begin spotting those around them. The book is a fun, easy read and gives readers a a brief and in-depth lesson on the history of psychopathy. It is worth the money if you are looking for something quick, humorous and informative.

Whim Rating: 4/5

“The Last Summer of You and Me”

Before returning to school, many people try to squeeze in that last “good beach read” before filling their time with monotonous textbook reading. I found my last good beach read in The Last Summer of You and Me by Ann Brashares, and I thought I knew exactly what it was about. I expected a summer romance that continued for several summers suddenly cut short, perhaps by death like so many are in Nicholas Sparks’ romance novels. What I got was a shocking story about friends.

It’s the story of two sisters who vacation every summer at the same beach in the same beach house for the whole summer with their parents. They rapidly learn every nook and cranny of the little island they call home every year. As they grow up, their parents give them more and more freedom to roam the island. Living in the beach house next to theirs is a boy with his parents. The boy is the same age as the older sister, and they become fast friends.

As they grow up, they each begin to go their separate ways. Riley, the older sister, attends an outdoor leadership school in Colorado. Riley, now 24, has been a lifeguard since she was 15 at the beach. She’s the outdoorsy type and chooses not to think too hard or take life too seriously. Alice is the intellectual type. She reads constantly, and at age 21 is trying to decide if she wants to go to NYU for law school. Paul, also 24, has been away for three summers in California, studying and volunteering. He has finally returned for a summer at the beach where he spent his childhood with Riley and Alice. Upon returning, he finds Riley is still the same old Riley, but Alice grew up into a strong, beautiful woman.

They each have their own problems to deal with, but Alice and Paul are both trying to deal with their feelings of more than friendship for each other. They don’t know how to be in love without hurting or leaving Riley out. As the book progresses, Paul and Alice become closer and Riley is still the same old Riley. They will all three have to decide how to deal with growing up, but one will also have to deal with how to end life completely. It proves to be a trying summer for them all.

I enjoyed this book because I wanted a quick, easy read that wouldn’t mean much to me, but what I got was completely different. This made me evaluate how I would deal with growing up. At our age, we have to choose to grow up or go away, and this book is an excellent example of the hardships that we all will have to face. I typically don’t like romance novels, but this book wasn’t overtly romantic. Paul and Alice’s romance was more of an undertone of a much deeper story.

Ann Brashares became popular through her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. This was her first adult novel, and I personally enjoyed it. It’s rare that you find a book that doesn’t give you what you want, but instead forces you to face up to what you need. This book did that for me. I would recommend it for anyone who is facing a change in their life or for anyone who just wants a good read.

Rating: 5/5

Photo from Creative Commons