books: july

2015 goals, books

I kicked some serious book-butt this month. I finished four books, which is the most I’ve read in years and years. Feels so good! My new routine of reading first thing in the morning and right before bed is really paying off.

  1. Columbine,” by Dave Cullen. In short, this book was everything amazing and interesting. Tackling non-fiction is a news-ish endeavor for me, but this true account of the 1999 shootings at Columbine was gripping. I could not put the book down. Cullen goes the distance in dispelling misinformation and rumors that have stood the test of time. Cullen himself was part of the vast media coverage of the event, and he does a fantastic job of taking a step back and analyzing the information. He has done exhaustive research to create a well-rounded and complete definitive work of the event.

 2. “News Junkie,” by Jason Leopold. I think reading David Carr’s “Night of the Gun” ruined me of all other cocaine-addicted reporters. Had I not read Carr first, Junkie would have been a great read. But alas, I found Leopold’s memoir sorely lacking in secondary sourced and verification of facts. As we learned in Carr’s account, what the drug addict perceives of time and reality is rarely actually fact.

But, “News Junkie” was a quick read and it was interesting to learn of Leopold’s role in covering California politics and events that I have distant memory of. As always, it’s interesting to learn the intersections of media and politics.

3. “Not That Kind of Girl,” by Lena Dunham. I admit to not loving Lena as an actress. I watched two seasons of “Girls” on HBO before deciding I didn’t like it, so I really did give it a fair shot. While I’m not super excited about Dunham as an actress, I L-O-V-E her writing. I read her essay about Nora Ephron and loved it, and it wasn’t for bad writing that I didn’t care for “Girls.” I’ve wanted to read “Not That Kind of Girl” for a while, but didn’t really want to purchase it in case I didn’t like it.

But really, there was nothing to worry about. The writing was great. After finishing the book, which took one week to devour, I spent the next few days recommending it to everyone. I really is great, and Dunham has the perfect ability to put into words the neurosis that captures young women as they hit puberty and then grow into young women in a world that values only their youth and skinny hips and cheerful faces.

I found the words raw, truthful, emotional, and completely relate-able. It was really very good. I’ll definitely read anything else Dunham publishes.

4. “Double Blind,” by Tiffany Pitts. This is the first installment of The Thanatos Rising Series. I thought this would be one of those guilty pleasure reads, like watching teen vampire shows of The CW, but turns out the book was quite funny and smart. For the most part, I enjoyed the characters’ journey and the plot twists. This story was perfect for stepping out of my life and enjoying some adventure for a while. I took it on the plane with me when I traveled to Salt Lake City late last month, and it was the perfect airport read. I’m not sure I’ll pick up the next installment of the series, but if I happen to come across it for cheap, I would read it.