All posts filed under: Kathryn D.

A Shining Starr

I hate to stay a timely piece. I feel that because a book like this has never NOT been timely. Perhaps its impact is potentially more grand because of the current cultural narrative.  Regardless, I felt this book was everything it was meant to be. One of my favorite scenes in the book is one Kathryn H. referred to – when Starr, Seven, DeVante, and Chris are leaving the riots in the car. The conversation on names and race was one that I felt so delicately touched on the idea of the spectrum of racism. Chris is carefully constructed as a slightly awkward white guy with a level of caring for Starr that I just found so sweet. So when he asks about why black people don’t have “normal” names, was it awkward?  Sure largely because he asked it as gracefully as a dump truck on ice. But was it racist? Kind of, yea…but Starr, Seven, and DeVante go on tell him why that question is grounded in his perceptions of race and answer his question. …

What’s it about? Stuff. Really good stuff.

Commonwealth is an uncommon read.  It revolves around a family that is uncommon but somehow not uncommon at all. The relationships between families divided and rebuilt with scraps is a universal theme. Even if you come from a family never split by divorce, you definitely have something off about your family. (If you think there is nothing off about your family, you are probably the thing that is off about your family.) Through the complex narrative that Patchett slowly unfolds, you can find pieces of the story that make you feel at home – sometimes the chaotic, dysfunctional version of home that so often defines our family. It speaks to the excellence of Ann Patchett’s writing that she could develop little stories and relationships and build it into something greater than the sum of their parts. It is the way she describes seemingly innocuous parts of the scene that drew me in.  Describing a single mother’s struggles – “She was always arriving, always leaving, never there.” It’s an enormously complex struggle synthesized into one sentence. …

Bum Bum!

Ok so I totally agree with Katie – this is like an SVU episode. Which I love. Except that there is no Stabler. This book has no Stabler. So you can stop reading here. Just kidding – this book is not going rewire your whole literary life but it is fun, it is creepy, and it is a great autumn evening read. Brian Freeman hits the ground running from the first scene.  Probably the thing that he does, that I love the most, is that he keeps the story moving. There is very little dead time with the mystery and he manages to do that without making the scenario super convoluted. I mean its a crazy pants story but it isn’t muddled with characters or asides or distractors. Part of the downfall of the pace of the story is that not too many characters are well flushed out. Frankie – I thought she had to be a secret crazy psycho because she had so little of anything going on with her.  She had a weird …

A Voice

I struggled with this book. Not because the content scared me or made me uncomfortable. Not because it drew into question something I do not see or fail to acknowledge. But because what Coates tries to scratch the surface of is an extraordinarily complex network of invasive roots that both has strangled our collective culture and has consistently unearthed itself in a knotted fashion in places seemingly distanced from our country’s base. In a less metaphorical way, race is nearly always at the forefront of or a driving force of our societal (insert any word) – history, music, fashion, culture, vernacular. What is even more confusing is that we have created a narrative about race that in reality has so many dimensions and layers and colors but we have distilled it down into a simple dichotomy. What is black and what is white.   Coates is an astounding writer. He brings an eloquence, a voice, a personal experience that combined creates a feat of literature.  To improve our future, we must understand our past. That …

Stiff: An Interesting Case for Coping with Humor

  As a physician and, I guess more specifically, someone who has participated in a gross anatomy lab, I have a specific point of view about human cadavers.  I will start by saying this – the book provides some truly interesting history on the matter.  For that point alone, I would say Roach’s book is a worthy one. Albeit, it is not one for everyone. The subject is a bit – um – macabre.  If you didn’t know that from the cover, I’m not sure reading is for you. Now what I really took away from this book is that how we deal with things that make us uncomfortable is rather universal. I often wondered why I wasn’t more bothered by anatomy lab my first year of medical school. I didn’t particularly want to get physically sick or feel overwhelming guilt. But I also didn’t want to feel how I did – like it was normal. There was nothing normal about what I was doing. History may suggest otherwise. Personally, though, gross anatomy lab was …

What the…

Ok so I’m disturbed. Which is, I guess, the point of this book. But if the only point of the book is to disturb people, then I guess it is a success.  I’m not sure that tawdry is a driving force enough for me in my reads.  For my TV, absolutely.  I agree with Katherine C.  I was hoping for a more purpose to all the characters decisions and actions – some meaning to it all.  Not just money because that seems too easy.  I’ve got to be honest – I was just thinking that this must be the BEST lifetime movie. The absolute best.  I mean, right Katherine C.? I like my TV dumb and mindless and overly dramatic.  (AKA Real Housewives of Vanderpump Rules – Chopped edition. Also just in case you have also read this far…anything where they cook cupcakes – I’m all over that.) The problem is is that while reading the book, I just thought about that 1. icky and 2. I gotta get my hands on the lifetime movie. So …

Descent – It’s Decent

Honest to God, I thought this book was called Decent. I actually told someone I was going to start a book called Decent. And he said, “are you sure that is what it is called?” Aptly, this is what I ended up thinking of the book. Descent is decent. First of all, I must admit to something. I did not actually read this book.  I decided to take advantage of the free Audible book and try it as a “book on tape.”  This allowed me to listen to the book as I walked my dog, traveled to work, or took the subway. I have listened to books on tape on road trips before but never on my phone. I found this a great way to enjoy a book when my schedule isn’t really allowing for it.  Admittedly, it did take a little bit out of the enjoyment of the book.  Listening to a man’s voice speak as a woman – yea not so much. Let’s start with what I enjoyed about the book. The beautiful writing …

I Read a Classic and I Agree

I, much like Katherine C., somehow made it this far in life without having read this American classic. It has never been that I didn’t want to or didn’t intend to. Perhaps I was afraid of not liking a classic. Or perhaps, much like the concept of cleaning out my closet, eating more greens, and timely filing of taxes, reading To Kill a Mockingbird has had a permanent place on my back burner. Until now….thank you fellow Kathryns for pushing me over the edge.

Black Lives, White Thoughts, and a Gray World

First of all, I’m happy to be back as an active member of the bookly club. I’ve been decidedly absent in my time studying for my boards and as I figured no one wanted to hear my critique on “Radiology Cases: Emergency Medicine” or “Medical Physics” – I was laying low. Admittedly, On the Run was a bit of a tough read to jump back into but, unless you have been living under a rock as of late, almost painfully poignant.  Social media is the greatest blessing and curse of our generation. It simultaneously brought our collective youth and desired youths to a sniveling pile of filtered selfies and self congratulations and has given a voice to the historically silenced and marginalized population.  In doing so, it created a national conversation/uproar about justice, race, and that truth that we hold to be “self-evident.” We are all created equal. We are all created equal. But it is abundantly clear that we don’t live in a time or a society, that allows us to stay that way. …

All the Parts

Their Eyes Were Watching God was a profoundly communicative summation of parts that created a rhythmic narrative of the many lives of Janie.  Janie, herself, is certainly a workhorse character embodying many lives. Each of her lives served a distinct purpose to describe the struggles of mankind (man or woman, black or white) – the struggles of balancing the innate desire to stand alone, free, and independent with the crushing need for love and the struggles of defining community and oneself within community. Zora Neale Hurston created Janie as a heroine for the African American woman. While their eyes were watching God, Janie’s were strictly focused on determining her own path. As complicated as the many lives of Janie were the decidedly varied narrative techniques. Oscillating between vernacular speech and highly rhetorical narration, Zora Neale Hurston’s diverse writing style helps define Janie’s loves and lives.  Janie moves from a stifled relationship with Jody wherein she does not speak rather is spoken for to her verbose, solid relationship with Tea Cake.  The intercut use of Southern …