Some Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) included. They are marked with an *. No affiliate links used. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
February unintentionally became a month where I only read non-fiction, which isn’t something I’m complaining about even though the books I read were pretty hit and miss.
Columbine by Dave Cullen
If you think you know the details of what happened during and after the Columbine High School massacre, Dave Cullen is here to show you that everything you know is probably incorrect and you have both the media and the actions of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department to thank for that. Cullen was one of the first journalists on the scene and spent over ten years working on this book – which is investigative journalism at its best.
I Murdered My Library by Linda Grant
A gorgeous essay about what it’s like to spend your life surrounded by books and the conflicting emotions involved in having to cull your book shelves because you literally don’t have enough room for them anymore. Book lovers, the world over, will relate to this!
Emotional Rescue by Ben Greenman
I liked the idea of Emotional Rescue more than the actual book! This isn’t so much a collection of essays about music and its effect on Ben Greenman’s life as it is random snapshots of Greenman’s life that are tenuously linked by thematic songs, resulting in a frustrating and, at times, incoherent read.
Ireland Says Yes: The Inside Story of How the Vote for Marriage Equality Was Won by Gráinne Healy, Brian Sheehan and Noel Whelan
I put off reading this for so long because I wasn’t ready to relive the referendum campaign, but the truth is I’ll never be ready to relive that campaign and some of my emotional battle scars will never fully heal. So now, as we get ever closer to the referendum to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, seemed like as good a time as any to pick it up. I’m glad I did, although it is a very dry take on the campaign. From an activist point of view, it is a really informative account of running a successful referendum campaign. From a personal point of view, the fact that the word bisexual is barely mentioned wasn’t exactly surprising, considering how the campaign was run, but it did sting.
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
I did not enjoy So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed at all! After all the hype, I’m like “wait, what? Is *that* it?!” Maybe the hype is the problem; how could it possibly live up to the expectations placed on it by rave review after rave review. Maybe I’d feel differently about it had I read it when it was first published. Maybe my own, sometimes complicated, relationship with social media has coloured how I read about it. That’s a lot of maybes. Overall, it was too disjointed for me.
Feel Free by Zadie Smith*
“I’m reading Zadie Smith’s latest essay collection and she makes me never want to write again because why bother when you aren’t Zadie Smith!” My Zadie Smith experience summed up in one sentence.
Seriously though, Feel Free* is glorious collection of essays ranging from the personal to the political; covering art, literature, philosophy and music. Smith’s words are a joy to read even when unfamiliar with the text/art she is discussing.
Stand out essay – Some Note on Attunement about Joni Mitchell.
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