What I read: January and February 2019

  • Beth Macy, Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America, argues that much of the blame for the Opioid epidemic can be placed on the pharmaceutical industry, in particular Purdue Pharma, who has been in the news a lot lately for their (to put it lightly) heavy-handed marketing strategies.
  • Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, was interesting to read following Dopesick, especially one of the vignettes towards the end of the book about a woman who went into severe gambling debt. What struck me about this story was how similar the (again, to put it lightly) heavy-handed marketing strategies the casinos were using to lure her back time and again were to those used by the drug companies to lure doctors into prescribing their drugs.
  • Helene Stapinski, Murder in Madera: A True Story of Passion, Family, and Forgiveness in Southern Italy is a memoir of sorts about a woman who travels to Sicily to uncover the story behind a family murder tale. My father is from a small island near Sicily and I like a good mystery, so this book engaged me on two counts.
  • Anthony Horowitz, Magpie Murders (audio), is a book-within-a-book that I listened to with my husband on our cross-country drive. It was fascinating to experience a book, especially a mystery, at the exact same time as another person. Horowitz has a particular puzzle style that appeals to both of us. We would pause and try to puzzle the pieces together, knowing full well we didn’t have all the details.
  • Anthony Horowitz, The Word is Murder (audio), continued entertaining us on our drive. In the end we were disappointed – not by the book, but rather that Horowitz’s next book wouldn’t be out until June!
  • Michelle Obama, Becoming (audio), is a wonderful memoir read by the author. Her story is engaging, her metaphors are beautiful, and her voice is lovely.
  • Susan Orlean, The Library Book (audio), is a history of the LA library fire, and libraries in general, and written in a very personal tone reminiscent of a memoir. It is also read by the author.
  • Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father (audio), is also read by the author and ends with his speech from John Kerry’s democratic convention.
  • Tara Westover, Educated (audio), left me angry with the abuse she experienced but fascinated by her story.

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