Early May Quick Takes

Posted July 10, 2015 by Meoskop in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction but chemo brain makes it difficult to really assess it in a proper review format. Until I start firing on all cylinders again I’ll be doing quick assessments of various titles.

a white curtain breezes across a white chair in an empty room, the palette all white. Below, the title is written in fading lettersAmerican Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past In the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus


This is an enjoyable book if you’re in the mood for a personal memoir focused on an author’s genealogy, but the ghost is more of a hook than anything. Her ancestors are collectively more interesting as Jewish emigrants to the American West than as alleged ghosts. I wasn’t captivated by the modern day aspects of the story, leaving me ultimately struggling to finish. Would have preferred a straightforward historical narrative here.



cover: The Mad BoyThe Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me: An Aristocratic Family, a High-Society Scandal and an Extraordinary Legacy by Sofka Zinovieff


There’s a little bit of everything happening here. I found the gossipy exploration of Gerald and Robert’s society life entertaining but the brief marriage of Robert and Jennifer seemed so random. The author is drawing from family records, leaving me unsure if the grey areas of their lives are from preference or ignorance. Overall, a recommended read.



Bold block print slanted yellow letters form the title in a pop art rectangle against a great photo of a New York streetIsn’t That Rich?: Life among The 1% by Richard Kirshenbaum


If you like Kirshenbaum’s style then this collection will more than satisfy you. I was new to him and did not. Expecting something sly, irreverent and potentially moving, instead I found something colder and snider. The narrator seems to feel he is not the same as those around him, while displaying all the same notes of narcisstic self importance. There’s nothing truly surprising here as shallow unhappy people pretend to have meaningful interactions while assessing the other person relative worth.



Red and gold dominate a cover with white lettering across the center, a red and gilded mars at the top, golden ropes down the sides to mark off a central red carpetJohn Carter and the Gods of Hollywood by Michael D. Sellers


There are three narratives at work here. Where marketing for the film went wrong. The emotional involvement of the author. How the ERB company came into being and would be sustained by a successful film. As someone interested only in one aspect, the jumping between the narratives is tedious. As someone only in the lack of marketing and merchandising, the amount of detail can be overwhelming. There is a lot of solid information mixed with fan base morale raising offering a rewarding amount of information to a diligent reader.



Cover: The Last Soldiers of the Cold WarThe Last Soldiers of the Cold War: The Story of the Cuban Five by Fernando Morais


The source material is excellent as Morias has obviously done intensive research. The perspective is fresh, as it’s rare to read an english language book on Cuba not predisposed to the American point of view. Holding me back from really engaging with Morais’s book is the style. I don’t know if the translation is poor or if the author is very journalistic in his approach but the result is a very dry read. What could be a thrilling narrative is bogged down in workmanlike prose. Will not captivate a casual reader.

4 responses to “Early May Quick Takes

  1. Merrian

    Good on you for persevering with non fiction. I’ve given up on reading anything which doesn’t give me people to like and care about. Books with pictures are my main non fiction reading these days.

    • Meoskop

      I read a ton of non-fiction but I rarely review it unless it’s outstanding or I feel like doing quick write ups. Really reviewing them is like actual work.

    • Meoskop

      While I wasn’t reviewing major changes happened to my interface and I think I have to repair a bunch of categories, etc. Romance is showing up as related – I miss my brain.