Thoughts on 3 Books #3

Hey y’all!  I hope everyone’s doing well on this fine Tuesday afternoon.  I’ve been a busy PO but have never stopped (will never stop!) reading, and now it’s time to let you know what I think about my latest batch of books.

I already posted these reviews on Goodreads.  If y’all’re interested in reading any of the synopses, just click the linked titles below.  And if you’ve already read any of these books, I’d love to hear what you think in my Comments section.  You know, way down yonder at the bottom.


Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.  Rated 5 of 5 stars, “it was amazing”, and shelved it as favorites, literary, memoir, mental health, and nonfiction on Goodreads.

Holy shit, y’all; when I finished Educated, I was wrecked.

I had to get some distance from this book before writing down my thoughts. Westover’s unflinching, straightforward descriptions of the emotional, psychological, and physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her father, older brother, and mother during her horrific childhood were so compelling that I found myself by turns crying, quaking with anger, shaking my head in utter disbelief, and even a couple of times almost needing to vomit.

Educated is a hard-hitting tale of survival and transcendence against all odds. It is not a nice book, and if you’re a particularly sensitive person or are easily triggered by detailed descriptions of abuse, you should probably give it a pass.

As a probation officer, I come into frequent contact with people who have been raised in similar circumstances, so there was little in the book that surprised me. What did surprise me, though, were Westover’s eloquence, equanimity, apparent lack of rancor, and, most of all, her abiding love for people who, honestly, have no right to that love.

I am not a big fan of the memoir genre, but Educated is a keeper and is easily one of the best, if not the best, books I’ve read in the past 5 years.

Nemesis Games

Nemesis Games: The Expanse #5 by James S.A. Corey.  Rated 4 of 5 stars, “really liked it”, and shelved it as audioboooks, favorites, fiction, novel, sci-fi, series, and space opera on Goodreads.

As I’ve said before, This series gets better with each book. Nemesis Games finds the series’ central heroes, the crew of the Rocinante, splitting up to attend to their own affairs then struggling to reunite following a multi-pronged and devastating attack on the solar system’s 3 governing factions and a nearly planet-killing assault on Earth.

This book, this series, are just nonstop action and suspense paired with richly detailed, believable characters, terrific dialogue, generous doses of humor, pathos, and psychological insight and, best of all, a realistic, encyclopedically detailed universe. I can’t say enough good things about The Expanse. If you’re a fan of the SyFy t.v. series and you haven’t read or audited the books, you owe it to yourself to do so. I’m confident in saying they’ll blow you away.

Professor at Large

Professor at Large: The Cornell Years by John Cleese.  Rated 2 of 5 stars, “it was okay”, and shelved it as anthologies, essays, and nonfiction on Goodreads.

Considering the author, I was disappointed by the lack of humorous material in Professor at Large. Some of these essays date back to 1999 & 2000 so are somewhat dated. Cleese returns to many of the same themes and anecdotes in essay after essay, so it’s very repetitive. I didn’t care much for Cleese’s very defeatist, pessimistic attitude toward the future of humanity, although given the current state of human affairs, it’s easy to understand why he feels that way. Hell, these days, it’s hard not to feel that way much of the time. Finally, Cleese bases many of his conclusions about psychology and mental health on really old studies, some of which, he repeatedly reminds us, he co-wrote a couple of books about decades ago. I really didn’t enjoy Professor at Large much, but I didn’t have the heart to rate it 1 star.

Via Laura M. Bailey’s Manic Mondays 3 Way Prompt: Heart

12 thoughts on “Thoughts on 3 Books #3

  1. I would write the same review of John Cleese’s TV sitcom which was/is so mundane I can’t even remember the title. Maybe he wasn’t ever funny. Maybe it was the other guys. I know what you mean about how, in your job as a probation officer, you come in contact with many people who’ve suffered abuse at home. I also encountered way too many students in the community college who’d had unspeakably hard lessons at home. I admired them a lot for pushing forward, and I told them so ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I grew up in a near-idyllic environment and never knew such conditions existed until I was well into my 20s. I am still amazed almost daily by how truly challenging life so often is for so many right here in my own back yard. I don’t know how I managed not to know about it as a child, and I remain baffled that so many people still don’t see it or refuse to see it and be outraged enough to work for positive change. We’re all just so focused on our own little spheres.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I personally think the people who need to see it are the abusers. As a teacher I could do SOMETHING to awaken those who’d been or were being abused, but not much more. I’ve been the victim of spousal abuse — that’s what woke me up.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The reason I say the general public needs to be made more aware is that, I hope, it would increase public will to address the problem and, eventually, public will to pay for addressing the problem. More than anything, the abusers need to be re-educated and in most cases given proper mental health services, and due to our long history of decreasing taxes and slashing budgets, what few agencies remain to provide those services, as well as the criminal justice system that fails to shunt those in need there, lack the resources to provide the needed services.

        People, especially conservatives, don’t like to hear it, but it’s the truth. Without money, there are not enough services. Hell, we can’t even afford to incarcerate people for more than a third of their sentences, in most cases, which would at least keep them from being able to reoffend for more than 4-6 months.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Given the content of Educated, it seems like people definitely don’t have any right to that love. Sorry to be a pessimist, lol. Can’t wait to read Educated, I’ll have to wedge it in between lighter books, so I don’t lose my faith in humanity. I shouldn’t ask for spoilers, but I take it all ends well? And, yep, I was speaking to a detective and I was told it’s way more frequent than people realise. In South Asian families in the West it tends to be quite hush hush, but, in 2019, we’re going to be loud in our unabashed condemnation of child abuse. 🙂

    I’m kinda done with shaming people for pessimistic attitudes… I find that it shakes people up and calls them to action in an ironic way. It shames people for not doing far better than they can for the sake of justice and humanity and, in a way, propels them to do better. It’s an effective method. Every person is entitled to be affected negatively in response to negative incidents… in fact, it’s natural and human. Let’s celebrate being human too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm… I’d say it ends well for the author. If you’re the type of person who thinks people who’ve caused a great deal of physical and/or emotional suffering to others, you probably won’t be satisfied by the way it turns out for her abusive family members.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It really depends… there are some things that are irredeemable crimes, and there are others which you can eventually forgive if they show remorse. I can’t wait to find out and see… either way, I’m glad that it ends well for the author, and I wish her every happiness. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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