Read: Stray – Memoir of a Runaway

Stray: Memoir of a Runaway by Tanya Marquardt

First world country (Canada), near first world setting. Dysfunctional family, depressed and angry teenager. Pretty much a backdrop of a B-grade Hollywood movie set in the 80s. I enjoyed this read, but I don’t have anything much to say about it.

Read: Prozac Diary

Prozac Diary by Lauren Slater

You know, I read Prozac Nation in the early 2000s, and now this, this year, but still I can’t quite find anything to say about either of them. If you know me, as in know me, you’d know why.

Great read, highly recommended. Of course.

Read: Never Stop Walking

Never Stop Walking by Christina Rickardsson

I loved this book. There were many pages where I cried. Her mother’s perseverance, their life in the woods, on the streets. How she was put into an orphanage by her mother and how her mother was deceived. The whole nine yards – I’m not going to write them all. That’s the problem with trying to write a post months after reading the book… You just don’t have anything smart, useful, or insightful to say.

Read it. Appreciate your family, appreciate what you have. Appreciate who you are. Do whatever you want. Just don’t do evil.

Happy New Year.

Read: I’m Still Working On It

I’m Still Working On It by Kevin Zalinsky

I dove into this book expecting some combat action, but there were none. Thankfully there were none, because this book prevailed in many other aspects – anecdotes on growing up gay, a brother who committed suicide, and the many stories that entwined humor with pain and loss. It was a book that would make you laugh at one page and cry the next, that’s how good it was. Kevin Zalinsky isn’t a famous person, many won’t know about him nor his book. But in spite of all these ‘book world clichés’, I am so glad I stumbled upon this book. Two thumbs up. I’d read it again someday.

Read: Waco – A Survivor’s Story

Waco: A Survivor’s Story, by David Thibodeau

I can’t recall whether I’ve read another book on Waco – but definitely a lot of other so called ‘in-depth investigative reports’ on the matter. This book is unlike all those reports and writings. This book is by someone who was inside the ground zero when the FBI decided that killing people was the best and right thing to do. The author was also close to the sect’s leader, David Koresh, before David Koresh became David Koresh.

This book also gave another a strong, alternative perspective on David Koresh, his personality, his ‘vision’, his ‘mission’, etc. Again, nothing like what the media has portrayed him since the mid-90s. NOTHING. Nothing close. Although, I’m sure no one in their right mind will agree on his taking young girls as brides. That’s too much. But everything else – you’ve got to try and read this book.

If I could fit something else into my 2019 reading challenge, I’d pick a book on Timothy McVeigh. Perhaps.

Read: Zlata’s Diary

Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Wartime Sarajevo: Revised Edition, by Zlata Filipović

What is the meaning of life? Why do we read nonfiction, feel the pain, and yet we continue to read nonfiction?

A dear friend of mine (actually, we refer to each other as ‘soul sisters’) is from Serbia, but unfortunately we never got to talk much about the war while we were hanging out together (we have weekend bookish excursions at a place called Bookworm, at Sanlitun), living and working as expats in a foreign country once upon a decade ago. But what I do know is that she feels deeply ashamed of the war, doesn’t quite want to discuss it unless invoked, and that she wish this war never had to happen.

There aren’t many books out there on this war that’s written from a child’s perspective. Thus, if you’re looking for something similar, you should grab this book.

Read: Ruthless

Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me by Ron Miscavige (with Dan Koon)

I read Troublemaker before getting my hands dirty on Ruthless. There’s no other way to put this – So here goes: Sometimes, being in a free country can really mess people up especially when it comes to cults and religion. You are deemed as ‘voluntary’ under really f*cked-up circumstances and bystanders can’t do much because of freedom of this, freedom of that – all legal, oddly speaking. When the lunatics abuse it, well – I’m sorry I can’t find a way to end that sentence.

Good read, highly recommended as this isn’t just another “I escaped from Scientology and here’s my harrowing story” book – This one’s authored by David Miscavige’s dad, ffs.