Read: We’re Going to Need More Wine

We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

Summary:

  1. Reading “Between The World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates before this helped, a, lot.
  2. I wish there were like, 22 more chapters, at least.

That is all. Gave it a 5 on Goodreads.

Read: Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century

I took quite a while to finish this book as the author went in really deep on this (he’s most certainly not the first to write about the girls, hence he had a lot of referencing to do). I can’t recall whether he wasn’t born yet or whether he was a toddler when the murder took place, but the author hails from New Zealand and is a lawyer who was (is?) based in Hong Kong when he began writing this book. It was mentioned somewhere in the foreword.

The author made a lot of references to the girls’ diaries, often citing old movies and literature which were favored by the girls. Bear in mind all these were in the early 1950s, so even if you’re familiar with WW2, it’s not enough. The references to WW2, the cold, bitter weather, South Africa, the state the families were in (post-war), probably took up less than 5% of the book. I say this because I am (indefinitely) not into classic literatures, thrillers, plays… Well, generally the sort of things that were heavily described throughout the book.

I didn’t have much difficulty reading the book, the prose wasn’t ‘old English’, but I did bump into dry bits where I couldn’t relate to at all, as the girls were really into fiction and imaginary characters plus stuff people who enjoy Romeo and Juliet might be able to connect with.

Other facts were okay and informative, such as mental illness in the 1950s, the court battles, family predicaments. The best takeaway, for me, were within the last few chapters, where the author attempted to analyze how the girls were raised by their mothers – the abandonment, the resentment, the shortcomings between mother and daughter relationships etc. I did highlight a few passages. It made me cringe, as I myself, am a mother…

Would I recommend this book to anyone? I don’t know. None of my close friends who are bookworms are into true crime nor would they give a **** about these two murderesses. Don’t think they’ll bat an eyelid with Leopold and Loeb neither.

I gave 5 shining stars on Goodreads. Everything in the name of effort and details.

p.s. It seems that I didn’t write about the girls, the murder… What is there to write?

Read: The Return

The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar

The author didn’t quite address how he felt – When the revolution was happening, when Qaddafi/Gaddafi was captured, tortured. There’s almost nothing on that, so in case you were hoping for a wee bit on that, don’t.

The book is literally what it presents itself to be – The author’s search and yearning for his father, who was betrayed by the Egyptian SS, imprisoned by the dictator, and of course, disappeared by the regime.

*spoiler alert*

The body of the author’s father was never found. He never met anyone specifically who could give him a straight answer, or closure, on what happened to his late father.

There were dry facts in between the pages, which is beyond necessary for those who are not familiar with the regime’s history.

There’s also no talk of the country post-Qaddafi. Like I said, it’s about him, his father, and the regime in between – and Egypt is part of the narrative as well.

If you are looking for a dose on the revolution and other issues which were not addressed in The Return, I think you should consider “Sandstorm”, written by Lindsey Hilsum. I’m currently reading that book, so hopefully I’ll get to learn more about Libya then.

Read: Ten Days in a Madhouse

Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nellie Bly

While reading this – I kept thinking – Wow. These evil nurses and doctors are worse than Guantanamo, Nazis and Mengele, Russian gulags, Iran-Iraq, DPRK and Chinese prison camps combined.

Why so, if you may ask? But before I go there… First, this was published in 1886. Also, you should read about Nellie Bly – She pioneered what we call today, “investigative journalism”. And her time is before Martha Gellhorn, before John Hersey.

So – why are these people more evil than the ones who came after them? Because… they were supposed to be caring for the mentally ill? Well. What do I know.

That’s all there is to it.

Read: Small Fry

This just in.

*spoiler alert* Though, I don’t write ‘review-reviews’. I write what I feel. Felt. Am feeling.

I cried toward the final 20% of the book.

Also, I have been sitting on Walter Isaacson’s bio on Steve Jobs since it was published. Now I know why.

It was meant to be sat on.

I’m not an Apple fan. I may have had a MacBook Air, have a MacBook Pro, used an iPhone 4, 5, owned two iPads and own two iPads, plus other Apple stuff; but I’m not a fan. I just buy things that appealed to me, randomly. I don’t idolize Steve Jobs (never cared about Apple launches). Brilliant, but I’d pick Anderson Cooper over him any second. And yeah as if I’d even ever get to do that.

I cried because of Kevin and Dorothy’s kindness. There’s a quote somewhere by someone random who said something along the lines of,

Lisa may one day realize she can never replace her parents, and Kevin and Dorothy can never buy a daughter.

What a stupid thing to say. Really. But you’ve been mentioned in her book so, congratulations, I guess?

The part where Steve’s bio on some corporate website mentioned he has three instead of four children.

The parts where her father keeps saying, or hints, “You need to be part of the family, Lis,” – I’m sorry, but isn’t that some form of gaslighting? The author’s so kind with her words. Probably doesn’t wanna upset her siblings, especially the youngest one, named Eve, because Eve said, out loud, “She was daddy’s mistake,” – Kids, they always say the darnest things and get away with it, though I hope, not for life. Eve, if you’re reading this, I hope you’ve since grown to realize that you could process thoughts before you speak.

It’s easy to read this bio without the late Steve Jobs hovering around the pages because I’ve never read much nor finished watching videos with Steve Jobs in it. I believe it has a lot to with my disliking of what’s ‘trending‘. I was working closely with consumer technology for over a decade and yet I couldn’t be bothered.

So, once again? Now I know why. Strange, but it’s so that I could dive in clean into this memoir of a wounded soul. I visualized her father as her father, first. Mostly, even. The way she wrote this memoir, it wasn’t about her father, who happens to be Steve Jobs.

It was about a child’s relationship with her father.

Did I know Steve Jobs was cruel towards his “mistake of an unwed family he didn’t want”? Not until I read this book.

Did I know he was stingy? Well, not really.

All I knew was that he was a genius with a temper, and had a kid he originally refused to acknowledge (paternity). That, was all.

So, for me, it’s as though all these years dealing with consumer tech and the media, I was miraculously saved from all these insignificant details, until Small Fry was written and published.

I’m glad, I’m really glad, that I had sat on Jobs, the biography.

I don’t know what kind of surprises will be waiting for me, but I hope it would address Steve’s parents (not much of the birth ones), their relationship, and how he came to be one of, well, the cold people his wife Laurene openly declared during a session with the author’s therapist (“We’re just cold people”, said Laurene. The author was also present during the session). I am also curious about Laurene. She’s gotta be his twin, otherwise, there’s no way their relationship had continued to work.

Despite all the negativity, I do agree with the author’s father on this, which is possibly (should damn be) the greatest quote by him, ever –

Passage taken from the book, chapter ‘Runaway’:

My father gave a speech in which he said that it wasn’t love that brought people together and kept them together, but values – shared values.

How’s Laurene not his twin, I will never be able to comprehend.

I’m drained from this read, in a good way, I suppose. I can never begin to imagine the sorrow she’s been carrying since she was a tiny, curious, hungry for acceptance, child. Ms. Brennan-Jobs, you will pay it forward. Thank you for sharing your story.

Read: I, Who Did Not Die

I, Who Did Not Die by Zahed Haftlang and Najah Aboud with Meredith May

First book completed this year. I started in December 2018.

This book, is heavy. I came crashing into this book after decades of media absence from the Iran-Iraq war.

By ‘media absence’, I mean I haven’t read anything in-depth on the said war since the late 90s. As a teen, I read a lot of newspapers and news magazines, and I’ve read about the tortures and all the inhumane stories from this very war. But to relive it, with even gorier details (how they hang you), once again drags you back to hopelessness. The world, as we all should realize, by now, a year shy from turning 2020, is hopeless. There’s little hope left in humanity. Torture is still going on. So are wars. What’s new?

For Zahed and Najah to have survived the war and torture let alone found each other – proof that there’s still hope.

Thank you, Meredith May – for bringing this story to life, for writing this legacy. How is this not a bestseller, I have no idea. Probably the cover. This has got to do better than Educated by Tara Westover or that Crawdad book.

#FriendsWithBooks: A Long Way Down

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

What my best friend Amal is currently reading – A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. She was half-asleep when I extorted texted her. She told me she’ll send it ‘in an hour’ once she properly wakes up because she’d had a long night facetiming with her sister. I rolled my eyes and reluctantly typed ‘okay.’ I’m that understanding when it comes to books her.

And she kept her word. And it was 10am+ on New Year’s Day when I texted. And there’s no time difference between our very different worlds. A friend, I am.

ASL of my best friend: 30s/F/Perth WA