I’m no longer viscerally upset about the 2016 election because I’m a pragmatist – the kind of person who tries to take stock of changed circumstances as soon as possible and adjust their strategy to start again. Of course I’m saddened on a daily basis by some of the actions of the current administration (aren’t we all, or most of us at least), but I’ve let go of the frustration over Hillary’s loss. I think she’d agree that it’s a waste of time at this point. She seems like a pragmatist too and what’s done is done.
However, there’s always room to learn from past events, and I’ve been drawn to books about the election to try to dissect the mechanics of what caused Clinton’s loss. As soon as I heard her memoir on the election was coming out in September, I knew I wanted to read it right away. I didn’t know exactly what to expect having read most of her past memoirs (book list here). They are chock-full of information and expertly written but polished and restrained, very much written by a woman with an eye to a continued future in politics. I though that in What Happened she might let loose a little more, but I was so in love with how out there she is in this memoir that I can’t even fully convey it. I felt that in What Happened, I met the Hillary Clinton we all could glimpse behind the necessary political facade – or at least those of us who cared to look accurately.
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I’m back to publishing a list of the book releases I’m most excited about on a monthly basis, after putting together a list spanning all three months and focusing on just nonfiction this past Summer.
For October 2017, I’ve picked 5 nonfiction and 5 fiction books that sound like good reads to me, based on my personal preference in topics and genres, as well as advance reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. You may notice that a few big-name titles coming out this month are absent from my list – like Dan Brown’s new Robert Langdon novel Origin and John Green’s new release Turtles All The Way Down. I also omitted the new Ron Chernow biography Grant, because as some of you may know, I really didn’t like his Hamilton biography.
Hopefully you find something here that catches your eye! I’ve indicated when titles are still available for request on Net Galley for the bloggers and reviewers out there.
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It’s not the happiest occurrence on which to end my blogging break, but today is the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana on August 31st 1997 in Paris. The horrific crash that killed the princess and its aftermath epitomized the issues inherent in Diana’s relationship to the British crown and their treatment of her.
I remember finding out about the crash while standing in my family’s kitchen in Milan, watching a newscast. I think it was the day after the crash, possibly in the evening, and I remember feeling upset and shocked at the news despite being 12 at the time (the same age as Prince Harry). I didn’t know much about Diana beyond her marriage and then divorce to Prince Charles, and her public persona as a benefactress of many causes, including the battle against AIDS and the efforts to ban and remove land mines in areas of conflict.
A few weeks ago, I watched the HBO documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life And Legacy, in which Prince William and Prince Harry speak candidly about their relationship with their mother growing up and their experience of her death and funeral. I realized I didn’t know much about the background of Diana’s life and decided to search for a good biography of the princess. Once I discovered that Andrew Morton’s take had been recently updated and was primarily based on taped interviews with the princess herself, I knew it was the right choice. I wasn’t disappointed – the book feels highly personal to the princess thanks to the inclusion of her actual words describing the circumstances of her life. Read my review below.
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