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seriouslyreadabook

Seriously, Read a Book!

Thoughts on books, often interpreted through the high-brow prism of cartoon (read: Archer) references. Wait! I had something for this...

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The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking
Mike Rohde
The Antidote
Oliver Burkeman
The Kind Worth Killing
Peter Swanson
Data Points: Visualization That Means Something
Nathan Yau
James Buchanan
Jean H. Baker, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan I was going to give this book three stars, but I figured that with that whole Pulitzer Prize thing others (like myself) are apt to have high expectations for this read.

This book gets high marks for creativity with chronology but, after a while, even that gets kind of old. Egan's writing can be beautiful. She describes certain quotidian interactions that typify the underlying dynamics of relationships (for me, this is what makes writers like [a:Ann Patchett|7136914|Ann Patchett|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1371838720p2/7136914.jpg] so heartbreaking and wonderful), but then tosses in these loud extremes to underline her point. Take this passage on the interaction between a teenage son and his divorced, narcissistic father:
He keeps swimming toward that white sand, knowing instinctively that his struggle to stay afloat is the most exquisite torture he can concoct for his father—also that, if he sinks, Lou will jump in instantly and save him.

It's revealing, and kind of haunting. Then it's as if Egan has an almost adolescent impulse and tosses in (and I'm paraphrasing here) something to the effect of, oh yeah, and his dad would feel pretty bad about that when he found him with his brains blown out in the living room a few years later! Trust me, in the context of this book that's really not a spoiler. At times I felt like I was being beaten over the head with a MEANING stick.

If you liked [a:Gary Shteyngart|12437|Gary Shteyngart|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1280362831p2/12437.jpg]'s [b:Super Sad True Love Story|7334201|Super Sad True Love Story|Gary Shteyngart|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320540909s/7334201.jpg|8996782] you'll probably love the last chapter of this book. I, however, did not. The only saving grace was that it featured Lulu, who as a child (which, of course, she was in earlier chapters) reminded me of the epic and hilarious Quinoa of My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter.