2 sentence book reviews, part 1

here we go — a week of 2-sentence book reviews on 39 books. i allow myself one sentence for a summary and one sentence for my opinion of the book.

General Non-Fiction

Detroit: An American Autopsydetroitby Charlie LeDuff

4 stars

a bleak but stunningly-written journalist’s look into the gritty realities of detroit. equal parts memoir, history and investigative journalism with amazing storytelling, but missing any sense of hope (which would be frustrating for my friends and family who love this city).

unfaithful-musicUnfaithful Music & Disappearing Inkby Elvis Costello

4.5 stars

a rambling autobiography, focused more on costello’s music than the details of his life, but clearly revealing the author’s genius. as a life-long fan, i loved this book; but it would be tedious reading for those less interested in tiny details and seemingly endless names of collaborators and confidants.

whipping-girlWhipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, 2nd Editionby Julia Serano

5 stars (section 1); 3 stars (section 2)

a series of essays about transgenderism, widely considered one of the most influential books on the topic. i found the first section of the book (about 2/3 of the book) extremely helpful for my own learning, and the second section (focused on the exclusion of transwomen from the world of feminism) less helpful for my needs.

paperPaper: Paging Through History, by Mark Kurlansky

4 stars

Yup, it’s an exhaustive history of paper. for a book nerd like me, this was fascinating, though occasionally longer and more detailed than i would have preferred.

bassoon-kingThe Bassoon King: Art, Idiocy, and Other Sordid Tales from the Band Room, by Rainn Wilson

4.5 stars

mostly a freaking hilarious autobiography, with occasional freaking hilarious rabbit trails into nonfiction weirdness. rainn wilson’s humor is my kind of humor, so i loved this read (even the non-funny bonus chapter on the Bahá’í Faith was interesting).

furiously-happyFuriously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Thingsby Jenny Lawson

5 stars

a breathtakingly hilarious and insightful autobiographical book about mental illness and depression. funniest book i read all year–hands down–with insight and honesty center-stage.

Business Non-Fiction

thin-book-of-aiThe Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry, 3rd Editionby Sue Annis Hammond

4 stars

compact and right-to-the-point summary of the Appreciative Inquiry approach to organizational improvement. i believe this approach should have so much play in churches and ministries trying to  increase capacities and lean into values.

ai-a-positive-revolutionAppreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Changeby David L Cooperrider and Diana Whitney

4 stars

really, the same thing as the previous review (though i’d read this one if you’re only going to read one).

off-balanceOff Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfactionby Matthew Kelly

4.5 stars

how to embrace a mindset of sustainability and satisfaction rather than pursuing the counter-productive work/life balance. this book rocks, and (while occasionally too rigid or prescriptive) very much aligns with the values of our coaching program (and as such, is required reading in Level 2 cohorts).

thin-book-of-trustThe Thin Book of Trust; An Essential Primer for Building Trust at Work, by Charles Feltman and Sue Annis Hammond

4 stars

sort of a cliffs notes on the factors that build (and destroy) trust in organizations.  considering the trust needed for churches and ministries to run well, and the lack of trust so commonly present, ministry leaders all need to grow in this area (and this book was helpful with language and framework).

war-of-artThe War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield

5 stars

exposing creative “blocks” for what they really are, and suggesting practices and mindsets for productive creativity. this is my second read though this short, dense and choppy book, and it left me breathless and pumped up both times.

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