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SimpliCITY Team Book Reviews

The cold has settled in – at least for today! If you’re one of the weirdos who dread having free time, or just having to spend it with family, we have put together a list of our favorite books for your Amazon Prime*, two-day ordering pleasure.

We’d love to know your picks! (We have family, too).

* Amazon did not sponsor this post. Though we wish they had. 

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CAROLINE’S PICKS

Suspect by Michael Robotham  – The Gone Girl page turners are few and far between, no matter what all the new dust jackets say. In Suspect (recently renamed The Suspect, for reasons unknown), Michael Robotham introduces Joe O’Loughlin – psychologist turned accidental detective after being implicated in a former patient’s death. Witty. Sarcastic. Un-Put-Downable. This is the ultimate holiday read. Just make sure to read it snugged in your bed, lest you run into Santa trying to finish it.

Fear Itself: The Origin and Nature of the Powerful Emotion that Shapes Our Lives and Our World by Rush W. Dozier – Find out when our phobias will officially change from spiders, snakes, and heights, to guns, cars, and hospitals. And why every serial killer should probably have an autopsy done on their brain. You will read things in this book you will never forget, and that will change the way you view one of our most-oft maligned emotions forever. FOR. EV. ER.

Down the Great Unknown: John Wesley Powell’s 1869 Journey of Discovery and Tragedy Through the Grand Canyon by Edward Dolnick – Imagine putting your wooden rowboat into water surging through a canyon over and around house-sized boulders, with mile-high walls pinching you in as far the eye can see. You have no idea what’s ahead. How long you’ll be in your wooden boat. If there are waterfalls. Big ones. From which there is no return. Not alive, anyway. You THINK you packed enough food, but who’s to know? Oh – and you only have one arm. It’s non-fiction that reads like fiction; the must-read true account of the first recorded descent through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River.

 

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DAVID’S PICKS

Lord of the Flies by William Golding- This will forever be my favorite book. The adventure that reveals the true and unpleasant side of being human deserves its place of primacy in the 20th century canon. It’s a challenging read, both engaging and dark, that gets your existential juices flowing. If you haven’t read it since high school, it’s time to read it again.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – Most people who will read this book are introverts themselves, introversion and bibliophilia being highly correlated. Quiet is a validating read for those of us at the social margins whose capacity for productivity, thoughtfulness, and insight that only solitude can nurture needs to be more fully appreciated. Introverts can be superheroes, preferably unsung, when left to their quiet methods.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez – This novel is timely and will give shape to attitudes on immigration in America. The life of the immigrant is fraught and infinitely relatable when considered as a series of challenging day-to-day episodes (like your life and mine) rather than a sociopolitical abstraction. Not everything works out. Unique tragedies unfold, but the stoicism and resignation that must accompany a tough and largely hidden existence demand the reader’s admiration.

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ALEX’S PICKS

The Go Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann – If you read The Shack and hated it, well, we can’t say you’ll feel much different about this one. However, like The Shack, the nuggets of pure wisdom you can pull from the trite and somewhat juvenile prose make it a very worthwhile (and quick!) read. Perhaps even life-changing.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris – If you only read one chapter standing in the bookstore, make it The Rabbit of Easter, He Brings of the Chocolate, whereby David and his fellow students try to explain (in beginner’s French) the meaning of Easter. You will LOFL, as the kids say.*

*(They may not use the F, but we think you will).

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YVONNE’S PICKS

 Amor Towles has written two outstanding reads in markedly different literary styles.

The Rules of CivilityThis novel examines class distinctions and the perceptions thereof, set in the glamour of post war 1940’s New York City. It examines our life choices and the joys and tragedies that inform them.

A Gentleman in Moscow – This is a novel of historical fiction, set in Bolshevik Russia. This story follows the life of a Russian aristocrat ordered to house arrest in a Red Square luxury hotel for the duration of his natural life. Is there any luxury greater than personal freedom? The gentleman in question proceeds to make the delightful best of his circumstances. The prose in this page turner is witty and sophisticated and laden with an assortment of fully drawn characters that will live in your heart as you read.