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Sun House: A Novel by David James Duncan - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780316129374
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Published: Little, Brown and Company - August 8th, 2023

This is, without a doubt, the best book I've read this year, and it's so difficult to describe in just a few sentences! Overflowing with spirituality, not of any particular religion, but rather "that of tree, stone, water, vista, plant, smell and sound". Duncan fills the pages with poetry, ancient writings, popular and original songs (don't skip the bibliography!) His cast of characters, each following diverse life paths, ultimately come together in a shared mysterious attraction for a mountain range in Montana. Any one of their individual stories could be a solo once heart-rending, joy-filled, and often hilarious. You will not want this journey to end...even his acknowledgements are worthy of your complete attention. Don't pass this one by! ~ Reviewed by Lauren Singer

Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon by Michael Lewis - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781324074335
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 3rd, 2023

It all began in a movement called "Effective Altruism"; the idea of building personal wealth for the sole purpose of giving it away. What followed was the precipitous rise and fall of Sam Bankman-Fried's crypto empire. More than a timeline of the bitcoin/crypto/blockchain boom, it's a fascinating sociological study of "SBF", his minions, and the public (including the likes of Tom Brady) drawn in and losing millions through this enterprise. As I write this, he stands trial for fraud and money laundering, and faces life in prison. He of course claims innocence, and those closest to him share the belief that there is "something missing" in his personality that makes it impossible for him to understand that he could have caused such misery and financial ruin to anyone.
As for crypto-currency, I still just don't get it! ~ Reviewed by Lauren Singer

The Deluge by Stephen Markley - Book Review

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The Deluge By Stephen Markley Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982123109
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Published: Simon & Schuster - November 7th, 2023

Stephen King tweeted this about "The Deluge": "... it is more terrifying than "The Stand" because it is real". I have to totally agree with the master of horror fiction on that. Toward the end of this almost 900 page tome, my heart was racing, my stomach was churning... physical reactions that I seldom experience from a book; all of it due to the NON fiction aspect of this novel. Spanning just a bit more than a decade from current times, Markley chronicles devastating weather events, political infighting and intrigue, all against a backdrop of terrorist activities (think: Weathermen...but much worse), with just enough references to names and events taken from today's headlines to make it all feel SO REAL. Thankfully, he doesn't leave us totally stranded in despair, so I can highly recommend that you take the time to pull this one off the bookshelf! ~ Reviewed by Lauren Singer

Unprotected: A Memoir by Billy Porter - Book Review

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Unprotected: A Memoir By Billy Porter Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419746208
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Published: Abrams Press - October 25th, 2022

If you only know him from his show-stopping red-carpet appearances, or from reading his bio on the back cover, you'll have no inkling of what it took this queer, black powerhouse of talent to earn his place in today's pop culture. The word is resilience. As an abused child, he fought his way to be able to study at the schools that he knew would prepare him for a life in the theater. Achieving his dream would come at a high price; racial prejudice, homophobia, and the AIDS crisis were all part of his struggle to not only survive, but to rise to be a star on Broadway, TV, and movies. I came away with utmost respect and admiration. ~ Reviewed by Lauren Singer

Dinner with the President: Food, Politics, and a History of Breaking Bread at the White House by Alex Prud'homme - Book Review

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Dinner with the President: Food, Politics, and a History of Breaking Bread at the White House By Alex Prud'homme Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524732219
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Published: Knopf - February 7th, 2023

"Presidential meals say something about their eaters, their era, and what it means to be American". Thus Prud'Homme sums up his highly entertaining look at 26 of the most influential U.S. presidents from Washington to Biden; examining the meals, hospitality (or lack thereof), and entertainments of the day. We learn of food trends that made national and global headlines during their administrations, and decisions affecting the course of history that happened around the White House dining table. There are even a few recipes thrown in, such as Martha Washington's Preserved Cherries and FDR's Reverse Martini. What a fun way to "digest" history! ~ Reviewed by Lauren Singer


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