July was…heavy, to say the least. There was some writing professional news that netted out less than positively, a meteor of a personal emergency that is still unfolding, and I think I finally figured a writing time management system that works for me (and a realization that I definitely write to run away, and there is a lot I want to run from).
I also went to NYC to see my family and catch up with some friends. Equally restful and stressful. I’ve stayed safe from disease the best I can, and wish the same for you and yours.
Genre: Adult Nonfiction Year Release: 2022 Source: Audible
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: terrorism, mentions of rape and child sexual assault, mentions of parental death, gun violence, colonization, suicide, drug abuse, state-sanctioned violence, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, 2016 election
Empire of Pain was among my favorite reads last year, so when I belated saw that Patrick Radden Keefe published a collection of his New Yorker articles, I knew immediately what I had to listen to next. Keefe has such a knack for contextualization and bringing the human element into stories that are known for their divisiveness and post-hoc sensationism.
I found myself enthralled by the care, research, and thought put into every snippet of some very recognizable and major cases in contemporary history, ranging from wine fraud to drug lords to pharmaceutical fraud to a beloved culinary figure.
I read 198 books this year in a split of: 39 ARCs, 59 audiobooks, 85 manga volumes, 9 physical copies, 2 light novels, and 6 eBooks. As my boyfriend said, “That’s a lot of things, Jo.” It is that time of year where I want to share my favorites, so please enjoy my top 20 2021 books, top 20 books from before 2021, and, a new feature, 5 manga.
I realize that I make lists for books I’m excited for and book I want to read, and failed on both those lists. So, my lists for 2022 books is mostly about boosting others works regardless of if I personally get around to reading them. That’s just how it is when you’re employed and vastly mis-measure what kind of focus you’ll have as the year goes on. Moving also robbed me of a bunch of my focus, which should not have been as surprising as it is. On top of working full time. On top of being in a relationship and trying to participate in the communities I’m a part of.
What even was July? It was my last month in Chicago, I moved to Texas (am still moving in Texas, no, I won’t be getting into more specific details). Reading was a bit fraught. I had lofty goals, like reading everything I borrowed from the library (didn’t happen). But I did enjoy a bunch of what I read, which is always a blessing.
Genre: Adult Historical Nonfiction Year Release: 2021 Source: Library Audiobook
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: antisemitism, suicide, drug abuse, drug dependence, overdose, homophobia
One of my hyperfixations is the opioid abuse epidemic. My other is marketing (in fact, I have a degree and it’s my current profession). Patrick Radden Keefe’s history of the Sackler family, which brought to market Valium and OxyContin, covers the full spectrum of rich people nonsense, aggressive marketing which still informs the industry today, and one of the tragedies that has taken million lives over the past several decades.
Fascinating and induced many screams and clutching-the-side-of-my-face, this is a must-read for anyone who wants a more biographical account of how one of the most addictive painkillers became so widely (ab)used and the motions trying to bring the family to task.