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Audiobooks Recap For April, May, & June


You might have noticed that I haven't reviewed any nonfiction books lately. I tried incorporating my new reading interests with my old love of YA, but it never quite felt right to post it all at the same time. I know that most of you are just here for the YA stuff, and that's totally okay. I had plenty of posts over the last couple months, so all my nonfiction reviews kept getting bumped off the list in favor of more YA content. Since I still wanted the blog to grow with me, and I wanted to cover these books, I wanted to throw all of the books I read over the last couple months into a single post.
So, if you're also a nonfiction lover, here's a quick recap of my recent reads on tons of different topics to inspire your next choice. 

What to Eat When
by Michael Roizen, Michael Crupain, Ted Spiker
This was a quick listen. I wrote a review on it a while back, but I wasn't sure if that's something you'd really be interested in reading, so I thought I'd put it in a combination post. Overall, this book didn't bring anything particularly new to the table (if you're like me and read a lot about health/nutrition). It stays pretty neutral on most topics which left me wondering what I really got out of the experience. He suggested a plant based diet would be better, but doesn't make many definitive statements about it. He suggests that people reverse their meal sizes and eat most in the morning, reducing throughout the day, which isn't a new idea. It's well researched and proven.
If you're new to the "optimizing your health" nonfiction category, this might be an interesting first primer, but if you're already interested and have done some research, I'm not sure you'll walk away having learned much.

The F*ck It Diet
by Caroline Dooner 
I was intrigued by the idea of the anti-diet diet book. I finished it unsure of what to think. I stand by her message that food should just be food without emotional baggage or guilt attached to it. Easier said than done, though, so I wanted to see how she recommended getting to that place. I wasn't a huge fan of her tone. I think in an attempt to be provocative and edgy, she swings in the other direction of losing a bit of credibility and alienating the reader. At some points, I felt like she was attacking me for wanting to eat healthy, which struck me as strange for a book ultimately about health. And I was weary of her pushing people to eat all the junk food they want, even if they don't particularly feel like it. Her idea is that if you make yourself sick enough times, your body will eventually decide that eating whatever you want isn't fun after all, and you'll naturally reset to wanting healthy foods. She insists that's the only way to get out of a restriction mindset.
Yes, it works. I've done it myself, but it took a major toll on both my body and mental health, and I felt totally unequipped to climb out that spiral. It took me a long time to figure out regular portions and to get back into food that was fueling my body instead of making me consistently ill. Once I figured that out, I felt so much better. But Caroline doesn't give the reader a path out of the "eat everything" spiral. She acts like you'll eventually just have an epiphany. I don't feel like her guidance set anyone up for success, and it really was all antidotal. For as much as she bashes other health books, hers really is no better. She's aggressively pushing an agenda, without much to back it up, just like everyone else. There's also a lot of shaming about old, restrictive mindsets, wanting to lose weight, and wanting to be healthier or avoid certain foods. While all these things might stem from an unhealthy place, being yelled at about it isn't going to help anyone who's truly struggling.


by Dana Thomas
I did write up a formal review for this one, and I'm still impressed with this book a month later. Fashionopolis delves into the world of fast fashion and the social, economic, and environmental impacts it has. She explains it concisely and makes it all very interesting. My favorite part, though, is that it's very solutions based and hopeful. There is a path to helping the planet and improving the industry. Read my full review here.


Blowout
by Rachel Maddow
Whenever I feel like actually watching the news, I always go to Rachel Maddow's show. She's bold and engaging and she doesn't sugar coat things- which I appreciate. I'd been meaning to read her book forever, and I finally had an Audible credit come in. As I started, I wondered why I was bothering to listen to a book about the oil and gas industry. By the end, my jaw was on the floor. She weaves two stories that seem worlds apart- one about the oil business in Oklahoma and one about the evolving government in Russia- into a stunning final picture that's both sinister and surprising. I wish it was a thriller because it was fascinating and the perfect story but totally horrifying given its nonfiction status. 


Leave Your Mark
by Aliza Licht
I've been exploring possible careers based on my different interests and trying to read books about them or get a look inside what it's like. Aliza Licht's book caught my eye on Audible's explore page. This mix of self help and member details Aliza's time working in editorial, magazines, PR, and social media marketing in the fashion space from being an intern to leading major teams. I wanted to turn it off almost the whole time, but I also couldn't stop listening. I couldn't stand her outlook and tone. It was so stuck up and superior sounding. She also glamorized and encouraged the mistreatment of young employees and talked fondly about being severely underpaid. This is a problem in so many industries and framing it like these companies are doing you a favor or building "grit" is far from helpful. None of her advice felt very helpful or beyond what you could figure out yourself. It can basically be summed up as don't complain and don't be lazy. It really turned me off of the whole idea of that career path. 


On Bowie
by Rob Sheffield 
This one was available on one of my library apps and written by Rob Sheffield, a Rolling Stone writer I really enjoy, so I figured I'd give it a try. I didn't know much about Bowie going into it beyond his esteemed place in pop culture, but I wanted to learn. I've been making it a point to read more music biographies of past musicians that I don't really connect with through their music but want to learn more about. It was a short read and interesting enough. I liked that Rob, while a super fan, was willing to look at Bowie as a complete person with flaws. It was fun to read about someone from the point of view of a person who's life was greatly impacted and shaped by the artist. 


I'll Be Gone In The Dark
by Michelle McNamara 
I'd heard so much about this book that when my library hold came in, I had to jump at the chance to read it. Let me tell you, this isn't for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. The details about the Golden State Killer's crimes are graphic and unflinching. While I listen to the occasional true crime podcast, I don't usually choose ones that get so deeply into the criminal details. The first half is tough to get through and did actually give me a nightmare, so I sped finished that in a day. The second half, though, was a really great read. After you get the full scope, there are fascinating pieces about Michelle's intense focus on her work and bits of personal stories, conversation with detectives who worked on the case, interesting detailing of how they searched for this elusive killer, failed suspects, and a list of theories. There's also an appendix added later with new information garnered since he was caught. They talk about the DNA that got them there and how far off they were in their guesses. Michelle died before the book was totally complete, so it turned into a patchwork of her unfinished draft, articles she'd written, excerpts from her true crime blog, and sections that were finished from her notes. This enriched the book for me and cast the story in a different light. If you're okay with gritty details and true crime stories, it is an interesting and rewarding book. 


The Dorito Effect
by May Schatzker
This is a food book that isn't going to tell you how to eat at all. It doesn't push a way of eating or a diet. Instead, it dives into how food has been altered and processed through the years. You learn about how tomatoes (and almost every other vegetable) has gotten less tasty in favor of super sizing and shelf stability. Our food isn't made to be extra tasty for sure. If it discusses virtues, it does push searching for heritage varieties of both fruits and vegetables and whatever animal products you choose to consume. It advocates for going back to small farming and a level of attention that cares for flavor and nutrition. It's mind blowing to read about how much our food has changed and why, it'll make you angry at our factory food system, and it'll make you consider what and how you're consuming. It's not the best written, most engaging, or my top recommendation in the category, but it's a good choice if you want to hear about the evolution without a layer of judging what you eat.


The Hidden Power of F*cking Up
by The Try Guys 
This is the Try Guys book that came out last year. I recently found their videos and wanted to learn more about them, so I decided to use a credit to listen to their book. While the first chapter starts rough, I enjoyed the book overall. It doesn't give you a ton you can't get out of their videos, but it is a way to get to know them better. Each Try Guy has at least one winning story or anecdote that is either entertaining or heartwarming or actually helpful on the advice front. It goes from silly to poignant and back again super fast. There was a giant range in tone in each section. For example, in one set of tries, Ned walks around in a crop top for a day whereas Eugene confronted the distance in his family and their emotional connection. I did really enjoy Eugene's section there. He was super honest and vulnerable and relatable, making it the standout moment of the book. Honestly, it reads like an internet famous group offered the chance at a book deal and not like someone who was desperate to get their story out, but it's still an easy listen and enjoyable overall.

More Nonfiction Reviews
Here

Links of Interest:
Bi Book Love
I'll Be The One 
You Should See Me In a Crown
Into YA with Lindsay Sproul

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