Welcome to my February Reading Wrap-Up!
OK, so my February reading wrap-up booktube video is kind of a mess. Let’s take a moment to send a kind thought into the universe that I get it together on the next video. Thanks, and here’s to another great month or reading!
I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
Fixie lives up to her name, fixing things for her family and anyone else in her orbit. When she saves the laptop of Sebastian, a handsome stranger, he writes an impromptu IOU on a coffee sleeve. Through the rest of the novel, they exchange favors in an increasing game of one-upmanship.
In the meantime, the family business is on the verge of failing and Fixie’s siblings are making it much worse. And her loser boyfriend … oy. Kinsella’s book often have a fair amount of stress for me, with complications that are 75% of the protagonist’s own making.
I have to admit, I didn’t know how Kinsella would redeem these characters in this book. Fixie’s siblings are HORRIBLE. It’s really clever, the way she is able to turn that storyline.
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
Bad Blood is John Carreyrou’s non-fiction exploration of a tech startup gone wrong.
At the med tech startup Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes’ flagship device, the Edison, could have revolutionized health care. Stylish and palm-sized, it was supposed to accurately and quickly diagnose more than 200 conditions with a drop of blood. But while it sounded great in theory, it was a malfunctioning, fraudulent mess in practice.
In my mind, Holmes’ actions were straight-up evil. In an interview, though, Carreyrou said he thinks it’s more like noble cause syndrome. People think they’re doing the right thing in the beginning. When it starts to go wrong, they carry on, thinking the end will justify the means.
It’s maddeningly unfortunate that it turned into a tsunami of fraud.
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
What a strange book The Water Cure is. It reads almost like a Sofia Coppola movie. Girls on the cusp of womanhood spend long, languid days wandering around the home, exploring their inner dramas, wishing for something, something to happen but not quite ready for it.
Such is the case with the daughters in this book. They rattle around a stately, dilapidated house. The parents warn them of the corrupt world in which men are predators, women their prey.
The Water Cure is dreamy and nightmarish. It’s an unsettling, fascinating novel.
Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams
Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams is an interesting look at how technology can intertwine with our lives.
Simply feed the machine a piece of DNA and it’ll spit out a short list of recommendations to make your life better. It’s speculative fiction, asking us to imagine a world in which technology can unlock the key to happiness. What an unsettling and intriguing concept.
A drawback: the book meanders a bit. It feels like Tell the Machine Goodnight was supposed to go somewhere, but meandered at all of the rest stops instead and forgot what its destination was supposed to be. Enjoyable concept, if somewhat disjointed.
I mentioned a couple of extras in the video. Here’s where to find them.
+ Jim Cramer’s Mad Money interview with John Carreyrou
+ The Beguiled by Sophia Coppola (watch on Amazon Prime)
+ Sophie Mackintosh poetry: “What I Am Afraid Of”
+ Black Mirror (watch on Netflix)