what I've been reading... - The Dainty Squid

what I've been reading...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

One of my new year's goals was to keep up the reading momentum I had in 2012 and read 30 books. I'd have to say I'm off to a fairly decent start. Six books down, twenty four to go. Oh goodness, actually, can I just admit that I probably won't feel happy unless I read over 30? I set goals, either I'll write them or tell someone, but then I'll make secret goals that I keep to myself so even I reach the real goal I'm not satisfied unless I reach my secret goal. I used to do this a lot when there was still a Dainty Squid shop and I was sewing constantly. It drove me nuts. Anyway, I'm not even 100% sure what my "secret goal" is but I just know it's more than 30 so I have my work cut out for me.

Last year I blogged about the books I had finished in sets of ten, but this year I think I might like to do it more often so I'm able to share a little bit more about each book without the post being too overwhelming. I've been reading a lot of books on the same subjects (the funeral business, sex work, science experiments, etc.) as last year, it's like each new one I read leads me to find two or three more that I'll like.
So far this year I've read...
Electrified Sheep by Alex Boese
I am Jennie by Jennie Ketcham
The Cult Files by Chris Mikul
Sexual Metamorphosis by Jonathan Ames
Sugar Babe by Holly Hill
Mortician Diaries by June Knights Nadle

Let's start with the bad first... Mortician Diaries. Last year I read a lot of books on a similar subject and this book was just all too familiar. Luckily it was a very, very short read. I had it done in around an hour and a half. If you're looking for a book about funeral directors I'd suggest Curtains by Tom Jokinen or Down Among The Dead Men by Michelle Williams.

The Cult Files was probably second least favorite. It's definitely a subject I'm very interested in but I found the way the book was set up hard to follow. With each chapter about a different cult it was hard for me to grasp who was who in each story.  But then again I'm the kind of person who can't remember who is who in a movie if two of the characters have the same color hair. Hah! Really I just think it was too much information trying to be packed into such a small amount of space.

I am Jennie was a good read. I found myself taking extra long baths just so I could spend more time reading it. Jennie's writing is very down to earth, which is definitely what I'm looking for in a book of this sort.

Sexual Metamorphosis is an anthology which I can honestly say is my least favorite kind of book. It was good though, I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were some really great excerpts that left me immediately wanting to read the book it came from. (Second Serve by Renee Richards and Christine Jorgensen: A Personal Autobiography.) I think I might have found myself a new subject to dive into!

Sugar Babe was really great! I've read lots of books about sex work but none about sugar babies/daddies. I thought Holly was a great writer, I felt really involved in the story. It was certainly a fun read. 

Electrified Sheep was definitely the winner for me from this group. I had previously read and liked Elephants on Acid by Alex Boese and wanted to read more from him. I love reading about bizarre experiments.  My favorite section in this book was "Do-It-Yourselfers" about scientists experimenting on themselves. Trying to figure out how/where food digests in their bodies, giving themselves worms and self surgery are just a few topics from that section. Riveting right? Well, to me it is! Even though it wasn't the books intended purpose it got me really curious about more science experiments that have been done on humans. Anyone have any reading suggestions on that subject?

Fingers crossed I can keep reading at this rate for the rest of the year. I have a pretty hefty to-read stack!
xoxo

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38 thoughts

  1. I love that your reading lists aren't filled with romance novels and craft books like most other bloggers (and people in general). Nothing wrong with that, but your recommendations are truly unique! Absolutely love reading your blog, girl. Werk!
    xo
    Lauren at inbetweenidols.blogspot.com

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  2. If you're looking for a book on cults, this one on Aum Shinrikyo was interesting. As far as experiments go, I'm sure you've read about the Milgram Experiment (about obedience) and the Stanford Prison Experiment, they're both fascinating (and kinda depressing) - maybe not exactly what you're after. On another tangent I love Derren Brown, he shows stange sides of our psychology that are fascinating - more in an entertaining way.

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    1. Oohh! Thanks for all the recommendations! The Stanford Prison Experiment one is already in my wishlist, it sounded really good!
      :)

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  3. I really like Jonathan Ames' novels. Wake Up Sir is an excellent book. His brief mentions within it about other books and papers concerned with transformative sexuality indicate he had a wealth of knowledge on the subject he wasn't sharing within that story.

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  4. Mortician Diaries has been on my list for months! I may replace it with one of your other recommendations!

    Thanks!
    xx,
    Kate

    ummmnowwhat.blogspot.com

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  5. I set myself a goal of 52 books this year - I'm already majorly behind but I'm hoping that the long train journeys next week will give me some reading time.

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  6. These books seem so interesting! A quick question: do you usually read more novels, or more memoirs/non-fiction type books? It seems like most of these are non-fictionish, but I could be wrong. Just wondering for if I start reading any books on your lists!

    ♥Brooke
    http://youreinbrookelynn.blogspot.com

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    1. I definitely read more memoirs and non-fiction. Once in a while I read novels but I tend to try to stay away from them.

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  7. I will definitely be checking out some of these books :)

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  8. Your really off to a flying start !
    I have just finished my first book of the year.
    I seem to go through phases where i read a lot in a short amount of time
    And then i won't read for months.
    I think I'm going to try read a lot more this year.
    I completely understand your secret goals !
    I do this as well :)
    I look forward to seeing more book posts :)
    Launa xx
    Wowsville

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  9. Electrified Sheep sounds really interesting, I might add it to my reading list. I usually like to read historical fantasy books/post-apocalyptic stories, but this seems like a nice change I would be willing to try. Being a Biology major, I usually am really interested in experiments, it seems like something thats right up my alley!

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  10. I love your book choices. They're the kinds you rarely hear about anywhere else, which is nice. I'm going to order Elephants on Acid I think, it looks so interesting.

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  11. Not sure if you're interested in psychology experiments too (definitely not as outrageous as self-surgery!), but if so, you should check out "The Invisible Gorilla" by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons. It's about the ways that our memory and attention can fail us, and how that can apply to real-life situations, like giving eye-witness testimony, playing chess, etc. Everyone I've recommended it to so far has really enjoyed it! (Full disclosure: I'm a grad student in psychology, and one of the authors is a professor in my department, but I really do think the book is awesome!)

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    1. Yeah, psychology experiments are right up my alley! I'll definitely check that book out! Thank you :D

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  12. I set a goal of 20, and I'm hoping to reach much over that. Though I'm only 3 down in 2013 so far.

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  13. Wow, the rate at which you devour books is amazing to me... I'm still working on a book I started at the end of January and it's not even that thick! Hopefully I can figure out how to shuffle more reading into my daily life. Good luck at reaching your mysterious secret goal. Oh, and did you close Circus Bear Vintage? When you mentioned your etsy I realized I haven't heard you speak about that shop in a long time. Anyway I hope you're having a good Wednesday :)

    ~Caleisha
    apt-203.blogspot.com

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  14. I love your reading lists and have found so many great books from them! Looking forward to checking some of these out!

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  15. A few days after Christmas I went to Half Price Books, which is a great place to explore new genres because the books are cheaper! And they do a great job of putting books in different categories. I actually bought Stiff by Mary Roach on this particular trip after seeing that you really enjoyed it, but I haven't had the chance to read it yet. Now I really want to read Electrified Sheep. I love science/medical history. Especially when it's weird or a bit dark.
    One book that I bought that you might be interested in is Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution by Holly Tucker. I'm only about 20 pages in, but it's been good so far. It's mostly about the history of blood transfusions, but it's not in a textbook style. It reads more like a collection of stories about each experiment.
    Because you're a collector, a book that might appeal to you is The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities (edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer). It centers around Dr. Lambshead's collection, which is absolutely amazing, and is written by a collection of fantastic writers. There are stories of the origins of some of the items in his collection, fictions involving certain items in his collection, a catalog of some of the items (which is quite humorous), and some amazing pictures of his cabinet (which is actually like a museum). It's crazy and fascinating and made me unbelievably jealous.
    Another one I think you might like (I promise this is the last one I'll recommend) is The Natural History of Unicorns by Chris Lavers. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, which is a bummer. On the back of the book it says, "Chris Lavers argues that although the unicorn of our imagination isn't real, traces of its character can be found in existing species." It's presented in an academic style, but given the content I doubt it's boring.

    Happy Reading!
    Sarah Anne

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    1. Awesome, thank you so much for the recommendations!!
      :)

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  16. I recommend "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" - a crazy true story, and very well written! And it does touch on some of the awful medical experiments done to poor black people and prisoners. That led me to look up "Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison" - haven't read it yet, but it's on my list.

    I love your book reviews - keep em coming :)

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  17. I love your reading list posts, I always come away with something new to check out.

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  18. Just a friendly little tweety bird reminder that I bet you'd like In Cold Blood by Truman Capote! Also, maybe give The Woman Between The Worlds by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre a shot...

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Woman-Between-Worlds/dp/0595088848/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360783377&sr=8-1&keywords=woman+between+the+worlds

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  19. I always enjoy your reading lists! I have very similar taste in literature and the books your recommend are always wonderful, thank you!

    Ali Lauren @ writeshewrote.com :)

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  20. I really need to start expanding some of the books I'm reading - I've fallen into the paranormal romance trap and I need to shake things up a bit so this list has given me some inspiration - thank you!

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  21. I think you would like the "guts" episode of radiolab http://www.radiolab.org/2012/apr/02/ you'd actual probably love all the episodes, they are amazing works of genius. Also on the subject of cults I really loved the movie The Sound Of My Voice, which is about a cult :) I still find myself thinking about it months later.

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  22. I've been dying to find a new book to read, and I think I'll have to check out Electrified Sheep.

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  23. I'll have to give Sugarbabe a read! I watched Whores Glory based on your recommendation and really enjoyed it.

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  24. Hah! Your description of The Cult Files made me think of a friend who didn't realize the protagonist and antagonist of a movie we were watching were two different people until it was over :P Electrified Sheep seems really interesting

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    1. Hahaha, that's totally something I would do!

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  25. I wish I could explain how much I LOVE your book updates! I really want to get into reading more and these always inspire me. You read things on such interesting subjects! I definitely need to get into nonfiction some more. :]

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  26. Electrified Sheep and Elephants On Acid will be added to my 'to read' list... thank you!

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  27. Do you ever watch "Dark Matters" on the Science Channel? If not you should check it out! I'm sure they have episodes on their website if you don't have the channel. I am certainly going to try and pick some of these up at the library!

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  28. Thanks so much for posting a quick review of the books your reading! I just got a kindle in hopes that I start reading a lot more. I think I read like 5 books last year tops and that seriously depresses me. Anyway, I'm for certain going to have to check out some of the books you recommend!

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  29. I really appreciate your reading posts - it's so refreshing to see someone with similar taste. I've picked up so many good books from you! I'm currently reading Geek Love :)

    hellokaili.blogspot.com

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  30. if you're looking to read more memoirs by trans people, i would recommend "gender outlaw" by kate bornstein. also i thought "the testosterone files" by max wolf valerio was very well-written & interesting, but he says such fucked-up things about rape that i can't recommend it wholeheartedly.

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  31. We have the EXACT same taste in books! I'm a funeral science student, and I'm fascinated by cults and sex work. I never thought I'd see those interests in concert anywhere else!

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