Jun. 12th, 2017

sarahmichigan: (reading)
Book No. 33 was "Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want" by Nicholas Epley. This book covers the way we humans naturally "mind read" the thoughts of others, how we get things right, how we get things wrong, and how we can do a better job of understanding other people's viewpoints (not too surprising, "Ask them!" is a serious suggestion for better mind reading). I keep up with neuroscience findings and know that a couple of the studies he mentions about "priming" are problematic and findings couldn't be replicated, and I'm guessing/hoping he may have addressed that in subsequent editions of the book (I read the original from 2014). Other than that, I really appreciated this slim volume that comes in under 200 pages but which packs in a lot of information. Everybody should be more aware of the ways we get it wrong when trying to figure out what other people are thinking or feeling, and if just being aware that your "mindreading" skills aren't perfect is the only thing you get from the book, it's very valuable. Recommended.

Book No. 34 was "The Mistress's Daughter" by A.M. Homes. I'd read one of her novels "This Book Will Save Your Life" several years ago and liked it and always intended to read more by her. This short memoir (just over 200 pages) starts when her biological mother contacts her, setting A.M. off on a journey of discovery, digging into her biological parents' lives, her ancestry and genealogy back through the 1500s, as well as the history of her adopted family. The reunion with her biological parents is not the happy ending many adoptees look for. It's messy and emotional and complicated. Her biological father is a bit of a cad. Her biological mother is a bit unhinged. If you're looking for happy endings or even for closure, the book doesn't really provide it, but it's beautifully written, and A.M. Homes strips it all of sentimentality and writes with the raw, brutal feelings she experienced herself during these events. It's a powerful book, and I plan to read more of the author's fiction.

The other books I've read so far this year: )

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