Wednesday 4 April 2018

The Good House by Ann Leary

From Goodreads: "Hildy Good has reached that dangerous time in a woman's life - middle-aged and divorced, she is an oddity in her small but privileged town. But Hildy isn't one for self-pity and instead meets the world with a wry smile, a dark wit and a glass or two of Pinot Noir. When her two earnest grown-up children stage 'an intervention' and pack Hildy off to an addiction centre, she thinks all this fuss is ridiculous. After all, why shouldn't Hildy enjoy a drink now and then?"

But how do you prove you're not an alcoholic if you are still going to enjoy drinking?

There are many funny moments in Hildy's tragic-tale life. She narrates it (Well, it's Mary Beth Hurt on Audible - and she does a great job.) It's full of dysfunction - from friends to new boyfriends, to neighbours, to children.

It was enjoyable, but I don't think Hildy was a good choice to tell the story in the first person. It made the story awkward at times, and irritating at others.

Lots of relatable moments, and the writing style was full of pure pleasure. Worth a try, and if Meryl Streep is Hildy in the movie, I'll see that too.

3 stars


You may also enjoy Nora Ephron's Heartburn or Ann Lamott's Blue Shoe, or even Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

The Black Swan by Nicholas Taleb

"A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. 

The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives."

I've been wanting to read this book  for a very long time. It takes the complex world of statistics and makes its applicable to real life. It also asks us important questions about why we don't allow for the possibility of these black swans, why we find ourselves stuck in certain ways of thinking, despite evidence to the contrary and proposes ways of dealing with our thinking shortfalls.

It's a story told in an engaging and witty style - perhaps not always very structured in the way it is arranged, and a little on the lengthy side, but thoroughly enjoyable. The audible narration is great - I found it clear and the pace of the reading was just right.

It has earned the accolade of being the definitive book on the topic. Taleb has done his homework and has the necessary expertise to make this a reference book on the improbable and how to deal with it.

4 stars

ISBN: 9781400063512

You may also enjoy The Knowledge Illusion by Steven Sloman or Richard Thaler's Misbehaving