Billie Holiday, Joan of Arc and More: My Books of the Month #4

I have been an obsessive reader for as long as I can remember. Here are the books that I have read this past month.


How to Stop Overthinking: The 7-Step Plan to Control and Eliminate Negative Thoughts, Declutter Your Mind and Start Thinking Positively in 5 Minutes or Less
by Chase Hill, Scott Sharp (2019)

It ain’t going to solve the problems in your life. But I find that sometimes, it is helpful to read a book like this to give you some ideas on how to deal with the storm inside your head.


Lady Sings the Blues
by Billie Holiday (1956)

Part one is just about some of the best autobiographical writings by a musician that I have ever come across. Part two, in comparison, feels scattered, possibly marked by Holiday’s growing disinterest in the project and heavy-handed editorial touch-ups. However, readers should consider that what remains interesting throughout is a reflection of the essence of this jazz legend, her modern mentality, her honesty about her struggle with addiction for which she blames nobody but herself, and her constant defiance of what was and is perceived as the Black and female stereotype. Nobody puts Billie in a corner.


Logging Off
Nick Spalding (2020)

A comforting read. Unthreatening. Safe. Simple. Occasionally cringeworthy in its attempts at comedy. Predictably veers towards the same old bourgeois, heterosexual romance narrative. The concept is interesting but this is definitely one of the more underwhelming books I’ve read all year.


Joan of Arc: A History
Helen Castor (2016)

Clearly well researched and refreshingly objective. However, it’s not written in a particularly compelling way. There’s too much information compressed in single sentences and super lengthy paragraphs. But the big issue I have is quite simple. Despite the title and the way the book is packaged, the historical context is given more attention than Joan herself. Which is quite misleading and annoying.

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