Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Written by John Carreyrou
An HBO documentary on Theranos, a company that promised leading-edge technology for the health care industry, raising billions in funding before being exposed as completely fraudulent, piqued my interest in learning more about how a scam of this magnitude could unfold. Bad Blood does a great job of that, delving deep into founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes’ history and psyche and includes numerous first-hand accounts from insiders who tried to raise alarms but were ignored or silenced by means of threats and intimidation. The story is truly a wild ride, parts of which feel like scenes cut from an action movie starring Tom Cruise (coincidentally, a movie is in development). Highly recommended. I couldn’t put this book down.
Favourite line: “It was all beginning to make sense: Holmes and her company had overpromised and then cut corners when they couldn’t deliver. It was one thing to do that with software or a smartphone app, but doing it with a medical product that people relied on to make important health decisions was unconscionable.”
How To Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don’t
Written by Lane Moore
I know what it’s like to be alone having spent the majority of my life in the realm of it. I am an only child and quickly learned how to entertain myself with stuffed animals and pets rather than siblings. I’ve always preferred a small, close group of good friends rather than being an acquaintance to many. And at one point, I left a life behind to start fresh in a city I hadn’t even visited prior. At times, I’ve felt the this solo strength veer into loneliness and that is what this book journals in a series of mini essays; the realities of navigating an increasingly connected world you don’t always feel you have a place in, by choice or circumstance. It is, perhaps, my most dog-eared book of the year, every chapter containing writing (and emotion) that is way too relatable. Lane Moore is a gifted writer and I highly recommended this book.
Favourite line: “I will never understand how, just as quickly and intensely as she entered, she could and would exit my life as though she’d never said a word to me. Never felt anything for me or because of me. And I’d just become a girl she knew once, kind of, from a distance.”
Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany
Written and illustrated by Jane Mount
This illustrated book is for the true book lover - it offers groupings of books, authors, genres, even book stores and libraries that any true aficionado should check out.
Favourite line: there was a section that detailed pets who’ve provided inspiration to authors.
Written by Al Eufrasio and Jeff Davis
This is the second book in the “Weird” series that I’ve purchased (the other being ‘Weird Illinois’). It is a unique travel series that focuses on sights not covered by Lonely Planet such as local legends and fables, peculiar properties, the paranormal and other strange phenomena. Oregon likes to market it’s reputation for being a bit odd, even running a marketing campaign that begs to “keep Portland weird”, so I knew this would be a great read. Some of my favourite sections included an explanation on why there are so many Paul Bunyan statues, learning of a widow who created a self-cleaning house, and a concise history of the viral whale-exploding incident from 1970 that has taken a second-life on the internet.
Favourite line: During a recent road trip down the state’s I-84, I wondered about the dozens of “mounds” at an army base I passed. This book explained they—all 1,001 of them—once stored 12% of America’s chemical munitions, such as sarin and VX! I had passed the Umatilla Chemical Depot.
Pablo Escabar, My Father
Written by Juan Pablo Escobar
Narcos and now Narcos, Mexico are some of my “must watch” television. I ordered this book while invested in the first two seasons, hoping to learn more about Pablo Escobar from someone who had unfettered access—his son. I could only force myself through a few chapters though before needing to give up. This book is horrible.
Favourite line: none.