the myth of normal by gabor maté

gabor maté is an established name in the psychology trauma field. combined with a recommendation from a professional psychologist, and several glowing reviews from professional critics, i was curious about “the myth of normal”.

the book makes a robust case explaining what is wrong with the most of modern societies, how we got here, and in the final part tries to give you tools on how to fix things at least on the personal level. but the most important achievement of this work, from my point of view, is the clear albeit lenghty explanation that psychological trauma is ubiquitous.

the final part is where it falls a little bit short, because so many root causes are systemic, therefore require systemic solutions. i am still tempted to say – read this book if you can’t get into therapy.

pachinko by min jin lee

i was peeved at the publisher’s decision to put a major spoiler on the back-of-the-cover blurb, so no spoilers in this opinion.

pachinko is a family saga of three generations – classic approach. what makes it different is the setting, so unusual for anglophone readers – korea and japan. mostly japan. i think this is the first fiction book where i get to see this country through the eyes of a non-japanese person. and let me tell you, it’s not a flattering view, which has been a surprise in itself.

i absolutely recommend this book if you are:

  • not scared by books longer than 350 pages (don’t worry, this is a page-turner)
  • want to learn about moving from Korea to Japan in 30’s of of previous century
  • want to get curious about that historic period (i totally went on a wikipedia rabbit hole afterwards)
  • and just want read astonishingly well-written book.

five out of five from me.

midnight library by matt haig

midnight library was voted as book of the year (2020) on goodreads, but it was on my to-read list regardless – matt haig is one of the writers whose new books i buy immediately. among other talents, he is scarily good at writing depression, drawing on his personal experience.

funnily enough, the plot reminded me of жалобная книга by max frei, published back in 2003.

upon finishing the novel i was full with emotions in a really good way. that’s what an uplifting book can do to you.

five out of five, hands down.

men who hate women by laura bates

i’ve been aware of Laura Bates since her ‘Everyday Sexism’ project, but somehow her books slipped past me. thankfully, ‘men who hate women’ was promoted in the guardian’s books section, where i saw it and immediately ordered a copy.

entire book is a chilling read, even if you are a weathered online person, but chapter nine is the scariest. it’s about young people in their formative years, who are absorbing normalised misogyny.

i wish every man, who have ever asked me whether feminism is still relevant, would read this book. because fighting modern misogyny can’t be successful without them.