My Week in Books // 6-23-21

June is such a crazy busy month! I used to think that nothing could get busier than December, but then I had kids…and now I crave the slowness of Christmas time. πŸ˜‰ My reading time has definitely been affected and I’m curious to see how many books I can read over the next week!

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

I don’t know much about Afghanistan’s history; and sadly, I’m like most Americans who only became aware of the country after the events of 9/11. Since then, I have read several books set in the Middle East region, but I’m sure this book will forever stand out to me.

The book begins in 1978 in Afghanistan where Sitara has an idealic life. Her father is a close advisor to the President Daoud, so the palace and all its lush gardens are her playground. One night, the military turned on the President, invaded the palace, and killed everyone – except Sitara. For whatever reason, one of the military guards has mercy on Sitara and smuggles her out to an American diplomat who eventually adopts and raises her in America. Flash forward to NYC in 2008 where Sitara (but now known as Aryana) is a successful surgeon. On a chance encounter, she comes face to face with her past and, once again, her world is flipped upside down.

Hashimi’s writing immediately pulled me in. While her writing is succinct, it is also quite metaphorical and profound. I sunk into her lyrical prose first, and eventually found that I had also sunk into the story as well. I loved Hasimi’s character development, but most of all, I loved returning to Kabul and learning more about the history of Afghanistan. This book felt like I took a journey and I came out on the otherside better for having took it!

I’m curious about Hashimi’s backlist now, so if you have suggestions of where to start, I’d appreciate it!

🎧 *** Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe

I recently overheard a conversation where one person was trying to explain to the other person what “Big Pharma” is. The person who had never heard the phrase was genuinely confused, and seemingly, unconvinced that there is such a thing. For those people, this book is an absolute must read! It will be eye-opening, shocking, and disheartening to learn that some of our medical community is driven by power, greed, and money.

For me, this book was compelling. However, I’m well aware of the profit-driven pharmaceutical companies, so for me, this wasn’t overwhelmingly new information. I learned a lot about the Sackler family specifically which was horrifying and interesting at the same time. I’m never sure why I’m surprised what a driving force money can be, but there is always that part of me that wonders if the people are intentionally blind and dismissive of their actions, or if they’re truly ignorant of their impact. After listening to this, I think it’s fair to say that their bottom dollar is much more important than their moral obligations to society.

If you’re new to the concept of Big Pharma and the corruption within some medical communitites, this would be a wonderful addition to your TBR. If you’re somewhat familiar with the issues but would like to learn more abou the Sackler family, definitely pick this one up. If you’re very familiar, this is a very loooong book and I think you’d be okay to skip it!

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

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