I’ve been reading up a storm in 2017 and it feels great. I’ve read/listened to 20+ books so far. Some of the books have been short, which helps boost the numbers. Also, I’ve been training for an 8k and I listen to audiobooks while I run and since I’m incredibly slow right now, that means a lot of extra listening time.

There are two books I’ve devoured recently that I wanted to share. Both are non-fiction and each is part memoir: Love Not Given Lightly and The Psychopath Test.

Love Not Given Lightly is part essay, part memoir penned by writer, filmmaker, and former sex-worker Tina Horn. I read this book in one sitting. While it is salacious, of course, there are also a lot of nuts and bolts pragmatic retellings of life in the sex trade.

The stories were very personal and several came from largely ignored voices (ie – Female to Male Trans porn star and hairy female kink sex-worker). The book didn’t stray from giving an account of when sex-work goes bad and the need for self-care and emotional protection in what is, ultimately, a vulnerable profession. The stories were deeply human and allowed a boring writer like me into a world I usually only visit in transgressive novels (which usually only show the worst parts of sex-work). Definitely a good read for anyone interested in the topic or doing research in the field for a future novel.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson is another good read. I don’t know what I was expecting from this book. I thought it would either be a dry retelling of psychopaths throughout history or it would be an over-hyped, everyone-is-evil tabloid type read. What I got was the story of Jon Ronson learning about the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, meeting probable psychopaths and probable mis-diagnosed psychopaths, and trying to make sense of the world through a different lens.

If you’ve ever spent some time on Web MD and discovered that you have ALL the diseases, then you will completely understand Ronson’s journey once he starts to use the Checklist. Now, Ronson does meet a good bit of actual psychopaths including a former leader of a Haitian death-squad, but he also tries to use the Checklist on himself and those around him.

Throughout the book, we meet an interesting cast of characters, view life in a mental institution, revisit a murder investigation, and spend time with Scientology. It’s all fascinating and the book really does touch on many areas of life. I found it more an interesting retelling of a journey than an in-depth learning about psychopathy.

Any good non-fiction reads you’ve been burning through?

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