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Amanda Quraishi

Joined 6 months, 1 week ago

I'm a middle-aged, eclectic book reader who enjoys both physical/paper books and audiobooks from lots of genres. I'm especially partial to all manner of science fiction, as well as nonfiction books on sociology, psychology and zen. I also love a good short story.

In my experience, book people are generally good people. Happy to be here.

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Amanda Quraishi's books



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Girl A (Hardcover, 2021, Viking) 5 stars

Great storytelling.

5 stars

Girl A is a book that could easily have crossed the line and exploited the reader by being too graphic about the cruelty visited upon these children, but the author maintains focus on the their relationship to one another. Which is not to say that she avoids descriptions of abuse. There are some passages here that are disturbing, but mostly for the emotional and psychological impact. I thought the story was artfully told, and compelling.

The Hierarchies (2020, Dutton Books, Dutton) 5 stars


5 stars

I picked this off a list of 'new feminist speculative fiction books' and dove in without knowing anything about the author or the book itself, and I'm glad I did.

The story incorporates AI, sexual servitude and the sex trade, power, the parameters of the human condition, slavery, and love. It's told from the point of view of a 'doll' who has been created to fulfill the needs of men, and beautifully echos the experience of women in societies around the globe for centuries.

If you get a chance, check out the audio book. It's narrated beautifully and you get to hear the transformation of the main character as she evolves throughout the book.

Novelist As a Vocation (2022, Knopf Incorporated, Alfred A.) 5 stars

Practical, fascinating

5 stars

I'm always fascinated to learn about successful artists' and writers' journeys and creative processes. I've admired Haruki Murakami for a while, so this book was extra fun to read. His fiction is known for using simple sentence structures, and the essays in this book about his career as a novelist follow this way of writing. He offers his own experience, all the while sharing his history (a treat, as he's notoriously shy of the public) and underlining that his story is his own - and may or may not apply to others. The few times he does dip into 'universal' language are, I think, the most inspirational parts of the book - the feeling of being in flow or 'in the zone'; overcoming obstacles, including one's own self-doubt; and the joy of producing some work that reflects you as an artist, regardless of what critics or others have to say. …

Electricity of Every Living Thing (2021, Melville House Publishing) 4 stars


4 stars

This is my first Katherine May book, and I knew very little about her when I started reading. I love hiking, though, and loved how she took us along with her as she followed this trail over a year's time while working through her own personal journey of self-discovery. May is funny, and also, honest with herself and her readers about her challenges and triumphs. It was a relatable book - not aspirational, but inspirational.

What If This Were Enough? (Hardcover, 2018, Doubleday) 4 stars

Deliciously snarky, poignantly reflective

4 stars

Maybe its just that I, like Havrilesky am a middle aged Gen Xer, but these essays hit the spot. Each one was a satisfying delve into the lifelong materialism and hubris of our parents' generation. Sometimes a little too sanctimonious, but who among us has not fallen into that mode at some point? The world, after all, is a hot mess - and Havrilesky is unafraid of pointing it out while reminding us that who we really are, and what we really need can't be bought or borrowed from popular culture.

Creative Act (2023, Penguin Publishing Group) 5 stars

From the legendary music producer, a master at helping people connect with the wellsprings of …


5 stars

Here's the thing about this book. It's not meant to be an academic or scientific exploration of the creative process. It's very much a series of reflections and creative lessons from one of the most dynamic creators alive today. It's got tons of little gems - I read it with a highlighter - and I intend to re-read it. Probably multiple times. It's the kind of book you can pick up and leaf through and find some bits of wisdom that will boost your own perspective on creativity and possibly inspire. Some of it will be useful, some will not - and Rubin acknowledges this.

I really enjoyed it.

The Swimmers (Paperback, 2022, Random House Large Print) 4 stars

From the award winning author of The Buddha in the Attic and When the Emperor …

Good, not Great

3 stars

Content warning General description of story.

The Buddha in the Attic 3 stars

Powerful and concise.

5 stars

This is an 'easy' book to read in that the format allows you to dive in and get immersed quickly in the lives of a whole population of Japanese-Americans at a specific time in our history. The format of telling fragments of multiple stories in the first person is so unusual, but so very effective. However, that doesn't mean the subject matter is easy, and having finished it I'm sitting with some uncomfortable feelings about human nature, American imperialism, and the unfathomably cruel lives that immigrants (from all time periods) have to suffer when they come to this country.

Brave New World (Paperback, 1956, Modern Library) 4 stars

Originally published in 1932, this outstanding work of literature is more crucial and relevant today …


5 stars

I read Brave New World many years ago and decided to re-read it this year. I'd remembered the general storyline but most of the details so it felt fresh, and I'm glad I chose to go back to it because the perspective I have now in my life makes this book even more fascinating. There are layers of meaning in a book that is at once a commentary on our collective past and a disturbingly clear portend of our future. The peace-built-upon-rampant-consumerism setting is chilling in its likeness to where we already are (and where we seem to be headed) as a global society. It's well worth a re-read if you've not picked it up in a while.

reviewed Orlando

Orlando (French language, 2018) 5 stars

I can't believe I waited so long to read this.

5 stars

I'm age 49 and I'm going back and reading (and re-reading) some of the classics. I'd not read Orlando before and I have no idea what took me this long. What a story! Virginia Woolf's reputation for being a brilliant, mould-shattering feminist writer and thinker is absolutely well-deserved and I'm in awe that this book was written so long ago but still have such poignancy and relevance to our understanding of the world, gender & sexuality, and the illusion of time.