Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Friday, December 13, 2019

Mini Book Reviews: Black Star, Bright Dawn, Furious Hours...

Published: January 1st, 1988 by Fawcett
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Adventure
Format: Paperback, 112 pages, Own
Rating: 3.5 stars

Publisher's Summary:

Bright Dawn was a teenaged Eskimo girl. Black Star was her part-husky, mostly wolf, pet. Together they were about to begin the famous Iditarod dogsled race through the bitter cold of Alaska. Bright Dawn knew they would win, but she didn't count on the cold, blinding whiteout, the belligerent bull moose, or ice that could crack and splinter at any time. And she soon realized that she was not only depending on Black Star for the race, but for her life...

My Thoughts:

I think it was an important story for its time. But I don't think it's a book that still needs to be read by young kids. There are better stories out there actually written by Indigenous authors. I think those stories should be promoted.

I read this for my son's school Battle of the Books. It's a very quick read. I had a hard time remembering Bright Dawn was actually 17 in the book. I kept thinking she was 11 since that's how she's written. This book could have easily been expanded into a full-of-adventure novel. But it's only 112 pages and it's over before it has even begun. But like I said before it was an important book for its time but let us let other better stories be read in schools.

Published: May 7th, 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, True-crime
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages, Library
Rating: 3 stars

Publisher's Summary:

The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird.

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted–thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more working on her own version of the case.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South.

My Thoughts:

I had a hard time with this one. It's different. Yes. But was it necessary? And was it a cohesive story? Not so sure about that. Casey Cep takes three different stories and tries to throw them all together. Insurance fraud and the murderous Reverend Maxwell, the murder trial of his killer, and a short biography on Harper Lee. Yes, this crime was something Ms. Lee had been working on and never finished but... I don't know. What was the point? I never felt like I got enough of any one story. I felt a bit cheated. It was a bit interesting and I didn't know much about Harper Lee before this book. And yes my hero has been destroyed. Do NOT meet your heroes... But yeah, I have mixed feelings. 

Published: 1990 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 208 pages, Library
Rating: 4.5 stars

Publisher's Summary:

Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart - and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon - and finds the family and excitement she's been looking for.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Cimorene's story of daring to be herself and kicking ass and saving dragons and kingdoms along the way. I wish I had read her story when I was a tween. Fantastic characters and a wonderful world make this a true classic.

Published: 1998 by HarperCollins
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Format: Paperback, 144 pages, Library
Rating: 4 stars

Publisher's Summary:

The Dry Creek Middle School drinking fountain has sprung a leak, so principal Walter Russ dashes off a request to Flowing Waters Fountains, Etc.

...We need a new drinking fountain. Please send a catalog.

Designer Flo Waters responds:

"I'd be delighted...but please understand that all of my fountains are custom-made."

Soon the fountain project takes on a life of its own, one chronicled in letters, postcards, memos, transcripts, and official documents. The school board president is up in arms. So is Dee Eel, of the water-supply company. A scandal is brewing, and Mr. Sam N.'s fifth-grade class is turning up a host of hilarious secrets buried deep beneath the fountain.

My Thoughts:

This was a fun story told in letters about solving a mystery, creating a new fountain, and thinking outside of the box. 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Cat Thursday--Christmas Edition (2)

Welcome to the weekly meme (hosted by Michelle at True Book Addict) that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! 

I can't resist this face. So enjoy my baby Shadow this week!

2019-12-10 18.41.01-3

2019-12-10 18.41.01-1-3

Now some cute cat Christmas memes!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

November-in-Review and December Goals!

This is a very late in-review post but better late than never.

We got snowed out over Thanksgiving! We set up our Christmas decor. I took care of my neighbor's cute kitties. And we got in our annual gingerbread house decorating.

And the annual winter sinus infections and flu goo have hit our family. The goo usually waits until January or February...I'm hoping this means it'll pass us by midwinter... (fingers crossed, knocking on wood)


Last Month I...


12 books: I'm reading a few books for G's Battle of the Books at school...only three more to go this month!
  • A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
  • Dead Voices by Katherine Arden
  • More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
  • Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl: A Memoir by Jeannie Vanasco
  • Wabi Sabi by Mark Weibstein
  • Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children by Kath Shackleton
  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Black Star, Bright Dawn by Scott O'Dell
  • More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
  • Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep
  • I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
  • Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
  • Regarding the Fountain: A Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks by Kate Klise

Listened to:

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante on Audible (actually started it in November and finished it just a couple of days ago)



  • Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season Three
  • The Expanse all three seasons to catch up for the new season on Friday!
  • Nailed it! Christmas special
  • Sugar Rush Christmas special


Lots of horror from Halloween and holiday shows from Netflix!

Tagline: The family just got a little stranger.

Thoughts: The story isn't always consistent but the cast is superb and the summer camp storyline is my favorite!

Tagline: Enter a universe where more than one wears the mask.

Thoughts: Beautiful animation and fantastic characters make this a charming addition to the comic.

Tagline: A Gothic folk tale.

Thoughts: It's one of those mind-bending movies where you're not sure what you just watched.

Tagline: In a small town on Christmas Eve, a snowstorm brings together a group of young people.

Thoughts: For cute teen holiday romance, this one hit the spot.

Tagline: This Thanksgiving survival is a blessing.

Thoughts: Super dark but I liked it. One of the better entries into the series.

Tagline: A modern-day romance with a medieval twist.

Thoughts: My suspension of belief was too much. Not my favorite.

Tagline: A romance off the beaten path.

Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this cheesy Rob Lowe movie. I cried and laughed. Just what I needed.

Tagline: Welcome to the jingle.

Thoughts: Charming origin story on Santa Claus. New Christmas classic in our home!

Tagline: Let go of the past.

Thoughts: A more mature storyline for the characters but lacks the charm of the original.


Pumpkin no-bake cheesecake for Thanksgiving. Oh man, so yummy. I'll be making more of it all season long.

I've been making lots of soups and stews as well cuz tis the season for all things soupy.

Also lots of crochet projects for Christmas which will continue into December!

Reading Goals:

I'll be finishing up quite a few in December for G's Battle of the Books but for some fun I have:

  • A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
  • Christmas: A Biography by Judith Flanders
  • One Day in December by Josie Silver
  • Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Currently listening to:

Letters from an Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Looking forward to:

December is always full of fun times! We have winter break, the Solstice, Xmas parties, our 16th wedding anniversary, Christmas, and a trip to Boise, Idaho for a week with friends over New Year's. Plus lots of baking and holiday movie watching and reading. My favoritest time of the year.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Mini Book Reviews: City of Ghosts, Monstress Vol. 3: Haven

I realized I missed three books during October for book reviews so I'm going to make them up here! yikes...

Published: August 28th, 2018 by Scholastic
Genre: Juvenile fiction, Horror
Format: Paperback, 272 pages, Own
Rating: 4 stars

Publisher's Summary:

Cassidy Blake's parents are The Inspecters, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspecters head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn't sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn't belong in her world. Cassidy's powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this middle-grade novel about a young girl who's best friend is a ghost. I enjoyed visiting Edinburgh through their eyes. And there were some genuinely creepy moments! Overall, a great little haunted series. I look forward to the next book.

Published: September 11th, 2018 by Image Comics
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 168 pages, Library
Rating: 4 stars

Publisher's Summary:

Maika Halfwolf has begun to unlock the mysteries of her past - but the challenges are only going. In this third volume of MONSTRESS, collecting issues 13-18, Maika's journey takes her to the neutral city of Pontus, where she hopes to find temporary refuge from her pursuers. Unfortunately, Pontus may not be as safe as Maika and her allies had hoped.

As the impending war between humans and Arcanics creeps ever closer, and powerful players fight for the chance to control her future, Maika finds she must work with Zinn, the Monstrum that lives inside her, in order to ensure their mutual survival. But even that alliance might not be enough to prepare Maika for the horrors to come.

My Thoughts:

Another fantastic addition to this amazing fantasy series. While it's sometimes hard to follow, I get the gist and I love the tragic heroine Maika is and how she surrounds herself with people her make her better. The world-building is phenomenal. I'd love an actual book fantasy series to read. It would help fill in some of the gaps.

Published: June13th, 2019 by Celadon Books
Genre: Mystery, Horror
Format: Hardcover, 355 pages, Library
Rating: 3.5 stars

Publisher's Summary:

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed "The Whisper Man," for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter's crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window...

My Thoughts:

I liked it. But I didn't love it. The characters didn't quite come alive for me, and how it all connects, in the end, was a little over-the-top. But it's still a good, creepy story and I did enjoy the elements of the supernatural in it.

Published: 1991 by Scholastic
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Horror, Short Stories
Format: Paperback, 128 pages, Own
Rating: 4 stars

Publisher's Summary:

Storytellers know — just as they have for hundreds and hundreds of years — that everyone enjoys a good, scary story!

Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories 3 joins his other popular collections of scary folklore, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark and More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, to give readers spooky, funny and fantastic tales guaranteed to raise goosebumps.

Who is the Wolf girl? Why is a hearse filled with men with yellow glowing eyes? Can a nightmare become reality? How do you avoid an appointment with Death?

Stephen Gammell's splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozens scary stories — and even a scary song — all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark...

My Thoughts:

Another great collection of folk horror stories. G and I had a great time looking at the creepy drawings and reading all the funny and creepy stories! The best collection and drawings. Then we watched the movie! It was fun to pick out the stories we recognized from the books.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Cat Thursday-- Christmas Edition (1)

Welcome to the weekly meme (hosted by Michelle at True Book Addict) that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! 

I figure it's time for all the Christmas cat love this month!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl: A Memoir by Jeannie Vanasco


Published: October 1st, 2019 by Viking
Genre: Memoir, Nonfiction
Format: Hardcover, 360 pages, Library
Rating: 4.5 stars

Publisher's Summary:

Jeannie Vanasco has had the same nightmare since she was a teenager. She startles awake, saying his name. It is always about him: one of her closest high school friends, a boy named Mark. A boy who raped her.

When her nightmares worsen, Jeannie decides—after fourteen years of silence—to reach out to Mark. He agrees to talk on the record and meet in person. "It's the least I can do," he says.

Jeannie details her friendship with Mark before and after the assault, asking the brave and urgent question: Is it possible for a good person to commit a terrible act? Jeannie interviews Mark, exploring how rape has impacted his life as well as her own. She examines the language surrounding sexual assault and pushes against its confines, contributing to and deepening the #MeToo discussion.

Exacting and courageous, Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl is part memoir, part true-crime record, and part testament to the strength of female friendships—a recounting and reckoning that will inspire us to ask harder questions and interrogate our biases. Jeannie Vanasco examines and dismantles long-held myths of victimhood, discovering grace and power in this genre-bending investigation into the trauma of sexual violence.

My Thoughts:

I literally had to let this one percolate for awhile. It's been over a month since I read this. I wrote down all my thoughts right after so I wouldn't lose that but I just barely looked my notes over. This book was visceral. Vanasco writes in real-time her feelings about "Mark" and her reactions to their conversations. You cry, you yell, you're disgusted, and empathetic towards Mark all at the same time she is.

It tells a story of a larger cultural phenomenon-- we don't take care of our own. Ms. Vanasco was emotionally abused by her boyfriend in high school-- she was 14 and he was 18 when they started dating! She says her dad really liked him and so she figured his abusive nature was normal!

She always had a protective-type relationship with her father since he was 61 when he had her. He was more frail while she grew up and didn't want to cause any problems where he would feel his age and how he couldn't protect like he would want to. So she never felt like she could tell her parents her problems. Like when her high school journalism teacher was sexually harassing her and stalking her and no one cared--not the police, not friends, and she couldn't turn to her parents.

I feel like her story is how everyone in her life who was supposed to protect her and love her, didn't. I don't know if she meant to write about that but that's what I got from it. It's about Mark, her best friend, who raped her when she was drunk, but it's also about everyone else in her life who failed to protect her and support her when needed. That also translates into our culture of rape. Blame the victim, turn a blind eye when it's a loved one doing the abuse or someone in authority, or a beloved sports player, or that pillar of the community.

This is a book about working through trauma, recognizing it, and trying to find a way forward and asking society to look at how we treat our women. It's a punch to the gut and I recommend it for everyone.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Mini Book Reviews: Dracula, Dead Voices...


Published: May 26th, 1897 by Archibald Constable and Company
Audio edition: February 2nd, 2012 by Audible Studios
Genre: Horror, Classic
Format: Audiobook, 15 hours, 28 minutes, Own
Rating: 4 stars

Publisher's Summary:

Followers of the popular vampire literary and film interpretations of recent years might be blasé about another performance of the exquisitely written novel that started it all. But listening to this full-cast performance turns out to be remarkably suspenseful and chilling. The superlative cast lends this powerful production the diversity that is required by the structure of the novel, which includes journal entries and letters. Each actor employs various accents, infusing into the characters vibrant emphasis, urgency, and dread. The famed vampire Count Dracula leaves a swath of exsanguinated bodies in his wake as he attempts to relocate from Transylvania to England in 1897, stalked by the brave Van Helsing.

My Thoughts:

This is a re-read for me. And I listened to it for the first time from Audible. It was fun to experience it that way. Everyone did a fantastic job in their roles. But hearing it out loud made me a bit squeamish. The views the women and the men take on gender roles, and what's proper for females, and who makes a great woman were eye-rolling. But I take it in stride with when it was written. It's still a creepy tale and good conquers all in the end! Fantastic read for the Halloween season.


Published: August 27th, 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: Horror, Juvenile fiction
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages, Library
Rating: 4 stars

Publisher's Summary:

Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.

Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie's watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the series. G and I both loved the first book and this was a great followup. The characters stick it out at a snowed-in ski lodge in the mountains. There were vibes of "The Shining" here too. Great atmosphere and a fun ending made it a great Halloween read with my G.

Published: June 2nd, 2015 by William Morrow
Genre: Horror
Format: Hardcover, 286 pages, Library
Rating: 4 stars
Publisher's Summary:

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts' plight. With John, Marjorie's father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie's younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long-ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface--and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

My Thoughts:

This was a lot better than I was expecting. The meta-horror was a nice surprise and I enjoyed the possession stereotype critique. Having read Shirley Jackson's "We Have Always Lived in the Castle," I was able to figure out the main plot by the middle of the story. But I didn't quite know where he was going to take the mental illness angle and his take on reality TV and its cultural impact was also an interesting point. Spooky with something to say. I really enjoyed it!


Published: 1984 by Scholastic, Inc.
Genre: Horror, Short stories, Juvenile fiction
Format: Paperback, 112 pages, Own 
Rating: 4 stars

Publisher's Summary:

All those who enjoyed shuddering their way through Alvin Schwartz's first volume of Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark will find a satisfyingly spooky sequel in this new collection of the macabre, the funny, and the fantastic. Is it possible to die -- and not know it? What if a person is buried too soon? What happens to a thief foolish enough to rob a corpse, or to a murderer whose victim returns from the grave? Read about these terrifying predicaments as well as what happens when practical jokes produce gruesome consequences and initiations go awry. Stephen Gammell's splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories -- and even a scary song -- all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark. If You Dare!

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the series. G loved them! He wanted a few stories every night till we were done. And this version has the original illustrations by Stephen Gammell which are the scariest drawings ever. Creepy. The new Scholastic versions are silly. Like somehow kids can't take the creepy drawings anymore? What? So stick with the original!

Published: October 1st, 2019 by SourceBooks Explore
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, History, Juvenile, Graphic Novel
Format: Paperback, 96 pages, Own 
Rating: 5 stars

Publisher's Summary:

Between 1933 and 1945, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party were responsible for the persecution of millions of Jews across Europe.

This extraordinary graphic novel tells the true stories of six Jewish children and young people who survived the Holocaust. From suffering the horrors of Auschwitz, to hiding from Nazi soldiers in war-torn Paris, to sheltering from the Blitz in England, each true story is a powerful testament to the survivors' courage. These remarkable testimonials serve as a reminder never to allow such a tragedy to happen again.

My Thoughts:

G had a sick day last week and I had bought this knowing we'd read it soon together but I decided this was as good a day as any to dive into these harrowing stories. I bawled through most of them and G and I had good discussions about the Holocaust and World War II and totalitarianism, etc. It's one of the reasons I will continue to read to G until he says stop or moves out of the house. They are great ways to begin discussions and ask questions.

Published: October 1st, 2008 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Children, Poetry, Philosophy
Format: Hardcover, 40 pages, Library
Rating: 5 stars

Publisher's Summary:

Wabi Sabi, a little cat in Kyoto, Japan, had never thought much about her name until friends visiting from another land asked her owner what it meant.

At last, the master
Says, "That's hard to explain." And
That is all she says.

This unsatisfying answer sets Wabi Sabi on a journey to uncover the meaning of her name, and on the way discovers what wabi sabi is: a Japanese philosophy of seeing beauty in simplicity, the ordinary, and the imperfect.

Using spare text and haiku, Mark Reibstein weaves an extraordinary story about finding real beauty in unexpected places. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Ed Young complements the lyrical text with breathtaking collages. Together, they illustrate the unique world view that is wabi sabi.

New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book for 2008!

My Thoughts:

I also read this one to G while he was sick. The illustrations were fantastic and it was a great intro into the philosophy of wabi sabi. Taking the broken things and mending them into something fantastic and beautiful.

Published: January 1st, 1999 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Historical Fiction, Juvenile
Format: Paperback, 243 pages, Own 
Rating: 4 stars

Publisher's Summary:

It's 1936, in Flint, Michigan. Times may be hard, and ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy on the run, but Bud's got a few things going for him:

He has his own suitcase full of special things.

He's the author of Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself.

His momma never told him who his father was, but she left a clue: flyers advertising Herman E. Calloway and his famous band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression!!!!!!

Bud's got an idea that those flyers will lead him to his father. Once he decides to hit the road and find this mystery man, nothing can stop him--not hunger, not fear, not vampires, not even Herman E. Calloway himself.

My Thoughts:

I read this one for G's school. I volunteered to read some of the Battle of the Books books and write up questions for each one I read. This is the first I have finished. It's a really lovely story. Curtis takes some tough topics like class, racism, and the Depression and puts it all into an endearing story about a boy who wants to find a family to love. I enjoyed his spunky journey.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Cat Thursday

Welcome to the weekly meme (hosted by Michelle at True Book Addict) that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! 

I haven't posted in a while about my cats, so this week you get some Shadow love:

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2019-10-27 08.34.07-3

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Nonfiction November: Week 3-- Be/Ask/Become the Expert

(Nov. 11 to 15) – Katie at Doing Dewey is joining us again with – Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert). 

Onto week three! I'm so behind. I notice that my nonfiction reading throughout the year is pretty much all over the map. I figured I would look back and see what books I have focused on over a longer period of time. I am drawn to books about grief and death, whether that's a memoir or a true-crime, I've thrown it all into the same category on my Goodreads list. Anything that helps me face down the inevitable with aplomb and humor and insight is a must for me.

So here are a few I've read over the years and ones that are on my list. And I'd love any suggestions you have that I can add to my ever-growing list!

I Am the Expert:

  • All that Remains: A Life in Death by Sue Black-- I loved her candid nature about her work as a forensic anthropologist. Her compassion and empathy was exhilarating.
  • The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich-- This was a tough and brutal read that left so many feels. I still think about it.
  • Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan's Disaster Zone by Richard Lloyd-Perry-- I loved this haunting piece about Japan and culturally how they handled this horrible tragedy. Beautiful.
  • From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty-- She's a mortician who wants us all to talk about death and have a good one! So she travels around to let us see how other people can and do talk about death!
  • Fun Home: A FamilyTragicomic by Alison Bechdel-- I can't say enough about how moving this graphic novel is of Bechdel's grief and acceptance is.


Become the Expert:

  • The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade by Thomas Lynch
  • The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains by Thomas Lacqueur
  • Half a Life: A Memoir by Darin Strauss
Ask the Expert:

Any books about grief and death you recommend that really moved you or made you see death a little differently?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Cat Thursday-- Adventure Cats!

Welcome to the weekly meme (hosted by Michelle at True Book Addict) that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! 

CBC put out an article on Bodhi, the adventure cat! Michelle Gagnon, Bodhi's owner says: ..."cats are the perfect companion hiking, camping and other fresh-air adventures." She says Bodhi joins her while she's biking and paddle-boarding too. And if it's something super extreme, you can let the cats sleep all day.

Check out the article for more info on her Facebook page about how to train your own adventure cat. They also share other photos of adventure cats! I don't know if I have the patience to leash-train my cat but it would be a lot of fun to at least go on walks with my kitties.

*image sourced from linked article at CBC.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Nonfiction November: Week 1 Intro Post

I missed last week! Boo. But here it is a week late.

Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?  Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?  What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?  What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Favorite nonfiction read of the year? Hands down it is Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe. A fascinating and disturbing look at humanity in general and the Troubles specifically.

My nonfiction reading has been all over the map this year. I've hit a lot of celebrity memoirs. I'm always interested in history and I had to read more about Chernobyl after I watched the HBO series. And science-based books also showed up.

Say Nothing and Chase Darkness with Me by Billy Jensen (this was an interesting followup to Michelle McNamara's book) have been on my list of recommendations this year.

I have not read enough history and feminism. I have a bunch of TBR books on U.S. history, world history, and feminism or books written by feminists, etc that I've been meaning to get to for a very long time. Also philosophy, specifically books about philosophers that kind of sum up their ideas and why they're useful.

I love Nonfiction November because I get a chance to reflect on my nonfiction reading so far this year. I get to interact with other nonfiction readers. And I get a ton of new recommendations to add to my ever-growing list!

Here's my list of nonfiction ranked from favorite on down since last Nonfiction November:

The Conquest of Happiness was definitely my least favorite nonfiction book this last year but the last few are mixed in with the juvenile nonfiction I read with my son as well and they were all pretty good. So the first few were some of my favorites and Russell's book was my least favorite.

Thanks to all who are hosting and participating! Yay!