WWW Wednesdays – May 22, 2019

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

Last week I participated in the Bout of Books Readathon. Unfortunately, it was a tough reading week, since I had multiple house repairs and renovations done (the joys of home ownership) and family was staying with us until yesterday. However, I still managed to read more than 1,000 pages, which was really good for me. I always want to read more than.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading 

The Man from the Train by Bill James and Rachel McCarthy James – audiobook = ♦ ♦
Focus on Authors Reading Challenge: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

*Click on the titles to view my review. All Vonnegut reads will be reviewed at the end of the month.*

Reading Next

Have you read Kurt Vonnegut? If so, what are your thoughts on his writing? What are you reading lately? Please feel free to share your WWW posts in the comments below, if I haven’t already visited.

HAPPY READING!!!!

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Book Review: The Man from the Train

the-man-from-the-train-9781476796277_hrTitle: The Man from the Train
Author: Bill James & Rachel McCarthy James
Genre: True Crime
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 464
Format Read: audiobook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: May 20, 2019

Goodreads Description: Using unprecedented, dramatically compelling sleuthing techniques, legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applies his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history.

Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Jewelry and valuables were left in plain sight, bodies were piled together, faces covered with cloth. Some of these cases, like the infamous Villasca, Iowa, murders, received national attention. But few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station.

When celebrated baseball statistician and true crime expert Bill James first learned about these horrors, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the same know-how he brings to his legendary baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery: they learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal. In turn, they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America.

Riveting and immersive, with writing as sharp as the cold side of an axe, The Man from the Train paints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the twentieth century, when crime was regarded as a local problem, and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history.

My Review: As an avid true crime reader, I was intrigued to hear about this book on an episode of the My Favorite Murder podcast. However, this book did not at all come close to meeting my expectations. The details about why it is believed that all these murders were connected is fascinating. The authors did a good job of mentioning all the similarities in the crime scenes, but that is really the only credit I can give this book. It was poorly written and disorganized.

One paragraph in the book that represented why I disliked this book so much is when the author stated that he was going to hold off on telling a story until later and for now was going to give that story the back of his hand. What???!!! First of all, if a book is well organized, an author or authors should never have to put stories on the back burner. I care about that story at that moment not 15 chapters later. Second, who says that they are going to give a story “the back of my hand.” I am not even sure what the authors were implying by using this phrase, but I found this phrase offensive, and it had no place being in this true crime story. When I read nonfiction, I want facts put intellectually. I don’t want silly comments or phrases. Those just take away from point of the story and the seriousness of the murders. It almost felt disrespectful.

Along the same lines as the disorganization of this story, it dragged on and on. It felt like I was reading about the Wilkerson character for a decade. There should not have been more than 10 pages dedicated to that horrible character. So much of this book was a struggle to get through. After so much pain and effort, you finally read about the man from the train, but you can’t help but feel like it wasn’t worth the reading time invested.

So many people were brutally murdered by the man on the train. So many innocent people were put to death for these murders. The authors did not do all those people justice.

I just want all true crime to be as intelligently told as in the writings of Ann Rule and Michelle McNamara. Is that too much to ask? So just in case it wasn’t clear, I do NOT recommend this book.

My Rating: ♦ ½

Bout of Books 25 – May 2019

This week I participated in the Bout of Books 25 Readathon. Unfortunately, I had a busy week with work, house renovations, and family visiting, but I still made some time to read, though not as much as I would have liked.

READS:
Here are the books I read this week:

 

Total pages read: 1,069

Posts on Twitter: 10

Posts on Instagram: 7 (participated in the daily Instagram challenge #BoB25IGPhoto)

I am really looking forward to the next one. See below for the dates and hope that you all get to participate as well!

Dates of Next Readathon:

Bout of Books 26
8/19/19 – 8/25/19

Book Review: Made to Stick

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Title: 
Made to Stick
Author: Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Genre: Nonfiction Business
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: December 18, 2006
Pages: 291
Format Read: audiobook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: May 5, 2019

Goodreads Description: NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – The instant classic about why some ideas thrive, why others die, and how to improve your idea’s chances–essential reading in the “fake news” era.

Mark Twain once observed, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus news stories circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas–entrepreneurs, teachers, politicians, and journalists–struggle to make them “stick.”

In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps. Along the way, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds–from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony–draw their power from the same six traits.

Made to Stick will transform the way you communicate. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures): the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of the Mother Teresa Effect; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice.

Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.

My Review: I work in the medical field and one of the researchers recommended this book to me after we had taken some required work trainings on communication and excellence. I unfortunately did not get a lot out of those work trainings, but I did get much more out of Made to Stick and immediately recommended it to my husband who is a university professor.

The authors focused on expanding on their six principles to making ideas “stick”:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Unexpectedness
  3. Concreteness
  4. Credibility
  5. Emotions
  6. Stories

One of the most helpful tips when you are trying to share information or convince someone of an idea is to not stray too far from the core point. I especially enjoyed when the authors stated that just because you have a “sea of information”, you do not have to share it. I have definitely experienced sitting in classes or book clubs, where conversations start moving further and further from the original point that you forget where the conversation began and why.

I like how the authors used real work examples of companies and ideas to confirm their basic principles. It really helps you grasp the importance of these principles and why they will work.

This was an interesting and insightful read. As mentioned, I have already recommended it and think that it is most helpful for entrepreneurs, professors, and anyone who needs to share and communicate ideas on a regular basis.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

WWW Wednesdays – May 15, 2019

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I managed to make some progress on my Spring Reading List and just started started my Kurt Vonnegut reads (see A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). Wishing I had more time to read this week, but I am having house renovations done, and family coming to visit, so it is busy busy busy. However, I’m still trying to put some effort into participating in Bout of Books 25. Are you doing this?

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

NetGalley ARC: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
Parkland by Dave Cullen – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
IRL Book Club: In the Woods by Tana French – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*I’m a bit behind on reviews, but if there is a review, you can click on the title. I enjoyed the books over the last week.*

Reading Next

What are y’all reading now? Please post your WWW links below in the comments if I haven’t already visited them.

HAPPY READING!!!

Book Review: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

book woman of troublesome creek by kim michele richardsonTitle: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
Author: Kim Michele Richardson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Pages: 320
Format Read: ebook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: NetGalley ARC
Date finished reading: May 8, 2019

Goodreads Description: “Richardson’s latest work is a hauntingly atmospheric love letter to the first mobile library in Kentucky and the fierce, brave packhorse librarians who wove their way from shack to shack dispensing literacy, hope, and – just as importantly – a compassionate human connection. Richardson’s rendering of stark poverty against the ferocity of the human spirit is irresistible. Add to this the history of the unique and oppressed blue-skinned people of Kentucky, and you’ve got an un-put-downable work that holds real cultural significance.” – Sara Gruen, #1 NYT bestselling author 

In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.

Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government’s new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a powerful message about how the written word affects people–a story of hope and heartbreak, raw courage and strength splintered with poverty and oppression, and one woman’s chances beyond the darkly hollows. Inspired by the true and historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek showcases a bold and unique tale of the Pack horse Librarians in literary novels — a story of fierce strength and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home. 

My Review: I received an ARC copy of this book via NetGalley. I found this story both fascinating and heartwrenching. I had never heard of the blue people of Kentucky or methemoglobinemia, which I found interesting. However, these people with such a unique medical condition just fueled an already prejudicial and racist society in Kentucky. This story focuses on one such person, named Cussy Mary or Bluet, who won the hearts of many of the hill folk in Troublesome Creek by delivering reading materials as her job as a Pack Horse Librarian. She shared her love of literature, but also tried to teach the people how different reading material could be useful in their homes, that these reading materials could be methods of educating people how to hunt, garden, cook, sew, etc. Cussy Mary put her heart and soul into trying to enrich these people’s lives and also save them from starvation and other ailments that were common in those parts.

Impoverishment and starvation were not the only hardships. If the men had jobs, it was most likely in the mines. Cussy Mary would worry about her father’s safety in the mines, a job that contained long, grueling work hours and life-risking tasks.

(Trigger Warnings for violence and sexual assault.) Cussy Mary’s every day life was a terrifying one. She was mistreated both physically and verbally by many townsfolk because of the color of her skin. I feared for her safety through the whole book as she traveled the path delivering the library materials all alone. I absolutely adored her mule (the one blessing she got out of her miserable marriage), who did try to protect her on multiple occasions.

Without giving too much away, after an incident happened at the home of Cussy Mary and her father, her father made a deal with the town’s doctor that the doctor could run medical tests on Cussy Mary to try to understand why she was blue. This led to him diagnosing her condition. After experiencing so much pain and hurt, the doctor didn’t have to spend too much time convinced Cussy Mary to take some medication that would turn her skin white even though this medication would make her sick. She thought she could have a normal life if she was white, that the townspeople would accept her as one of their own, but they didn’t.

The books displays so many harsh realities of poverty, starvation, vanity, racism and hate, but it also shares a story of the power of literature, which brings hope to the suffering, and the loving bond that connects the librarian to her patrons and friends, who don’t see the color of her skin but see her simply as the Book Woman.  I loved this story so much. It was sweet and powerful. I would give it a full 5 stars, but it made me cry so much and had hoped for a happier ending. Despite this, I highly recommend this book.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

WWW Wednesdays – May 8, 2019

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I’m back after a little R&R getaway! I managed to read at the beach a bit to make some progress on my Spring Reading List and complete my April Margaret Atwood reads (see A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). I’ve started my Kurt Vonnegut reads now.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Focus on Authors: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood – audiobook/book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ¾
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
IRL Great Books Book Club: The Moon & the Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham – ebook = ♦ ♦
Made to Stick by Chip Heath – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ¾
Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*Click on the title of the book for my full review. Will have a review of Made to Stick up soon.*

Reading Next

Have you ever read anything by Kurt Vonnegut? Which Vonnegut would you recommend? What are y’all reading now? Please post your WWW links below in the comments if I haven’t already visited them.

HAPPY READING!!!