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

Book Review: Daisy Jones & the Six

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Title: 
Daisy Jones & the Six
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Pages: 368 pages
Format Read: audiobook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: May 1, 2019

Goodreads Description: Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

My Review: I avoided all spoilers regarding this book, but it was impossible not to see the rave ratings on both Goodreads and Litsy. I decided not to wait for a hard copy and listened to it on audiobook through my local library. I could not be more happy that I didn’t wait for it.

I right away knew I was going to love the style of the book. I have always seemed to enjoy books that are told through interviews – aka World War Z, Sadie, etc. This way you are hearing a story through multiple points of view. You don’t think about chapters or anything like that, because the story flows. I wanted nothing more than to just listen to all nine hours in one sitting.

At first I was a bit disappointed that the author glossed over the effects of Billy’s drug abuse on his band members. The only heated moment between band members for the first half of the book seemed to be between Eddie and Billy, where Eddie smashed his guitar. I just felt a bit unsure of the realistic feel, but after finishing the book, I now feel like that was purposely downplayed to put more emphasis on all the issues the band would face later that led to a climatic ending. That ending was brutal and beautiful at the same time.

To go back to my love of stories being told in an interview style, I almost forgot that the book was in an interview style until it got close to the end. That is how much the story flowed. Then the narrator (interviewer) interrupts with her own personal memory of an event, and I suddenly realize that the interviewer is connected to this story in a way I didn’t realize. Maybe I should have guessed, but I didn’t and thoroughly enjoyed that surprise.

If you listen to the audiobook, be prepared to be wowed by the amazing cast of narrators that include Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, and Judy Greer to name just a few in a long list. Unfortunately, I have not read anything else that Taylor Jenkins Reid has written (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Evidence of the Affair, etc.), and I will have to rectify that immediately!

It was America. It was tits. It was sex. It was drugs. It was summer. It was angst. It was rock ‘n roll.” ~Freddie Mendoza’s description of the Aurora album cover.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦  

Book Review: Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress

41sRMsFWMpL._SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_Title: Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress: A Handbook for the Overworked, Overscheduled, and Overwhelmed
Author: Rita Emmett
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: December 2008
Pages: 208
Format Read: audiobook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading:  February 28, 2019

Goodreads Description: A self-improvement guru’s inspiring and effective tips for gaining control of our Herculean workloads and overbooked personal lives.

How often do you think to yourself, So much to do and so little time? I n the sympathetic and insightful style of The Procrastinator’s Handbook, Rita Emmett offers help for those of us with too much to do. T he key is not time management but “stuff” management—taking control of all those tasks to do, people to see, commitments and obligations to fulfill. Mismanagement of all that “to-do” stuff is what leads to stress.

We often have little control over the demands made upon us, yet we can control our response. T hat’s where the management of stress must start. Emmett combines quick, easy-to-digest tips and infectious good humor to give readers positive ways to handle stress and their overly busy lives, first by understanding how stress impacts our physical, mental, and emotional health. She shows us how to cut down on distractions and interruptions that sap our concentration and energy, be more organized and streamline our duties, ask for help and be more selective about what we choose to do, and clarify our values and prioritize activities based on what is important. Spending time doing things that are incongruent with your values, striving for perfection, being overly competitive, and job insecurity are some of the reasons people feel overburdened and overwhelmed. Emmett draws on the stories of many people who have participated in her seminars, and readers will not only identify with their problems but can find common ground in the strategies that have worked for them.

My Review: I often gravitate to self-help books that deal with clutter and time management, as those are two big issues that exist in my daily life that keep me from being happy. I live in a society, where work dominates people’s lives. To afford a place to live, healthy foods and modern conveniences, one must make enough money to pay for those things. Our work days are long and our vacation days are minimal. My husband and I also get to add a semi-lengthy commute time to and from work as part of our daily routine. By the time we get home from work, the last thing we want to do is housework, and yet it has to get done. Once those projects are completed, then it is time to go to sleep and start the whole process again the next day. It is not quite the enjoyable life I had envisioned for myself. Don’t get me wrong, both my husband and myself love our jobs, but I still believe that jobs should not dominate your life even if you do enjoy them for the most part. I believe that making connections with people and family, maintaining hobbies and learning new skills should also be part of one’s life. Rita Emmett tries to reprogram our daily lives to incorporate things that our valuable to us – not just work – in her book Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress: A Handbook for the Overworked, Overscheduled, and Overwhelmed.

“This book will tackle time management not in terms of being more productive or efficient, but in terms of how we spend our time in relation to all that is important and valuable in our lives.”

Are you overworked, overscheduled, and overwhelmed? This is a great book to get you started on overcoming those issues and living a better life. Here are some great ideas listed throughout this book to help get you started on this path:

  • Learn to say “no.” – “The secret of stress management is grasping the concept that we have zero control over the stressers or demands made upon us, yet we have 100% control over our response.” It is okay to decline an invitation, etc if your schedule does not permit and there are other things that need to get done.
  • Discover what are the thing that you value most in your life. – These are the things that bring you the most joy, like spending time with family and friends, walking your dog, knitting or baking, etc. Once you have your list, then you can see what things you should start making time for in your life. “I observed that people put off things they hate to do. Now they still put off what they hate to do, but to me the biggest change in that area is that now they also put off what they love to do.”
  • Outsource. – Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A lot of people see the word “outsource” and think that it means paying someone to do something for them, and some people may not have the financial privilege to do this. However, outsourcing can just be as simple as asking a friend or family member for help. When I started my new job last year, I had far less time at home to get housework done. I am fortunate that while I dislike cooking, my husband enjoys cooking, so that is one area I asked him to help with regarding household chores. He cooks and cleans up after dinner, while I do other household cleaning, laundry, etc. that needs to get done. When we had a water leak in our house that caused us to have to do some immediate household repairs done, we called a family member to come and be at our house when we couldn’t get away from work and the repairmen were there. The last story I have about outsourcing is that my husband and I have a house with a pool. A pool is wonderful but a lot of work. I could never justify paying someone to come and clean my pool, while I was working part-time and making very little money. However, I work more and make a little more money now, so I have hired someone to take care of the pool, which saves me a lot of time. A surprising thing I learned from this is that I was actually spending more money on supplies for pool maintenance than what it costs me to have someone else take care of it. Plus, my time is worth something as well.
  • Don’t expect perfection but excellence is achievable. I know a lot of perfectionists in my life, and at times I am one too. However, when time is limited, sometimes you just have to do the bare minimum to accomplish a task. It might also come in handy to be a multi-tasker.
  • Declutter. Your environment is important to managing your stress. As someone who suffers with some clutter issues, I fully agree with this statement. At times I haven’t had a place to sit and relax after work, because there was stuff on every chair and couch. I’ve also misplaced bills and most recently my jury duty summons. Taking time to reduce your clutter can leave you with a more relaxing environment to destress.
  • Set boundaries and shutoff distractions. How many times have you been out to eat with people (family, friends, coworkers, etc.) and they spend the entire meal on their phone or at least observed that happening at other tables around you? Modern technology is great, but it has its downsides as well. Often it distracts you for and takes up your valuable time. I’ve heard of people who are disabling social media sites from their phones or computers so that they can focus on work. I, myself, often put my phone on silent when I am out with family and friends, because the time I am sharing with them is too important to be interrupted.
  • Take time to recharge. It is easy in today’s world to constantly feel overwhelmed and tired. It is important to have habits that can help energize you. Eating healthier (more fruits & veggies less caffeine and sugar), exercising frequently and getting more sleep are ways to energize your body. Also, find some time in your daily routine to do things you love that will relax you or make you happy, like read a book or take a hot bath. The author asks us what we would do if we had one day or even one week where we could do whatever we wanted with no other obligations. That is a very intriguing concept and thought-provoking. How would you spend that time?

I enjoyed how the author listed these key points and then gave a description of the point with some ideas of how to tackle these in your life. Some of these points really hit home for me and I think these tips will be very helpful to others as well. However, I did not like all the quotes. I did not think that those added to the learning experience in this book, and I personally am still looking at ways to be more efficient with the time I do have. Unfortunately, I have to work, as I have bills and debt to pay off. I love my job and don’t want to stop working this job, but it does consume much of my days, so I would like more insight on how I can get everything else done that needs to get done when I am not working and still have time for the things I value and love.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

Book Review: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

the-greatest-love-story-ever-told-coverTitle: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
Author: Megan Mullally & Nick Offerman
Genre: Romantic, Humor-filled Memoir
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Pages: 269
Format Read: audiobook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: library Libby app
Date finished reading: February 12, 2019

Goodreads Description: At last, the full story behind Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman’s epic romance, including stories, portraits, and the occasional puzzle, all telling the smoldering tale that has fascinated Hollywood for over a decade.

The year: 2000. The setting: Los Angeles. A gorgeous virtuoso of an actress had agreed to star in a random play, and a basement-dwelling scenic carpenter had said he would assay a supporting role in the selfsame pageant. At the first rehearsal, she surveyed her fellow cast members, as one does, determining if any of the men might qualify to provide her with a satisfying fling. Her gaze fell upon the carpenter, and like a bolt of lightning, the thought struck her: No dice. Moving on.

Yet, unbeknownst to our protagonists, Cupid had merely set down his bow and picked up a rocket launcher. Then fired a love rocket (not a euphemism). The players were Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman, and the resulting romance, once it ignited, was . . . epic. Beyond epic. It resulted in a coupling that has endured to this day; a sizzling, perpetual tryst that has captivated the world with its kindness, athleticism, astonishingly low-brow humor, and true (fire emoji) passion.

How did they do it? They came from completely different families, endured a significant age difference, and were separated by the gulf of several social strata. Megan loved books and art history; Nick loved hammers. But much more than these seemingly unsurpassable obstacles were the values they held in common: respect, decency, the ability to mention genitalia in almost any context, and an abiding obsession with the songs of Tom Waits.

Eighteen years later, they’re still very much in love, and have finally decided to reveal the philosophical mountains they have conquered, the lessons they’ve learned, and the myriad jigsaw puzzles they’ve completed, in a book. Featuring anecdotes, hijinks, interviews, photos, and a veritable grab bag of tomfoolery, this is not only the intoxicating book that Mullally’s and Offerman’s fans have been waiting for, it might just hold the solution to the greatest threat facing our modern world: the single life.

My Review: For those who love the television shows Will and Grace and Parks and Recreation, two of our favorite characters open up about themselves and their real-life romance. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book on audio. It was like listening to Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally having an intimate conversation. It was fun and humorous.

They cover a wide variety of topics from their childhoods, previous relationships and the first time they met to fashion and health and beauty topics. Book lovers like myself and many who will be reading this review will enjoy this section from Megan Mullally, as she discusses clothing women wear to impress men:

“It’ll be freezing, literally 20 degrees outside, and girls are wearing, like, lace hot pants and a CBD patch. I mean, if you simply want to be nude, great. But if you’re doing it because you think other girls are doing it and guys might like that, or you get into bars or get free drinks or whatever – maybe don’t. Maybe don’t even go to bars. And don’t get free drinks. None of those things are super high on the cuteness spectrum. Read some books. (Laughs) It’s a wonder that I ever had a boyfriend in my entire life, because all I really like to do is read. I don’t even know how I ever met another human.”

I was so impressed with how well-spoken Nick Offerman is. On top of that, he constantly compliments Megan Mullally throughout the book. It was super sweet, though I think it was making my husband uncomfortable a few times when I made him listen to this audiobook with me. I think now he thinks I expect him to express his love for me like Nick Offerman does for Megan Mullally. LOL

With the audiobook, you enjoy fun moments where they describe pictures that are featured in the book that you can’t see. You also get a bonus chapter! This was definitely a fun little escape from all the drama and murder I’ve been reading lately.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

Book Review: My Year of Rest & Relaxation

81q-2m7vwilTitle: My Year of Rest and Relaxation
Author: Ottessa Moshfegh
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Pages: 304
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby App
Date finished reading:  January 26, 2019

Goodreads Description: A shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman’s experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided and abetted by one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature. Our narrator has many of the advantages of life, on the surface. Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like everything else, by her inheritance. But there is a vacuum at the heart of things, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents in college, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her alleged best friend. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?

This story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs, designed to heal us from our alienation from this world, shows us how reasonable, even necessary, that alienation sometimes is. Blackly funny, both merciless and compassionate – dangling its legs over the ledge of 9/11 – this novel is a showcase for the gifts of one of America’s major young writers working at the height of her powers.

My Review: I don’t know where to begin with this book. If I could bring myself not finish a book that I started, this would be the one. Please someone explain to me what the actual point of this story is. It was upsetting and irritating right from the beginning. I’m glad it was fiction, because I really don’t want to believe that anyone could be so self-centered and just a downright nasty human being. I never for one minute sympathized with the main character (aka the narrator).

Maybe I would have felt bad for the way her ex-boyfriend, Trevor, treated her, but she is the one that kept calling (on the verge of harassing) him and convincing him to come over after their relationship was over. I was horrified with how the narrator treated her friend, Reva. She shows no signs of sympathy when Reva’s mom dies, and then later actually uses the phrase, “Good luck with the abortion.” Who says this??? I was just horrified. Is this really what good literature is now?

I was immediately turned off not just by the narrator’s attitude but by the fact that after getting herself fired from a job, she decides to spend a year in a medically induced hibernation. I guess I had assumed by the title that someone maybe be taking a year off of working to rest and relax – must be nice to have the financial privilege to do so – but nothing about this hibernation plan of hers seemed at all restful or relaxing.

I found this actually insulting to all those individuals who are dealing with mental health issues. I, myself, and some friends of mine have had frequent visits to psychiatrists’ offices, and those visits, in my experience and my friends’ have been constructive and a process of healing. I didn’t have a doctor not remember me or my story from visit to visit or do nothing but try to drug me. I realize that this might happen, but I think this book will give those struggling with mental health issues a negative perspective on psychiatrists, and they will not pursue the help that they may need.

Last, I understood that with the mention of the twin towers periodically throughout the story, that this was leading up to 9/11. 9/11 did occur at the end of the book, and I was horrified by that scene and the narrator’s continued lack of feeling.

This was an appalling and senseless book.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ 

WWW Wednesdays – December 19, 2018

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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.

This will probably be my last WWW post for at least a couple weeks. I’m heading on a lengthy vacation (my first in a long while). I won’t have a lot of access to WiFi, so hopefully that means that I will have some good quality reading time!

Lately I’ve been enjoying a look back at all the books that I’ve read this year. I compiled My Top 20 Favorite Reads of 2018. I’m also looking forward to the next year of reading with some challenges I intend to work on: Reading the Classics 2018-2022 & A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge. I also have a side list of other books I’m looking forward to reading this year: My Must Read Book List for 2019. I will start making progress these challenges and goals with my Winter Reading list.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Going Solo by Roald Dahl – audiobook

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I will listen to any audiobook narrated by Dan Stevens. He is an amazing narrator. Plus, who doesn’t love a Roald Dahl book every now and then, but this isn’t a typical Dahl book. This is part of his autobiography series that focuses on his time as a fighter pilot in World War II. 3/5

Killer Classics by Kym Roberts – ebook

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Still working my way through my NetGalley backlog (hopefully I can get through more during my upcoming vacation), and this was one that became available to the public earlier this month. While this was a cute cozy read with a main character who has a pet armadillo and says “fuzz buckets” a lot, I was overall disappointed. This story takes place in a small Texan town of Hazel Rock. A woman, named Maddie, is found murdered. Shenanigans occur and the mystery behind Maddie’s murder is brought to a conclusion. Since I am reading this series for the first time and starting on book 5, I am happy to say that the characters were well introduced, and this worked as a standalone story. However, I found the story a bit tedious. I wasn’t sure I really cared about the characters and really wanted to have a story that focused more on the murder mystery. Instead, the book takes the reader through all these side stories, like the armadillo’s boyfriend, who is a skunk that is terrorizing the town, and a character who is running for a Texas Senate seat. Only about 5-10% of the book really had anything to do with the murder. Every time you started to forget about Maddie’s murder, the author would bring in a scene with Maddie’s brother, Tiny, to remind you. It was like the author was trying to distract you from the whole purpose of the story or from figuring out who the killer was. However, no amount of distractions could make you not realize who the murderer was, as it was a random character who wasn’t part of the main group of characters, who kept showing up in different scenes. Also, the killer’s reason for killing the victim seemed to have no backstory to support it. It was a crime of passion, but the reader would have had no knowledge of such a passion existing (unless that was mentioned in one of the previous books in the series). While this story was cute, it lacked the compelling thrill that mysteries are suppose to have. 2.5/5

The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King – audiobook

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As soon as I heard that LeVar Burton was the narrator of this book, I had to get it through my Libby app immediately. The audiobook starts by playing the theme song of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. It turns out that I still remember all the words and as the book continues, I also remembered the characters, puppets and topics covered by Mr. Rogers. I never realized what an impact he had on my childhood and millions of other children. In fact, PBS as a whole had a huge impact on my childhood thanks to Fred Rogers, Jim Henson, and LeVar Burton. 3.5/4

Reading Next

Really looking forward to these reads. What have y’all been reading lately? What are you most looking forward to reading in 2019? Please post your WWW links below in the comments if I haven’t visited them yet.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

WWW Wednesdays – November 14, 2018

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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 making progress on my Fall Reading list for sure. Still lots more to read!

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Furiously_Happy

I will say off the bat that you HAVE to read this! I own Jenny Lawson’s (aka The Bloggess) first book but haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I saw Furiously Happy was available on audiobook through my Libby app and thought I could use a book of humor. This book was so much more than humorous. It made my commute to and from work so enjoyable. I laughed-cried so many times. Almost every day, I came home and made my husband listen to a part of it. As not to spoil some of my favorite parts of the book, I’m just going to list my favorite chapters: “Things I May Have Accidentally Said During Uncomfortable Silences”, “Koalas Are Full of Chlamydia” and “These Cookies Know Nothing of My Work.” I love the conversations and sometimes disagreements she has with her husband. I can so relate.

Most importantly, though, I believe that the way she addresses mental illness is so important. I have so many friends who turned to her long ago (when she was just a blog writer), as they needed someone who would understand that mental illness is a real thing and a difficult issue. It can often cost someone their life. Both my husband and I have lost people to mental illness. Her openly discussing her own mental illness has provoked so many people to discuss their own mental illness and has no doubt saved lives.

Strange Things Done by Elle Wild

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As the winter weather approaches, and the small town of Dawson in the Yukon of Canada is about to be cut-off from the rest of the territory, a murderer is on a killing spree. Can the murderer be caught before there is no way to escape?

I read this book for our mystery book club. It was a fast read, and the author really sets the scene beautifully. You really feel like you understand what life is like in Dawson. Her descriptions of the landscape and the local venues she discusses are true to the real-life city. Plus, having a murder mystery take place in a town that is about to be cutt-off with frozen rivers and impassable roads, is the perfect scene for a thriller of a story. However, outside of the scene itself, the author did not do a great job with developing the characters and the plot felt like it really fizzled out at the end. I also feel like there are some unanswered questions. Overall, the book was meh, but I did like learning a bit about the Yukon.

Reading Next

Another great reading week! What have y’all been reading this week? Any recommendations? Feel free to leave a link to your WWW posts in the comment section below if I haven’t already visited your site.