Book Review: Ghosts of Harvard

GhostofHarvard-Cover-HC-0120-650wTitle: Ghosts of Harvard
Author: Francesca Serritella
Genre: psychological thriller
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Pages: 480
Format Read: Ebook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: NetGalley ARC
Date finished reading: May 30, 2020

Goodreads Description: A Harvard freshman becomes obsessed with her schizophrenic brother’s suicide. Then she starts hearing voices.

Cadence Archer arrives on Harvard’s campus desperate to understand why her brother, Eric, a genius who developed paranoid schizophrenia took his own life there the year before. Losing Eric has left a black hole in Cady’s life, and while her decision to follow in her brother’s footsteps threatens to break her family apart, she is haunted by questions of what she might have missed. And there’s only one place to find answers.

As Cady struggles under the enormous pressure at Harvard, she investigates her brother’s final year, armed only with a blue notebook of Eric’s cryptic scribblings. She knew he had been struggling with paranoia, delusions, and illusory enemies—but what tipped him over the edge? With her suspicions mounting, Cady herself begins to hear voices, seemingly belonging to three ghosts who walked the university’s hallowed halls—or huddled in its slave quarters. Among them is a person whose name has been buried for centuries, and another whose name mankind will never forget.

Does she share Eric’s illness, or is she tapping into something else? Cady doesn’t know how or why these ghosts are contacting her, but as she is drawn deeper into their worlds, she believes they’re moving her closer to the truth about Eric, even as keeping them secret isolates her further. Will listening to these voices lead her to the one voice she craves—her brother’s—or will she follow them down a path to her own destruction?

My Review: I am grateful to have received an ARC of Ghosts of Harvard from NetGalley. This was an interesting read for sure. It was a mix of fiction and nonfiction. It was a psychological thriller and mystery with a supernatural side note.

As I formally lived in Boston, I was thrilled to experience the author’s vivid descriptions of the Harvard campus. However, I struggled with the pacing of this book. I felt that it was about 100 pages too long. The middle was too slow, but I was very invested in the main character, Cady, as she tried to find out the truth behind her brother’s suicide. I was also invested in finding out the truth of what Cady was going through from the Prologue at the beginning. I thoroughly enjoyed the final quarter of the book. There were twists and turns, and I could not put it down.

I am not sure I understand the point of the main character being visited by ghosts. All I can come up with is that the author really wanted to create an unreliable main character, so the reader could not be able to distinguish between reality and fantasy. I never truly believed that Cady was suffering from schizophrenia like her brother had. However, I appreciate this interesting twist the author provided and acknowledge that much of the interaction with the ghost were based on history facts.

This story is one that I continue to go over in my head as I attempt to understand some of the deeper meaning the author was trying to express. It is the kind of book that stays with you.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

WWW Wednesdays – May 27, 2020

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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.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Joy at Work by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ½
The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Gilmore Girls Reading List: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey – audiobook = ♦ ♦
NetGalley ARC: Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

I have had a hard time reading this month. I have mostly been listening to audiobooks, while doing other things. I did enjoy The Ghost Map about the cholera outbreak in London back in the 1800s. I do feel like we continue to not learn from history, and I wonder how the author feels about the current pandemic. I gave another attempt at reading Marie Kondo, but this one did not hit the mark for me. Yes, I admit that I would be more productive and happy at work if I didn’t have 500 emails a day or multiple meetings. However, this book makes it sound like I can just change how the company I am employed for works. Also, there are plenty of days I am not happy with my job, but I am not in a position to just change careers if I am not happy. In fact, these days I count my blessings that I have a job. I will also say that books don’t have a time stamp, and I am surprised that this is the message she is sticking with even after all the avid readers disagreed with her on this. Marie Kondo definitely creates an inner struggle in me, because I appreciate her unique method, but I guess I just need to ignore her descriptions and interpret her method my own way.

*My full review of Ghosts of Harvard will be posted soon.*

Reading Next

Hope everyone is doing well! What have y’all been reading? Please feel free to comment on these books and/or post your WWW link below!

Stay safe and healthy and Read On!!!

Book Club Pick: Into Thin Air

1898Title: Into Thin Air
Author: Jon Krakauer
Genre: Nonfiction Adventure
Publisher: Villard Books
Publication Date: May 1, 1997
Pages: 368
Format Read: Paperback book
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Unknown
Date finished reading: May 11, 2020

Goodreads Description: A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that “suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down.” He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more–including Krakauer’s–in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer’s epic account of the May 1996 disaster.

My Review: When my book club voted for this book, I was thrilled to read an adventure story about Everest, especially since travel is so limited in the world right now. I had been wanting to read Jon Krakauer for a while. What better place to start than by reading about the highest point in the world from the comfort of my couch.

This story started off as an article in Outsider magazine. However, after some harsh criticism, Jon Krakauer decided to dive further into his and others’ experiences on Everest during that tragic May expedition in 1996. His interviews led to the realization that some of his memories from his time on and near the Everest summit had been inaccruate – most likely from the lack of oxygen.

Whatever the reason for writing this book, whether it be survivor’s guilt or trying to make sense of this event that costs the lives of his fellow hikers, Jon Krakauer wrote one hell of a great story. This book included a historical introduction to Everest and expeditions on Everest. The descriptions of Everest and mountaineering on Everest made you feel like you were right there with the hikers. An expedition on Everest is so much more involved that I could have ever imagined. A hiker spends days/weeks on this expedition. Much of that time is spent acclimating to the high elevation, and then the hiker gets one shot at reaching the summit, as one should not spend an extended time at that elevation.

By the time the final summit hike for Krakauer and the hikers came, I was very invested in them and their trek. That made this story even more heartbreaking. It was thrilling and terrifying. There were twists and turns and lot of moments that surprised me. The book club found lots to discuss.

Of course, we had to discuss mountaineering first and one’s motivation to climb Everest. Then we discussed the sherpas that risk their lives to pave the path for the hikers and assist them on their journey for very little money. I think Jon Krakauer tried to bring to light the mistreatment of sherpas.

Finally we discussed the actual tragic events that took place on May 10th and the following days in 1996. We debated on whether this was a natural disaster or a man-made disaster. We discussed the decisions made by everyone during the summit trek, when the storm hit, and the days afterwards.

Not only did every member of the book club read this book, but for days we have been sending each other links related to Everest. We have not run out of things to talk about when it comes to this expedition and Everest. It is surprising, based on this excitement, that everyone rated this the highest rating of all our previous reads. I personally am looking forward to reading more by Jon Krakauer.

The book club unanimously loves Beck Weathers! ♥♥♥

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

Book Club Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

WWW Wednesdays – May 13, 2020

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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’ve started the Bout of Books 28 readathon to jump start my reading again, but I do have a lot of work deadlines, so reading has taken a bit of a back seat. I did read Into Thin Air in 2 days though. I have no doubt that I’ll have read much more by next week.

Currently Reading

Recently Finished

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Virtual Book Club: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

I’ll have a book review of this read up shortly.

Reading Next

 

Hope everyone is doing well! What have y’all been reading? Please feel free to comment on these books and/or post your WWW link below!

Stay safe and healthy and Read On!!!

Bout of Books 28 – May 2020

I’m gearing up for the Bout of Books 28! Readathons have been a blessing for my reading life during this period of quarantining and social-distancing, when things are consistently distracting me from my books. If you don’t know what the Bout of Books Readathon is, here is a description created by the hosts:

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are daily challenges, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For Bout of Books 28 information and updates, visit the Bout of Books blog. 
– From the Bout of Books team

Here are my goals for the readathon:

  1. Participate in challenges.
  2. Complete book for virtual book club.
  3. Complete 3 additional books.
  4. Read 750 pages.

Here is what I intend to be reading this week:

If any of you are interested in participating in the Bout of Books Readathon, you can sign up here. It’ll be an amazing time!!!

STAY HEALTHY AND READ ON!!!

WWW Wednesdays – May 6, 2020

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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.

It was a pretty light reading week for me. I think I’ll make up for it next week, when I start reading for Bout of Books 28 which begins on the 11th. Are you joining?

Currently Reading

Recently Finished

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American Sherlock by Kate Winkler Dawson – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

I didn’t read much this week, but I made good progress in Anna Karenina and hope to have a lot more read by this time next week.

Reading Next

Hope everyone is doing well! What have y’all been reading? Please feel free to comment on these books and/or post your WWW link below!

Stay safe and healthy and Read On!!!

WWW Wednesdays – April 29, 2020

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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 weekend I participated in the Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. There really was no 20200428_160817better time to do this with a Stay-At-Home order still in effect in my area. I might as well read with the thousands of others around the world participating in this readathon. This was the best thing for my reading life. I managed to complete seven the books and read more than 1,100 pages during that time. This included some classics, my Spring Reads and the Gilmore Girls Reading List. It was a lot of fun!

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Gratitude Daily by Nataly Kogan – audiobook =  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
Mount TBR: Murder with Mirrors by Agatha Christie – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
Gilmore Girls Reading List: Stuart Little by E. B. White – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Gilmore Girls Reading List: Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Reading Classics: Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Harder – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
The Breathing Method by Stephen King – ebook = ♦ ♦ ½

Reading Next

Hope everyone is doing well! What have y’all been reading? Please feel free to comment on these books and/or post your WWW link below!

Stay safe and healthy and Read On!!!

 

Completed 24-Hour Readathon! April 2020

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I DID IT! I officially read for 24 hours straight! I’ve only managed this feat once before, so I am pretty excited that I was able to do it again.

Closing Survey

  1. How would you assess your reading overall? I read more during this readathon than ever before!
  2. Did you have a stategy, and if so, did you stick to it? While I love all the challenges, I really haven’t been reading much lately, so I wanted to primarily stick to reading this time.
  3. What was your favorite snack? I washed down my taco dip with an Aperol Spritz. 
  4. Wanna volunteer for our next event? Stay tuned for the recap post! I might be interested in volunteering for the next readathon.

Books Completed

  1. Murder with Mirrors by Agatha Christie – print book
  2. Different Seasons by Stephen King – ebook
  3. Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien – audiobook
  4. Tess of d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy – print book
  5. Stuart Little by E. B. White – print book
  6. Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres – audiobook
  7. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson – audiobook

Pages Read

  • 1,116 pages read

Postings on Social Media and Other Challenges

  • Litsy = 5
  • Instagram = 5
  • Twitter = 9
  • Blog = 2
  • Bingo Challenge on Goodreads:

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I did not participate in many of the challenges this year. I decided to just focus on my reading, because I had a lot I wanted to read. Plus, I finally finished a couple of books that I started years ago. I also found that listening to audiobooks while puzzling is a great way to stay active and awake.

I had a great time! A big thanks to the hosts, and I’ll be looking forward to the next time!

Until Next Time….Stay Calm and Keep on Reading!!!

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24-Hour Readathon Begins! April 2020

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It’s that time!!!! Time for the semi-annual Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon!!!! As always I’m super excited and ready to go! This is officially my 6th time participating in this readathon. In the past I have spent a whole week preparing for this readathon, buying snacks and picking out my bookish wardrobe. However, with the way things are in the world right now, I am not able to indulge in snacks and bookish gifts. I did pick out a great stack of books to read that I am very much looking forward to though and am going to try to read for the full 24 hours!

Goals

  • Complete 4 books.
  • Read 1,000 pages.
  • Attempt to read the full 24 hours.
  • Cheer on others who are participating.
  • Submit at least 10 of the Hourly Photo challenge.

If there are other challenges, I will also try to do a few of those as long as they don’t distract me from my listed goals.

TBR Pile

Books I have already started and hope to complete:

  • Tess of d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • Different Seasons by Stephen King
  • Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Complete Part 4 & 5 for Buddy Read)
  • Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier
  • Murder with Mirrors by Agatha Christie

Will read the following when the above are completed:

  • The Importance of being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  • Copenhagen by Michael Frayn
  • Sandition by Jane Austen
  • Stuart Little by E. B. White
  • Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel
  • Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella
  • Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Social Media

I will be posting updates on multiple social media outlets:

Are you participating? Let me know in the comments and leave any blog post links, so I can cheer you on! This is a great way to spend your social-distancing time!

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WWW Wednesdays – April 22, 2020

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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.

Yesterday I celebrated 40 days of social-distancing/working from home and also my wedding anniversary. In the past, we have done exciting things during our anniversary week, including taking a Mediterranean cruise, drinking wine at vineyards, taking a helicopter ride, logging our first hours piloting a Cessna, etc. This anniversary was not like that, but we did pack up and decided to take a drive and attempt to see the lyrid meteor shower. It was like a mini road trip adventure, which was I think all we needed at this time.

Don’t know what your plans are for this upcoming weekend, but I will be participating in the Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon! Unfortunately, according to their recent post, this will be the final 24-hour readathon that they host. So sad!

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
12 Rules for Life by Jordan B Peterson – audiobook = ♦  DNF

I have so many negative feelings toward 12 Rules for Life! If you just look at the 12 rules as they are, they make sense. However, if you read the authors explanations and examples of the rules, you get angry quickly. I could deal with the author comparing human situations to animals, the continuous references to Christianity (even though that is not the only religion that readers may use as guidance in their lives), and the strange section regarding disciplining your children. However, when the author mentioned that going to the bar and getting drunk means that you are asking to be sexually assaulted, that is when I finally threw in the towel with this book. I am still so angry with this book, that I am not even going to write a full book review post about it.

Reading Next

Hope everyone is doing well! What have y’all been reading? Please feel free to comment on these books and/or post your WWW link below!

Stay safe and healthy and Read On!!!