Final Reading Challenge Update – December 31, 2021

Well, while I definitely struggled and still haven ‘t gotten my reviews up, I did manage to complete my reading challenge. This week I will be quickly cranking out my reviews and getting started on my 2022 reads. I will also follow this post with my own reading challenge I’m designing for myself this year.

1. A Productivity BookStop Living on Autopilot by Antonio Neves – completed, UnF*ck Yourself by Gary John Bishop – completed
2. Book Becoming Movie in 2021 The Reincarnationist Papers by D. Eric Maikranz – completed
3. Goodreads Winner in 2020 – The Midnight Library – by Matt Haig – completed
4. Biography – The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo – completed
5. About a Pressing Social Issue – The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison – completed, It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover – completed
6. A Book About BooksThe Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson – completed
7. Set in the 1920s – The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell – completed
8. An Author Who Uses Initials – The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – completed
9. Poetry – New Poems by Rilke – completed
10. A 2020 BestsellerAnxious People by Fredrik Backman – completed
11. Recommended by a Colleague – The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – completed
12. With a Number in the Title – One Two Three by Laurie Frankel – completed
13. Bottom of Your To-Read List – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – completed
14. Reread a Favorite Book – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – completed – re-read, no review posted
15. Own Voices Story – March by John Lewis – completed
16. Published in the 1800s – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – completed – re-read, no review posted
17. Local Author – Drifting by Steven Cross – completed
18. Longer Than 400 Pages – The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – completed
19. A Book Turned Into a TV Series – Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty – completed
20. A Book That Makes You ThinkAntkind by Charlie Kaufman – completed, Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi – completed
21. A WWII Story – The Willow Wren by Philipp Schott – completed
22. A Highly Anticipated Book – Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir- completed
23. Eye-Catching Cover – House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherlandcompleted, The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin – completed
24. A Summer ReadThe Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – completed, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal – completed
25. Coming of Age Story – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – completed, The Facts of Life and Death by Belinda Bauer – completed
26. Bestselling Memoir – In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado– completed

27. Book Club FavoriteSouthern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix – completed
28. A Book About FriendshipThe Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery – completed, How Lucky by Will Leitch – completed,Radiant: The Dancer, the Scientist, and a Friendship Forged in Light by Liz Heinecke – completed
29. An Audiobook – Walking With Ghosts: A Memoir by Gabriel Byrne – completed, The Roadtrip by Beth O’Leary – completed
30. Set in Australia – Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty – completed
31. By a Nobel Prize winner – I Am Malala by Malala Yousafszai – completed, no review posted
32. About an Immigrant – Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende – completed
33. Time Travel Novel – Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi– completed
34. An Author You Love – The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell – completed
35. Childhood FavoriteTales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume – completed
36. Classic Read in High School – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – completed, no review posted
37. Borrowed from the Library –Faye, Faraway by Helen Fisher – completed, Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson – completed, The Girl in His Shadow by Audrey Blake – completed, The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty – completed
38. Nonfiction New York Times Bestseller – A Promised Land by Barack Obama – completed
39. From an Indie Publisher – The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar – completed
40. Fantasy – The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox – completed, Leonard: My Life as a Cat by Carlie Sorosiak – completed
41. A Sequel – The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi – completed
42. Recommended by a Librarian – My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones – completed
43. Psychological ThrillerIn the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce – completed, The Comfort of Monsters by Willa C. Richards – completed, Verity by Colleen Hoover – completed
44. Oprah Winfrey Book Club Pick The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris- completed
45. A Book About Technology – The Future is Yours by Dan Frey – completed
46. Title with Three Words – Home Before Dark by Riley Sager– completed
47. Debut Novel of Famous Author – The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie – completed
48. Genre You Don’t Usually Read – Code of the Hills: An Ozarks Mystery by Nancy Allen – completed
49. A Book Everyone Is Talking About – American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins – completed.
50. You Own But Haven’t Read – Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – completed.
51. Borrowed from a Friend – The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty– completed
52. A 2021 New Release – The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner – completed

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty – a Book Review

This was probably my most anticipated book of 2021. Moriarty manages to deliver effortlessly every time. While some of her books I didn’t like as much as others, there hasn’t been one I didn’t enjoy at least on some level. I especially like the way she builds complex characters that are both relatable and intriguing. Thankfully, this book did not disappoint on that level.

Synopsis

To some, Stan and Joy Delaney seem the perfect couple. Undeniable chemistry, an illustrious professional partnership in tennis that both supports and accentuates their personal relationship, and four strong and independent children who’ve grown up to be adults who make them proud. But when Joy Delaney goes missing and all signs point to Stan, fractures begin to form in the Delaney family. Two of the children believe their father could never do something so monstrous, but two believe there’s a dark side of their father at work that everyone has always ignored. As more time passes with no sign of Joy, secrets and old animosities begin to bubble to the surface. Sure to form, Moriarty keeps readers guessing until the very end.

Review

This book is told in alternating timelines. We get the present perspectives of the four Delaney children – Logan, Amy, Troy and Brooke – as well as the flashback perspective of Joy. Joy’s perspective is an important one. As a matter of fact, I oddly found her to be the most relatable character. While I don’t exist in the same sphere as Joy, for I’m not in my 70’s looking back on 50 years of marriage, I still can connect with that part of her that realizes she gave up a lot of her own personal accomplishments and dreams to build something with another person. There are a lot of women who sacrificed their own personal ambitions for the prospect of a successful family. It’s only natural to go through a period of mourning when you realize that what you’ve lost is no longer within reach. Seeing Joy through this deeply personal lens brings us closer to her, and it makes her matter to us. This, in turn, increases the suspense as we forge ahead to find out what really happened to her.

Along the way, Moriarty throws so much at us! The plot thickens so much it gets difficult to wade through, though in a good way that makes your head spin and makes you want to keep reading. And yet again, Moriarty delivers us quirky side characters who add a lot of authenticity and even some humor. They always serve as catalysts for more in-depth character development for any one of the main characters. There are actually a total of 7 extremely pivotal characters in this novel, and that’s a pretty difficult thing to successfully navigate without neglecting someone. But Moriarty proves she’s a master at character development, because all 7 feel solid and authentic. And no, I didn’t necessarily like them all, but I don’t like everyone I know in real life either. Everything is as it should be. A perfect blend of imperfections, meticulously crafted and leaving a wonderful feeling after you’ve closed the last page. 4 1/2 stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Published Sept 14, 2021 by Henry Hold and Co. ISBN 1250220254. 467 pages.

Posted in General fiction, mystery | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones – a Book Review

I will try to do this review justice, as I read it back in October and then fell off the face of the Earth and made no progress with reviews. It’s not because I didn’t enjoy this book, because I really did. Probably because I have never really read a whole lot of horror in the past, Jones is a name in the literary world that was new to me. He visited the Springfield-Greene County Library for their Halloween horror series, so I wanted to make sure to read this book prior to his talk so I could be familiar with his work. And what a refreshing new-to-me author he is. It was a real pleasure getting to meet him and listen to him talk about his work, and I managed to pick up a copy of The Only Good Indians and get him to sign it. I look forward to reading it after the start of the new year.

Synopsis

Jade Daniel isn’t like other kids in her school. People see her as a bit troubled and weird, and she’s not just a fan of slasher films. Slasher films are her lifeblood. If she isn’t watching slashers, she’s writing about slashers, thinking about slashers, or talking about slashers. When bodies start turning up in her sleepy little town, Jade realizes she’s found herself in a slasher of her very own. Using her wits and extensive knowledge of the formula of the slasher, she will follow this real-life movie to its dramatic conclusion. Step #1, she has to convince the town’s archetypal final girl that she must embrace her role in the drama to come if they are destined to vanquish the evil forces at play.

Review

This is such a refreshingly unique piece of horror. It’s a celebration of a really popular genre of film, one to which I’m not incredibly familiar, but I still enjoyed the story. At times, the narrative is very twisty and complicated, and there’s always a pervasive psychological element. Jade is someone we want to trust, but we truly aren’t sure that we can. As the reader, I could tell Jade has a special place in Jones’ heart, because he crafted her with such depth and careful consideration. It’s pretty clear that there’s a part of Jade that IS Stephen Graham Jones, that he left a piece of his soul in the pages of her story. She’s just the right mix of imperfect human qualities to qualify as a perfect character. She feels real and raw, like honey fresh from the hive. You want to reach it, but if you try you might get a nasty sting. Underneath, though, is a sad little girl who was never given the opportunity to thrive, and she’s merely looking for her place in an unforgiving world. By the end of the book, if you don’t love her a little bit, there’s something wrong with you. But just like the people I love in real life, Jade’s obsessive nature could get a little annoying from time to time and I wanted to shake some sense into her.

The plot is quite twisty. The novel moves at a pretty rapid pace throughout. On audio, I sometimes found myself losing track of things, which I think was my fault more than the fault of the book, as I’m often trying to multitask. Don’t multitask with this one. Grab the reins and hold on for dear life, because your full attention is required. As far as the horror element is concerned, Jones does not hold back. This book is gruesome, gory, and at times just plain gross. Unless rotting elk carcasses are your thing, you might find yourself making the eww face more than a few times.

Frankly, there’s not a whole lot I can say about this book without giving away too much about the plot or the direction, so I’m really just going to leave it at that. If you are looking for a good horror novel with pretty superb writing and a fascinating main character, this is the book for you. And check out some more of Stephen Graham Jones’ work while you’re at it. He has a refreshing mix of eclectic literary horror from which to choose. Overall, I give this one 4 out of 5 stars.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Published August 31, 2021 by Simon and Schuster Audio. ISBN: 1797123327. Runtime 12 hrs 25 mins. Read by Cara Gee.

Posted in Horror, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

WWW Wednesday – December 15, 2021

Wow, I’m sorry for such a long hiatus. I’m woefully behind on reviews, and things at home have been so crazy I simply haven’t had the time or motivation to work on my blog. Here’s a quick update for WWW Wednesday, because I’m wanting to get to a review pretty quickly so I can work on catching up.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. In it, bloggers share their reading progress and goals for the upcoming week.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you recently finished?
  • What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

I’m currently just starting I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb. Looking forward to reading this one, and am going to try to get through it pretty quick so I can finish my reading challenge goals for this year. This one serves as my Book by a Nobel Prize winner category. I’m also listening to an old favorite, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling. I’ve never listened to them before, and I’m enjoying Jim Dale’s narration immensely.

What have I just finished reading?

I’ve just finished a sort of biography, The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo. Currently mulling over my thoughts about this one and will get a review posted soon, but I’m not sure how soon because I have several others to write as well. Ugh.

What will I read next?

I am on the precipice of not finishing all my categories for my reading challenge, but I’m hell bent on finishing. Next, I will pick up the Book recommended by a colleague: The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett. And on audiobook I’m not sure, but I know it will come from my categories I have yet to finish. Wish me luck on getting everything complete in these final days while also juggling a holiday. Eek!

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you’re currently reading! Thanks for stopping by to visit. Happy Reading!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Reading Challenge Update – November 1, 2021

With two months left to go, here’s where I stand on the challenge. While I do need to make sure I’m choosing books that fit into categories, I am sitting at a pretty good place. Without further ado, here’s my challenge update for the end of October.

1. A Productivity BookStop Living on Autopilot by Antonio Neves – completed, UnF*ck Yourself by Gary John Bishop – completed
2. Book Becoming Movie in 2021 The Reincarnationist Papers by D. Eric Maikranz – completed
3. Goodreads Winner in 2020 – The Midnight Library – by Matt Haig – completed
4. Biography
5. About a Pressing Social Issue – The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison – completed, It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover – completed
6. A Book About BooksThe Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson – completed
7. Set in the 1920s – The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell – completed
8. An Author Who Uses Initials – The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – completed
9. Poetry – New Poems by Rilke – completed
10. A 2020 BestsellerAnxious People by Fredrik Backman – completed
11. Recommended by a Colleague
12. With a Number in the Title – Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – completed. One Two Three by Laurie Frankel – completed
13. Bottom of Your To-Read List
14. Reread a Favorite Book

15. Own Voices Story – March by John Lewis – completed
16. Published in the 1800s
17. Local Author – Drifting by Steven Cross – completed
18. Longer Than 400 Pages – The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – completed
19. A Book Turned Into a TV Series – Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty – completed
20. A Book That Makes You ThinkAntkind by Charlie Kaufman – completed, Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi – completed
21. A WWII Story – The Willow Wren by Philipp Schott – completed
22. A Highly Anticipated Book – Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir- completed
23. Eye-Catching Cover – House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherlandcompleted, The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin – completed
24. A Summer ReadThe Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – completed, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal – completed
25. Coming of Age Story – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – completed, The Facts of Life and Death by Belinda Bauer – completed
26. Bestselling Memoir – In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado– completed

27. Book Club FavoriteSouthern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix – completed
28. A Book About FriendshipThe Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery – completed, How Lucky by Will Leitch – completed,Radiant: The Dancer, the Scientist, and a Friendship Forged in Light by Liz Heinecke – completed
29. An Audiobook – Walking With Ghosts: A Memoir by Gabriel Byrne – completed
30. Set in Australia – Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty – currently reading
31. By a Nobel Prize winner
32. About an Immigrant – Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende – completed
33. Time Travel Novel – Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi– completed
34. An Author You Love – The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell – completed
35. Childhood FavoriteTales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume – completed
36. Classic Read in High School
37. Borrowed from the Library –Faye, Faraway by Helen Fisher – completed, Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson – completed, The Girl in His Shadow by Audrey Blake – completed
38. Nonfiction New York Times Bestseller – A Promised Land by Barack Obama – completed
39. From an Indie Publisher – The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar – completed
40. Fantasy – The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox – completed
41. A Sequel – The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi – completed
42. Recommended by a Librarian
43. Psychological ThrillerIn the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce – completed, The Comfort of Monsters by Willa C. Richards – completed, Verity by Colleen Hoover – completed
44. Oprah Winfrey Book Club Pick The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris- completed
45. A Book About Technology – The Future is Yours by Dan Frey – completed
46. Title with Three Words – Home Before Dark by Riley Sager– completed
47. Debut Novel of Famous Author – The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie – completed
48. Genre You Don’t Usually Read – Code of the Hills: An Ozarks Mystery by Nancy Allen – completed
49. A Book Everyone Is Talking About – American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins – completed.
50. You Own But Haven’t Read
51. Borrowed from a Friend – The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty– completed
52. A 2021 New Release – The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner – completed

Total Books Read: 55. Total categories complete: 42. Books remaining to Read Toward Challenge: 10. In progress: 1

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

UnF*ck Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life by Gary John Bishop – A Book Review

I read this super short book in an afternoon on audio while I cleaned my house. Which is, interestingly enough, something I often need someone screaming motivational phrases in my ear in order to accomplish. How very appropriate was this book, in that case. This is a very simple book. Gary John Bishop, a personal development expert from Glasgow, Scotland, takes off the kid gloves and offers readers a very no-nonsense in-your-face approach to fixing your shitty life. In saying that, he’s really telling you to fix your shitty attitude. Frankly, this is a lesson I need on a pretty much daily basis.

Throughout the book, he introduces readers to seven “personal assertions” that every human should implement in their lives. Honestly, many of these were extremely important. Though the book is really not much more than a pep talk, it is very helpful to be reminded of such things as “I am not my thoughts: I am what I do.” That’s so true. How many of us want to accomplish something and know we CAN accomplish something, but we give up in the face of self doubt and wind up accomplishing nothing? Being able to do something and actually doing it are two different things. On the reverse of that, how many people are actually grossly incompetent but have the audacity and the relentless drive to… oh, I don’t know… maybe become President? I can name at least one of those. Though, maybe Bishop needs to write a new book telling those people to go back home and binge watch Criminal Minds and snack on cheetos to save the world a little headache.

Nothing in this book is revolutionary. It’s a helpful tool for motivation, but it’s not going to really provide anything truly useful by way of exercises or techniques. It is very helpful as a reminder to continually attempt to alter your thought process so that you aren’t your worst enemy, but it’s really up to you to take what you glean from this book and really put it into practice in a way that’s meaningful for you. I do recommend listening to the audio if having a frustrated Scotsman bootcamp-style yell in your ear is your jam. Trust me, it’s actually quite pleasant, because everything, even anger, is better with a Scottish accent. At times, I did sort of feel like the kid in detention for the 15th time while the teacher at the end of his wits rails at me about how he knows I can do better but I’m just not trying, and that’s ridiculous because I’m smart and worthwhile and… you get the gist.

Frankly, when it comes to self help books, I think each reader has a style that’s going to speak to them more. With this book, Bishop offers something fairly unique. It’s a tough love approach, and that works better with some people. For someone who just needs a little boost, this may be perfect for them. But I probably wouldn’t recommend it for someone with crippling anxiety and depression who needs real psychological help to pull them out of the abyss of self-loathing and personal stasis. It might be helpful as a supplement, but it would take a lot more than this book in such situations. And the tone might actually be off-putting to some. Overall, I say 3 stars for this.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Published Aug 1, 2017 by HarperAudio. ISBN: 0062819496. Runtime 3 hrs 24 mins. Read by the Author.

Posted in Nonfiction, self help, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell – a Book Review

No matter your taste in books, I could probably recommend a Mary Doria Russell book to you that you would love. The Sparrow is my favorite science fiction book, but this badass woman with the fiercest intellect around can write just about anything. Her historical fiction is nearly unmatched in depth of research and attention to detail. Once again, Russell has crafted a gritty and memorable tribute to real-life heroes who walked this Earth. The women and men in this book made it possible for the workers of today to fight for fairness and actually win.

Synopsis

The Women of the Copper Country is a fictionalized account of the story of Anna Klobuchar Clements, otherwise known as Big Annie. In 1913, Annie Clements earned the title of “America’s Joan of Arc” for her role in leading a strike against a large and powerful copper mining company in Michigan, Calumet & Hecla. The novel pits Annie up against the villainous James MacNaughton, her nemesis in both this fictional work and in the historical record. Russell’s novel is a very raw and real portrayal of the plight of the striking worker in the early 1900’s, as well as that of their wives and mothers who fought to keep food on the table. Most importantly, it’s the rarely told tribute to the women of the labor movement, those who risked their own health and safety to ensure their sons and grandsons wouldn’t befall the same fate as their fathers and husbands.

Review

In every case, the strength of one of Russell’s works of historical fiction is her meticulous research. While much of Annie’s life on the page is fictionalized, Russell offers us a visceral and intimate glimpse into the life of the real Annie. She perfectly captures her resolve, integrity, and her difficult moments of self-doubt and turmoil. Many characters are either composites of real individuals or are entirely fictionalized, but their sole purpose is to provide a foundation for us to better understand Annie and her impact on the labor movement, as well as the impact of all women, whose role in progressive social change throughout history is often drastically understated, if not ignored completely.

One of the most interesting aspects of this novel is Annie’s tumultuous relationship with her husband, Joe Clements, an abusive drunk who doesn’t support either Annie’s work as a union leader or even the strike itself. Annie is torn between this urge to remain loyal to her husband as society dictates or to remain loyal to her personal convictions and moral obligations. Would we be where we are today if it weren’t for women brave enough to tell their short-sighted husbands to shove their opinions where the sun doesn’t shine? That’s a resounding no. Thankfully, there are enough fabulous and brave men in this book that one doesn’t have to worry about it seeming “anti-men,” which some people seem to worry about, and usually for silly reasons.

This novel also contains some beautiful cameos of other real heroes of the labor movement, including Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, whose visit to Calumet in support of the strike really did occur in August of 1913. Jones, while featured very shortly in The Women of the Copper Country, is one of the more memorable characters of the book, her fiery and plucky spirit reinvigorating a movement that has fallen on hard times and hangs on the precipice of failure. Like the strikers, readers find themselves wanting more of her but having to trudge on alone, encouraged by the strength that lingers in her wake.

More than anything, this work of historical fiction is fiercely and depressingly relevant in today’s political climate. It is Russell’s most politically charged work to date, and it comes at a very good time. We find ourselves at the close of a pandemic, when many people have grown weary of busting their asses for pennies for employers who neither care about their physical or mental well-being nor whether their wages can even cover a month’s rent. Most have forgotten or scoff at the sacrifices of the ancestors of the labor movement. The word union is still spat out like a curse word by those whose forbearers poured more dirt on the bodies of the miners who worked for mere pennies until unsafe conditions brought about their early deaths, as well as those of their fathers and grandfathers. Same shit, different decade.

These same people feel history shouldn’t actually be taught in our schools, because it will show our children that history is full of ugliness, greed, and prejudice. You can’t stop yourself from repeating a mistake you don’t remember, and a society that covers up its ills will repeat them over and over again with different victims. The cycle will merely continue forever. Censorship and suppression only bring more trauma, so if a school board tells you not to put a book in your child’s hands go out and buy a damn copy because that’s a book they should read. With that in mind, if you Virginia folk want to see what all the fuss is about, Beloved by Toni Morrison is on sale on Amazon, and everyone should read it. Get your copy here. For a comprehensive list of the books some people say you shouldn’t read, see the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom’s website. Every one of them has something to teach you.

I realize I haven’t focused as much on the actual book as I usually do, but this is an extremely important read about a unique and specific moment in America’s storied past. It has the beautiful, effortless prose you’d expect from a Mary Doria Russell novel and characters who will leave their mark on you. Some books are good but you forget them pretty soon after putting them down. You won’t forget this authentic story, and you sure as hell won’t forget Big Annie, the 6’1″ angel with her flag held high and her voice raised above the crowd. If you are looking for a great work of historical fiction that is of the utmost relevance in today’s age, look no further than The Women of the Copper Country.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

  1. “Anna Clemenc” Upper Peninsula Wiki. https://michigansup.fandom.com/wiki/Anna_Clemenc Accessed Oct 29, 2021.
  2. “Labor’s Patron Saint & Her Words of Wisdom.” The Laborist. https://labor.ist/labors-patron-saint-her-words-of-wisdom/ May 19, 2020.

Published August 6, 2019 by Atria Books. ISBN 1982109580. Hardcover. 352 pages.

Posted in Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

WWW Wednesday – October 27, 2021

Welcome to another week of WWW Wednesday, in which I do have more progress to report but I am still wildly behind on reviews. Life has been really hectic lately and, admittedly, the stress of everything has been getting to me which has cut into my productivity. I’ve really tried to take some time to focus on family stuff that has been bubbling up lately. I will try to get around to catching up on reviews soon.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. In it, bloggers share their reading progress and plans for the coming week. Let’s get started!

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you just finished reading?
  • What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

Since I have not made much progress at all with hard copy books, I’m still working my way through Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty. It’s very engaging, and I wish I’d had more time to devote to it lately, especially since my library copy is due tomorrow. Eek. On audio, I have just started The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, a book I’ve been looking forward to picking up for a really long time, ever since I read Miller’s Circe, which I positively adored. I’m really enjoying both of these current reads so far.

What have I just finished reading?

Just yesterday I finished the audiobook version of My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones. I finished it just in time to meet him at the Springfield-Greene County Library system’s author signing event for their October horror series. Last week I went to a similar event with Grady Hendrix. Both men were extremely pleasant, gracious, and quite funny despite writing some seriously disturbing stuff. I’m thrilled to have picked up copies of their books and gotten to chat with them a bit while they signed my copies. My review for Jones’ book should be up in the next week, as I’ve tacked it onto the end of my long list of reviews to write.

What will I read next?

I have got to finish Apples Never Fall because I’ve GOT to start on our book club read for this Halloween month, The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. Beyond that, I really don’t really have a planned audiobook. I’ve been taking those sort of one at a time and choosing on a whim when I peruse either Hoopla or Overdrive. Since I am down to two months to fill all the slots in the reading challenge, I probably need to be narrowing down my final choices for categories so I can make sure to hit my mark.

That’s it for me for this week. I hope to have lots of progress to report next week. Until then, happy reading and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How do you handle the irate commenter?

So I just had a thing happen. It was the first time on one of my book reviews I received a really scathing, insulting and utterly hateful comment. This was a long comment, one the reader really put some thought into. It was full of nothing but insults to my intelligence, claims that I’m juvenile and not well-read simply because I didn’t care for the book, and various other really hateful assertions I need not mention.

Look, as readers, we are not always going to agree. I have read book reviews of books I couldn’t stand in which the reviewers just raved about them. The opposite is also true. I have loved books that other reviewers ripped apart. Typically, if I write a really negative review I do worry a bit about being called out by someone who thinks my vehemence was a tad unfounded. I don’t want to be just plain mean, but I do want to be honest. In this particular case, I never expected the level of vitriol I received, because there were lots of things I DID like about the book, and I was very clear about that.

Whenever, as a reader, I stumble upon a review I don’t agree with, I will tell you what I don’t do. What I don’t do is jump on that person’s page and tell them they are stupid for not sharing my opinion. I don’t create an anonymous online persona that I can use to trash another content creator. When I write my book reviews, I am as honest and thorough as possible. I don’t just say “this is garbage,” give it 1 star and move on. And, trust me, there were plenty of people on goodreads who did exactly that with this particular book. Any time I write a review, I give my reasons, they are my own, and I make sure I share both what I liked and what I didn’t like. That is my only job as a reviewer, and I don’t have to make readers feel better about their particular position on something. What a boring world would this be if we all shared the same opinions about everything?

In part, I’m writing this post to sort of vent my frustrations, sure. It does kind of hurt to be insulted for something that you enjoy so much. My words are important to me. I enjoy sharing them with readers. But do I believe him? Do I believe that I’m stupid, uneducated, or juvenile in my reading tastes? No. The uneducated and juvenile position is being pretentious enough to believe you’re superior to someone else in your intellect simply because you liked a book and they didn’t. In this case, I did respond. I tried to be as professional as possible but I made it clear I would have appreciated a more professional and less personal attack. I could have merely trashed his comment. I could have marked it as spam. I didn’t do either of those things. I will let his comment speak for itself. Some people may agree with him. Some people may agree with me. That’s life.

How do you handle this situation? Has it ever happened to you? Did you respond to it or did you ignore it? Feel free to comment and share your own frustrations. One thing I’ve always loved about this community is that people seem to be very respectful and supportive of each other and I’m very grateful for that. Until next time, happy reading and happy blogging. And down with trolls. 😊

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

WWW Wednesday – October 20, 2021

Oh my! I missed more than a week! Yikes! And I still have two of my reviews to write. It’s been a difficult month for me, but I’m slowly getting back into things. WWW Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. In it, bloggers share their reading progress and plans for the coming week. Let’s get started!

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you just finished reading?
  • What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

Currently reading Liane Moriarty’s newest release, Apples Never Fall, which I’m using as my book set in Australia for my reading challenge. I’ve filled a few slots in on my reading challenge this month thankfully. Though I’ve finished more than 52 books this year, I doubled up on some categories so I still have 7 books to read to finish the entire challenge not counting the ones I already have in the works. The audiobook I’m listening to is My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones. Mr. Jones will be at the Springfield-Greene County Library next week, so I want to get this one finished by then. Basically I have a lot of reading to do between now and the end of December and I hope I make it.

What have you just finished reading?

I have just finished reading the audiobook version of Unf*ck Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life by Gary John Bishop. I will likely write a pretty short review of this one today. It wasn’t exaclty earth-shattering, but it was useful for its intended purpose and I think it was quite a big dose of reality that I needed this week. The other book I finished I will post a more detailed review of. It is The Women of the Copper County by Mary Doria Russell. Russell is one of my favorite authors and I’ve read everything she’s put out to date. It took me a while to get to this one simply because I owned a copy, and I always wind up setting those aside to meet library deadlines. I finally pushed myself to finish it, however.

What Will I Read Next?

Next I’m going to pick up the book club selection for October. It’s a nice scary Halloween classic, The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty. I’m not super squeamish like some of the other folks in our book group, so I doubt this keeps me up at night. I hope not, anyway. On audio, I am going to keep going with one I’ve already started. It’s Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. To be honest, though a classic, I don’t find Twain as charming as I used to. Maybe it’s my current mood. Not sure, but I’m still going to finish it for the reading challenge.

Until next time, happy reading!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment