Category Archives: Nonfiction

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

Finished I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.”

I’ve always said that the best journalism (whether print or on the air) is the one where the reporter is almost invisible, where the story at hand gets the entire focus. I still believe that’s true, but I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a notable exception. Michelle McNamara is all over this book, and the sections where we see her life and personality are my absolute favorites.

And on a related note, I think most readers would admit that when they read truly excellent books, they feel like they almost become friends with the characters. That happened to me in this case, only I felt like I had known Michelle for years and that we were great friends. I’m very sad that I’ll never get to meet her (she died in 2016).

She became obsessed with the man she dubbed the Golden State Killer (possibly more commonly known as the Original Night Stalker). He’s never been caught and no one even has any idea who he is. It’s not one of those cases where people are pretty sure it’s one of two or three people, only the evidence isn’t quite there to convict. There’s DNA evidence and it has exonerated most of the people where it’s like, “OMG I bet it’s [suspect name here].”

It reached the point where she remarked that she feels like there’s “a scream permanently lodged in my throat.” That’s accurate. Over the few days i spent reading this book, I felt incredibly freaked out. Noises outside made me jump. Normal noises inside made me jump. My skin actually crawled at one point (it’s a really unpleasant sensation; I do not recommend it).

Part of it is the writing style. It describes everything but holds back the worst parts…until it doesn’t. Every so often, there will be a sentence or paragraph that seems to punch you directly in the face, usually literally a breathtaking sentence. And then the narrative goes on.

This is an intense book, obviously, but it’s also a great one. Highly recommended.


Sister of Darkness

Finished Sister of Darkness: The Chronicles of a Modern-Day Exorcist by R.H. Stavis. I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“The world’s only non-denominational exorcist—the subject of a forthcoming major motion picture—tells her astonishing true story: a riveting chronicle of wrestling entities from infected souls, showing how pain and trauma opens us to attachment from forces that drain our energy . . . and can even destroy our humanity.

As a secular exorcist, Rachel H. Stavis has cleansed thousands of tormented people, from small children and Hollywood moguls to stay-at-home moms and politicians. But for many years, the horror screenwriter and novelist denied her gift. As a little girl, she began to see “monsters” floating around her bedroom or attached to other children. Told it was only her imagination, Rachel learned to ignore the things she saw.

But a series of events in adulthood forced her to acknowledge her unique ability and embrace her power to heal. Since then, Rachel has dedicated her life to helping others cast off the forces feeding off of us. Performing her services pro-bono, she quietly worked in the shadows, until she unknowingly revealed her work to a journalist, who told her story to NPR.

A unique look at demonology removed from religious dogma, Sister of Darkness recounts Rachel’s journey to becoming an exorcist and chronicles some of her most extreme cleansings cases, including those that put her and her clients in peril. Going deep into her world, we meet the diverse range of people she has helped—young, old, famous and not—in gripping stories of danger and sometimes sadness, that are ultimately about redemption. Rachel teaches us that there are a diverse range of “entities” surrounding us—some of these are playful or misguided, while some are dangerous and harmful. She introduces each of them and explains their power, helping us understand what is attacking and hurting us, and what we can do to protect ourselves.

Frightening, eye-opening, and utterly enthralling, Sister of Darkness brings to light a world ruled by destruction, chaos and fear, and the woman who bravely fights to protect those who seek her out.”

As a caveat, I love religious horror; it always freaks me out. But I don’t believe in demons or possession or the devil or any of the typical premises. So it’s both super obvious and very weird that I would want to read this book, right? And yet here we are.

This is a very interesting book, and Rachel Stavis tells it well. She is obviously more of an expert in this than I am, and if she says it’s real, who am I to be like, “Yeah…no, I don’t think there are entities everywhere and that almost literally all of us have been possessed at some point”?

So if you’re at all curious, absolutely check this out. It’s an insanely fast read, and you’ll almost definitely enjoy yourself. (Or get completely freaked out, which I mean, let’s face it, you’re not going to read this if you’re not a fan of scary things, right?)

And if there is a show about her performing an exorcism at the Cecil Hotel, I will absolutely watch.

The Line Becomes a River

Finished The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Cantú tries not to think where the stories go from there.

Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a Rivermakes urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line.”

This is an incredibly hard book to read. It’s written in a journalistic style–easy to read and understand, but at the same time, it’s left up to the reader to decide how they feel about illegal immigration. We see what happens to people who try and cross the border, as well as why they may choose to undertake such a risky journey.  There are also descriptions of the violence they’re fleeing (cartels). Again, not an easy book to read.

At the same time, though, it’s so important. We tend to forget that these are actual people and that it’s not just an intellectual exercise about how to deal with immigration. This book makes these stories heard and impossible to ignore.

Highly recommended.

2017: The Books


1) The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams (1)

2) The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins (2)

3) The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty (3)

4) Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson (4)

5) Cinder by Marissa Meyer (5)

6) After the Fall by Kate Hart (6)

7) The Girl Before by JP Delaney (7)

8) The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish (8)

9) Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (9)

10) The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (10)

11) Copycat by Kimberla Lawson Roby (11)

12) Caraval by Stephanie Garber (12)

13) Silver Stars by Michael Grant (13)

14) Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley (14)

15) By Your Side by Kasie West (15)

16) Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas (16)

17) March Trilogy by John Lewis (17)

18) The Young Widower’s Handbook by Tom McAllister (18)

19) Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (19)

20) Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel (20)

21) Marbles by Ellen Forney (21)

22) Stitches by David Small (22)

23) Becoming Unbecoming by Una (23)

24) Ghost World by Daniel Clowes (24)

25) Black Hole by Charles Burns (25)

26) Blankets by Craig Thompson (26)

27) Kindred by Octavia Butler (27) (graphic novel)

28) Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart (28)

29) The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak (29)

30) All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (30)

31) A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom (31)

32) The Mothers by Brit Bennett (32)

33) All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey (33)

34) The Lost Woman by Sara Blaedel (34)

35) Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (35)


1) #Famous by Jilly Gagnon (36)

2) A Separation by Katie Kitamura (37)

3) Sister, Sister by Sue Fortin (38)

4) Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance (39)

5) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (40)

6) On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman (41)

7) Wonder by RJ Palacio (42) (reread)

8) The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (43)

9) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (44)

10) The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (45)

11) Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (46)

12) Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher (47)

13) Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen (48)

14) We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (49) (2017)

15) Sophie Someone by Hayley Long (50)

16) The Book That Made Me by Judith Ridge (51)

17) Camp So-and-So by Mary McCoy (52)

18) The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (53)

19) The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig (54)

20) Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (55)

21) The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman (56)

22) Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse (57)

23) Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf (58)

24) The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo (59)

25) Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly (60)


1) Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens (61)

2) I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (62)

3) The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (63)

4) Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper (64)

5) Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (65)

6) Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson (66)

7) Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres (67)

8) Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail (68)

9) Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen (69)

10) The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend (70)

11) See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng (71)

12) Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (72)

13) You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner (73)

14) Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (74)

15) The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett (75)

16) Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (76)

17) Beatdown in Bangkok by Adam Fleming and Justin Fike (77)

18) The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato (78)

19) The Secrets You Keep by Kate White (79)

20) A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell (80)

21) Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (81)

22) 100 Hours by Rachel Vincent (82)

23) Dead Little Mean Girl by Eva Darrows (83)

24) All the Forever Things by Jolene Perry (84)

25) Miss You by Kate Eberlin (85)

26) The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck (86)

27) Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott (87)

28) Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer (88)

29) At First Blush by Beth Ellyn Summer (89)

30) Pretty Fierce by Kieran Scott (90)

31) Extreme You by Sarah Robb O’Hagen (91)

32) The End of Our Story by Meg Halston (92)

33) We’re All Wonders by RJ Palacio (93)

34) Chester and Gus by Cammie McGovern (94)

35) Worthy by Donna Cooner (95)

36) Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (96)


1) Fallout by Sara Paretsky (97)

2) Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr (98)

3) The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (99)

4) The Takedown by Corrie Wang (100)

5) The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day (101)

6) One Hundred Spaghetti Strings by Jen Nails (102)

7) Literally by Lucy Keating (103)

8) Apartment 1986 by Lisa Papademetriou (104)

9) The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda (105)

10) Dangerous Ends by Alex Segura (106)

11) Fireworks by Katie Cotugno (107)

12) The Unprotected by Kelly Sokol (108)

13) Bang by Barry Lyga (109)

14) The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook (110)

15) It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vezzini (111)

16) The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers (112)

17) Beartown by Fredrik Backman (113)

18) Looking For Group by Rory Harrison (114)

19) Lucky Girl by Amanda Maciel (115)

20) I Found You by Lisa Jewell (116)

21) The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger (117)

22) How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake (118)

23) Suspect Red by LM Elliott (119)

24) Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (120)

25) Dreamfall by Amy Plum (121)

26)  Planet Jupiter by Jane Kurtz (122)

27) Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson (123)

28) Georgia Rules by Nanci Turner Steveson (124)

29) The Summer of Bad Ideas by Keira Stewart (125)

30) Posted by John David Anderson (126)


1) The Scattering by Kimberly McCreight (127)

2) Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (128)

3) Saints and Misfits by SK Ali (129)

4) Girl out of Waterby Laura Silverman (130)

5) That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim (131)

6) Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (132)

7) Deacon Locke Went to Prom by Brian Katcher (133)

8) Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane (134)

9) Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia (135)

10) Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee (136)

11) Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook by Iva-Marie Palmer (137)

12) It’s Not Like it’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura (138)

13) Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King (139)

14) Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini (140)

15) Arrowood by Laura McHugh (141)

16) Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (142)

17) The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord (143)

18) Keys to the City by Lisa Schroeder (144)


1) It Started With Goodbye by Christina June (145)

2) What is the Bible? by Rob Bell (146)

3) Antisocial by Jillian Blake (147)

4) Max and Menna by Shauna Kelley (148)

5) From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle (149)

6) Once and For All by Sarah Dessen (150)

7) Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith (151)

8) The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs (152)

9) Vigilante by Kady Cross (153)

10) When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (154)

11) The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green (155)

12) The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone (156)

13) Necromantic Shenanigans by JA Campbell and Rebecca Mcfarland Kyle (157)

14) Fanny and Dice by Rebecca McFarland Kyle (158)

15) He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly (159)

16) Geekerella by Ashley Poston (160)

17) Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett (161)

18) Torn Away by Jennifer Brown (162)

19) Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid (163)


1) The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (164)

2) After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid (165)

3) Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid (166)

4) Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid (167)

5) It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany (168)

6) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (169)

7) The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo (170)

8) My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella (171)

9) The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (172)

10) Off the Cliff by Becky Aikman (173)

11) Beware the Ranger by Debra Holt (174)

12) The Force by Don Winslow (175)

13) The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand (176)

14) A Stone of Hope by Jim St. Germain (177)

15) The Reason You’re Alive by Matthew Quick (178)

16) The Late Show by Michael Connelly (179)

17) The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger (180)

18) The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein (181)

19) The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham (182)

20) Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave (183)

21) Freefall by Joshua David Bellin (184)

22) The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed (185)

23) Final Girls by Riley Sager (186)


1) The Stars in Our Eyes by Julie Klam (187)

2) Morningstar by Ann Hood (188)

3) Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (189)

4) One For Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn (190)

5) Between Me and You by Allison Winn Scotch (191)

6) The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby (192)

7) Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker (193)

8) The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian (194)

9) Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari (195)

10) The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter (196)

11) To Siri with Love by Judith Newman (197)

12) Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore (198)

13) Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess (199)

14) Patina by Jason Reynolds (200)

15) Blood Defense by Marcia Clark (201)

16) Moral Defense by Marcia Clark (202)

17) Snap Judgment by Marcia Clark (203)

18) I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin (204)

19) Blame by Jeff Abbott (205)

20) Hunger by Roxane Gay (206)


1) Friend Request by Laura Marshall (207)

2) They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (208)

3) Copycat by Alex Lake (209)

4) Clickd by Tamara Ireland Stone (210)

5) Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello (211)

6) What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton (212)

7) In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner (213)

8) Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (214)

9) Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben (215)

10) Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis (216)

11) Warcross by Marie Lu (217)

12) Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King (218)

13) The Thin Line Between Good and Evil by Liza Wiemer (219) (beta read)


1) There’s Someone in the House by Stephanie Perkins (220)

2) We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby (221)

3) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (222)

4) Little Monsters by Kara Thomas (223)

5) Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (224)

6) One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (225)

7) Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen (226)

8) Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (227)

9) Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart (228)

10) Autoboyography by Christina Lauren (229)

11) Far From the Tree by Robin Benway (230)

12) What Girls are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold (231)

13) The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe (232)

14) In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley O’Brien (233)

15) City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson (234)

16) You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins (235)

17) American Street by Ibi Zoboi (236)

18) Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert (237)

19) Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg (238)

20) Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg (239)

21) All in Pieces by Suzanne Young (240)

22) I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo (241)

23) The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz (242)

24) Lucky in Love by Kasie West (243)

25) A Psalm For Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl (244)


1) What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum (245)

2) How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore (246)

3) You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Darrow (247)

4) In a Perfect World by Trish Doller (248)

5) The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera (249)

6) The Border by Steve Schafer (250)

7) The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller (251)

8) Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (252)

9) Water in May by Ismee Amiel Williams (253)

10) Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios (254)

11) The Museum of Broken Relationships (255)

12) Pantsuit Nation edited by Libby Chamberlain (256)

13) The Stranger Game by Cylin Busby

14) Crash by Wylie Ender (258)

15) When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn (259)

16) Stolen Secrets by LB Schulman (260)

17) Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork (261)

18) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (262)

19) And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin (263)

20) Maud by Melanie J. Fishbane (264)

21) Trell by Dick Lehr (265)

22) Maid of the King’s Court by Lucy Worsley (266)

23) The Agony of Bun O’Keefe by Heather Smith (267)

24) The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah (268)

25) Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (269)

26) Protected by Claire Zorn (270)

27) Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens (271)

28) Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin (272)

29) The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt (273)

30) The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan (274)

31) Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen (275)


1) Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield (276)

2) Truthers by Geoffrey Girard (277)

3) Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain (278)

4) 10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac (279)

5) Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman (280)

6) At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson (281)

7) The Lives of Desperate Girls by MacKenzie Common (282)

8) Get it Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough (283)

9) A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White (284)

10) Feral Youth by Shaun David Hutchinson (285)

11) A Void the Size of the World by Rachele Alpine (286)

12) Boy by Blake Nelson (287)

13) The Truth of Right Now by Kara Lee Corthron (288)

14) Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman (289)

15) Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Ann Foley (290)

16) The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares (291)

17) Here Lies Daniel Tate by Christin Terrill (292)

18) A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck (293)

19) Forks, Knives and Spoons by Leah DeCesare (294)

20) Spinning by Tillie Walden (295)

21) The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag (296)

22) Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (297)

23) Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills (298)

24) No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear (299)

25) Girl in a Bad Place by Kaitlin Ward (300)

26) Otherworld by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller (301)

27) The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange (302)

28) Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda (303)

29) Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden (304)

30) Love, Life and the List by Kasie West (305)

31) Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (306)

32) Instructions for a Secondhand Heart by Tamsyn Murray (307)

Promise Me, Dad

Finished Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden.

This is equal parts a political memoir and the story of Beau Biden’s illness and eventual death. Regardless of your interest in and fondness for Joe Biden, this is a book readers will likely love. It’s profound and an insight into foreign policy and grief. It’s a fascinating juxtaposition.

I knew Beau Biden would die (we covered it at the TV station) but his death and funeral made me burst into tears on the lightrail on my evening commute.

I didn’t know Beau but this book somehow made me feel like I did and also wish I had.

Highly recommended.

The Museum of Broken Relationships

I finished The Museum of Broken Relationships by Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic.  I received a copy for review; it’s out today.

This book is so awesome and I love it! Each page features a picture of an object and a note about how it connects to a failed relationship.  Most, obviously are romantic ones, but there are also ex-friendships and a few parent-child ones. Some are funny and a lot are sad. (You understand; we all have had relationships end.)

Books like this are my favorites; I love to see little glimpses of people’s lives and see just how much we have in common.  None of the stories were mine but I could identify with a lot of them.

This is too big to be a “stocking stuffer,” but if you want a unique present for someone in your life, get them this. And ask them what their contribution would be.

Highly recommended.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life

Finished We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. 

This is a book of essays and is not for the faint of heart. 

Samantha Irby tackles topics like dating (men and women), lesbian bed death, porn, why she doesn’t want kids, why she doesn’t want pets (but has one anyway), her family life (not great), her finances (also not great) and a ton of other things. If you are even moderately easy to offend, STAY AWAY. 

But if you have a good sense of humor, this is for you. I can’t even guess how many times I literally laughed out loud. It’s probably about as many times as I angled my Kindle away from other people on the lightrail. (Do not look over my shoulder, fellow commuters!)


What Happened

Finished What Happened by Hillary Clinton. 

If you are at all aware of the world, you know about this book already. In it, Hillary Clinton discusses her presidential campaign, election night and…well, obviously, what happened. And, most importantly, what to do now. 

You probably already know if you want to read it or not, so this review is more my experience reading it. 

If you know me at all, you know I’m a liberal and a feminist. Obviously Hillary had my vote, and it was a vote FOR HER and not against Trump. (A vote for Bernie would have been a vote against Trump, and that is still a valid reason to vote for someone.) I was excited to read this, even though I’m still sad this book needed to be written. 

I’ve grown up with Hillary in the public eye. It wasn’t a surprise to me that she’s incredibly smart; anyone paying even a little attention knows that. What did surprise me is how funny (and warm) she is. We don’t get to see that side often, probably because it’s not as fun as the narrative that she routinely has people killed and of course I’m rolling my eyes. 

In a perfect world, we’d have President Hillary Clinton, currently improving our economy and infrastructure. This book–while encouraging and well-written and a call to service–isn’t better than that. But as far as consolation prizes go, we could do worse. 

Highly recommended. 

Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies

Finished Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello. I received a copy for review. 

If you love TV and the internet, you know who Michael Ausiello is. Maybe you found him through Entertainment Weekly (I did) or or maybe through a shared love of Gilmore Girls, Felicity or Veronica Mars (he’s got great taste), you know who he is. What you may not know is this story. 

He was married to a man named Kit and then Kit got cancer. The title tells you how it ends and that if you have a heart at all, this will break it. But what it doesn’t tell you is that this is also hysterically funny. I cried in public, yes, but I also laughed really hard. (Like getting looks from the fellow light rail passengers hard.)

And as hard as this was to read, it’s also really beautiful. This is the kind of love I think we all want, even though it ended too soon. There is no way to read this and not see how much they loved each other. 

You need to read this and then help me make sure everyone else reads it too. Highly recommended. 


Finished Hunger by Roxane Gay.  I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

From the bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself

I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.”

Almost literally every woman I know has body issues.  Of the three or four I can think of who don’t, I’m pretty sure the subject has just never come up before.  I can’t think of anyone who I know for a fact is 100% comfortable in her own skin.

I say that because I’ve heard and read interviews with Roxane Gay and she’s repeated the fact that she doesn’t think she’s brave for writing this memoir.  I am not going to insist that she’s brave if she doesn’t want that label but I would honestly rather literally shoot myself in the foot than tell you, in writing, on the internet how much I weigh.

I think basically every woman can relate to at least part of this memoir.  You don’t have to have been raped (or to be fat) to understand the awareness of how much space you take up in public. I feel like my body is judged by strangers and I have felt like that since college (when I was thin and pretty). It’s an unsettling feeling and I liked it better when I was more visually appealing, but I never liked it.

But we’re talking about Roxane Gay and I think this book should be required reading for everyone. The whole book completely resonates with me, even the parts that I didn’t personally relate to.  And I need to read her backlist, like, NOW.

Highly recommended.