After my massive rally last week in breaking my reading slump, I slowed the pace down a bit this week. Depression and anxiety can be a bit of a roller coaster ride. Also, my taste in books ran a little…um…shall we say macabre? Still seemed better than real life. But before I get into just how sprinkled my life is with inspiration sayings and true crime books, let’s take a moment to give thanks for our sponsors.
#NonFicNov – which I plan for and look forward to year-round – is made possible by our wonderful reading community. This year Doing Dewey is hosting, along with Sarah at Sarah’s Bookshelves, Rachel at Hibernator’s Library, Lory at Emerald City Book Review, and Julz at Julz Reads. They have some lovely giveaways and book reviews going on, so go say hello! I’d also like to give a special shout-out to Kim over at Sophisticated Dorkiness. Kim is Non-fic November, for those who don’t know, and she’s still recovering from a huge, no-good, very bad Something right now. If you could all go love on Kim a little and send her the happiest thoughts, it would mean a lot to me. We’ve all been laid flat by grief at one point or another and I wish I didn’t know, but I do. I know I’ll be keeping Kim tucked into the back of my reading brain this month, raining some love down on her.
(Maybe I should try a little more indulgent self-care this week, because this past week self-care looked like basking in the glow of things even more horrible than our current affairs – true crime and lots of it!)
Crash Detectives: Investigating the World’s Most Mysterious Air Disasters, by Christine Negroni (2016, Penguin, 288 pages, paperback). I am a terrible flier. I work in aviation and it’s a bit like watching how sausage gets made – you lose your appetite for it just a little bit. I know all of the things that can go wrong, and in every sense imaginable. (I also see how rarely that happens, but why aren’t those the facts that run through my mind when I’m taking off on an adventure?) Negroni does a fantastic job of walking the layperson through the ins and outs of aviation without losing the narrative to tedium. While she focuses on how, exactly, we could fail to find Malaysian Airlines flight 370, she also looks at other missing aircraft and crashes. It was very compelling reading, both for the looky-loos and aviation nuts. The fact that the book was written by a kickass female investigative reporter in a male-dominated field? Bonus points. 4 of 5 stars.
Conviction: The Untold Story of Putting Jodi Arias Behind Bars, by Juan Martinez and Lisa Pulitzer (2016, William Morrow, 384 pages, library ebook). I needed a book so engrossing I could forget about the real world, and hoo boy did Conviction deliver! I didn’t follow the Jodi Arias trial much while it was unfolding. I remember it happening, but I wasn’t particularly shook. When I saw the double episode of Snapped! that featured the crime, I was reeled in. So of course I checked out this new true crime account written by the prosecutor and one of the better known collaborators, Lisa Pulitzer. I raced through every page with my mouth agape, marveling over Arias’s misplaced confidence in herself. She truly thought she could get away with her appalling crime. Tales like this one are why men and women are scared of the proverbial crazy boyfriend/girlfriend. Truly, truly insane. And wickedly fun reading. (Although “fun” doesn’t quite feel right, ya know?) 5 of 5 stars. Because for a few days, I forgot we even had an election.
The Souls of Mixed Folk: Race, Politics, and Aesthetics in the New Millennium, by Michele Elam (2011, Stanford University Press, 308 pages, paperback). I was a bit amazed that Elam dared to play so boldly on W.E.B. DuBois’s title The Souls of Black Folk – I mean, that’s about as anthemic as you can go. And yeah, it’s clever, but those are shoes to fill! It put me off reading the anthology of essays for nearly a year. But you guys – Elam’s got game. Her writing was evocative as the artwork she chose for the cover, and tied to pop culture and history throughout in ways we are both constantly aware of and completely ignorant of at the same time. Racism just won this dang election, and I needed to completely immerse myself in writing about how far we’ve come and what we can do to keep moving conversations and awareness in the right direction. 4 of 5 stars.
The Killer Book of Serial Killers, by Thomas and Michael Philbin (2009, Sourcebooks, 345 pages, library ebook). I told you my reading selection was a bit shocking this week. This true crime book wasn’t a deep analysis or portrayal of any one crime, but more of small glimpses into a wide array of crimes and the people who committed them. It was fluff designed to carry me away from the drama in real life, and it worked. Though I think I might have burned through my ability to wade through any more for quite awhile. 2 1/2 of 5 stars.
We’ll see what this next week brings. I’m looking for something a bit more inspirational after a week spent pillaging and burning. I have a book about the founding mothers of the country (screw you, patriarchy), and we’ll see what else catches my eye. Just so long as it’s bright and shiny!