Thursday, April 25, 2024

California Book Club - Alta Journal - Jessica Hagedorn!



A week ago today, I attended Alta Journal's California Book Club event online with the amazing writer, poet, and playwright, and multimedia performance artist, Jessica Hagedorn. This was the 4th virtual author event I attended this year and I enjoyed this event so much. Ms. Hagedorn gave two readings. Her readings aren't average, to say the least... They are quite captivating.

I'd been so looking forward to this online book club event, because I'd read three of Jessican Hagedorn's novels - The Gangster of Love, Dream Jungle, and Dogeaters back around 2009. All three novels are amazing!

If you're looking for something different in terms of novels, then PLEASE RUN, DON'T WALK and grab yourself a novel written by Jessica Hagedorn. You won't be disappointed.

I have Jessica Hagedorn's novel, Toxicology, lined up to read hopefully sooner rather than later. I have a few books I need to read first before getting to it though. 

Happy reading!

Monday, April 22, 2024

California Book Club - Alta Journal - Laila Lalami


Last month, I attended my 3rd online virtual author/bookish event this year when I watched Alta Journal's California Book Club featuring author, Laila Lalami, discussing her novel, The Other Americans

I have yet to read anything written by Laila Lalami despite the fact I learned about her as a writer back in early 2021. Laila Lalami was in conversation with writer, Viet Thanh Nguyen, during an online event promoting Nguyen's novel, The Committed.

Anyway, I wanted to learn more about Laila Lalami and her writing, so I attended Alta Journal's online California Book Club last month to hear Laila Lalami talk about her novel, The Other Americans. I enjoyed the discussion very much.

Above is a YouTube video of Alta Journal's California Book Club for March 2024 featuring Laila Lalami should you care to view it.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt


I first became aware of Gary D. Schmidt as an author back in 2021 via one of my former college professors I'm still in touch with decades later. I read Gary D. Schmidt's young adult novel, Just Like That, in 2021 and enjoyed it thoroughly. I've been meaning to read more of his novels ever since then.

The latest novel I finished reading this month was actually listening to the unabridged audio version of The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt and is well narrated by Joel Johnstone. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED everything about The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt from the characters, the writing, the humor, the pacing of the storyline, the storyline/plot itself, the narration by Joel Johnstone, and the lessons learned/imparted in this young adult novel. I couldn't be happier with this read. I enjoyed The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt even more than I did Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt. 

I have a physical copy of Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt lined up to read at some point down the road... Hopefully, some time later this year!!

Listening time for The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt is 7 hours, 28 minutes.

Below is the publisher's plot summary for The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt I discovered on Chirp's website:

In this Newbery Honor-winning novel, Gary D. Schmidt offers an unforgettable antihero. The Wednesday Wars is a wonderfully witty and compelling story about a teenage boy’s mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967-68 school year in Long Island, New York. Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling-he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation-the Big M-in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.

I am giving The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson


Full disclosure, I NEVER thought I'd find myself reading The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson! I've never even seen the original movie of the same name made back in 1979 or its remake released in 2005... And I still have zero interest in seeing either movie version of 'The Amityville Horror'. 

Over the years, I'd become familiar enough with the basic premise of the book/movie due to popular culture. However, I had no interest in reading The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson until earlier this month when I'd seen it on sale through Chirp for $1.99. I had also seen the high reviews/stars given by readers online for The Amityville Horror. I am normally not into these paranormal/ghost haunting true account books, but I decided I'd give the The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson a try due to the high reviews and the price of the audiobook itself.

After listening to the unabridged audio version of The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, I am glad I did. I'm actually surprised at how much I enjoyed listening to it. This book is a quick listen, well narrated by Ray Porter, and well written by Jay Anson. I loved the pacing of this book as well as the captivating writing. 

Below is the publisher's summary for The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson from Chirp's website:

In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their new home on suburban Long Island. George and Kathleen Lutz knew that, one year earlier, Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters in the house, but the property—complete with boathouse and swimming pool—and the price were too good to pass up.

Twenty-eight days later, the entire Lutz family fled in terror.

This is the spellbinding, bestselling true story that gripped the nation, the story of a house possessed by evil spirits, haunted by psychic phenomena almost too terrible to describe.

I am giving The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, April 15, 2024

Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nellie Bly


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nellie Bly and narrated by Rebecca Gibel. Listening time for Ten Days in a Madhouse is 3 hours, 25 minutes.

I enjoyed this work of nonfiction/investigative reporting very much!! It's a quick listen and well narrated. Nellie Bly was an American journalist and also a pioneer in her field as she "launched a new kind of investigative journalism" according to Wikipedia.

One of Bly's more famous antics was going undercover at a women's insane asylum for ten days to investigate reports of abuse, neglect, and brutality towards the woman patients on Blackwell's Island. This meant that Bly herself had to be committed in order to witness firsthand the activities of the staff towards patients on Blackwell's Island. What Nellie Bly witnessed is horrific and is the topic of her book, Ten Days in a Madhouse.

Below is the publisher's summary for Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nellie Bly from Chirp's website:
In 1887, Nellie Bly had herself committed to the notorious Blackwell’s Island insane asylum in New York City with the goal of discovering what life was like for its patients. While there, Bly experienced firsthand the shocking abuse and neglect of its inmates, from inedible food to horrifyingly unsanitary conditions. Ten Days in a Mad-House is Bly’s expose of the asylum. Written for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, Bly’s account chronicles her 10 days at Blackwell’s Island and, upon its publication, drew public attention to the abuse of the institutionalized and led to a grand jury investigation of the facility. This series of articles established Bly as a pioneering female journalist and remains a classic of investigative reporting.

I am giving Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nellie Bly a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Star by H. G. Wells


The Star by H. G. Wells is a science fiction, short story roughly 34 minutes in length. I enjoyed the narration for this short as well as the storyline and writing overall. Essentially, the plot involves a star that passes by Earth and causes catastrophic climate disruptions.

I am giving The Star by H. G. Wells a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far by Paul A. Offit M.D.

Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far by Paul A. Offit M.D. is the third book by Paul A. Offit M.D. I've read and I look forward to reading more of his books in the future... In fact, I already have Offit's most recently published book, Tell Me When It's Over: An Insider's Guide to Deciphering Covid Myths and Navigating Our Post-Pandemic World, in my 'tbr' pile... Let's just say that Paul A. Offit M.D. has become an author I have on auto-buy as his books are really well written and very informative!

I listened to the unabridged audio version of Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far by Paul A. Offit M.D. and narrated by Tim H. Dixon. If you love listening to nonfiction books that fall into the science, health, and medicine categories, then this book is for you! It's a truly excellent read and packed with tons of information. The only think I wasn't in love with was the narrator for this book. Tim H. Dixon is a decent narrator, but overall not that great. Otherwise, the book itself is WONDERFUL!!

I love how Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far by Paul A. Offit M.D. is organized into six distinct health/medical sections (infections, supplements and drugs, cancer screening, surgery, etc.) with individual chapters in each section. Each chapter discusses a specific medical/health topic that falls into one of the six areas Offit focused on in his book. Some of these chapters are titled  'Antibiotic Drops Don't Treat Pinkeye', 'The False Security of Sunblock', 'Heart Stents Don't Prolong Lives', and 'Don't Ice Sprains'. Each of these chapters goes into much detail as to why modern science has had it wrong.

Below is the publisher's summary for Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far by Paul A. Offit M.D. I discovered on Chirp's website:

An acclaimed medical expert and patient advocate offers an eye-opening look at many common and widely used medical interventions that have been shown to be far more harmful than helpful. Yet, surprisingly, despite clear evidence to the contrary, most doctors continue to recommend them.

Modern medicine has significantly advanced in the last few decades as more informed practices, thorough research, and incredible breakthroughs have made it possible to successfully treat and even eradicate many serious ailments. Illnesses that once were a death sentence, such as HIV and certain forms of cancer, can now be managed, allowing those affected to live longer, healthier lives. Because of these advances, we now live 30 years longer than we did 100 years ago.

But while we have learned much in the preceding decades that has changed our outlook and practices, we still rely on medical interventions that are vastly out of date and can adversely affect our health. We all know that finishing the course of antibiotics prevents the recurrence of illness, that sunscreens block harmful UV rays that cause skin cancer, and that all cancer-screening programs save lives. But do scientific studies really back this up?

In this game-changing book, Dr. Paul A. Offit debunks fifteen common medical interventions that have long been considered gospel despite mounting evidence of their adverse effects, from vitamins, sunscreen, fever-reducing medicines, and eyedrops for pink eye to more serious procedures like heart stents and knee surgery. Analyzing how these practices came to be, the biology of what makes them so ineffective and harmful, and the medical culture that continues to promote them, Overkill informs patients to help them advocate for their health. By educating ourselves, we can ask better questions about some of the drugs and surgeries that are all too readily available—and all too heavily promoted.

I am giving Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far by Paul A. Offit M.D. a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday - FREEBIE - Books I’m Worried I Might Not Love as Much the Second Time Around


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Top Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Occasionally, I reread books. Sometimes I still love the books when I reread them, but other books I've reread, not so much. It's a crapshoot.

There are several books I've absolutely LOVED reading and have considered rereading... BUT, will I still love them as much as I did the first time around? 

Below are ten books I'm worried I might not love as much the second time around.

1. The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
2. Queenie by Michael Korda
3. Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper--Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell
4. The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel
5. The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
6. All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
7. Loser by Jerry Spinelli
8. Wringer by Jerry Spinelli
9. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
10. And Then There Was None by Agatha Christie

Monday, April 8, 2024

New to me Little Free Library in Kentfield, California!!


This past weekend, my husband and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary by spending a long weekend at an AirBnB in Kentfield, California. 

During our short visit, we found a Little Free Library less than a mile from where we were staying! I left four books and took only one home with me.

We also visited Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley during our stay as well. We love Muir Woods National Monument and am happy we visited again despite the freezing morning weather.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

New to Me Little Free Library in Dublin, California!


A new Little Free Library has recently been installed in the City of Dublin, which is a city just south of where I live. I couldn't resist visiting this Little Free Library recently and what a cute one it is! This Little Free Library has California poppy flowers painted on it, which is really cool as California poppies are the state flower for California. The other side has a sunflower painted on it.

Also, the yard where this Little Free Library is located is very nicely landscaped. One can also see and hear the plethora of wind chimes on display during their visit.

I left two books at this Little Free Library, but I didn't bring any books home with me to read. Have you visited any Little Free Libraries lately?