The first two nonfiction books I read this year are astounding. The first — Dopesick by Beth Macy, which I recently reviewed, — is about America’s opioid crisis and how the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma helped start it with its aggressive marketing of the opioid drug Oxycontin that many doctors overprescribed. The second I will discuss in this post. It was a shocking read and I’m sure my face was an expression of astonishment the entire time I read it because “How the hell was she able to get away with this for so long??”
Nonfiction – true crime; business; science
The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers.
It’s the title that grabbed my attention, but I decided to read it after listening to an interview with Beth Macy on Longform Podcast in which she discusses working on this book and one of her previous books, Factory Man. Wanting something to listen to while at work, I took a gamble and decided to try the audiobook version of Dopesick.
My experience with audiobooks is hit or miss. It’s hard for me to pay attention to what’s being said much less recall what I heard. But this topic so fascinates me because it’s an issue I see in my community that I paid close attention to the narration. Plus, Beth Macy narrates the book herself and her slow, even tone helped to prevent my attention from swaying too often.
Nonfiction – politics, history, health, current affairs
Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of America’s twenty-plus year struggle with opioid addiction. From distressed small communities in Central Appalachia to wealthy suburbs; from disparate cities to once-idyllic farm towns; it’s a heartbreaking trajectory that illustrates how this national crisis has persisted for so long and become so firmly entrenched.
I could feel reading fatigue coming on after 900+ pages of Stephen King’s The Stand, so I searched my bookshelves for something simple and fun. I grabbed Tamora Pierce’s Wolf-Speaker, the second in her YA fantasy series the Immortals.
Pierce’s books are quick reads and were among my favorites when I was a teen. Similar to my plan for Stephen King’s books, I intend to read all of Pierce’s novels based in Tortall, and Wolf-Speaker was the next one due for a read.
The Immortals, book 2
When Daine is summoned to help a pack of wolves — dear friends from her old village — she and Numair travel to Dunlath Valley to answer the call. But when they arrive, Daine is shocked to learn that it’s not only animals whose lives are threatened; people are in danger, too.
Continuing on my ambitious goal to read all of Stephen King’s novels in publication order, I picked up The Stand expecting it to be as gripping as the previous two King books I’d read.
The Stand would be my fourth King novel and since the story and writing seems to get better with each book I read, I expected The Stand to trump The Shining and possibly become another of my favorites. But that didn’t happen. I was quickly let down and gave up on the book a couple hundred pages shy of its end.
It’s the early 1990s or late 1980s (couldn’t tell). A machine malfunctions and a weaponized strain of influenza is unleashed on the world starting on America’s west coast. Patient zero (he’s not called that in the book) travels to a small town in Texas crashing into a gas station with his dead wife and kid in the car. The guys at the gas station try to save him, but he dies and infects them all while doing so. The government moves in and shuts down the town hoping to stopper the spread of the virus and find out why some people aren’t infected.
For the past year, I’ve been trying to think up a name/theme for my monthly review posts. I did my monthly reviews as part of the What’s on Your Nightstand meme hosted by 5 Minutes for Books on the last Tuesday of every month. But shortly after partaking of that meme, I skewed to the left of it and started doing my own thing. Instead of only listing what I’ve read for the month, what I’m currently reading, and what I plan to read next, I also included articles, music, art, TV shows, and whatever else I did in the month. I decided that I needed something suited to me and finally, I’ve created it!
I call it Let’s Rewind. It took all of 2 minutes to think up and a long-ass time to design a logo for it (I’m proud of my lil iPod-looking thing), but finally I have something. This Let’s Rewind feature will be exactly like my What’s on Your Nightstand posts (except I’ll no longer feel bad for going against the instructions, haha!). These posts will be published at the end of month and will be a review of what I watched, read, visited, and/or listened to as well as anything else I’d like to mention. So, let’s jump right in!
I Heart Characters! is a weekly meme hosted by Dani at Perspective of a Writer to share our love of great characters. Each week, Dani assigns a topic/type of character that we must find examples of in the various media we consume (books, TV shows, movies, comics, podcasts, etc.).
Since I often skip a week, I mash the character types Dani assigns into one to create a bonus character type that I include at the end of the post. The title of my post indicates the bonus character type I’ll feature at the end. But for now, here are the topics Dani assigned.
January 17 topic:
A Beloved Sibling
Brother, sister, or a furry sibling, this character can be a protagonist or a minor character. They would totally make the best sibling…
Hey y’all!! Something great happened: Dani invited ME to do a guest blog post on her blog Perspective of a Writer!! 😀
As the title of this post indicates, I wrote about fantasy characters who I’d love to go on a quest with. And, unable to help myself, I wrote all about Robin Hobb characters!! Hahahaaa…!! It was such fun brainstorming the characters and thinking of a quest to go on with them.
Go ahead and check out my guest post over on Perspective of a Writer. I hope it’ll get you interested in trying some of Robin Hobb’s books.
BTW, check out this gorgeous portrait of the Fool that Dani found:
“The Fool” by FloorSteinz
The portrait looks almost exactly as I imagined the Fool when he became Lord Golden in the Tawney Man trilogy (my favorite of Hobb’s books).
According to the artist, she used David Bowie as her reference when creating this portrait. It’s spot on. I think she did a great job. Visit her DeviantArt page to see more of FloorSteinz’s Robin Hobb-inspired work.