Getting Personal #165: Tenth TBR Recap

Books Quotes

Image Credit: Good Housekeeping

Welcome back!


Here’s what I’ve read since my last TBR update:

  1. Miranda, Megan, All The Missing Girls
  2. Ritter, Krysten, Bonfire
  3. Ehrenreich, Barbara, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America *Re-Read*

Removing from Laura Beth’s TBR:

  1. McGinnis, Mindy, The Female of the Species
  2. Ng, Celeste, Everything I Never Told You
  3. Pon, Cindy, Want
  4. Sanderson, Brandon, Mistborn: The Final Empire
  5. Weldon, Fay, Habits of the House
  6. Westover, Tara, Educated: A Memoir

Removal Rate: 6/10 = 60%


Keep & Re-Classify – Laura Beth’s Updated TBR

  1. Conley, Garrard, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
  2. Kubica, Mary, Good Girl
  3. Oviatt, Didi, Search for Maylee
  4. Rowling, J.K., Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone *Re-Read*

Keep Rate: 4/10 = 40%


Adding To The TBR

  1. Arnold, David, Mosquitoland
  2. Brubaker Bradley, Kimberly, The War That Saved My Life *Re-Read*
  3. Cullen, Dave, Columbine *Re-Read*
  4. Fisher, Carrie, Wishful Drinking
  5. Goldstein, Amy, Janesville: An American Story
  6. Hite, Sid, My Name is America: The Journal of Rufus Rowe, Witness to the Battle of Fredericksburg
  7. Humphries, MD, Suzanne, Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History
  8. King, Stephen, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft *Re-Read*
  9. Russell, Kristen, A Sky for Us Alone
  10. Thomas, Angie, The Hate U Give

So, my current TBR is 14 books.

Do you have a TBR?

What book are you looking forward to reading next?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #71: “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America” *Re-Read*

Nickel and Dimed

Image Credit: Goodreads

When I initially read this book, it was assigned reading for one of my very first college classes. I can’t remember which one, but this book left a profound impact on me. Slowly, I started reading more from Barbara Ehrenreich. However, this is the book that started it all.

I started college in the fall of 2007, about a year before the financial crisis that began in 2008. I believe I was assigned to read this book at a poignant time. I also believe I’m re-reading this book at another poignant time, at the beginning of 2019.

Going into re-reading this, I realized my copy of the book was updated with a new afterword, published in 2008. However, the overall concept – Studying low-wage jobs and attempting to understand their socioeconomic impacts – is nothing new. That’s part of the reason I was drawn to Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.

Ehrenreich embarked on an experiment in 1998 – Trying to see if she, as a single, middle-aged woman, could survive as a waitress, a cleaner (hotel maid and house cleaner), a nursing home aide, and a seller / retail associate for a month, in three different cities. Each chapter explores a different type of job and a different city. She quickly realized the challenges with each one, and each city presented its own obstacles with housing, food, and assistance. Along the way, she met a variety of people working these jobs. A few were fortunate, but many were barely making ends meet. Several were working 2-3 jobs full-time, and still struggling with their incomes and their partner’s / spouse’s income(s) as well.

I won’t spoil anything, but she learns many lessons along the way. She discovers multiple issues with affordable housing, child care costs, fast food, health care, education, and the way these companies treat their employees.

I got a bit lost with the footnotes, statistics, and percentages, and glossed over a few of them toward the end. However, reading the updated afterword was important, and appreciated. This country has a lot to learn, still, in 2019. We need to treat employees, especially those earning the absolute minimum, better.

Overall, I’m glad I took the time to re-read this book. It’s a bit “dated” now, since Ehrenreich’s experiment started and concluded 21 years ago. However, it’s still relevant in many aspects today. And, like her, I’m grateful for everything I’ve had and worked for. This is a valuable book that will stay on my bookshelf forever.

4 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #84: The Wanderlust Tag

The Wanderlust Tag

Thanks, Sara, for tagging me!

Here’s the link to Sara’s post, where I was tagged:


The Rules

  • Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post [Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight]
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
  • Tag 5+ friends

Secrets and Lies | A book set in a sleepy small town

Bonfire

Bonfire, Krysten Ritter

I felt as if I was dropped head-first into Barrens, Indiana, and experiencing everything in this small town with the main character.

Salt and Sand | A book with a beachside community

The Runaway Maryellen

The Runaway: A Maryellen MysteryAlison Hart

Maryellen’s world is set in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Here There Be Dragons | A book with a voyage on the high seas

The Woman in Cabin 10 - Amazon

The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware

This book is primarily set on an inaugural voyage, so this one definitely qualifies.

Tread Lightly | A book set down in a murky river or a jungle

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Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

I was assigned to read this in my senior year of high school. This was one book that creeped me out for a good while, long after I finished reading it.

Frozen Wastes | A book with a frostbitten atmosphere

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Christmas After All: The Great Depression Diary of Minnie Swift, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1932, Kathryn Lasky

Reading the fictional account of Minnie and her family during The Great Depression in 1932 made me shiver, in more ways than one.

The Boonies | A book with rough or isolated terrain

hunger-games-cover

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

District 12 is definitely rough and isolated. So are many other places in Panem.

Hinterlands and Cowboys | A book with a Western-esque setting

Image result for brokeback mountain book

Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proulx

Set in the Wyoming mountains, this is one of a handful of books I think of when I imagine the American West.

Look Lively | A book across sweeping desert sands

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Under a Painted Sky, Stacey Lee

I haven’t read this book, but I really want to.

Wild and Untamed | A book set in the heart of the woods

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Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson

If you haven’t read this book, it’s a good one. It’s an emotional coming-of-age story, but this book made my imagination run wild. I turned the city park behind my house into my own Terabithia for years afterward, creating stories in my notebooks.

Wildest Dreams | A whimsical book shrouded in magic

Fallible Justice, Laura Laakso

I received this book as an ARC (My first-ever ARC!) from the publisher last year. This book is a fresh perspective on magic, the paranormal, and mystery. I’m so excited this book is part of a paranormal investigation series!


Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #235: The ABC Book Challenge (The Letter Y)

ABC Book Challenge - J 2

Memorable Books Starting with the Letter “Y”:

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Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

  • Dr. Seuss should make the list every time!

Books I’d Love to Read Starting with the Letter “Y”:

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The Year of Magical Thinking

  • I’ve heard great things about Joan Didion and her writing for years, but I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by her.

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The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life

  • A book about books, and how these 52 books changed someone’s life? Yes, please.

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The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir

  • I feel like I’ve seen some of our TV special or documentary about Cylin and John Busby. Regardless, I want to read their book.

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Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape

  • The title alone makes want to go out and find this book ASAP.

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Yes Please

  • Amy Poehler is hilarious. ‘Nuff said.

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The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

  • I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this book cover before, but I don’t remember reading the book itself.

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You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

  • I first heard about this book a few months ago when I was listening to author Kristen Martin sing its praises on her podcast, That Smart Hustle.

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Your Movie Sucks

  • I love Roger Ebert, may he Rest in Peace. I really want to read this soon.

What books have you read, or want to read, that start with the letter Y? Let me know!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #164: Happy Birthday, Uncle Richard

Happy Birthday, Uncle Richard. This is your first one in Heaven. We know you are celebrating with Grandma and Grandpa! We miss you so much here on Earth. You are loved!

I think back to this day last year. It was the first Saturday in April, which is always a blood drive day, I kept telling Al to remind me to call Uncle Richard, to tell him Happy Birthday, before we went out to dinner with our friends Casey and Beth. I had such a wonderful 20-minute conversation with him, and I could hear his smile in his voice. I was so thrilled to have remembered to take the time to do that. Little did I know what would happen next.

My Uncle was a life-long bachelor, never married, no kids. He went to Vanderbilt. He was a flight attendant for National Airlines, and then they merged with PanAm. He lived 15 minutes from my grandparents for decades. He loved history, movies, food, and laughter.

He selflessly took care of Grandma Grace and moved her in with him from 2010 until she died peacefully in July 2013.

He always called me his favorite niece. I always laughed, since I was his only niece.

We worried about him for several years, but he persevered through happy times and challenging times.

I called him on Saturday. On Tuesday, the world as my family knew it came crashing down. He’d been in a car accident, four blocks from his house. We found out later he’d suffered a massive stroke. My parents, bless them both, literally dropped everything here in Virginia and got to Miami as fast as possible. My mom, Richard’s kid sister, took charge, and my dad bent over backwards. I stayed put, checking on their house and getting their mail.

Everyone in Florida were wonderful. The church community gathered together and offered everything, especially prayer.

After several weeks, the difficult decision was made to bring in hospice care. He’d fought hard, but his body was failing. He was coherent until the very end, saluting my dad, as he always had since my dad had served in the Coast Guard for more than 23 years. One of them brought the wedding photo of us to his room, and he knew who I was. I was able to call one last time. He wasn’t able to speak or respond to me, but my mom said he was nodding and recognized my voice. I told him I loved him, and then I couldn’t talk any more. I’d said my piece. I felt at peace.

He died peacefully on April 25th. It was the hardest four weeks my parents had been through, and many more months of challenges would follow, making sure his estate was taken care of. Months later, my mom gave an incredible presentation at a church fellowship dinner, dubbed “The Miracles in Miami,” where so many amazing God Things happened during this horrible, tragic, trying time.

Here’s to you, Uncle Richard, from your favorite niece.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #87: Thoughts on “Flint Town”

Flint Town

Image Credit: IMDb

I was off work on a recent Friday, and it was so nice to have a little bit of a break. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to watch. This title kept popping up in my Netflix profile, so I figured, “Why not? Let’s try it.”

Before Al came home from work that day, I’d watched the entire season. All eight episodes.

At first, I thought the documentary series was going to be about the police force in Flint, Michigan. It was certainly about that, but also so much more.

Flint Town is a real, gritty, almost unedited profile of these officers and their lives. I got so invested in the story, especially the emotional side, it’s no surprise I plowed through all eight episodes in one day.

In addition to being police officers, you ride along with them as they deal with the continuing water crisis, limited and dwindling resources, and changes in the city administration. Both good and bad.

I wrote Hot Topic #19: The Water Crisis in Flint, and Others in March 2017. The series started before that. And it was compelling, and pretty sickening, to watch.

My heart went out to everyone in Flint. Seeing these interviews – Officers, officers’ family members, city officials, local activists, and members of the community – It’s beyond obvious this city has been struggling for years.

At the same time, toward the end of the series, I started thinking beyond Flint. There are THOUSANDS of other cities in the U.S., not to mention so many others places on this planet of ours, that don’t have safe, clean, acceptable drinking water. I started thinking about my own city – Portsmouth, Virginia – and my water, my city administration, my police force.

Just before I watched this series, the story broke one morning that our own police chief in the City of Portsmouth, Tonya Chapman, had suddenly resigned. When she was hired in 2016, she was the first female, African-American police chief of a municipal force in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. Currently, Angela Greene, the former Assistant Police Chief, is serving as interim Police Chief until a replacement is hired. But we don’t know when that will be.

And, there continues to be finger-pointing, frustration, and controversy from many different sides, including the city administration, citizens, the local NAACP chapter, and the Fraternal Order of Police.

Flint Town is a story that can easily resonate with many across the United States. It’s a tough one to watch, but it’s a series that is relevant, and thought-provoking.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #70: “Bonfire”

Bonfire

Image Credit: Goodreads

I bought this book from Barnes & Noble for two reasons: (1) The cover, and (2) The author! Known recently as Marvel’s Jessica Jones, I admire Krysten Ritter in many respects. I wanted to see how she wrote a book!

To be completely honest, I nearly DNFed this book around the 50-page mark. It was a good story, but I felt it was moving really slowly. The world-building was good, the characters were good, but it felt like it was moving at a snail’s pace.

One of the things that kept me going was Ritter’s use and creation of fantastic, realistic imagery and scenery. Wow! I felt like I had been dropped straight into Barrens, Indiana, and walking beside Abby Williams, the MC.

I’m glad I stuck with the book, though. It got better. I can’t exactly pinpoint when it got better, but the pace did pick up, and it felt like a rush after that. This book is part mystery, part legal thriller, part psychological thriller. I wasn’t expecting all of that when I started the book!

In terms of characters, Abby reminded me so much of Erin Brockovich, but where she is returning home to investigate the seemingly-stellar company that’s put her hometown on the map and revitalized everything. Seeing her attempt to navigate past relationships with her father, and former classmates, was really interesting.

There wasn’t a huge twist, per se, but I know I didn’t see it coming. I audibly gasped when it struck me between the eyes, as I was reading it on the page. Ritter weaved several story lines together so well, and entangled multiple characters.

I felt Abby was slightly gaslighted, in a way, because she started to believe she was truly crazy, and couldn’t tell fact from fiction. It was tough for me to keep up with and navigate the stories of 10 years prior and her present, but I feel like Ritter did a good job, overall. I was hooked, and couldn’t put the book down at the very end. She also divided the chapters really well, and the flow was great.

It’s not my favorite book in the whole world, but I’m glad I read it. It’s going on my bookshelf. I look forward to see what she writes next.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂