Book Review #72: “Columbine” *Re-Read*

I try my hardest to post Book Reviews within 24-48 hours after finishing the book. However, life has been pretty hectic recently. I finished Columbine in mid-April, just after the acknowledgment of it being 20 years since the tragedy. I’m just now posting my review.

I have a special connection with this book. The author, Dave Cullen, came to Longwood in the spring of 2010 as a guest lecturer. I was able to interview him for an article I wrote for the student newspaper, The Rotunda. He graciously signed my copy when I bought it at his lecture. It was strange, reading his message from March 17, 2010. That feels like a lifetime ago!

I’m glad I re-read this book. I remember how I felt after I read it the first time. Part of me wishes I’d re-read it before now, before nine years had passed. However, I still felt similar emotions as I did the first time.

I have to give major props to Cullen on his research and dedication to this book. This is one of the best accounts I’ve read of the events that occurred on April 20, 1999. And Cullen goes deeper than that. He covers the massacre, but also delves into the lives of the shooters, their families, and survivors.

It’s not perfect, but as someone who originally read memoir-style books such as The Journals of Rachel Scott: A Journey of Faith at Columbine High and She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall years ago, when the tragedy was still relatively fresh (I was almost 10 when it occurred), I appreciate the time and effort Cullen devoted to this book.

If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. Cullen makes it clear that he is a journalist first, and it’s evident throughout. His amount of sources is simply incredible. It’s very dense, and tough to read, but it’s an important work. I’m glad Cullen devoted many years to writing this book.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #236: The ABC Book Challenge (The Letter Z)

The ABC Book Challenge - L

This is it! The last letter of the alphabet for The ABC Book Challenge!

Memorable Books Starting with the Letter “Z”:

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Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Wartime Sarajevo

  • I first read this book in high school. It inspired me to write my Extended Essay for the IB Program in Peace and Conflict Studies, to study the effects of the Bosnian and Kosovo conflicts on children.

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

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Zeitoun

  • A true story springing from Hurricane Katrina.

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Zelda

  • I’ve been fascinated with F. Scott Fitzgerald since high school. With that fascination comes wanting to learn more about his family.

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


Thank you so much for following along with me on this incredible journey! I started it in July 2018, and here we are, roughly nine months later. I’ve really enjoyed writing and researching new books, and remembering the good ones I have read.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Blog Awards #26: Sunshine Blogger Award – Number Six!

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Image Credit: Found on Bookmark Your Thoughts

Thank you, Jenna, for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! I’m so honored to have been nominated for this award six times. I really appreciate it!

Here’s the link to Jenna’s post, where I was nominated:


The Rules

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog.

Jenna’s Questions

  1. Have you ever read a book in another language? If yes, which one? *
  2. What is your best solution for a reading slump? *
  3. If you could only read one author forever, who would it be and why? *
  4. Which book do you think would make the best video game? *
  5. If the place you lived in could only experience ONE season forever, what season would you choose?
  6. If you could live in any sitcom, which would it be?
  7. If you could INSTANTLY become an expert in something, what would it be?
  8. If you were a member of a circus, what type of performer would you be?
  9. What’s your FAVOURITE book to movie adaptation?
  10. What type of literature do you prefer the most? Why (i.e. poetry, fiction standalone, fiction series, nonfiction standalone, nonfiction series, plays/dramas, short stories, etc.)?
  11. You are the main character in a novel — who’s your sidekick/partner in crime and why?

Laura Beth’s Answers

Have you ever read a book in another language? If yes, which one? *

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Image Credit: GIPHY

  • Never a full book, although I took Spanish for six years. So my answer is no.

What is your best solution for a reading slump? *

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Image Credit: Goodreads

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  • Read something light and fluffy. For me, that’s a romantic book, or even something middle-grade. That’s helped me several times. I tend to be drawn to books set at the beach, if the images are any indication.

If you could only read one author forever, who would it be and why? *

  • Only one?
  • As hard as this was to pick, I’ll go with John Grisham. He’s a prolific writer, and most everything I’ve read from him is entertaining.
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Image Credit: Medium

Which book do you think would make the best video game? *

  • Excellent question!
  • To me, I think Ender’s Game would be great!
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Image Credit: Wikipedia

If the place you lived in could only experience ONE season forever, what season would you choose?

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Image Credit: GIPHY

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Image Credit: GIPHY

  • Autumn!
  • I love the cooler weather, and the fall colors are just spectacular!

If you could live in any sitcom, which would it be?

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Image Credit: Entertainment Weekly

  • The first sitcom that came to mind was Full House.

If you could INSTANTLY become an expert in something, what would it be?

  • This was a really hard question!
  • I think I would pick forensic science. I love true crime! And, I’ve seen every single episode of Forensic Files.

If you were a member of a circus, what type of performer would you be?

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Image Credit: GIPHY

  • A trapeze artist. I’ve had the opportunity to try it out once or two, and it’s such a rush. As long as I have a net under me, I’m game.

What’s your FAVOURITE book-to-movie adaptation?

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

  • The Hunger Games (2012)
  • I’ve read all three books, and seen all the movies. However, I love the first movie. I think it was the best at doing the book the most justice. Plus, Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss is kick-ass, and the book character-actress portrayal I never knew I wanted. The rest of the cast is well-picked, too.

What type of literature do you prefer the most? Why (i.e. poetry, fiction standalone, fiction series, nonfiction standalone, nonfiction series, plays/dramas, short stories, etc.)?

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Image Credit: Amazon

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Image Credit: Amazon

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Image Credit: Amazon

  • Fiction standalone. I’ve discovered so many different authors this way! Plus, I always get sad when series end, so standalones are in a way easier, and more enjoyable, to read.

You are the main character in a novel — who’s your sidekick / partner in crime and why?

  • My best friend, Melissa. We’ve been partners in crime for over 20 years now!

My Nominees

  1. Fiction No Chaser
  2. Trisha at The Tea Reader
  3. Ashes Books & Bobs
  4. Lori at The Inky Saga
  5. ilona pulianauskaite – easydiet.blog
  6. Kristian at Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table
  7. Simon at Planet Simon
  8. Laura at lauravent69
  9. Destiny at Howling Libraries
  10. Xandra at Starry Sky Books
  11. Siobhan’s Novelties

My Questions for the Nominees

  1. If you could only listen to two artists or bands for the rest of your life, who would you choose, and why?
  2. What is your dream novel, or idea for one?
  3. Do you remember the first book you ever read?
  4. If you could live in any sitcom, which would it be? *
  5. If money were no object, where would you be living?
  6. If you could INSTANTLY become an expert in something, what would it be? *
  7. Who are three people, living or dead, that you most admire?
  8. Is there someone you would love to see live in concert?
  9. What was your favorite subject in school?
  10. It’s “Self-Care Sunday,” what are you doing?
  11. What historical time period would you like to visit?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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

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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

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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 🙂