Taste of a Poison Paradise

Oh how I love to be swept away by a book. I love to feel the emotions of the characters, and I love exclaiming exasperation by their actions that cause as much harm to me as to them. I yearn to wander down the same streets they do, especially when that’s in a foreign land, and feel as if I’m peeking around the same corners as they. And there’s nothing like texting a friend constantly with the WTFs and the OMGs while the book is sweeping me away.

All of these things occurred while I read The Shadow of the Wind. The emotions that were felt during these 487 pages were immense and numerous, and the number of “what the f*%$” texts increased significantly as I neared the end.

The recipient of those texts, my friend Sabrina, had recently read this novel and had recommended it. She sold me with the following message after she finished it herself:

“And Shadow of the Wind is AMAZING! Love, loss, friendship, trust, Barcelona.”

“Need I say more?”

Actually, no, no you do not because that sounds darn right fascinating. Fortunately for me, this book had been sitting on my bookshelf for three years since Kyle and I moved in together (he also approved). And with that, I was transported to Spain in the 1940s, and I gladly didn’t return to the present for a splendid — albeit anxiety-ridden — two weeks.

The Shadow of the Wind

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TBF: The Beautiful World of Libraries

Just like the books they house, libraries change lives. It’s just a fact. Yes, they completely open our eyes to new worlds and new perspectives through books, but they also provide countless resources for everyone who visits them. In the latest episode of The Biblio Files, I sit down with my dear friend Sabrina and her friend Meghann (who I can’t wait to meet) to profess our love for libraries and discuss how they’ve changed our lives. Meghann also tells us about the cool work she’s doing in Kansas City with the Mesner Puppet Theatre and The Rabbit Hole. Check them out!

To tune into the episode, which I know you’re dying to do, click on the Anchor link below or search for The Biblio Files on your favorite podcast platform. Don’t forget to subscribe!

And if you’re looking for more links to click, check out my homepage on Anchor to see how you can support The Biblio Files.

Libraries

Pictured at the top are Sabrina and Meghann.

Sending Big Waves Into Motion

When my dad and I recorded an episode for The Biblio Files after we both read Friday Night Lights, we discussed the validity of it being a social commentary rather than just a sports book. Dad didn’t agree with this statement the first time I said it a few months before. At that time, he and my sister had laughed at my conclusion. When we discussed on the podcast, though, he finally saw the light.

It was so intuitive to me that Friday Night Lights said more than just what plays the boys were running, what down it was, and how many yards they had to go. But I’ve always felt that way. To me, sports go beyond the competition. This is one reason why I love them so much and have for 28 years. Sports possess a power that exceeds far beyond their initial purpose. They speak volumes about the time period and location in which a particular game is occurring; the relations between the competitors; the importance of teamwork, selflessness, and trust; and the unbelievable things our bodies and hearts can achieve.

Still don’t believe me after reading FNL and my review of it and listening to The Biblio Files episode on it, all three of which I know you’ve done? Then please pick up The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. You surely will see my point after reading it.

This book, which follows a rowing team from the University of Washington in the 1930s, proves that the finer points of sports have thousands of parallels with real life. And just like in real life, sometimes the underdog wins — making victory that much sweeter.

The Boys in the Boat

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Little Fires Everywhere: Series Finale

Say what? Little Fires Everywhere is over?!

Sadly, yes, but not before you listen to one more episode of The Biblio Files to dissect this incredibly lit TV show. In the third podcast episode in this series, Dana, Hilary, and I dive into the ending that everyone is talking about, the “challenge to “well-intentioned white women,” being a product of our environments and time period, and that snarl from Reese.

Tune in now to listen by clicking on the link or searching for The Biblio Files on your favorite podcast platform.

And don’t forget to subscribe! You don’t want to miss future literary discussions.

(Below represents my range of emotions while watching this show.)

LFE Series Finale

Gaslighter, Big Timer

Working in finance has made me slightly obsessed with the global financial crisis that started in 2008. How the hell did things get so messed up, and how did this world become so broken? Reading financial documents every year for more than four years allowed me to better understand the ins and outs of the industry and the domino effect that culminated in the crisis.

Even more so, I’m fascinated by the people who seriously lacked morals while possessing immense greed. My curiosity with the matter has led me to read many books that take place during this time, including most recently The Widow of Wall Street. According to the book’s backstory, the author, Randy Susan Meyers, has the same questions as I do.

In this current climate, though, I also needed some fun, intoxicating chick lit (perhaps of the Emily Giffin variety). My preceding read filled me with hopelessness, and I needed a change that surely The Widow of Wall Street would give me. Welp, let’s just say the novel depressed me far more than I had imagined. That’s not a bad thing by any means, and Meyers certainly piqued my interest, especially toward the end. Her writing, though, possessed incongruent pacing and unfulfilling descriptions, which didn’t do justice to the narrative. This left me not quite fulfilled and still, well, kind of sad.

The Widow of Wall Street

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Little Fires Everywhere: Episodes 4-7

To quote one of my guests, “These aren’t little fires anymore.” In this episode of The Biblio Files, Dana, Hilary, and I once again dive into all things savage, fraught, tangled, and intense from episodes 4-7 of the hot TV series, Little Fires Everywhere. Tune in as we discuss how the show has diverged from the book and what we anticipate for episode 8, the series finale.

Click on the link or search The Biblio Files on your favorite podcast platform!

And don’t forget to subscribe and check out my profile on Anchor to see how you can support The Biblio Files.

LFE Episodes 4-7

Set Fire to the Rain

I learned a ton in journalism school that I often sprinkle into my blog posts — much more than the curriculum promised. For example, I finally recognized why, as a kid, I always asked the million questions that annoyed my family. I was and always will be a curious person, which is a direct reflection of my passion for school and learning. I’m grateful to have realized it’s possible to make a career focused on asking questions and discovery.

Another realization I had that wasn’t directly taught in lectures or in textbooks but by my professors through on-the-job training is that writing and reporting without bias is impossible. No matter how hard we try, our experiences always find a way to creep into the things we feel and by extension what we say and write. Even the profession itself has bias. If you’re a journalist, that means you care about people, storytelling, and the truth. Those feelings catalyze bias too.

This is basically a long way for me to get to my main point here: Bias reflects our opinions of and experiences with books too. I’d wanted to read Here Comes the Sun for quite some time. I mean, look at that cover. It’s gorgeous — though don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s a sunny read. It tells stories of disenfranchised and disadvantaged yet strong women living in a world most of us could never imagine. It’s a book to which someone like me — a former journalist, a curious cat, and a storyteller — would be drawn.

But if we are constantly being influenced by our surroundings, then my initial opinions of this book stemmed from the four walls of my apartment and constant news reports of the COVID-19 pandemic, which coincided with my start to this book. My emotions have been on the most intense and terrifying roller coaster, and every time I picked up this novel, its hopelessness engulfed me. At times, I thought about not finishing it. Once I realized, though, that my personal experience in the present was affecting my experience with the novel, I could appreciate it for all it was professing: This world has suffering so great and people have to make choices so tough that they can’t be comprehended.

Here Comes the Sun

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Very Wise Was He

If you’ve ever read my to-do list, you may have noticed that some books have been on there for a long time. I admit I love to keep up with the times and read the hottest books at that moment, which means I often never get to literature that’s been knocking at my door for some time.

A Gentleman in Moscow had previously been first on that list because, yes, I’ve been wanting to read it since before I started this blog three years ago. So many friends have claimed they loved this book, many of whom I share similar literary tastes. It’s also historical fiction and takes place in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. After reading The Patriots, this time period has become one of my obsessions. I need to know more and travel to Russia some day. C’mon, Amor Towles’ novel is perfect for me.

So why hadn’t I ever picked it up? *sigh* Words evade me, though I can tell you the gentleman was worth the wait.

A Gentleman in Moscow

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Spending Every Dime for a Wonderful Time

In terms of literature, I haven’t had the best start to 2020. I’ve read some meh books, some I didn’t like, and also quite depressing ones. I vowed to change that about a month ago. With my birthday and a trip to San Diego on the horizon, I needed something fun.

Elizabeth Gilbert met my needs. I mean, how could she not? In her latest book, Gilbert combines two of my favorite genres with my favorite city to produce effervescent characters, stellar voice, a captivating story and plot, and wit beyond belief — and relief. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed out loud while reading of City of Girls, and I really was smiling throughout this entire book. Now that is some high praise and exactly I what I needed.

City of Girls

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Food for Thought

  • What: Supper Club
  • Who: Lara Williams
  • Pages: 292, hard cover
  • Genre: Contemporary fiction
  • Published: 2019
  • The lit: 1463390917-2400px1463390917-2400px of 5 flames

Next to reading, food is my favorite hobby. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, “Food? That’s not an activity.” I assure you it is. Food, as a hobby, comprises cooking, baking, eating, trying new restaurants and dishes, eating, reading about decadent meals, looking at food blogs and Pinterest recipes for hours on end, scoping out the best places to eat while you’re traveling, and then eating some more.

Yes, I love food, and I love it as a hobby.

I was looking forward to indulging in a book recommended to me by How Not to Die Alone author, Richard Roper, that incorporates this favored activity of mine: Supper Club by Lara Williams. Women getting together to eat and talk about food sounds like my kind of party. But while I certainly read some mouth-watering descriptions of food, this party fell flat for me. Maybe food and fiction just don’t mesh that well.

Supper Club

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