I didn't read as much as usual again this month, in part because I did a week of traveling (D.C. & NOLA pics are on Instagram!) & in part because I got hooked on The Great British Baking Show. Nearly everything I read this month was non-fiction, aside from one YA book; interestingly, I'm more interested in non-fiction these days than in my standard fictitious fare. Got any recommendations? Let me know in the comments, or add me on Goodreads.
And before we get into my reads, just a quick note that today is my favorite day of the month: Book of the Month Club's book reveal day! Use my referral code to get three months for $30, plus a BoTM tote. I'm obsessed, & you will be, too.
This is the true-life account of the 1893 World's Fair, held in Chicago, but it's written in a way that makes it feel more like a novel. It weaves two tales related only in their connection to the fair itself: that of architect Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair's director of works, who faced countless challenges in bringing the fair into physical being, & that of H.H. Holmes, one of the first & most prolific serial killers in the U.S., who preyed upon the atmosphere & lifestyle the fair brought to Chicago. ★★★★☆
This short non-fiction book is a must-read for anyone who consider themselves a creative... or wants to. I've certainly never referred to myself as an artist, but maybe I could, someday? This book is both grounded & inspirational, providing solid tips for creative work, mentality, & process. Go read it. ★★★★★
Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert KolkerThis is another one recommended by the My Favorite Murder podcast. It tells the converging stories of a five sex workers whose bodies were all found on Long Island in the early 2010s. The disappearance of one woman, Shannan Gilbert, lead to the initial police search, though Gilbert's death is now thought to be accidental & unrelated to the other women's deaths. All the murders are still unsolved. ★★★★★
Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. HensonI was initially put off by the first few pages of this memoir, in which Oscar-nominated Henson defends her abusive father as a fundamentally good & kind person, even after describing him beating her mother. Ultimately, though, this book gave me so much respect for Henson, an incredible actress who is also an incredibly strong, powerful, & thoughtful woman. I loved the insight into her work ethic, her backstory, & her outlook on life - yes, including the many lessons her flawed father taught her. ★★★★★
Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStayThis YA novel tells the "what if" story of one young woman told two different ways. In one version, a childhood accident left her disfigured; in the other, the accident never happened. Though this debut novel got surprisingly negative reviews on Goodreads, I found it to be an interesting & compelling story with likable, relatable characters (though I guessed one of the big twists about halfway through). I'll be curious to see what McStay does next. ★★★★☆
Triumph: Life After the Cult by Carolyn JessopCarolyn Jessop was the fourth wife of Merrill Jessop, a leader in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, a religious group deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center & widely understood to be a cult. Her first book, Escape, told of her in the polygamist sect & her daring exit with her eight children in tow. This book follows up on their story, including what happened after they escaped & when the FLDS was raided by law enforcement. Like the first book, it was a fascinating & well-written look into a nightmare of a life that most of us can only imagine. ★★★★★
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