All posts filed under: July

Unburying the Osage

It is wild to me that I had never heard even a peep about the Osage murders until I picked Killers of the Flower Moon. And I guess, in some ways, that’s the point of the book. An entire group of people targeted and being systematically murdered for money and it’s been completely washed out of our history for everyone but those personally touched by it. The story told in this book is almost so wild that it’s unbelievable, and the craziest part is that what has been told is probably not even the half of it! I feel gross using the word “fascinating” to describe it, but… It’s truly fascinating that 1) all of this actually happened, 2) basically everyone got away with it, and 3) there are probably hundreds more victims that we will never even know about. Aside from the story itself, I also really enjoyed how Grann laid it out, unfolding it bit by bit, seemingly allowing us to discover the webs and cover-ups the same way he did. I won’t lie …

picture of a book on a coffee table with a mug of coffee

An Eye-Opening True Story

While this book was a little outside of my usual comfort zone, I’d heard so many good things that I decided I had to give it a try. And I’m glad I did. Both disturbing and informative, Killers of the Flower Moon tells a true story I knew very little about. The devastating murders of hundreds of members of the Osage Nation is a shameful part of our history, but one we should all be aware of — and something that should be taught in schools. This book is an entertaining and educational blend of true crime and history, a genre I want to read more of. Grann is a masterful storyteller, creating a convincing and haunting narrative that can’t be missed.

ALL ABOARD!

At the end of the day, I didn’t look forward to picking this one up off my nightstand. So many fellow bibliophiles, my husband included, had praised it as a one-of-a-kind work of nonfiction. And yet, why wasn’t I looking forward to reading it? I’ve read one other of David Grann’s books, The Lost City of Z, about one man’s fanatical obsession with the mysteries of the Amazon and his equally mysterious disappearance. And I remembered from reading that one, that Grann’s investigate journalism style sometimes overwhelmed me. During the early pages he bleeds a seemingly infinite number of facts, characters, dates, and figures onto the page. It felt like I was running with a speeding train trying to grab hold so I could jump aboard and ride more comfortably for the rest of the story. And Killers of the Flower Moon was no exception. Although, much like The Lost City of Z, somewhere around 50 to 100 pages into the story I felt like I’d found my bearings and was fully onboard. Yet the book was still …

July Book

Announcing our July book pick! David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. In July we like to throw it back to a good nonfiction read to teach us a little bit more about who we are (for better or worse). And ever since this one came out we’ve been hearing nothing but good things. Released just over a year ago, this true-life murder mystery investigates a series of murders that took place in Osage County, Oklahoma in the early 1920’s. During that time the Osage Nation were among the wealthiest people in the world after large oil deposits are found under their land. But slowly family members ended up shot or poisoned. Numerous Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances. Even those who investigated the crimes were murdered. As the numbers rose the case was investigated by the newly developed FBI, director J. Edgar Hoover, and Texas Ranger Tom White. Along with the help of members of the Osage themselves, one of the greatest conspiracies in American …

A Voice

I struggled with this book. Not because the content scared me or made me uncomfortable. Not because it drew into question something I do not see or fail to acknowledge. But because what Coates tries to scratch the surface of is an extraordinarily complex network of invasive roots that both has strangled our collective culture and has consistently unearthed itself in a knotted fashion in places seemingly distanced from our country’s base. In a less metaphorical way, race is nearly always at the forefront of or a driving force of our societal (insert any word) – history, music, fashion, culture, vernacular. What is even more confusing is that we have created a narrative about race that in reality has so many dimensions and layers and colors but we have distilled it down into a simple dichotomy. What is black and what is white.   Coates is an astounding writer. He brings an eloquence, a voice, a personal experience that combined creates a feat of literature.  To improve our future, we must understand our past. That …

Great Writing, Important Message

Let me begin by saying that I am not yet finished with Between the World and Me. I think the lack of chapters is throwing me and making me take longer that I normally would. Couple that with the fact that I want to unpack, analyze, and process every single sentence, and here I am – still reading. So perhaps my review is not worth as much as another’s, I don’t know. If you don’t trust what I’m saying here, read Katherine C.’s review 🙂 Ta-Nehisi Coates is clearly a skilled writer and is able to craft a narrative that is at once poetic, emotional, and eye-opening. Things I believed merely a week earlier, ideas I had taken from one book, could be smashed to splinters by another. But it’s the message of the book that makes this book important. The writing is gorgeous, yes, but what it says is jaw-droopingly, heartbreakingly, painfully honest and agonizingly real. And this is not reducible to just you – the women around you must be responsible for their bodies …

An Absolute Must-Read!

I can’t say enough about this book. It’s been on my to-be-read list since it came out. However, I knew I needed to give it my full attention. So, as a mother of a one year old and two year old, I waited until taking a solo trip to read this one. I can remember sitting down with a few books to read the first few pages of each and determine my next read. After picking up Between the World and Me the next thing I knew I was more than 30 pages deep entranced by the writing. But of course, I interrupted by the end of naptime. So finally, during a 48hr trip to Idaho the hours spent waiting in airports and on planes were just what I needed to focus fully on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. The writing is so beautiful, so powerful, so approachable yet weighted with context and complex meaning. And that’s just the beginning. It’s beautifully written, yes, but the message Coates is writing is beyond. Not …

July Book

Image © Foreignpolicy.com This month we read to learn more about our Nation’s heritage with a good nonfiction book. There are many, many stories that make up who we are as a country. And it’s a goal of ours to keep educating ourselves on where we come from and who we are by reading a new one of these stories every year. This year’s is one from Ta-Nehisi Coates in the form of his acclaimed National Book Award winner and finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, Between the World and Me. This short, yet extremely powerful, 152-page book was published in July (fitting) of 2015. Coates was inspired to write the book after a meeting with President Obama in 2013 and reading James Baldwin’s 1963 The Fire Next Time. Between the World and Me is a series of letters from Coates to his son, Samori. In these letters Coates examines the notion of race in America and how it has shaped our history, most often at the cost of the bodies and lives of black men (and women). …

Black Lives, White Thoughts, and a Gray World

First of all, I’m happy to be back as an active member of the bookly club. I’ve been decidedly absent in my time studying for my boards and as I figured no one wanted to hear my critique on “Radiology Cases: Emergency Medicine” or “Medical Physics” – I was laying low. Admittedly, On the Run was a bit of a tough read to jump back into but, unless you have been living under a rock as of late, almost painfully poignant.  Social media is the greatest blessing and curse of our generation. It simultaneously brought our collective youth and desired youths to a sniveling pile of filtered selfies and self congratulations and has given a voice to the historically silenced and marginalized population.  In doing so, it created a national conversation/uproar about justice, race, and that truth that we hold to be “self-evident.” We are all created equal. We are all created equal. But it is abundantly clear that we don’t live in a time or a society, that allows us to stay that way. …

A Textbook Case

I’m glad I read this book. However, I don’t know if I liked it as a book. The format seemed to be lacking. It felt like reading a series of articles. It was very well written, well researched, the subject matter was rich with important insights, and I felt like I learned a lot. But I felt like I was reading a textbook instead of a book. Granted, a lot of my nonfiction exposure thus far (outside of undergraduate and graduate courses) has been with authors like John Krakauer who spin an interesting narrative through their book. But in On The Run Goffman recites her findings and supports said findings with necessary evidence. Essentially, the book seemed to lack a certain passion and personality that I was hoping for. And as a result I never fully connected to the author or her subjects. But I guess it makes sense… this book is literally an anthropological study in book form. Much like a documentarian she keeps her reporting scientific and observational. I think what I would have preferred was if …