Sunday, March 11, 2018

Blob is 14

My blog, or as my mother calls it, "Blob" is 14 years old today! Loving the changing voice and the little caterpillar mustache, Blob.

As it happens, I've read 14 books this year so far:

1. Caroline: Little House, Revisited - Sarah Miller.  Fiction. This novel follows the text of Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, except it's from Ma's point-of-view. Perfectly captures the hardships, dirt and tedium of traveling in a covered wagon. While Caroline was pregnant! With Carrie! And she told Charles (Pa) she was expecting when he broached the idea of moving west, and he was still like, let's go. A must for Bonnetheads.

2. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - Michael Wolff.  Nonfiction. Why did I read this? I felt icky and in need of a shower. I was laughing and grimacing and shaking my head sadly.

3. Rotten Ralph - Jack Gantos.  Fiction. I read this picture book last year and promptly forgot. But Ralph wouldn't let me forget. He clawed his way onto both my 2017 and 2018 lists.

4. The Great Influenza - John M. Barry. Nonfiction. A look back at the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic. Spanish, my butt. According to Barry, the outbreak may have had its origins in Kansas. Riveting read.

5. The Cooler King: The True Story of William Ash: Spitfire Pilot, POW, and WWII's Greatest Escaper - Patrick Bishop. Nonfiction. Fans of The Great Escape will enjoy this book. Even more action, escapes, and excitement than the classic movie!

6. The Girls in the Picture - Melanie Benjamin. Historical fiction. A delicious read, set in the infant days of Hollywood.  Frances Marion and Mary Pickford join forces and make movies, while setting the boys-only club back on its heels. Great atmosphere.

7. Off the Cliff: How the Making of Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge - Becky Aikman. Nonfiction. Everything from the writing of the script all the way to the sensation the movie caused. Wow, they had a hard time getting the film made. One of those passing-through-the-eye-of-a-needle things. I'm glad it got made; it's one of my favorites. I'm also glad Becky Aikman wrote this book.

8. Our Souls at Night - Kent Haruf.  Fiction. A beautiful, deceptively simple novel about two aging people, neighbors in a small town making a connection, beginning in an unexpected way.

9. Pachinko - Min Jin Lee.  Fiction. A multi-generational saga about Koreans living in Japan, and the different ways each family member deals with a country they love but doesn't love them back. It's absolutely absorbing, like a good K-Drama.

10. Swearing is Good For You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language - Emma Byrne.  Nonfiction. What the hell -- I'll be honest. Too damned little bad language and too effing much neuroscience shit. Not my favorite read of the year. There. I feel better. I typed this while wearing my pink socks with middle fingers printed all over them.

11. Ten Days in a Mad-House - Nellie Bly.  Nonfiction. Nellie Bly was a cool character. Going undercover to investigate conditions at Blackwell Island's Lunatic Asylum for Women, she practiced being "crazy" for just one night, making faces at herself in the mirror. Everyone bought it, including a judge and several doctors. This book was published in 1887, but Bly's prose seems quite fresh.

12. Helter Skelter: The True Story of The Manson Murders -  Nonfiction. Vincent Bugliosi. One of the classics of the true crime genre. An unsettling read. The crimes were horrifying and senseless, but Bugliosi keeps coming and coming, tireless in his quest to find the motive and put Manson and his family at the scenes.

13. The Six: The Lives of The Mitford Girls - Laura Thompson. Nonfiction. Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Jessica, and Deborah Mitford were six sisters from the English upper class whose lives were irrevocably and sometimes catastrophically affected by politics and war. The author is a serious fangirl, and during this utterly yummy read, she made one of me, too. A tad repetitive, but not a problem because I needed that to keep straight which was the Fascist, which was the Communist and which one wrote novels, and who was the duchess? Who had a crush on Hitler? 

14.  The Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson.  Nonfiction. After the Civil War and Reconstruction, the white South clamped down on black people, eradicating all of their rights. This situation became increasingly untenable and downright dangerous. Black people wanted the hell out, which led to The Great Migration, from the Jim Crow South to northern cities like New York, Chicago, Detroit and many others. The Great Migration lasted from the early 1900s to the mid 1970s. Weaving a brilliant narrative from oral histories, Wilkerson follows the lives of three people: Ida, who left with her family in the 1930s, George, who fled for his life during the 1940s, and Robert, who set out to be a doctor in California in the 1950s. These stories are backed up with impeccable research. 


Care said...

Happy Birthday Blob!!

Unruly Reader said...

Woohoo -- 14 years of Bybee & the Blob! So glad you've been here all these years, leading the way & giving us a wonderful place to hang out for a bit when in need of a bookish fix with a bookish friend.

(those socks -- for true?!)

Sue F. said...

Happy Anniversary! The only one of your 14 that I have read is Our Souls at Night....absolutely loved it!

Anonymous said...

14 years of blogging is an achievement. Well done, you.

You've got some interesting titles in your list here, but then you nearly always do. :-)