I was born and raised in Chicago, IL. I received my undergrad in Elementary Education and my Masters in Library and Information Science, and worked in public libraries before raising my children. After relocating to the Nashville area, I’m thrilled to be surrounded by great books and great people. I love reading memoirs, historical fiction, and true crime.
I'm Glad My Mom Died
I promise if you read this book you will understand the title more than you might think you will. Jenette McCurdy was thrust into the limelight on a top Nickelodeon network show, all the while driven by her mother’s abusive commands. Her sole purpose in life was to bring her mother happiness, thus the irony in the title. Your heart will break for what this young lady experienced just trying to navigate life through a twisted lens, and ultimately you will cheer her for carving out a life that actually reflected how she felt inside.
God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked
I have read many memoirs and few have touched me at this level. We all love Darrell Hammond as a comedian but few of us have seen the part of his history that has animated much of his comedic career. There is a devastating history behind the man who has brought so much joy and laughter to his audience. Take some time to read and understand Darrell; you won’t be sorry.
The Butchering Art
Aaah! How easily we step into an antiseptic surgical environment and place our life into the hands of a surgeon! Before Joseph Lister’s discovery of germs and bacteria, your chances of surviving an operation were slim. Dr. Lister fought valiantly to share what he learned about germs and ultimately transformed the world of sanitized medicine.
Across Five Aprils
This book sparked my interest in the War Between the States, when I was student teaching a fifth grade class in Michigan. I have since gone on to study so much more about the Civil War, but if you are looking for an introductory narrative of the Civil War for a late elementary/middle school reader, this an engaging launch.
Alone: Orphaned on the Ocean
I am an avid reader of survival stories in any and all circumstances. The human will to live surpasses almost all other desires to succumb, and I seek this trait of humanity. None of us would choose this experience; however, I am humbled by those who survive and grow with what they have learned.
The Romanov Sisters
Whatever you have learned about the end of the Romanov dynasty, I think you will learn so much more of the humanity lost in the exile and ultimately the execution of the Romanov family. Certainly much can be said about the atrocities this dynasty placed upon their citizens, but the poorly planned and executed assassination of the royal family leaves a feeling of horror for the human experience.
The Worst Hard Time
Did you read The Grapes of Wrath? Timothy Egan goes beyond fiction to immerse the reader into the horror and hopelessness of the Dust Bowl. This National Book Award winner takes you deep into a place you have never been: the desperate life of anyone stuck in the Dust Bowl trying to find a way out for their family to survive.
Out of the Dust
I love the young adult/teen reader audience; they are sophisticated enough to understand adult circumstances, yet too young to have adult experience of the world. Perhaps that’s why I love YA books: you seek beyond childhood but are still dipping your toe in the dark and somewhat hopeless chapter of history. In the Dust Bowl there was no opportunity to be a child; it was survival on the most basic level. A coming of age book.
Madhouse at the End of the Earth
In the late 19th century, a small crew of hearty sailors and scientists attempt to reach Antarctica. But even the best plans are at the mercy of nature, and the Belgique is trapped in pack ice for the long dark winter. Not only are the crew left alone to battle the elements, but their battle for sanity becomes even more dire as hope dwindles. A riveting story well researched and well written.
The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness: A Memoir
Have you ever noticed that there are quite a few RV’s parked in the corner of Walmart parking lots? That’s because they allow homeless people to camp out there indefinitely. This is the story of a young girl who, through no fault of her own, winds up homeless in Orange County CA. Although she experienced a traumatic and abusive childhood, she is an intelligent and resourceful young lady who turns her experience into an incredibly popular blog thus transforming her conditions. Lesson: never judge a book by its cover.
Jack Hinson’s One-Man War
A side of the Civil War not often seen. After a community was captured and occupied, the dirtiest fighting and revenge was often seen in guerrilla warfare. Jack Hinson was an upstanding pillar in his community and had strong and respectful relations with both Confederate and Union officers. That all changed the day two of his sons were shot and beheaded by patrolling Union officers. From that day forward Jack exacted his revenge as a lone sniper taking down an estimated 100 soldiers.
Little Sister Death
William Gay has been likened to a hybrid of Stephen King and William Faulkner: sign me up! As a fan of horror I delighted in the flavor of Southern Gothic. This tale is riding a train you can’t get off of. Hang on tight!
You Wanted More
I had the pleasure of enjoying dinner with this charismatic Southern gentleman and it did not disappoint. I’m generally not a reader of short stories but this collection gave me a fresh view. Singleton has a rare ability to capture the essence of characters and circumstances with great brevity. His stories are equal parts heartbreak and hilarity at the experience of life in the South. “The bleak shall inherit the mirth.” So true.
Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas
After growing up with secular holidays, I used the Advent wreath to help our family anticipate Christ’s birth for the weeks leading up to Christmas. I wish I had discovered this collection years ago because I would have sent it to everyone I know. Shedding all the folksy and romanticized stories of Christ’s birth, these devotions focus on the sobering true meaning of God lowering Himself to this fallen earth. Excerpts from T. S. Eliot, Martin Luther, C. S. Lewis, St. Thomas Aquinas and more.