August 2022–Part One

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center (Length: 310 pages).  I am a fan of this author and her work (Things We Save in a Fire is my favorite of hers) so I was excited to read this one, her latest. While it’s not my favorite, it’s a fun way to pass the time if you’re in the mood for an easy rom-com. The set-up is a female private bodyguard is hired to protect a mega actor/celebrity from a crazed stalker. Somehow the actor contrives a plan for the two of them to pretend to be dating before they go to stay with his parents on their gorgeous ranch in Texas as his mother is recovering from illness. There isn’t a lot of great dialogue in this one (something Center is known for) but I did like both of the main characters. The central “conflict” here is too contrived and utterly unbelievable, so if you’re looking for a really good romance novel, skip this one. Perhaps it’s worth a library read? 2.5 out of 5 stars if I was pressed to rate this one.

Book #2:

The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne (Length: 304 pages).  I listened to this non-fiction book and it reminded me of while I love to read memoirs . . . learning about the different facets of other people’s lives is fascinating and I always walk away having learned something new. This particular memoir is authored by a (former?) member of the LDS church who is a librarian who lives with Tourette’s and discovers weightlifting (in various forms) as a way to temporarily mitigate the symptoms of his disease. Josh discusses his ongoing struggles with his faith, which is the most interesting part of this book, how books have enriched his life, as well as telling tales of working in a public library in Salt Lake City. I enjoyed this on audio–the narrator’s voice was perfect for this book. The topics in this memoir are a bit niche but I do believe there is something in here for everyone, especially if you love reading.

Book #3:

Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller (Length: 366 pages).  This memoir written by the rape victim of Brock Turner (the Stanford swimmer) was this month’s book club pick, and I’m SO glad I finally read this incredibly well-written book. Chanel’s writing is exquisite . . . the tone is always perfectly appropriate, her turns of phrase are beautifully written and her powers of persuasion evoke incredible empathy for crime victims everywhere, especially female victims. Chanel was sexually assaulted by Turner in January of 2015 on the Stanford campus, but was known only by the name Emily Doe, to protect her privacy. Chanel’s victim impact statement (all 12 pages of it) was published by Buzzfeed and went viral with over 15 million views. That statement galvanized a movement which ultimately unseated the idiotic judge who sentenced Brock to a measly 6 months in jail (3 months due to overcrowding). This book is a must-read for anyone and everyone, to understand how female victims of violent sexual crimes are treated by the system, a system that I personally am a part of. I plan to share this title with the victim advocates in my office (even though they don’t “need” it as they are incredible advocates) but because they will also appreciate the nuances of how victims of crime perceive the system. This is one of those rare books that the reader will always remember . . . mostly for how it makes them feel. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

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