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text 2019-10-01 14:00
October 2019 Reading List
The Final Days - Bob Woodward,Carl Bernstein
Lab Girl - Hope Jahren
#IMomSoHard - Kristin Hensley
Connections in Death - J.D. Robb
Vendetta in Death - J.D. Robb
Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist - Franchesca Ramsey
Jane Doe: A Novel - Victoria Helen Stone
Copycat Killing - Sofie Kelly
A Very Mummy Holiday (Tourist Trap Mysteries #11) - Lynn Cahoon
A Colony in a Nation - Chris Hayes

New month, fresh start. 


Going back to my Nixon Reading List and reading The Final Days by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, which is their follow up to All the President's Men. Although I think this was a good reading project for me, the timing may be off considering....the state of the union so to speak.


NEA Big Reads for Wichita is Lab Girl by Hope Jahren; my real life book club is reading it as our leader/host is on the board that votes every year. There is a few events happening both on base library and my local branch that I hope to get to attend.


#IMOMSOHARD - man I love Kristin and Jen since I first saw their videos on FB. They are hilarious and real and I really want to see their show when they come to Tulsa next February....hint, hint Santa! Rather than doing non-stop toxic positivity, these ladies come straight out of the gate about the less than awesome things (deaths in family for example) or gross (adventures in toilet training), and motherhood with humor and grace. They are my inspirational mom friends.


I am still working through Connections in Death and I picked up Vendetta in Death since it was on the library's shelf, just calling my name. Seriously, brand new JD Robb title just sitting on the new release shelf with nary a waiting list - perplexed I was. I hope to be all caught up on the series by the time November comes around. I can't believe #50 will be published in February.


I need a palette cleanser in between the Eve Dallas books, so I picked up at the library Well, That Escalated Quickly by Franchesca Ramsey. I've listened to a number of podcast episodes with her and she seems funny and smart. 


I wanted something a little dark for this time of year and I am determined to get to Victoria Helen Stone's Jane Doe. I wanted something magical realism/cozy mystery, so Copycat Killing. And by the end of the month, the next novella in the Tourist Trap mystery series A Very Mummy Holiday will be on my NOOK and I can join the gang in South Cove for another round.


Finally, I picked up from the library Chris Hayes' A Colony in a Nation from my non-fiction wish-list. For those not in the US, Hayes is a tv host on MSNBC and former editor/writer for The Nation. Honestly, he is a little heavy on his love for a certain senator from a New England state, but he generally does do a good job of reporting and Ta-Nehisi Coates blurbed the book. I trust Coates enough to give the book a try.




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text 2019-06-01 08:00
June 2019 TBR
Very Strange Bedfellows: The Short and Unhappy Marriage of Richard Nixon & Spiro Agnew - Jules Witcover
Maid to Match - Deeanne Gist
A Talent for Trouble - Jen Turano
All I Am (A Farmers' Market Story) - Nicole Helm
A Gentleman For All Seasons - Shana Galen,Vanessa Kelly,Kate Noble,Theresa Romain

My list is short because most of my reading will be for BL-opoly. Summer COYER has no restrictions unless it is reading for the read-a-thons or the treasure hunt. I will be doing one COYER read-a-thon this month as well as setting aside time to read a book off the Nixon list I have. 


Nixon Reading List pick this month is Very Strange Bedfellows: The Short and Unhappy Marriage of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew by Jules Witcover. 


Deserted Island Read-a-thon (June 9-22, 2019) list: Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist, A Talent for Trouble (Ladies of Distinction #3) by Jen Turano, All I Am (Farmer's Market #3) by Nicole Helm, and A Gentleman For All Seasons by Various Authors.


Currently working on The Dancing Lady: The Ninth Lady (The 12 Days of Christmas Mail Order Brides #9) by Mimi Milan for BL-opoly.

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text 2019-04-01 09:00
April 2019 Reading List
Jambusters: The Story of the Women's Institute in the Second World War - Julie Summers
The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years - Sonia Shah
The Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Kama and His Nation - Susan Williams
Abigail and John: Portrait of a Marriage - Edith B. Gelles
1968: The Year That Rocked the World - Mark Kurlansky
Eisenhower 1956: The President's Year of Crisis--Suez and the Brink of War - David A. Nichols
The Twentieth Century: A People's History - Howard Zinn
Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation - Dan Fagin

I am a little over halfway up the Snakes and Ladders board, so hopefully I will be having my BL friends voting on my final book sometime this month. My NOOK and physical book shelves are gathering a lot of dust since I went on my library binge, so April will be mostly about my own copies (probably May's reading list too).


1. Jambusters: The Story of the Women's Institute in the Second World War by Julie Summers (Physical Non-Fiction List)


2. The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,00 Years by Sonia Shah (Science Reading List)


3. Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Khama and his Nation by Susan Williams (Physical Non-Fiction List)


4. Abigail & John: Portrait of a Marriage by Edith B. Gelles (Physical Non-Fiction List)


5. 1968: The Year that Rocked the World Mark Kurlansky (Nixon Reading List)


6. Eisenhower 1956: The President's Year of Crisis/Suez and the Brink of War by David A. Nichols (Physical Non-Fiction List)


7. The Twentieth Century by Howard Zinn (Physical Non-Fiction List)


8. Tom's River by Dan Fagin (Science Reading List)


Plus I have a separate list for the Dewey Read-a-thon (April 6, 2018).

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review 2019-03-31 20:10
Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics by Lawrence O'Donnell
Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics - Lawrence O'Donnell

Date Published: November 7, 2017

Format: Hardcover

Source: Base Library

Date Read: March 24-28, 2019

Nixon Reading List



Long before Lawrence O'Donnell was the anchor of his own political talk show, he was the Harvard Law-trained political aide to Senator Patrick Moynihan, one of postwar America's wisest political minds. The 1968 election was O'Donnell's own political coming of age, and Playing With Fire represents his master class in American electioneering, as well as an extraordinary human drama that captures a system, and a country, coming apart at the seams in real time.

Nothing went to script. LBJ was confident he'd dispatch with Nixon, the GOP frontrunner; Johnson's greatest fear and real nemesis was RFK. But Kennedy and his team, despite their loathing of the president, weren't prepared to challenge their own party's incumbent. Then, out of nowhere, Eugene McCarthy shocked everyone with his disloyalty and threw his hat in the ring. A revolution seemed to be taking place, and LBJ, humiliated and bitter, began to look mortal. Then RFK leapt in, and all hell broke loose. Two assassinations and a week of bloody riots in Chicago around the Democratic Convention later, and the old Democratic Party was a smoldering ruin, and, in the last triumph of old machine politics, Hubert Humphrey stood alone in the wreckage.

Suddenly Nixon was the frontrunner, having masterfully maintained a smooth facade behind which he feverishly held his party's right and left wings in the fold through a succession of ruthless maneuvers to see off George Romney, Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, and the great outside threat to his new Southern Strategy, the arch-segregationist George Wallace. But then, amazingly, Humphrey began to close, and so, in late October, Nixon pulled off one of the greatest dirty tricks in American political history, an act that may well meet the statutory definition of treason. The tone was set for Watergate and all else that was to follow, all the way through to today.




History buffs and political junkies are going to love this book. It is incredibly thorough and yet the narrative story telling makes it a page turner. O'Donnell does add his own life into the mix in the prologue and in the epilologue; other than that it is just JFK, LBJ, Gene McCarthy, Dr. King Jr, Bobby Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Nixon, Regan, Rockfeller and the machinations, maneuvers, and outright deception that turns off so many people from politics. O'Donnell ensures minor characters are given page space as well (such as General Electric's role in the rise of Regan and the anti-war groups fronted by Abbie Hoffman, Bobby Seale, and John Kerry). O'Donnell digs deep, going back sometimes to 1948 to provide context on why and how the major players got to 1968 believing, saying, and doing what they did. 


This is an honest, and at times frank, look at the politicians and politicking of the 1960s - nobody looks good (yes, even sainted Bobby Kennedy) except for Dr. King coming out of this book. So much of the crap we deal with today in US politics comes from this election and the fall out. Roger Ailes meets Nixon and careers are made (unfortunately). The Democrats failed to learn any lesson from this election, which shows in the results of the 1968 and 1972 election. Republicans were spinning their wheels likewise until Nixon decided to mount a comeback and worked with old and new operatives in a completely unethical game plan that won him the presidency. 


Problem is that is so thorough, so nuts and bolts and deep dive, I don't think casual readers will like or finish the book. When I say O'Donnell gets into the weeds for background context, he goes down to the root of those weeds. No stone is overturned; you just have to read and understand your way through it back to the "exciting" parts. And while O'Donnell does write deeply about Vietnam (Gulf of Tonkin resolution and the Tet Offensive), a reader should have a little background knowledge of how the US got into the war in the first place before diving into this book.


Overall, I loved every minute reading this book.


If you want to learn more about Abbie Hoffman, Bobby Seale and the other protestors put on trial for what happened at the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968, listen to Season 6 of Wondery's Legal Wars (hosted by actor and Harvard Law graduate Hill Harper) podcast.

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text 2019-03-31 16:02
March 2019 Reading Wrap Up
How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child - Abigail Pesta,Sandra Uwiringiyimana
The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple - Jeff Guinn
Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics - Lawrence O'Donnell
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl - Carrie Brownstein
Shelter in Place - Nora Roberts
Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir - Padma Lakshmi
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture - Roxane Gay
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body - Roxane Gay
Connections in Death - J.D. Robb

Got through all but one of my library borrows. Also got through another too busy month. Really hoping April is more relaxed schedule wise. A big thank you to OB and MR for Snakes and Ladders, which has motivated me to read (or listen to an audiobook) so I can move up the board.



1. How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana and Abigail Pesta  5 stars

2. Hunger Makes Me a  Modern Girl: A Memoir by Carrie Brownstein 4 stars

3. Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay 3.5 stars

4. The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn/narrated by George Newbern 5 stars

5. Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts 4 stars

6. Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi 4 stars

7. Playing With Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics by Lawrence O'Donnell 5 stars

8. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay 2.5 stars



1. Connections in Death (In Death #48) by JD Robb


1st Quarter Stats (Jan-Mar):

Total Books Read: 30 (12 fiction, 18 non-fiction)

Total Books DNF: 5 (not included in the percentages below)

Total Pages Read: 6,353

Avg Monthly Pages Read: 2,118

Diverse Authors: 8 Authors of Color (26.67%), 3 LGBT+ (10%)

Female Authors: 22 (73%)

Male Authors: 8 (27%)

Volunteered 10 hours in January, 8.25 hours in February, and 13.5 hours in March in my base's library


BL/GR Reading Goal: 31/75 (40% completed)


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