• Heartland by Sarah Smarsh was gifted to me by #Scribner / @Scribnerbooks •
I hate the news, not so much from the newspaper, but more specifically, the televised news. This is not a political post-you have my word. I’m not stating where I stand politically and I couldn’t give two shits where anyone else stands. The reasoning behind my avid dislike of the televised news is that people talk and usually yell simply to hear their own annoying voice. I don’t care which channel is on, someone is being unnecessarily loud and obnoxious. With the invention of fake news it has become even worse. It’s loud and false! Seriously I think many of the popular yellers have got to be alcoholics, listening to their crap for five minutes and I need a drink, so I can’t imagine a day full of listening to themselves and others like them! Maybe they are handed a stiff one when the camera moves to a commercial? On the flip side I am grateful that we live in a country where both sides are able to speak freely, however annoying it may ultimately be.
My husband knows of my disdain and in the evening when we begin to unwind, he likes to say, “You want to watch the news?” He must really think me rolling my eyes is hot, because aside from cracking my book open (which he does not find hot) that is the only response he gets.
Perhaps my dislike for the news runs even deeper. Maybe going in to it knowing that it is non-fiction (I say that loosely) is the ultimate turn-off for me? Maybe that’s why I rarely read non-fiction books, I simply prefer my fictional worlds. Although a lot of fiction is based upon a whole lot of truth, (that is a conversation for another day) I still know going in that the author isn’t going to try and persuade me of anything, nor are they yelling at me.
That being said, I do have a non-fiction bookshelf. The collection on that shelf is small in comparison to my fiction lovelies, and this shelf rarely gets a new book added to it. When I take the time to look at some of the titles there I will admit that I think, I really do need to read these! For this post I selected a few that I gravitate towards.
1. Heartland by Sarah Smarsh. Sent to me by #Scribner. This is “a memoir of working hard and being broke in the richest country on earth” ( from cover ). It’s about Smarsh’s childhood in the 80s and 90s. She was born a fifth-generation Kansas wheat farmer and the daughter of generations of teen mothers. Smarsh grew up in a family of laborers trapped in a cycle of poverty. She was raised predominantly by her grandmother and this story is a look at class, identity, and economic crisis. This memoir has similar tones of Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance, which is a great book in its own right, but I think coming from a female perspective alone will be enough to cast a unique light on this book.
2. My FBI by Louis J. Freeh . Freeh was a former director of the FBI, serving from 1993-2001. His time working there covers the Mafia, the Clinton Investigation, and the war on terror. Anything FBI intrigues me.
3. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand. The sole reason for wanting to read this book is because I read Unbroken also written by her. I look forward to reading about a subject I know next-to-nothing about simply because she wrote it.
4. A Mother’s Reckoning by Susan Klebold. If this book or her last name doesn’t ring a bell, I’ll ring it for you. Her son was one of the Columbine High School shooters. If that doesn’t ring a bell, go back to the rock you’ve been living under. I’ll admit I’ve read a bit of this book as well as others that deal with school shootings. It’s a subject that is crazy in itself that it’s even a thing in our world. As a mother I cannot begin to know what she has lived with since that day. I will not judge, I have not been in her shoes. I just want to read the words of a heartbroken mother and hope only to gain insight and wisdom from her journey.
5. The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore. This story follows two boys with same name, born blocks apart within a year of each other. They had similar backgrounds and childhoods, yet one was always in trouble with the police and the other became a Rhodes Scholar (summarized from back cover). To me, the name similarity is interesting, but it isn’t what draws me to this story. What draws me to this are the vastly different choices made by two similar boys living under and with similar circumstances.
6. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Of the six books in this post, this one has been on my shelf the longest. To write with complete transparency, I have some trepidation about reading this book (due to a personal loss). Didion is a master of words and this book is about grief. She loses her husband and almost loses her daughter in a matter of months in two separate events. I have been thinking about reading this book for years. Because it is a short read, coming in at just over two hundred pages, I know it’s conciseness will only make it that much more poignant of a read.
I hope these synopses didn’t bore you to tears, but if anything, they aren’t fake news and I wasn’t yelling at you.
Have a great day, Bookworms.
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
– Groucho Marx