Dopesick by Beth Macy

In a previous life, I was the committee director for a state legislative committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. I spent two years submerged in learning everything I could about the bludgeoning (at that time) epidemic. I remember in one of my first meetings with an academic and he told me quite plainly, “Oh we have not even seen the worst of this yet.” He told me that this was a long time in the making and the inaction to actually address the problem would have far reaching effects on the Americans

It’s three and half years later and everything he said has become true.

Even if you have not been personally touched by the heroin epidemic, Dopesick is a powerful book. Beth Macy is an investigative reporter based in Virginia. To tell the larger story of the opioid and heroin epidemic, she focused on a few towns and a few individuals and the path their lives took.

I find her book to be so good because she takes a look at the epidemic from all angles. She does not just take aim at one industry or blame one person. She takes a holistic approach to the examination of the epidemic.

Addiction does not discriminate. It rears its ugly head in every town and it can appear in any family. Everyone needs to read this to understand how we got where we are today. If you read any book this Fall, you should read Beth Macy’s book Dopesick.

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July Book Dump

I spent the spring wishing for summer to arrive and now I have no idea where it went. July was a complete whirlwind.

July was the month from travel. I spent a week on the beach, a couple of days in D.C. and then a week in Germany for a wedding. Lots of travel means lots of time for reading all of the books. This month’s books were an eclectic group. Two of the books had been sitting on the my shelf for a few months. Two were books I picked up on vacation at Elements. One was an impulse buy in response to a celebrity death. All of them receive the Literary Lady with Libations stamp of “You Should Read This.”

The books I completed in July:

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Red Clocks – Lena Zumas

White Houses by Amy Bloom

I’m assuming I’ll have a bigger list for August. I’m currently vacillating between four books. Four very different books. I’m teetering on finishing all of them.

What did everyone else read in July? What was your favorite read?

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Dr. Anna Fox is a child psychologist who is suffering from severe agoraphobia. Anna spends her day drinking heavily, tossing back medications and watching black and white films. Her husband and daughter have left her. She spends almost all of her time isolated and alone. Her days are punctuated by visits from her psychiatrist and physical therapist. She watches her neighbors, following their lives through her window.

Anna witnesses a murder and finds herself engaged with the outside world for the first time in almost a year. However, no one believes what she says and she’s not even sure she believes herself. Could she have imagined what she saw? She has spent the last 10 months slamming Merlot with high powered medications that induce hallucinations while watching film noir. Even Anna recognizes her lack of credibility in the eyes of the outside world and has her doubts.

It is a book that you do not want to put down once you start reading. With every revelation, the reader is drawn further into Anna’s world. The Woman in the Window is a thriller that does not disappoint.

Circe by Madeline Miller

I have always been a fan girl of Greek and Roman Mythology. I love the story of the Gods and how they would influence the lives of humans.

Madeline Miller tells the untold story of Circe. Circe was banished by her father’s ally, Zeus, to spend her immortal life in exile on the island of Aiaia after she dares to show her true power. Circe is known in Greek mythology for turning men into pigs and being one of the many lovers Odysseus took on his journey home. However, Miller gives life to Circe and a depth to who she was as never told before. Circe is immortal. A daughter of a Titan but she is different than her peers. She longs for companionship and has a fascination for humans. She cannot help but return to them, even when she is injured by them time and time again.

Circe is our narrator and guides the reader through her life and provides more fleshed out stories to the traditional myths. The female narrator is a refreshing change in this re-telling of the Greek myth. If you love mythology, you will love this story.

 

 

The Immortalists – Chloe Benjamin

Anxiety induced insomnia is bad but having The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin to keep me company all night was bright spot on an otherwise miserable evening.

On a lark the four Gold children go to meet a fortune teller who tells them the day that they will die. The novel follows the lives of Varya, Daniel, Klara and Simon after they have been given their death date. Benjamin does a great job weaving the stories of the four siblings together in a cohesive and authentic way. Her writing provoked so many questions in my own mind. What would I do? Would I believe something like this?

The story made me think of the Death Clock. When I was in middle school, the Death Clock was a craze for awhile. I remember entering my birthday and gender and then being horrified when an answer was unceremoniously spit out. How did it know?! I didn’t even tell it that much information. I was 11 or 12 when I had my first brush with the Death Clock and it haunted me for months.

At it’s heart, the novel focuses on the role of fate and our decisions. Are the Gold children destined to die as predicted by the gypsy? Or did their choices, in reaction to the prediction, lead them in a direction they otherwise would not have gone? Chloe Benjamin’s novel creates an interesting space for the reader to reflect on their own ideas about fate and whether the choices we make are really are own or predetermined in the stars.

 

2018 March Book Dump

TRYING TO BE BETTER. But it would appear I failed for another month seeing as its April 23rd. I’m currently on the road for my full time (“real job”) and have found myself with an extraordinary amount of alone time in hotel rooms over the last few days.

The books I read in March were:

1) Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

2)There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker

3) Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

4) Sadness is a White Bird by Moriel

5)Girls Burn Brighter by Shobhan Rao

Fates and Furies knocked my socks off. I only moved it up on my #TBR list because she has another book coming out that has a lot of buzz surrounding it.

I hate to do this but I’m doing it. Sisterland was so incredibly disappointing. Which I think speaks more to me than Sittenfeld as a writer. I have high hopes and then am always disappointed by her stories. I should just stop reading her. The stories she tells don’t engage me in they way I expect to be engaged. (I take that back, I loved American Wife. However, I think that it set the bar too high for any of her other novels to follow up and be satisfying.)

I read Girls Burn Brighter in one day. Which says two things: 1) it was a great story 2)I was at my parents house for Easter break and had nothing to do. It was an eye opening book and am in the midst of doing a deep dive into the background information on the book.

Happy Reading and Drinking!

The Wife by Alafair Burke

What does anyone ever really know? About themselves? About their friends? About their spouse?

Alafair Burke brings up this question in her novel The Wife.  The novel follows Angela as she navigates her life in the wake of accusations of sexual misconduct against her husband. Angela has created a quiet life in Manhattan with her son and her husband Jason Powell. Since their marriage 6 years ago, Jason has turned from unknown, brilliant NYU professor to New York Time best seller and sought after celebrity economist.

At the height of his fame, Jason has been accused of sexual harassing an intern and then another colleague comes forward accusing him of rape. Angela has her trauma in her past that she has been trying to escape from. The accusations bring up her past and Angela wonders about the man she married.  Does she actually know him? Can she believe the things that he is saying?

Alafair Burke does a great job playing with the theme of doubt throughout the novel. She slowly picks apart what you think you know about the characters and sucks you into Angela’s mind. How far would you go to protect you spouse, your family and your life?

I would categorize this book as a thriller however, it’s worth noting that while the twists are shocking, they do not feel forced.  The novel has great timing, character development and plot progression. Burke is a talented writer and I’m excited to read her other novels.

Happy Reading!

 

An Introduction

I never know how to start these things. Diving right in always seems like the best bet!

My name is Kaitlyn and I love to read. I’ll be launching a podcast in the next couple of months talking with friends about the books they love, the books they hate and what they are reading right now.

We’ll obviously be indulging in some libations, whether that’s cider, a fine wine, a boujee tea or some deluxe specialty coffee as we chat.

If you love books and love to talk about them then be sure to tune in! Until the podcast is up and running, then feel free to check in here to see what I’m reading and sipping on!