Hey, booknerds! Welcome to the inaugural post of my new feature, Forensic Friday!
But before we get into it, how’s life? When’s the last time you wore real pants? Makeup? Saw other human beings besides the ones living within your four walls?
I’m not going to lie, quarantine is getting to me. I’m going a little stir-crazy. Cabin fever gets worse every day. It doesn’t help that the weather has been jacked the fuck up, too. One day I have a sunburn (I’m gardening a lot to distract myself) and the next day there’s an inch of snow on the ground.
I appreciate every front-line worker, every essential worker, and I recognize how fortunate I am to have been working from home for the last couple of months without suffering any dents to my income.
But at the same time, THIS WHOLE THING SUCKS.
And it’s really affecting my reading. Is anyone else having a hard time? I just can’t get into it. I finally have all this time on my hands to read, only to be stuck in an endless Groundhog’s Day slump. The vibe is all off and it’s not conducive to tackling my TBR.
“Psychiatry at its best is what all medicine needs more of—humanity, art, listening, and empathy—but at its worst it is driven by fear, judgment, and hubris.”
Grand Central Publishing | 2019
Opening Thesis: Everyone needs drugs
Main Diagnosis: SCHIZOPHRENIA
Plot Researchy-ness: Up to your eyeballs in straight FACTS
Before you go into reading this book, you must first understand the true premise. It is NOT a history of psychiatry and psychiatric hospitals, though those things are discussed to fully understand what Dr. David Rosenhan was doing. But this book is almost totally about Dr. David Rosenhan and his study from the 1970s that looked to expose how psychiatry was functioning away from public knowledge.
I admit I was kind of disappointed once Nellie Bly was discussed for only a couple of paragraphs because that is shit I showed up for. I was expecting a novel that discussed people like Bly more in-depth. I was expecting something a bit more sinister and historical. Like, give me some Geraldo Rivera at Willowbrook kind of drama.
But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
Once I got passed my assumptions, I did get into this nonfiction work, but not as much as I was hoping I would. It’s a pretty dense read, full of medical jargon, medical history (seriously, you go through the creation of all the DSM volumes) and a complete dissection and recounting of Dr. Rosenhan’s study, On Being Sane in Insane Places.
Okay, booknerds, you’ve probably heard already, and if not, I’m here to let you know that February is Women in Horror Month!
What’s that you ask? Stupid question. I don’t know why you even asked it. I mean, it’s pretty self-explanatory…
WiHM is an international, grassroots initiative aimed at showcasing and bringing awareness to the underrepresented work of women in horror industries. Movies, novels, TV… you name it! Women are getting creepy shit done when it comes to artistic expression in horror. Don’t you want to celebrate that and make it more visible in a largely male dominated genre? Of course you fucking do!
There are even events you can attend, which you can check out here.
Listen, I love horror. I’m a woman. And the truth is that I definitely don’t base my entertainment choices on the gender-identity of the creator. Does that make me a bad feminist? Depends on who you ask. Should I be trying harder? Goddamn right I should be.
Andddddddddd….I’m back! New decade, new blog post, new goals!
Tell me booknerds, how were your holidays?? Mine was busy and went by way too fast. I don’t feel like I relaxed at all or was gifted anything to make me feel better about the amount of money I spent. I did, however, get drunk on Christmas Day for the first time in a decade. I stopped drinking-to-excess in college because I just do not like the feeling of being drunk and out of control…but somehow Christmas went off the rails for me.
You know how it goes: you’re making dinner so you pour a glass of wine. Cooking and wine go so well together that you’re not paying attention to how much alcohol you’re actually consuming. You’re getting wine-drunk so slowly that by the time you realize you officially passed the line of what’s acceptable in front of family two glasses ago, it’s too late. So you eat a bunch of crackers and cheese in a vain attempt to break down your blood-alcohol level, but you’ve had a bottle and a half just to yourself! It’s over! You’re drunk! And now your mother-in-law starts saying things like, “I’m still on my first glass!” in this passively judgmental way, and your youngest stepkid is saying: “You’re fun when you’re drunk,” to the entire dinner table and you’re trying not slur when you respond, “I’m not drunk, I’m just a little buzzed. Issssaa not a big deal,”
You’re definitely drunk, and later, you try to vomit very quietly so no one hears how bad it actually was.
Opening Hook: Putting a cold case in the microwave.
Main Character: When bad men do evil in sweater vests.
Plot Twisty-ness: The reader gets Punk’d.
It’s such a bummer to read a book by an author you hear nothing but praise for, only to walk away from that reading experience thinking your time has been thoroughly wasted. All I have in my head is like why? And like don’t? And like why again?
When I’m reading a new-to-me author, I seem to have a habit of choosing the one book that makes all the fans go, “That one’s not their best…THESE OTHER ONES THOUGH!!”
I’m not done with Macmillan just yet because I’m not a completely horrible person & also I think I spent real human dollars on another of her books and it’s currently sitting on my bookshelves… but this book is getting a big UGH from me.
Cody Swift has one of the hottest true crime podcasts around, Time to Tell. It focuses on his search for what really happened to his two childhood best friends twenty-years earlier when they were killed and the intellectually-disabled target of their bullying, Sidney Noyce, is convicted of their murders.
In the present day, Sidney Noyce (think Brendan Dassey, but slower,) has taken his own life in prison and then a new body is discovered at the same site the two boys’ were found decades before. Cody uses the renewed spotlight on the case to sell his podcast with the goal of finding the real killer.
I love the idea, but the execution is severely lacking for me as a reader.
Now, I know it’s not Tuesday, but if you read my post from last week about Blake Leibel, the trust fund douche who murdered his girlfriend just weeks after she gave birth to their daughter, then you have been waiting with bated breath for an update on the trial.
Or you’ve been waiting with normal breath, no irregular breathing pattern at all. That seems more likely.
Breaking News: about 12 hours ago, the jury came back with its decision.
So it’s officially time for True Crime Tuesday – Thursday Update…or something like that. It would be better if I had some kind of flashing graphics for it.
I wasn’t old enough in the early 90s to full enjoy it. The big bangs and long hair and neon spandex. Saved by the Bell, 90210 and Nirvana and Chris Farley SNL days. I was aware, but I wasn’t. I remember being in my cousin Bill’s room one day after school – he’s 10 years old than me – and he had the Nirvana smiley face on everything. I asked him “what’s this?” and he said, “it’s a thing for a band.” That might have been the first time I took in the concept of a band.
I was a teenager in the early 2000s. Things like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake in full jean outfits, Blink-182 and “flared” jeans, trucker hats and unnecessary scarves were really what was going on when I fully came online as a person, for better or for worse. Early 2000s fashion is truly some of the very, very worst.
There are things about being a little girl in the 90s that have stuck with me and shaped me as a person, though. Clueless is still one of my favourite movies. I always wanted to grow up and own a white Jeep. Maybe some day still. Scream inspired my love of horror. And Silence of the Lambs inspired my love of crime fiction.
My love of true crime didn’t start until later when I turned on an episode of Dateline for the first time. Oh, you mean this is like the murder-mysteries I read except for real life?! Count me in!
Maybe that’s why I find myself drawn towards 90s true crime. It was happening, and I didn’t know it. My access to information was so much more limited. But now I can learn all about these things that were going on in the world while I was growing up. Plus the fashion, the pop culture – I feel connected to it.
So, for this week’s True Crime Tuesday, we’re going to go back to 1991. To a yogourt shop in Austin, Texas, where four girls died in a fire.
Honestly, NetGalley might be my undoing, mentally. I can see a breakdown on the horizon. Maybe I start writing on the walls about how many unread ARCs I have, while I talk to an invisible librarian, and my husband has to feed me ice chips.
I try to stop myself from going on there and requesting new titles, but it’s so hard. I need a 12 step program.
We’ll call this post Step 1.
If you want to play along, feel free. Basically, what I intend to do is round up all the new ARCs I’ve received at the beginning of every month, for a new month of reading. Easy!
Because I’ve been such a good girl about requesting books (up until a couple of days ago), this first post might be a little short, but books are books!
I know everyone else is saying this too but, I can’t believe it’s May already!
April flew passed me, and I didn’t even get all that much reading done, which totally sucks, but I’ve been up to my eyes in house stuff. I swear time is like a downhill snowball the older you get, and I’m not even old!
My husband and I are still trying to get this foyer mudroom finished. And I’m such an inpatient asshole that I also started painting my upstairs hallway. I’m not good at one step at a time, clearly. Also, also, I’ve spent a lot of money on paintings and lights and carpets and please someone STOP ME BEFORE I DESTROY MY BUDGET!
I took a vacation day from work on Monday and my sincerest hope is that we get something completely done this weekend so I can go back to reading.