Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless

The story of Chris McCandless has struck a chord with many people since his body was found in the wilds of Alaska more than twenty years ago.  Jon Krakauer's iconic book "Into the Wild" was a favorite read of mine.  So, when I heard about this book written by his sister, Carine, I was anxious to read it.  

She says many times in the book that she is the only person who truly understood what motivated Chris's decision to leave all his belongings and his family and disappear into the wild Alaskan landscape.  This motivation was hinted at in Krakauer's book, but Carine goes into much detail when exposing the violent and abusive family history that precipitated his disappearance.

I don't know what I think about the whole experience now that I've read the book.  I'm glad she wrote the book and gave us more background on Chris and her family's struggles with dysfunction...but, in the end a very idealistic man's life was cut short in a very tragic and maybe ultimately preventable way...and that's just sad.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cup of Blood by Jeri Westerson

I love the Crispin Guest series and have read every single one, so I was very much looking forward to this prequel.  Here we learn more about how Crispin first teams up with his sidekick Jack Tucker.  But first, a little background.

Billed as a medeival noir mystery series, her protagonist is a disgraced knight turned detective trying to make his way on the mean streets of fourteenth century London.   They call him the Tracker, because he finds things (or people), and he's pretty darn good at it too.

When a corpse turns up at his favorite tavern, Crispin begins an inquiry, but the dead man turns out to be a Knight Templar, an order thought to be extinct for 75 years, charged with protecting a certain religious relic which is now missing.  Before he can investigate, Crispin is abducted by shadowy men who are said to be minions of the French anti-pope.  Further complicating matters are two women: one from court with an enticing proposition, and another from Crispin's past, dredging up long-forgotten emotions he would rather have left behind.  And as if all that weren't enough, a cunning young cutpurse by the name of Jack Tucker has insinuated himself into Crispin's already difficult life.  The deeper Crispin probes into the murder, the more it looks like the handiwork of an old friend turned adversary.  With enemies from all sides, Crispin has his hands full in more than murder.

This is historical fiction at its best.    

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Caitlin Doughty is a licensed mortician and the host and creator of the "Ask a Mortician" web series.  She founded the death acceptance collective The Order of the Good Death and cofounded Death Salon.  In this book, she argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society and calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).  She fills the book with fascinating anecdotes and puts her degree in medieval history to good use by relating to us the history of our customs concerning death in America and around the world.  She demystifies a subject that a lot of people try to avoid even thinking about much less dealing with, and her humor and humanity shine through it all.  A quite interesting read.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...