Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

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Publication Date: April 18th, 2017

This review does not contain spoilers.

This is a very detailed nonfiction book about the murders of the Osage people, or what is considered the ‘Osage Reign of Terror’ that occurred in Oklahoma in the early 1900’s. The Osage tribe, who were relocated from their ancestral lands in Kansas, and then transported to Oklahoma in the 1800’s, struck luck and became some of the richest people in the country when valuable oil was found on their new lands. The author mainly details the life of Mollie Burkhart, who was a full blooded Osage woman that dealt with many of her family members who were mysteriously murdered, and the investigations that followed. In this book, we find out all about why these people were getting killed off, and we learn about some of the prolific investigators who were apart of this case. We also learn about how corrupt the judicial system was in dealing with this case, and that many of the people who were supposedly their to ‘help’ these people, ended up against them the entire time.

As for my thoughts, this was definitely one of my favorite books of the year so far. I was extremely impressed by the amount of research that went into writing this story. It is obvious that this is a subject that the author is very passionate about. Like many people, I had no idea that any of these murders even occurred in the early 1900’s, and it is sad that the majority of the murders that happened at this time, were swept under the rug and completely ignored due to the crooked system in place. I don’t read nonfiction very often, but I might need to change that because I am normally very impressed with what I do read in the genre. I would definitely read anything else that this author comes out with in the future, as well as going back and reading his older works. Rumors are out that this is going to be turned into a moving starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I sure hope so!

I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. Excellent, and I highly recommend!

-Carissa

Man Booker International Prize Shortlist: ‘A Horse Walks Into A Bar’

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#1 of my ‘Endeavors of the Man Booker International Prize’ series.

Publication Date: February 21st, 2017

This review does not contain spoilers.

Let me just say, that this is not my typical type of read. I primarily chose to read this due to the fact that it was short listed for the Man Booker International Prize, and as I stated in my previous post, I would like to read a good chunk, if not all of the short list.

The entirety of this novel takes place at a comedy club in Retanya, Israel, and focuses on Dovaleh Greenstein, the comedian who is in his 50’s and past his prime. From the moment he gets on stage for his standup routine, the audience senses that what they will be listening to is not what they paid for. Dovaleh throws out some jokes, and singles out members of the audience to poke fun of, but as time goes on, you are essentially watching a man have a breakdown on stage. The author is really good at making it seem as if you are actually there watching this breakdown unfold.

Before the show, Dov gets in contact with a District Court Justice who used to be a childhood friend and invited him to come out to his show. We are unsure of the reasoning behind this throughout the entire book; however, Dov simply asks that he watches him and tells him what he sees in the end. Throughout this standup performance, Dov starts revealing painful memories from his past which is what causes his downfall on stage. Without revealing the stories that he shares due to spoilers, you learn that one by one audience members start getting angry and disappear. It is almost as if you are watching some tragic event occur, and you want to look away, but can’t.

I thought this book was very cleverly told and extremely unique. I haven’t heard of many novels all taking place in one point of time, especially during a standup performance so I really did like that aspect. There are a few discussions about Israeli politics and their military that I was unfamiliar with; however, it is not too hard to follow along. You have to remember that this book was written by an Israelian author where what seems distant to some of us, is very real for him. David Grossman’s own son Uri was killed in 2006 in the war between Israel and Hizbollah, so I had to question if some of this story was memoir-‘esque’ to some of his own personal experiences. All in all, I think this book is worth a read.

I rated this 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads..

-Carissa

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

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Publication Date: March 20th, 2012

This Review does not contain spoilers.

I loved this book, but it may be because I am a massive fan of hiking. I had hiked in Arkansas, and Alaska before, but I never really fell in love with hiking until I moved to Hawaii. After reading this book; however, I want to go and hike everywhere and everything. This novel is about Cheryl’s personal account of hiking 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 94 days. There are two time frames she discusses throughout this book, one being before she decided to take this journey, and the second being while she is out on the trail. We learn about Cheryl’s broken family, personal struggles, addictions, and why she decided to set out for the PCT, and we also read about her physical and emotional struggles while hiking. As you read this story, you will learn the changes that she goes through and self realization of the type of person she was before she went on this journey. I have read many reviews where people say that Cheryl is a terrible human being because of the things she did before she hiked the PCT, but I don’t think people are understanding that hiking the PCT is what made her become who she is today, which is a better person. I have also read complaints that she seemed to be bragging about herself a lot throughout the novel. Honestly though, if I were to accomplish something like she did, I would probably be bragging just as much if not more. Long day hikes are challenging enough, I can not even imagine what 94 days and 1,100 miles would be like. If you like outdoorsy, true life adventure tales, I would definitely check this one out.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

-Carissa