Book Round Up: Historical Non-Fiction Edition

I was having trouble coming up with ideas on what to read to check "Historical Non-Fiction" off my Book Challenge list. 

Here's some of the books that stood out to me on the lists and lists of non-fiction must-reads that I found online

Story:  The murder of four family members in a brutal shooting in Kansas on NovemAber 15, 1959. Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers. As an obsessed water of Investigation Discovery and Dateline, I don't know why I haven't read this classic by now. 

A discovery of child survivors of the Holocaust and their lives after the war: How they survived, how their adulthood was affected and what their memories of the war mean to them. 

Three women largely forgotten by history: Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford; Elizabeth Woodville, queen of England; and Margaret Beaufort, the founder of the Tudor dynasty.
Philippa Gregory uses actual documents and dives into the histories of these women to create this biographical account of their lives.

Two sisters who changed the landscape for women in the nineteenth century. They were crusaders for womens' rights, paved the way for open conversations about sex, politics and independence.  Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee "Tennie" Claflin are described as scandalous, fierce, smart and industrialists. Victoria was the first woman to run for president, Tennie ran for Congress. They were real estate tycoons and famous on Wall Street. It's a must read, in my opinion. 

I was just looking for one book, but these are all so good I may just read them all. 

I've also  been obsessed with more podcasts lately. My favorites this week and last are Criminal, Death, Sex & Money and Invisibilia.

What's been catching your attention lately? 

Show US Your Books: January

Life According to Steph

I love this link up!

I've hit a slower couple of weeks with reading this month, mostly because time is flying by and when my head hits the pillow at night, instead of staying up another hour to read,  I pass out like a light!

I am finishing up The Rosie Effect right now. After falling head over heels with Rosie and Don in The Rosie Project, I couldn't wait for their "part 2" to come out. But I have to say, even though I love envisioning Don as Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, this sequel just doesn't have the cuteness factor that Rosie Effect gave me. It's just a typical part 2 and I think the whole "Don's quirky and OCD and clueless" thing is getting pushed a little too hard. I plan on skipping ahead a couple chapters tonight and finishing it. I know it's a no no but I can't help it. I have books upon books to read and this one just isn't holding my attention! I will definitely see the movie if it ever comes out!

I finished The Girl on the Train last month, you can read my review here. And I really enjoyed it. It's also coinciding with my new obession over Cold Justice on TNT

My book challenge is still going strong. I tried to listen to a historical non-fiction about the Kennedys on audiobook but I got really distracted by  a ton of new podcasts so I haven't finished it. 

Do you have any suggestions on autobiographies I should read?

My next book this month is: Funny Girl by Nick Hornby, which I know I've mentioned before and I should have read it by now, but seriously, someone give me the gift of more time! 

Last week, I also re-read some Pippy Longstocking with R2. It's so magical now that she can identify letters. She loves to point out all of the Rs on the page and every time she sees an "M" she says "look, Mommy, your name is in der!" And I die of the cuteness.

What were your books for January? What are you reading now?  

Book Review: The Girl On The Train

If you follow  top book lists, you've more than likely heard of

If you still have a book hangover from Gone Girl like I do, you'll be happy about this twisted story. It's gritty, mean, obsessive and dark, just like Amy Dunn. Although it didn't get my heart racing, (a little too vague at some points) it did have twists that left me stunned.  

Rachel is an alcoholic. A sad, lonely woman who tortures herself by riding a train everyday and looking out the window at her ex-husband's house. The house that used to be theirs together, only now it's him inside with his new wife, and their baby. And she's just a girl on a train. 

She watches them, knows they had a baby girl because of the new pink curtains in the window. She can see them laughing and playing on the patio. And even though it kills her, she still watches them every day. She even starts daydreaming about the lives of their neighbors, a happy looking couple a few patios down. 

I think it's about 4 train rides in when I start to realize how many screws loose Rachel actually has. She doesn't really have a job in the city. That's just what she tells her roommate so she won't get kicked out of her apartment. She really walks around, drinks gin and tonics from a can and obsesses about her ex husband. When Rachel drinks, she awakens this sad monster that's an even worse off version of her sober self. Her marriage failed, she thinks, because of her drinking and the rage that her husband said ruined their life, lost their friends and killed their chances of having children. Everything wrong with her life is Rachel's own fault. 

Rachel's drinking gets so out of control that she can't tell if her memories of her past actually happened, or were just drunken nightmares. Which is just fine to her, until the neighbor girl on the patio, Megan, disappears. Just days after Rachel sees her hugging a man that is not the same man that's been living in the house with her. Rachel starts seeing news about her on tv. As Megan's disappearance grows into an obsession for her,  Rachel becomes even more obsessed with her ex-husband as well. To her, to two neighbors are very tangled and it's as if Rachel thinks she can force herself into existence in their lives. At one point, she even walks into her ex's house and takes the newborn  baby, walking out the door and down the street before the wife chases her down. She starts going to the same shrink that Megan went to, and begins a twisted relationship with the rebreaved husband. 

Because Rachel has clearly lost her mind, it's hard to trust her a narrator. There were some points of the book I literally felt lost, but I think that's one of the smartest things an author can do. I was just as lost as the characters in the book. But then piece by piece, her memories of her past become a little more clear and she realizes that the nightmares may have actually been reality. 

There's a twisted reason why Rachel is so confused, why she is obsessed with these two families and the houses she sees as she goes by on the train.

Read it to find out and enjoy the ride.