Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Sunday Post #344

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The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.

The Sunday Post #344

On The Blog Recently

In My Reading Life

I finished After The Eclipse: A Mother's Murder, A Daughter's Search by Sarah Perry. This is one of the saddest memoirs I've ever read. (If you're more intelligent than me, you probably knew it was sad from the title.)

When the author was a child, she heard her mother being murdered in the middle of the night. She was too scared to leave her bedroom, so she didn't witness the murder. It took the police 12 years to solve the case. During that time, Sarah was passed around to different family members and repeatedly interrogated by cops who didn't believe she'd stayed in her room while her mother screamed.

The author writes beautifully about a horrible subject. The reader really gets to know the author's family, especially her flawed but incredibly loving mother. She's also excellent at writing about grief and people's expectations of it. She had a hard time living with family members after the murder because they expected a sad child. They didn't know what to do with a frightened, angry child.

For me, the most interesting part of the book is the author's observations about how American society uses crime as entertainment. She can't even run on a treadmill without seeing crime on the gym's TVs. She has to pretend she's not bothered by fictional TV shows or by her coworkers discussing whatever murder is in the news. Society's obsession with cops and killers means she can never escape the memory of her mother's death. It made me realize how much crime is in the media I consume. It's on TV commercials, in the headlines when I start my computer, and in the books I read. The author is right. It's a societal obsession that's hard to escape.

This book's pacing drags in the middle, but it's worth reading if you're interested in true crime. It might give you a different perspective on the genre.

Speaking of crime-as-entertainment, I read Flowers In The Attic by V.C. Andrews. I now understand why so many people were traumatized by this book when they were children. This novel is nasty! Young people need to stay away from their parents' bookshelves.

Okay, Flowers In The Attic is about four children who are locked in an attic by their neglectful mother and grandmother. Melodrama, plot twists, and incest/rape happen. I'm not even sure how to summarize the plot because everything is a spoiler! Before I started reading, I knew this book was a modern classic and very scandalous. I'm glad I didn't know more. I got to be shocked by each disturbing development. (And there are a lot of disturbing developments.)

The (golly lolly!) overdramatic dialogue made me roll my eyes so hard they nearly fell out of my head. Once I learned to cringe my way through the dialogue, the story became weirdly addictive. I even downloaded the audiobook so I could listen at work. I was desperate to find out how the children would escape from the attic. It's a tense, high-stakes story for sure.

It's rare that a book leaves me speechless, but here we are. I don't know what to say about this one. Is it a well-written book? No. Will I read the sequels? No. Did I enjoy it? Occasionally. Am I glad I read it? Heck, yeah! I feel like I've joined the club of readers who have been forever disturbed by this novel.

Then I read Destination Truth: Memoirs Of A Monster Hunter by Josh Gates. Josh Gates is the host of several TV shows on the Travel/Discovery/SyFy Channels. He's one of my favorite humans because I love his sense of humor and his curiosity. He always seems like he's having a good time on his travels, which makes them fun to watch.

This book is part travel guide, part memoir. Josh writes about the years he spent filming a monster-hunting show called Destination Truth. He traveled all over the globe to investigate sightings of strange creatures. I think I've seen every episode of Destination Truth, so it was fascinating to learn about life behind the scenes and how difficult it is to film in remote locations. There's even a perfect explanation for why I love Josh's TV shows so much: 

"We traipsed through some of the planet's most harrowing environments and let the ensuing adventures dictate our story. It's supremely difficult to make television this way, to stake a narrative on the idea that interesting things will happen simply because the world is an interesting place. I'm just glad that it worked out and nobody lost a limb."

Josh's TV shows (and his book, honestly) are captivating because they're not overly organized. He just goes to a place and hopes to find interesting things. It leads to a lot of humor. One of the funniest moments in the book is when Josh's team finds a possible bigfoot footprint. They have no idea what to do about the print because they never expected to find actual evidence of the monsters they were hunting. They thought they were just making TV. They didn't believe in monsters.

Like most celebrity memoirs, this one is probably only worth reading if you're already a fan of the celebrity. You won't get much out of it if you haven't seen Destination Truth. If you're already a fan, I recommend the book!

Since it's spooky season, I went to the library and picked the scariest book I could find. It was The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Yes, I read a romance. I honestly couldn't think of anything scarier.

I know this book has millions of passionate fans, but friends, it's terrible! Everything about it is terrible! It opens with an elderly man reading a romance story to his sick wife. The story is about a woman who goes to her ex-boyfriend's house to tell him that she's engaged. The woman ends up cheating on her fiancé with her ex. She falls in love with her ex again. Quivering loins and crying ensue.

I'm way too dead inside to enjoy this book. The author tried with all his might to force me to feel something, but nope. The characters are flat. The writing is sappy. Alzheimer's is temporarily cured by a man's love. It's a "No" from me.

In The Rest Of My Life

Five things that made me happy recently:

1. This photo. Baby Brooklyn came home from school and announced she was "tired of people." Here's what it looks like when a four-year-old is tired of people. I promise I left her alone after I took the picture.

2. Work was boring, so I went on patrol with one of my coworkers. We blasted this song inside our cop car and sang along. I'm glad the park was empty because it would have been awkward if we had to do actual law enforcement during our "Dial Drunk" sing along.

3. People on Pinterest love to leave mean comments on the book recommendation pins I create. I delete the comments that are racist, homophobic, irrelevant, or overly nasty. I came close to deleting this one, but then I was like, You know, maybe Mary has a small point about my reading tastes . . .

4. It's Secret Santa sign-up time! This is my favorite bookish event. Please consider signing up for maximum holiday cheer.

5. Since my work hours have been cut down to a reasonable number, I'm actually able to read books and take boxing lessons again! It's nice to have hobbies.

For More Psycho Book Recommendations

Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!


  1. Your horror collection is very apt for Halloween. I’m not likely to read any of them now or any time during the year, but I would definitely agree with you in being very suspicious of romance novels for horrifyingly misrepresenting human nature. Not to mention just plain bad writing.
    best, mae at

  2. You did a great job choosing books for the Halloween season. I learned from your reflection on the impact of our fascination with crime as entertainment on people who have been traumatized by crime.

  3. Gosh Brooklyn made me laugh so hard! She sure is very wise already LOL

  4. Oh no! I found The Notebook to be a lovely read. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it.

  5. LOL, poor Brooklyn! I can definitely relate.

  6. Ah... I know just how Brooklyn feels. I read Flowers in the Attic when I was a young woman - and I'll agree with you that the writing is overblown, but you're right about it being addictive!! I know I was very shocked at what happened. As for Nicholas Sparks - I've never got on with any of his books, because I really dislike his sentimentality and habit of making his characters overreact. Have a great week:)).

  7. Great photo of Brooklyn. I'd be totally under the blanket. I enjoyed the Notebook as a movie. Enjoy your hobbies during this more comfortable time of year.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

  8. OMG, you made me cackled with your comments on The Notebook. Scariest book. I never read a Sparks book, but I did see the film. I enjoyed it. That murder book sounds devastating. Such a sad story. I read Flowers in the Attic when I was too young to be reading it. Teen me should have known better. I hear myself echoing Brooklyn's comments often. Why are people so rude on the internet? They should keep their nasty to themselves, and this has me circling back to Brooklyn's comment.

  9. Love the photo of Brooklyn. I saw the movie The Notebook years ago. It was okay. I can't remember if I read the book or not. I guess that says it all if I can't remember :) Hope you have a great week!

  10. Ha at Brooklyn! Love it!

    And welcome to the club! I picked that book up from my aunt's bookshelf while we were visiting one weekend and...was forever traumatized. LOL.

  11. Mary seems nice

    "tired of people" lol

    I remember growing up those Andrews books werre like taboo or something. It was a huge deal to have read them

  12. I'm surprised and sorry that people are leaving mean comments on Pinterest. I always enjoy your posts!

  13. The "Notebook" was one of a half dozen books (and the only fiction) that I read after my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's so while I got into it differently, I would also agree with your viewpoint. After the Eclipse sounds good.

  14. This post made me laugh out loud. I remember being obsessed with Flowers in the Attic when I read it in high school.

  15. I'm laughing at your Disney meme. That's classic.

  16. After the Eclipse sounds excellent, but not sure I could read it because of what it's about. Now, Flowers in the Attic, I read in high school. I still can't believe what my father let me read in those years. I actually read most of the series. Those books are super disturbing, and I doubt I would want to read them now.

    Brooklyn is adorable. We all get sick of people sometimes. Followers leave mean comments on your pins? Really? That is so infantile.

    Thanks for sharing your week. Hope you enjoy your reading.

  17. Oh, Sweet Brooklyn - haven't we all been here before?
    So crazy for people to leave mean, hateful comments. But the dark reading might look a bit on the psycho scale. LOL. I like to do most of my dark reading in October.
    Have a good week and Happy Reading!

  18. Two novels perfect for the Scary Season? Yes. But would I read The Notebook? No way! Flowers in the Attic? No way in heck!

    I'm with Brooklyn today. After trips to Italy, Chicago, and Big Sandy twice in the last few months---I'm ready for some good solid alone time.

  19. A 4-year-old who announces she is tired of people sounds like my kind of kid! I love it. I'm pretty sure I was about 12 when I read Flowers in the Attic. My parents let me read anything because they just encouraged me to read in general. They probably shouldn't have done that but I don't think I turned out too warped. However, my mother, who reads only romance and a few mysteries, rolls her eyes whenever I give her a book recommendation. Hope you have a great week.

  20. I've never read Flowers in the Attic and feel that I can go the rest of my life with that being true. "Disturbing" is not a characteristic I look for in my reading. Real life is disturbing enough. Yay for Brooklyn! Sometimes people are hard to be around. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  21. Ha! That's the look of someone who is tired of people. What a great photo of Brooklyn.

    I knew there were things like in the Disney cartoons, but I certainly hadn't notice that one. Funny!

  22. Lol, aww poor Brooklyn. I always feel the same by the end of the work week.

  23. I read Flowers in the Attic when I was a teenager, and I think you summed it up pretty perfectly. It is so insane, but you can't help but keep reading!

  24. I love the overall story of The Notebook, both the movie and the book, but I can understand your viewpoint. I see disability being misrepresented in books and movies quite often. As someone with a disability, it does bother me. I hope your week is a good one. :)

  25. The Notebook eh? Too high a sap meter - it sounds like. I think the movie trailer turned me away pretty quickly. i must be dead too.