Lindsay's Book Log

I love stories and my library card.

Flat Broke with Two Goats

Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia - Jennifer McGaha

This book is about a family who lived way outside of their means and when the recession hit lost their home. If you want a book with a financial plan on how to deal with the fact that they had a ton of debt and hadn't paid their taxes in years this isn't that book. The author does acknowledge the fact that they messed up, she left all things financial to her husband (I died reading this) and they were living beyond their means. The way that she explains how they got into this situation was really understandable, irresponsible but understandable. After this initial explanation it does turn into a bit of a poor me fest with Jennifer going on a bit of journey of self discovery. To be fair she did have a string of personal loss at the same time they were going through foreclosure. The last chunk of the book goes over the families move into a cabin in the woods, getting chickens and goats and basically the struggles of two non farming people trying to farm. A lot of people took issue with people who were that broke spending as much as they did on farming when they didn't know much about what they were doing. I get it but it didn't bother me.


Overall this book was very readable, and I was curious about what was going to happen next but it wasn't the most amazing thing I've ever read. I'd be interested to read more from McGaha to see how I feel about her writing outside of a memoir since I feel like those can, in some cases, be a little hard use as a judgement on rather or not I like an author.

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly

There are things that I truly loved about this book. This story is so important and interesting. My favorite lines in the book was

As a child, however, I knew so many African Americans working in science, math, and engineering that I thought that’s just what black folks did

It clearly shows how important representation is. I loved the feminism and the fact that we heard about how this story lines up with the civil rights movement and issues in Virginia specifically. That being said the way the story was told left a lot to be desired. There were so many people that came in and out of the story that it was hard to tell if it who was a primary and ancillary characters. The writing was dry and meandering and because it didn't have a strong storyline moving through it I found myself getting lost and my mind wandering. The most exciting part and best written section of the book was the end which is also not surprisingly where the movie focused. I have to say this is one of the cases where I found the movie to be better than the book. Really I feel bad because I wanted to love this book but it just fell flat for me.

The Cruelest Month

The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny

I'm not sure if I was just in a slump or what but the beginning of this book was killing me I was so bored and didn't care. The second half of the book was better but the sub plot seemed odd and a bit slap dash even though it's been set up for three books. I don't know maybe I just wasn't actually in the mood for a cozy mystery.

The Good Daughter

The Good Daughter - Karin Slaughter

I really enjoyed the characters in this and the way the town felt like a real place. I really enjoyed the sister dynamic in this story, as well as how it covered estrangement.


Something I really didn't like is the fact that I feel like all of Karen Slaughters books fall back on the same kind of violence. It starts to feel like she's a bit of a one trick pony in the this sense. Also I had a strong guess as to who did what from early on in this story but I did still really enjoy the book because I felt like the mystery aspect took a back seat to Sam and Charlie and their relationships. I also really liked how Slaughter covered how wrong the assumptions you made as a young adult can be.


Overall yes I enjoyed this book, but it also maybe the only Karen Slaughter book I pick up this year and I'm okay with that.

How to be a Heroine

How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I've Learned from Reading too Much (Vintage Original) - Samantha Ellis

This book is part memoir part literary critique, and over all I found it really interesting despite not having read the vast majority of the books discussed. Samantha Ellis goes on a mission to reassess her childhood heroines and books that she loved. 


I found Ellis' life to be really interesting and while I didn't have the exact same experience of looking for myself in the same books, I was looking for myself or who I could be in other books. I also really enjoyed hearing about her family and upbringing. We don't hear a lot from Iraqi Jews (which isn't super surprising given their history) so hearing from that family view point and how that impacted her was really interesting. 


I think I would have rated this book higher if I had had more experience with the books that she talks. That being said I did leave this book with more books to add to my TBR that I am really interested in reading. 

Modern Romance

Modern Romance - Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg

This book was fine, and interesting but I listened to it on audio and really just didn’t enjoy Ansari’s narration, this may have been in part because I listened to it at 1.6 and I think he got extra chipmunky. Also nothing in this book was actually that new or surprising to me thought maybe that’s because I’ve watched my friends go through dating in the modern world. Personally I’m just glad that I’m one of the few people now a days who met her spouse through work and didn’t have to deal with all the stress of online/tech based dating.


Blankets - Craig Thompson

This graphic novel has had so much hype and I can see, it reads very true to life in a small town and a religious family. Thompson clearly had a story to tell and the passion and intensity of the relationship in this book is something I feel like I saw in other teens relationships in the church when I was that age. This book has a lot of heavy and intense topics in it, and some of them aren’t completely explored which in some ways was very frustrating but I also think that it is accurate to life and the fact that this book is a memoir. That being said though the ending was so rushed I feel like it was done on a huge deadline and didn’t get the attention it deserved.


I would suggest it to people even if they aren’t usually into comics since the art in this book is interesting, while it’s huge it is a very quick read, and it’s a self-contained story. However I don’t think everyone is going to like this. I think my experience with the ultra-Christians and small town mentality helped buoy this story for me in a way that someone without at least one of those experiences may not have the same reaction to this story.


Blindsighted - Karin Slaughter

While I got sucked into this story I figured out who did pretty early on. I enjoyed the setting and relationships between the characters. That being said the premise of why the killer did what he did was super convoluted and meh. This story was super graphic so if that bothers you I’d skip most of Slaughters work.

Trigger Warning

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances - Neil Gaiman

I wasn’t a fan of this. Honestly I really like Neil Gaiman in like pretty much every way except for in his writing, so um that’s a thing. The thing that really kills me is I can’t figure out what doesn’t work for me about his writing, because I like all the elements but when they go together it doesn’t work for me :/  At this point I feel like I’ve tried enough of his adult work to just move on it’s just a bummer because pretty much everyone I know Loves his books.


Hag-Seed - Margaret Atwood

Nothing in this book is surprising because it’s a retelling. However Atwood is skilled and it was done really well. I do think there may have been a lot of underlying commentary about Canadian Politics, based on comments Atwood made regarding the dates in the book, which I missed because I’m not Canadian and didn’t do any research. I really enjoyed this book and the characters but I didn't feel like it went some where new (though the lack of research or being Canadian may have played into that).

The Heart Goes Last

The Heart Goes Last: A Novel - Margaret Atwood

This book is over the top and funny while commenting on the risks of our commercialism and the economic risks we are at. It’s over the top with some things, and if you start this looking for something like The Handmaid’s Tale you are going to be disappointed. I enjoyed the humor and the characters in this book and thought the pacing was good, but I didn't realize this was a serialized novel so I also avoided any disappointment from that end.

Chasing Vermeer

Chasing Vermeer - Blue Balliett

My Art teacher husband bought the third book in the series years ago and in an attempt to get through our tbr shelf I read the first book.  It was fine; if I was in 6th grade I could see how some great educational tie-ins would have really got me into this series. As an adult this isn’t a middle grade book that really grabbed me. The plot sort of gets messy at the end and the who done it is a stretch but I think it’s fine for what it is, but I won’t be picking up the rest. If you want to get your kid into art history I think this could be a great book to make activities around and start that spark. 

Still Life with Tornado

Still Life with Tornado - A.S. King

It has been a long time since I really connected to a book so strongly and so quickly. This book has a delightful amount of magical realism but still has such a real and raw feeling to it that I could really related to and I could see 16 year old me in 16 year old Sarah, I can see my family in Sarah's family. I love the way King slowly brings us in and reveals the layers of the story. I went into this book really blind and I think that maybe the best way to read King's work.  I'm excited to pick up more from her, and I'm so glad that I can finally mark her off of my Authors to read list. 

One Summer

One Summer: America, 1927 - Bill Bryson

This book was really interesting, I had no idea all of these things happened in one summer and how huge and impact a lot these events had. In covering the events of 1927, Bryson discusses events before and after 1927 that have a relevant impact on the story giving us a more complete view of the individuals who played such a large role in our social climate. While I appreciated a more complete view, I found the way this story was written to be a bit disjointed at times and slow. I think that some of the more in depth information wasn’t wrapped into the book well which added to the slow feeling (the section on Fordlandia comes to mind, it’s interesting but feels like it doesn’t belong in the book).


I listened to this on audiobook in two sessions and I think if I had read this book in smaller chunks reading one person’s story then setting it down and coming back to it I think I would have enjoyed this more.

Paper Girls Volume 2

Paper Girls Volume 2 - Brian K. Vaughan

I loved this volume of Paper Girls. I liked that we started finding more about what is going on in this world. The only thing that kept this from being a 5 stars from me is that I still don’t feel like we learned enough. I can’t wait for volume 3 and finding out more but it’s going to be so long before we get it ughhhh.

Julie and Julia

Julie and Julia : 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen - Julie Powell

I listened to this book, found out it was abridged, came home and read the physical book from my TBR shelf. The idea of Julie’s blog, and from that this book, is something that I was really on board for. The actualization of the book though was a bit painful. It is very easy to see how Julie’s blog did well in the digital medium in a time when blogs weren’t as common. Reading the book felt like I was reading a blog which sort of worked for a memoir, but only sort of. I spent a lot of time in this book wanting to shout “GO TO THERAPY!!!” because a lot of the things that she discusses about her personal life are huge red flags, and honestly write the events of her next book “Cleaving” on the wall. The audiobook cuts out a lot of the more personal things about Julie and her friends which both helps because you lose a lot of the Cleaving foreshadowing, but also cuts out some a lot of friendship and New York atmosphere, which is both helpful and harmful to this story. I thought Julie’s friends were some of the best parts of this story but also it gave a book that was supposed to be about cooking and turned it into Sex in (Long Island) City. Also the way she talked about the status of her apartment made me curious as to why anyone ever ate anything from that kitchen. I wanted to like this book, and it flopped really hard for me.

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