Review: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind (2013)

Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Year Release: 2013
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warning: misogyny, suicide

Finally, at long last, I have been granted the ability to listen to this mess of a tale. Enron started off as a natural gas company looking to disrupt the industry which turned into strict trading of energy that led to an energy crisis that endangered and disrupted the lives of millions. There’s much economic and office-political maneuvering to be found within this book.

Fascinating in its deception and complexity, the authors of this account provide fiction-esque portrayals of the key players while keeping in mind the vast losses and far-reaching consequences.

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May 2022 Reading Recap

My May goals were fairly modest: get new glasses, start the process of renewing my passport, and continue working on the revision. I did all that! And I worked out 3-4 times a week, and I feel like things are steadily trucking along. I think I can finally listen to audiobooks again, and I super missed it.

There was an author interview practically every week. Take a look:

June is my birthday month! And my goal there is to catch up on my reading goal (I’m 4 books behind), especially since I’m traveling at the end of the month.

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Review: UNMASKED: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes (2022)

Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Year Release: 2022
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warning: panic attacks, suicide, rape, sexual assault, drug abuse, alcoholism, murder, gore, PTSD

Paul Holes is perhaps best known as the detective who found the Golden State Killer. In this book, he details his life, from how he became obsessed with investigative work through his career solving murders. It’s insightful and deeply empathetic not only of the victims, but of those lives Paul touched, yet ultimately left behind.

A memoir about solving cold cases that outlines both the personal and interpersonal costs associated with trying to get closure for some of the worst that humanity has to offer.

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April 2022 Reading Recap

Where did April go? This month seems to have blown by really fast, and I can’t even articulate exactly why. I didn’t do any traveling, taxes were an exciting, I turned around a short story in what-feels-like a short amount of time, and got a lot of work done on the revision. I’ve also gotten back to tri-weekly workouts which has been really good for my energy levels. A productive month, even if the productivity wasn’t exactly linear.

I did two blog interviews, which you can find here:

In May, I believe there is an author interview every week so get hype for those.

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Book & Show Review: DOPESICK (2018 & 2021)

While watching The Dropout with a good friend of mine, she recommended Dopesick the show to me. Seven episodes in, I found myself so absorbed in the fabricated stories that I wanted to dive immediately into the true story that inspired the acclaimed miniseries. Naturally, I binged it on audible, and then watched Episode 8. So, we’re in for another double review.

For more reads about the Sacklers and the opioid epidemic, I highly recommend the incredibly well-researched and infuriating, Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe.

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Review: UNACCEPTABLE: Privilege, Deceit & the Making of the College Admissions Scandal by Melissa Korn & Jennifer Levitz (2020)

Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Year Release: 2020
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook

Yes. I’m still inhaling everything I can about fraud. Fraudsters did a whole series, including interviews with the authors of this book who did the investigating (the episodes start with 36: Rick Singer Part I). While the series is thorough, I did want to get at it from the source.

The saga of the college admissions scandal is much stranger than even the reports can come out. It’s a story of the desperation to prove oneself and having awfully specific goals that supersede decency. It’s also a scathing condemnation at the ridiculousness that is applying to college for which there is no real solution as long as branding and exclusivity take priority over the quality of education.

A great read if you want to make fun of the ridiculousness of rich people and also get incredibly angry about privilege and gaming systems that already bend towards those who are winning.

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Review: THE ICEPICK SURGEON: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science by Sam Kean (2021)

Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Year Release: 2021
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warnings: slavery, nonconsensual medical experimentation, torture, Nazis

I’ve been on a bit of a fraud kick lately (I highly recommend listening to Fraudsters for the corporate side of things). With the Theranos saga mostly coming to an end, I’ve been hunting for some new scandal to get into. Mentioned in the American Scandal podcast was the story of Annie Dookhan, who inflated her drug sample testing records, this book was listed as the primary source. Naturally, I got into the entire thing.

A collection of stories ranging the full gamut of possible crimes, from sabotage, fraud, murder, war crimes, and nonconsensual medical experimentation that blames the contemporary establishments as much as it condemns the individuals involved.

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March 2022 Reading Recap

March is another month I largely took off because of Futurescapes and traveling to a work convention. In that time, I played a ton of Elden Ring and mostly did a hard reset of my brain. My writing brain has somewhat defrosted and after setting some boundaries on the work I’ll be doing moving forward, I’m hoping my reading brain will defrost a bit as well.

No author interviews this month but there will be plenty in the next few months.

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Review: LAST CALL: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green (2021)

Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Year Release: 2021
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warnings: murder, sexual assault, blood gore, homophobia, racism (n-word used in Chapter 7), police violence, discrimination

I don’t talk about it too often, but I grew in New York City in Chelsea, a short walk’s away from establishments mentioned in this book like Duplex and the historic Stonewall Inn. So, naturally, I picked this one up to learn a little bit about queer history and the history of my neighborhood. Amid the AIDS epidemic, the high murder rate, and city politics of the 80’s and 90’s, the Last Call Killer committed a string of serial murders that went largely un-reported until the release of this book.

Author Green uses the pages within this book to talk about queer culture, attitudes of society at large, and shining a spotlight on the lives lost to a killer who didn’t come to justice until modern technology

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February 2022 Reading Recap

February is a month where I largely took off from writing my own fiction in preparation for Futurescapes this weekend. Like, I dabbled a bit, mostly played video games. Still did some reading. I finally can go back to listening to audiobooks, which is great for my brain buzz.

Here is a round up of my February reads. I got to interview two fabulous authors to kick off the month:

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