Book Report vol.11

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

These two books were a part of my Book of the Month membership and have been sitting on my nightstand for months! They kept getting passed over until I finally set a goal to read them both before checking out any more books from the library.

American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life In a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse

This one instantly caught my eye since it's a true story that took place in the Eastern Shore of Virginia, not too far from where I grew up, in 2013. I don't remember hearing about the arsons at the time, but I was also a little caught up in wedding planning then.

Monica Hesse reported on the arsons for The Washington Post while they were happening, but has turned the story into a longer tale in her book. It's not your suspenseful whodunit type of book, since it's pretty clear from the beginning who's setting the fires. Hesse focuses more on the investigation and the effort that went into identifying and catching Charlie Smith and Tonya Bundick. It is interesting from that aspect, but I kept hoping for a thrilling chase and never got one. I guess non-fiction can't always be as heart-thumping as you'd like it to be.

"As economies change, as landscapes change, nostalgia is the only good America will never stop producing. We gorge on it ourselves and pass it down to generations."

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach

This was another book that had me waiting for the big plot twist that never came. It was good and I enjoyed it, but I didn't really relate to the characters that much — even though it is about twin sisters. Overall, it is a good story and the ending isn't how you think it's going to be (or least not what I was thinking) but it's not a book that really stays with you. 

"It's maddeningly painful not to be able to speak with the dead. But maybe what Zelda was trying to tell me is that it's nearly as difficult to speak with the living."

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