Organized Crime: An Inside Guide to the World’s Most Successful Industry by Paul Lunde

This book is a good overview of all the organized crime in the world. From reading it I was able to see organized crime really not as a whole bunch of gun-welding bad guys but a somewhat natural response to an organized government. I noticed that with every organized crime there was organized crime that went along with it almost as a response to it.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Find in catalogNeil Gaiman masterfully creates for us a world that is right in front of our eyes and blends reality and mythology together in captivating ways. So it’s the story of an unlikely and unlucky main character who gets thrown into a war like no other: on one side, it’s the myths of yesteryear that were brought here by people from their homelands, and on the other it’s the new gods of the day (such as media and drugs). It’s absolutely incredible, entrancing, and unbelievable all at the same time. I read a lot and with this one book I have been convinced that Neil Gaiman is one of the best modern writers and I will need to read more of his work!

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Find in catalogThe most memorable part of this book is when the author tells this story of being at a social event where she meet this man who preceded to interrupt her to poorly inform her about her own book and how she really must read it in order to gain an expert’s perspective on the top (without knowing it was her book). I like how the author calls out this ridiculous behavior that people sometimes process and inspires others to not take a back seat in their own opinions!

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Find in catalogThe Round House is a coming of age story in the face of the upheaval of the protagonist’s life and family. When a horrible crime is committed against his mother, 13 year old Joe Coutts embarks on a search for understanding, truth, and justice that will forever change his and his family’s life. Louise Erdrich has a beautiful way of transforming a story into an art form and portrays family, history, and culture in an unforgettable way. This was an amazing book; it took my breath away!

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Find in catalogMichelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow has completely changed my mind about how criminal justice has worked and is currently working in the United States, and has opened my eyes to the injustice of continued use of law to force secondary citizenship on individuals, to their suffering and the benefit of others. This book is so well written that the facts stated within speak very clearly for themselves and are undeniable present once observed. Is it possible to have a required reading list for politicians and other law people? If so, this book should be on it.

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

Find in catalogEvery crime drama has to have at least one episode dedicated to the 1950’s psychological thriller written by Patricia Highsmith and the book, much like Hitchcock’s movie, does not disappointment. It’s an entertaining concept for murder, murder for another person- who in turns murders for you. With the two murders barely having a connection but as passengers on a train the motive and thus the murderer will remain a mystery. But as the Hollywood version actually gets right; life is never that simple.

A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Find in catalogAt first intimidated by the dense and complicated fields of science containing the string theory to the unified theory that I knew this book would cover. Though I am happy to report that as I listened all that was present was a great sense of amazement left by a greater understanding and appreciation of the nature of space and time, the role that God and science play in existence, and the history and future of the universe. Please don’t let this book pass any one person by for the same reasons it almost did me!

In the Woods by Tana French

Find in catalogWhen Detective partners Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox are elected to head a murder investigation of a twelve-year-old girl’s death for the Dublin Murder Squad, they’re able to quickly surmise that this case is more complicated than it looks. Twenty years ago when detective Ryan was only a young child, he was discovered alone in the same woods where he and two friends had gone missing and now one has to wonder if this cases could be linked despite their time difference. Guided by faint and long-buried memories, Ryan attempts to solve two difficult cases while keeping it quiet that he is that found boy whose friends were never heard of again.

For the most part I was completely enthralled and captivated by the atmospheric and complex story line, but in the end I found it disappointing in its resolution. I also felt that the characters, while so thoroughly developed weren’t even able to hold true to themselves and left one confused and uncertain of their actions and of how well you actually knew them

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Find in catalogIn the spring of 1992, Christopher McCandless, after finishing a year at Emory University, took off on a road trip that lead him walking into the wilderness of Alaska by himself. Leaving his well-to-do family and devoted sister behind, he remade himself into “Alex Super-Tramp,” a free spirit with morals but no rules he searched for the unknown and unmarked. And when his innocent mistakes take a fatal turn for the worse, Jon Krakauer takes the headlines Chris leaves behind and calls to attention the story behind the fateful adventure, making sure to include not only the mistakes but also the passion and sense of freedom that drove McCandless. Jon Krakauer’s storytelling is luminous and mesmerizing and I felt this once one of those rare and few books that is able to open doors to entirely new perspectives. I first read this book when I was in high school, and while I did enjoy it, I certainly found that the second time through I was able to get even more from the book.

Wild: From lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

WildCheryl really grabs you from the beginning with her boots flying off a cliff on the PCT, and it only gets better from there! She is such a wonderful writer; her descriptive style really takes you there. I kept having flashbacks of backpacking trips with the sun beating me down, damp sleeping bags, and sore feet. Her journey from lost to found is something that people will be able to relate to in a general or specific way. This was one of those rare books that I felt myself grow along with the writer.

Reviewed by Sarah