Show Us Your Books – July Edition

 

Happy Show Us Your Books link-up day! I’ve mostly been re-reading Harry Potter for the zillionth time these last few months, so my list is a little short. As usual, it’s of the “kinda weird nonfiction” genre. Just how I roll!

 

Gulp by Mary Roach

Goodreads * Amazon

Mary Roach’s books are always fun, fascinating, and a little gross. This one focuses on eating and digestion, and while its not my favorite of the author’s books so far (Stiff is easily the best, and I don’t remember much about Packing For Mars.), it was interesting enough and I enjoyed Roach’s clever wordplay that pops up throughout the text. I was bummed that the audiobook isn’t read by the author.

One of the first chapters is about pet food, which is obviously up my alley as a gold star cat lady. I was fascinated to learn that outdoor cats tend to be mousers or birders, but rarely both – they prefer one taste or the other.

This is one that Steph would refer to as “Passed the time just fine” – interesting enough, but not a must-read.

(Library Audiobook)

 

Spoiler Alert: You’re Gonna Die by Korttany Finn and Jacquie Purcell

Goodreads * Amazon

First of all, I find it kind of amusing that I read this while sick and drugged up by a ton of antibiotics. Spoiler alert: I survived.

This book is co-written by a Deputy Coroner and her writer friend, and was inspired by the coroner doing an AMA on a parenting forum. Thanks to that, it’s written as a Q & A, so it’s a good one to pick up when you only have short chunks of time for reading, since you can read one or two answers at a time without feeling like you’re losing track of a storyline.

Here are a few things I found especially interesting. (When I refer to “the author” below, I generally mean Jacquie, the coroner.)

*There is something known as the CSI Effect where jurors are now influenced by things they’ve “learned” from criminal drama shows, even though those aren’t very accurate. For instance, a lot of jurors now believe you need DNA evidence for a conviction because you see that in pretty much every crime show, but it’s really not necessary. They expect cases to be nicely packaged like they are on TV, so they’re hesitant to convict if all of the loose ends don’t tie up in a tidy bow, which just isn’t real life.

*The author worked to change a law in Virginia, which was pretty interesting. In most states, if someone dies long after an assault or abuse, the criminal charges can be changed to homicide. At the time, Virginia’s laws only allowed this to happen up to a year and a day after the original charges, but the author worked to get that limit removed.

I thought this was fascinating because it’s something I’ve never thought about at all. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it. The man who inspired the case had been shot in the back almost 40 years prior, which caused him to become quadriplegic and require a respirator. He eventually died due to a kind of pneumonia that is caused by that respirator use. Since the cause of death was related to his injuries, she worked to have it changed to homicide. On one hand, that seems like SUCH a long time after the injury for the verdict to change. Assuming the shooter was like 20 at the time, he would’ve been 58 when the change occurred. On the other hand, it seems like an assault that damages someone’s quality of life to the extent this did should probably carry the same penalty as homicide, anyway. The topic has been tumbling around in my head since I read that section, though, so I thought I’d share.

*I never knew that jurors are sometimes brought in to determine cause of death (accident/natural/suicide/etc) when the coroner isn’t sure about how to call it.

*The author mentioned that when she has the body of a child in the morgue, she always leaves the lights on for them. I think we tend to think of people in death-heavy professions as being kind of numb to it all, so it was nice to read about her sweet gesture.

This book has an average of 4 stars on Goodreads and the Kindle version is currently only $1.99

 

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Goodreads * Amazon

My library hold on this finally came through, and I was excited to see what all of the buzz was about! The premise is that women suddenly develop the ability to shoot electric currents from their hands, and obviously that has a huge effect on the power dynamic between men and women. The whole book is a metaphor on several levels, and it’s such an interesting look at a lot of systemic things that we might not even notice.

The main part of the book is supposed to be a manuscript submitted by a male author long after this change happened. There are amusing notes from the author’s (female) mentor like (I’m paraphrasing) “It’s cute that you even included male police officers, but do you think the readers will just fetishize them?” One of my favorite passages in the main story is when a character turns on the TV and the female anchor is talking about economic predictions, and the male anchor just “laughs attractively” and says, “Now I don’t understand that kind of thing at all, but I’ll tell you what I do know about: apple bobbing!” (as they transition to a human interest story.)

I LOVED the first half of the book, but the latter half wasn’t as good – maybe due to plot, maybe due to the newness of the concept wearing off. This would be a great book club book, though, because it’s a lot of fun to discuss. I might even reread it eventually to see what else I catch in the text. (SO MANY METAPHORS). If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

That’s it for me this month! Be sure to visit Life According to Steph and Jana Says to see what dozens of other bloggers have been reading lately!

 

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