I Choose Darkness: A Holiday Essay
Author: Jenny Lawson
Narrator: Jenny Lawson
Published: September 29, 2022
Audiobook: 38 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Listened To: October 22, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
From cheap costumes to creepy dolls to questionable candy, number one New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson weaves a hauntingly hilarious account of her ongoing—sometimes outrageous—Halloween life.
The holly-jolly holidays aren’t for everyone, least of all when you look back on that one Christmas when there were two definitely haunted dolls waiting for you and your sister under the tree. You have to assume that’s where it all started.
And so it was for Jenny Lawson. Now, she lives in the land of eternal Halloween, as evidenced by her interior decor and general state of darkness. (Although, if you ask her, her taxidermy zoo is less dark, more delightful. But not everyone has taste, so what are you going to do?)
This essay takes Jenny back to where it all started, from her humble beginnings as a trick-or-treater in the 1980s, on high alert for (logistically improbable) candy laced with razor blades and the (allegedly) ever-present threat of satanists on the loose. From there, she has risen from the candy-wrapper ashes of her childhood to claim her rightful lifestyle as the queen of Halloween.
This very short self-described essay popped up for free on my Audible, so I got it. I had no idea who Jenny Lawson is, so I didn’t know what I was in for but was very pleasantly surprised! Halloween is Jenny’s favorite holiday of the year and she reminisces and her childhood Halloween’s. And we must be close to the same age, babies of the 1980’s, because I have so many similar memories as her! From the hideous costumes offered to the fear of razor blades being put in candy: and yes, I remember my parents taking my sister and I to the hospital and our candy being x-rayed! I had a plastic orange pumpkin container that my candy was in. It was most likely done at the hospital that my mom worked at.
I really enjoyed this essay of Jenny’s Halloween memories and she even narrated! She tells it like it is, foul language and all! I am going to have to look up some of her other books she has written and even listen to the audio if she narrates those! She definitely seems to have a new fan to look at her blog!
Fan Fiction: A Mem-Noir: Inspire by True Events
Author: Brent Spiner
Published: October 5, 2021
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
From Brent Spiner, who played the beloved Lieutenant Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, comes an explosive and hilarious autobiographical novel.
Brent Spiner’s explosive and hilarious novel is a personal look at the slightly askew relationship between a celebrity and his fans. If the Coen Brothers were to make a Star Trek movie, involving the complexity of fan obsession and sci-fi, this noir comedy might just be the one.
Set in 1991, just as Star Trek: The Next Generation has rocketed the cast to global fame, the young and impressionable actor Brent Spiner receives a mysterious package and a series of disturbing letters, that take him on a terrifying and bizarre journey that enlists Paramount Security, the LAPD, and even the FBI in putting a stop to the danger that has his life and career hanging in the balance.
Featuring a cast of characters from Patrick Stewart to Levar Burton to Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, to some completely imagined, this is the fictional autobiography that takes readers into the life of Brent Spiner and tells an amazing tale about the trappings of celebrity and the fear he has carried with him his entire life.
Fan Fiction is a zany love letter to a world in which we all participate, the phenomenon of “Fandom.”
What an awesome book! It was fun and littered with Star Trek references that Trekkies all love! Plus, some hilarious 90’s stuff that today’s generation would never understand! There were some places where the story dragged a little, but overall, I had way too much fun reading it. I heard Brent reading in my head! Ok… I also heard Burton’s Dorn’s, and Frakes’s voices and I enjoyed it way too much! If you’re a Trekkie, just trust me, read this book!
Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases
Author: Paul Holes
To Be Published: April 26, 2022
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 1-12, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
From the detective who found The Golden State Killer, a memoir of investigating America’s toughest cold cases and the rewards–and toll–of a life solving crime.
I order another bourbon, neat. This is the drink that will flip the switch. I don’t even know how I got here, to this place, to this point. Something is happening to me lately. I’m drinking too much. My sheets are soaking wet when I wake up from nightmares of decaying corpses. I order another drink and swig it, trying to forget about the latest case I can’t shake.
Crime-solving for me is more complex than the challenge of the hunt, or the process of piecing together a scientific puzzle. The thought of good people suffering drives me, for better or worse, to the point of obsession.
People always ask how I am able to detach from the horrors of my work. Part of it is an innate capacity to compartmentalize; the rest is experience and exposure, and I’ve had plenty of both. But I had always taken pride in the fact that I can keep my feelings locked up to get the job done. It’s only been recently that it feels like all that suppressed darkness is beginning to seep out.
When I look back at my long career, there is a lot I am proud of. I have caught some of the most notorious killers of the twenty-first century and brought justice and closure for their victims and families. I want to tell you about a lifetime solving these cold cases, from Laci Peterson to Jaycee Dugard to the Pittsburg homicides to, yes, my twenty-year-long hunt for the Golden State Killer.
But a deeper question eats at me as I ask myself, at what cost? I have sacrificed relationships, joy—even fatherhood—because the pursuit of evil always came first. Did I make the right choice? It’s something I grapple with every day. Yet as I stand in the spot where a young girl took her last breath, as I look into the eyes of her family, I know that, for me, there has never been a choice. “I don’t know if I can solve your case,” I whisper. “But I promise I will do my best.”
It is a promise I know I can keep.
Unmasked is Paul Holes memoir of his working cold cases in California. He worked some well-known cases, along with the not so well-known cases. He intensely works these cases to the detriment of his family life which we also see.
Holes tells us about his life in such a way that you are truly pulled in and go on these cases with him over the course of his entire career. He paces his story well and at times I had to remind myself that this isn’t a novel, but real life! This was his life in his search for the truly evil people that are out there.
This is also a true crime book, so there are descriptions of crime scenes and bodies given. There were no photos in the arc I was given as there usually are in true crime books. His determination for finding the criminal that would eventually be called The Golden State Killer lasted beyond his entire career. Though he can detach himself to work horrible crimes, he also lost so much in his life.
This memoir is definitely one for true crime fans who will have a hard time putting down as Holes pulls you into his story and brings you along for his life journey.
Unmasked is highly recommended and many thanks to Celadon Press for sending me an arc copy to read and review.[Top]