Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Reviews

For both of these books I used my Audible subscription to listen to them. I didn't pay very much. In fact, since I have recently signed up for Amazon Prime I got the second book free! I had never heard of either of them. And chose to listen to them for different reasons. The first book Slouching Towards Bethlehem, by Joan Didion, was about California in the 1960's. I finished high school in the late 1960's. 1969 to be exact. And though I lived in Kansas I remember hearing about many of the things she wrote about in her book. 

The book is a collection of essays. I think she writes with much of the feeling of many of those who were living in California at the time felt. There was much to be said about the whole Haight-Ashbury and it's counter culture which was how those times will always be remembered. She didn't spare details about the 'acid-laced' people she was writing about. I loved the essay about John Wayne. And the one about Howard Hughes was interesting. There was a story about her celebrating her daughter's first birthday that was touching. (I later discovered this daughter, her only child, died  young at nearly the same time her husband died of a heart attack.) According to Wikipedia she is known as a literary journalist who explores America's disintegration of morals and cultural chaos. I will admit I had never heard of her. I will give this book *** stars. It was decent.

I didn't know anything at all about this next book. I downloaded it without knowing what it was about. I knew it was free. And Audible books are expensive. This book is about
hoarding. And it is GOOD. And kind of 'cringe-worthy'. The author's parents are hoarders. Most especially her father. But her mother became a compulsive shopper in defense of not being about to change her husband. And the author describes how she grew up. My mom was a hoarder. Not so much do I remember things being horrible growing up but I do remember the house she was living in when she was moved to the nursing home. And it was bad! Really, really bad. I can relate to the parts about the author trying to help clean up. I often went to my mom's house to try to clean up. Only to find it bad again the next time I went. My step-father was a hoarder too. And together they lived in filth. Rest their souls now. I found the show on A & E years ago, Hoarders, and I binge watched until I just couldn't watch anymore. (My son has jokingly (well, I think it's a joke) called me a Hoarder). You can still see all the floors in my home. And there are not piles of junk everywhere. But I have too much stuff. This book might just make me want to start cleaning it out. If you have any interest in hoarding I high recommend this book. I know of other hoarders. It is always a surprise to me when they don't see this in themselves. This book will be given **** stars!  

What are your thoughts?  

21 comments:

  1. I saw that show, Hoarders. Disturbing stuff. It's a coping mechanism of some sort, isn't it?

    There's a documentary about Joan Didion. I think I mentioned that to you already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know it is classified as a mental illness. I'm not sure!

      Delete
  2. Both seem like interesting books; not sure I could read the one about hoarding. Hubby's parents, as you know, were hoarders, especially their later years. Literally there was just a pathway you could walk from room to room. I think reading the book might bring back PTSD from when we were living there trying to sort it all out. Its hard to be a minimalist and have to live in a hoarding situation.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It might be wise to skip that one Betty!

      Delete
  3. I am also an Amazon Prime member and I read a bunch of free books on my Kindle. Love that feature ... that and the free shipping and Amazon free movies.

    I am not much into the counter-culture of the 60s. I graduated in 1965 from high school and from college in 1969 ... so I lived through all of that and have no real interest in reading about it, but I have always been curious about various living conditions and life choices (the good and the bad) so I checked on Amazon and it is free so I downloaded it to my Kindle. I watched the Hoarders show as well and it was like a traffic accident - I couldn't turn away. It made me both sad and inspired. Inspired to declutter and clean up. It was very helpful when I was downsizing my townhouse.

    Thanks for sharing these titles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like reading about these things! Yes, hoarding shows can certainly help you clean out!

      Delete
  4. I'll add Coming Clean to the reading list. I definitely have too much stuff (though like you say, you can still see the floors and you don't have to make your way through little paths). I often read books on simplifying and decluttering. Some are more helpful than others and, of course, getting rid of excess does take time. We don't accumulate overnight and don't clear it out overnight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right about not accumulating it overnight! It's like losing weight!

      Delete
  5. Having graduated h.s. in '68, I'm curious to check out "Slouching." Sure, and I was the antithesis of the Haight-Ashbury scene, but it still sounds interesting!

    I suspect Tom has a leaning towards hoarding, but so far he's kept it to the garage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Richard leaned towards hoarding too. He kept his in neat piles!

      Delete
  6. Both books sound interesting. I LOVE Amazon Prime!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The two books Joan Didion wrote, first about her husband's death, then her daughter's were really good too. I never liked a lot of possessions, my husband, though not a hoarder, had difficulties both parting with stuff and saying no to clients who wanted to give him their useless stuff after he renovated their homes. It's all gone from the house now, some to the dump, some to thrift stores, and some in two sheds here on my property. I hope to be able to deal with them soon. Phew, it is a wonderful feelig, getting rid of stuff!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will look into those two books Inger. Thank you for the recommendations. My husband had trouble parting with stuff too. And now I am having trouble parting with HIS stuff!

      Delete
  8. I've never heard of Joan Didion but she does look familiar. I lived in the Haight Ashbury and really don't need to read about it.

    I amazonprime and have yet to do the music or the books. I'll have to check into it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You probably have stories of your own to tell!

      Delete
  9. Brett introduced me to Hoarders the TV show. Have you seen the Extreme Hoarders version? OY! It got so bad I had to stop watching. I am very organized, and it messed with my head. Watching the show caused me anxiety!

    But maybe I could read about it. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I have seen the show. I can't watch when they start cleaning out the food in the pantries and the refrigerators. Just yukk!!

      Delete
  10. I tried audible once, was suppose to have a free trial type membership, but they ended up charging me, so I called to complain and told them to close the account. I initially thought I might like to listen to books while I walked, but never really got to try it for that. Do you do other things when you're listening to your book? I thought it was kinda pricey...like so much a month? The hoarders thing bothers me so much, only watched once.

    Hope to see you soon. If I don't make it back around, Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    ReplyDelete

I love to hear what you might think. Leave me a comment. I guarantee though that I will delete your comment if you are just here to cause trouble. So tread lightly!