Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Where Is Your Bookmark? (06/10/2014)

The community aspect of book blogging is often what has kept me blogging for as long as I have.  I am just a small fish in a giant ocean of book bloggers, sure, but I am content with that.  I have my circle of friends and acquaintances that I have made through book blogging, and am always open to making new ones.  I have seen bloggers come and go, sometimes quietly, without word.  I learned this weekend through Lisa Munley and Trish Collins of TLC Book Tours that our own Amy Meyer of The House of Seven Tails passed away late last month. My heart is heavy with sadness. I know many of you knew her as well.  She often participated in Diane's First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros. After learning of her death, I went back through the many e-mail exchanges we shared over the past five years, remembering the words of encouragement she gave me during my rough spots, hearing about the difficulties she was facing both health wise and in life, and, of course, sharing in our love for our cats and books.  One area we bonded early on was our fight against child abuse. Amy once worked as an Assistant District Attorney, prosecuting child abuse and neglect cases. I know we will all miss Amy's voice in the book blogging community.  Her enthusiasm for books and her kind heart will always be an inspiration to me.



Not too long ago I talked about triggers, child abuse being one of them.  For me, it is a combination of a couple of factors.  Having a young daughter myself, books about child abuse and neglect impact me on a deeper level than they did before I had a child  The other factor is simply that child abuse and neglect are my business. I hear about it every day.  I prefer not to read about it in my leisure.

So, it was with some reluctance that I agreed to read Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf. A friend twisted my arm though, and so I did.  It was an extremely emotional read for me, both as a mother and from a professional level.  I am not sure it was the best choice of books to read after Sandra Hunter's Losing Touch, another quite emotional read, but in some ways, they balanced each other out.

I have now moved on to Death Angel by Linda Fairstein.  I am determined to read that book I somehow missed reading last year.

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it something you would recommend?




Every Tuesday Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea hosts 
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where  
participants share the first paragraph (or a few) of a 
book they are reading or thinking about reading soon.


Here is the opening paragraph from my recent read  Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf:
When people find out what I do for a living their first question is always about the most horrendous case of child abuse I've encountered.  I can be at a backyard barbecue or at a New Year's Eve party or in the waiting room at the dentist's office, or my husband's baseball game.  You must see so much, they say, shaking their heads, lips pursed in something like empathy, like I was the one who might have endured the beatings, the burns, the torrents of hateful words. Of course I don't share any details about my clients and their families.  So much has been stripped from the children that stagger in and out of my orbit; the very least I can do is honor their privacy.  Come on, people urge, tell me. It's bad, isn't it?  Like I'm dangling some salacious gossip in front of them.  Like I'm keeping mum because I don't want to offend their tender ears, upset their perfectly ordered worlds where all children are touched with gentle hands, spoken to with loving words and tucked warmly into beds with full stomachs.


And the opening of my current book, Death Angel by Laura Fairstein:
"Can you hold up those guys with the body bag, Loo?" I was jogging down the steps from the top of Bethesda Terrace, trying to catch up with Mercer Wallace, when the four cops and two techs from the ME's office passed me on their climb toward the waiting morgue van.

Would you continue reading?






© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

40 comments:

  1. I'm saddened to hear about Amy's passing. Even though I don't know her well, it's always sad to hear about a fellow bookblogger's passing and that the community has lost one great voice.

    I'd be reluctant to read a book about child abuse; I think this is a theme which I'd not touch as compared to the others. For readers who've children it'd make it extra difficult to read, not that it'd be easy for those readers who don't have children.

    Finally, love the kitties pics! So adorable!! :)

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    1. Melody - Yes, they can be difficult books to read. I really liked Little Mercies though and would definitely recommend it, even as difficult it may be to read.

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  2. I can understand why this genre is not your first choice of reading material. I very rarely read it either as whilst I accept the argument that these stories need to be told I generally find them a bit too voyeuristic.

    Reading Off Key which is a debut book from an author local to me, so far I'm enjoying it.

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    1. Tracy - Little Mercies was such a thought provoking book. As reluctant as I was to read it, I am glad I did. It brings up good points and really brings home how any of us could be in similar situations, even if not that same one.

      I am glad you are enjoying Reading Off Key!

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  3. I heard about Amy's death on Facebook and it really made me sad. I knew she struggled with health issues but didn't know she had declined that rapidly. It's made me sad too.

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    1. Kathy - That's where I heard about it too, through Lisa and Trish. It is sad. I had e-mailed her to find out how she was doing when I noticed she hadn't posted since March, but received no response. I hadn't realized either that her health issues had gotten that point.

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  4. appreciate your response regarding the sad news and also the book blogging community - as you say, even a small participant has connxns that matter to one another..
    reading for me is pleasure and relief from real life hard work in social justice areas - I know I won't tackle difficult subjects in my reading time - that would be adding emotional pressure that wouldn't be good self care. Reading needs to be timeout and refreshment for me... For TT and Tues intros -
    Mine's a debut with giveaway

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    1. Faith - Thank you. I wasn't sure whether I should post something, but then I thought how some of you who knew Amy might like to know who hadn't yet heard.

      I actually like tackling more serious or difficult topics when I read sometimes. I like books that make me feel deeply and ask questions of myself and others. In some ways, I find it cathartic. But I understand not everyone feels the same. :-) I also like those time out and escape reads mixed it. I find it's a good balance for me, and helps feed whatever my reading craving is in any given instance.

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  5. I'm so sorry to hear of Amy's death. I appreciate your mention of it. I'm in agreement with you when it comes to subject matter in the books I read for fun. I do like books that make me think, but I can't handle child abuse. It stays in my head and heart and drives me nuts. I appreciate people like you who devote your working hours to the cause.

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  6. The cover on Little Mercies is so pretty! But it sounds like a tough read. I may give it a try, though. I also heard of Amy's passing through Lisa and Trish. I didn't know her, but it is sad.

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    1. Kim - Isn't it? I like it too. I hope you do give it a try. I really enjoyed the book.

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  7. So bad about Amy Meyer. Loss of members from the Blogging community really hurts us.

    Child abuse is very common in India. Laws simply do not work. Lately, minor girls are being gang raped. It is so sickening. As I teach girls, I feel the pain so much more.

    Sometimes I think men are worse than ANIMALS......

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    1. Gautami - Yes, it does. She was such a nice person, and even if I never met her in person, I counted her among my friends.

      It's such a difficult problem to solve. So much of the abuse is hidden, which only makes it worse. The work you do is so important, Gautami, and I imagine you are a great support to those girls.

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  8. Blogging does create a community, and I'm sorry to hear that you've lost a member of your's. I never deliberately read anything about child abuse, so I would probably not read Little Mercies.

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    1. Jenclair - Thank you, Jenclair.

      I understand. I still read books that deal with abuse, but I need to be in a certain mood for them.

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  9. I do remember Amy, of House of Seven Tails, and I'm sad to hear about her passing. I had no idea, however, that she was connected professionally to child abuse cases. I am a retired social worker, and unlike most of my former colleagues, I do enjoy reading fictional stories that touch on these issues. Little Mercies is definitely on my list.

    And I can relate to that excerpt...people often did try to probe into what that inner world was like, almost as if they were gleefully seeking the drama of it.

    Thanks for sharing....and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain - Amy and I talked a little about the stressors in our lines of work. We both understood how stressful it could be at times. I'm sure you do too.

      I hope you do read this one, Laurel-Rain. I really liked Little Mercies and count it among my favorite reads so far this year.

      And yes, I could totally relate to the excerpt too. As a social worker myself, I found myself able to relate to much of what Ellen's character was thinking and feeling.

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  10. I have Little Mercies in my reading queue--there's so much buzz about it and I got a copy at BEA. I admire Linda Fairstein, whom I've met several times at BEA. She is very personable and friendly--not at all jaded by the experiences of her high profile career in the New York DA's office.

    Thanks for visiting my blog--hope you have some lighter reading on the horizon to balance out the serious undertakings.

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    1. Catherine - I am so glad you are going to read Little Mercies! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

      I heard Linda Fairstein speak years ago at a book festival and was really impressed with what she had to say. I enjoy her books quite a bit.

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  11. I definitely agree with you about triggers for child abuse. I wouldn't volunteer to read a book about it. The second book perhaps but I wouldn't read it in one non-stop read.

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    1. Maya - I probably would have read Death Angel in one sitting if I had the chance. :-)

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  12. Ah - I don't think I could read that one…even though the intro did hook me. Don't have the stomach for it…especially since I have young children.

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    1. Sarah - It was an emotional read, but a good one.

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  13. I am so sad to hear about Amy's passing. I didn't know her that well, but she popped by my blog many times and it was always wonderful to read her comments. This is very sad indeed.

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    1. Athira - It really is sad about her passing. She was always so thoughtful and kind in her comments.

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  14. I just finished a book about a child kidnapping and I was VERY nervous to read it. It ended up being a pretty good read but I can understand what you are talking about. I just put the first book of Fairstein's series on hold thanks to you :)

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    1. Samantha - That would be a hard read for me too! I am glad you ended up liking the book you were reading, Sam.

      I hope you enjoy Fairstein's book!

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  15. Very sad about Amy's passing.

    Child abuse is a trigger for many of us and very difficult to read about.

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  16. OMG....this is the first I heard of Amy's passing. I also emailed her when she took long breaks from posting -- how sad. The poor homeless kitties she opened her home too will surely miss her kindness as well. very sad...

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    1. Diane - It is so sad. I hope the cats are well taken care of. :-(

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  17. I had no idea Amy died either. I emailed her when she hadn't posted in awhile, thinking she was having a flare-up or in the hospital, never did I imagine this news. She will be missed! I love the Fairstein series, as she always delivers a great story along with history of NY. I plan to read Heather's book too.

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    1. Nise' - The Fairstein series is a fun one. I've enjoyed it over the years. I hope you like Little Mercies when you read it--it was really good!

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  18. Sorry to hear about Amy's death. I enjoyed her posts. Your books sound a little too dark for me. Hope you enjoy them. Here's Mine

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    1. Paulita - The Little Mercies had a heavy subject matter but was such a hopeful book. I do like dark books though. :-)

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  19. I am sorry about Amy. The community part of book blogging is what keeps me blogging, it's a wonderful thing really. I've met people here that I consider friends, even though we've never met in "real life".
    I don't like to read books about child abuse myself, it's too heavy and sad.
    Aw, the kitties are so cute.

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    1. Naida - I agree, I really like the community aspect of blogging.

      I finally sat down and wrote my review of Little Mercies this morning. It wasn't the easiest book to read emotion-wise, but it was very good.

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  20. Thank you so much for posting about Amy. I was so sad when I read that she had died. She was so sweet and the postiive attitude she maintained even through her hardships was inspiring. I checked in with her when she hadn't blogged for awhile but I never heard back. Very sad.

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    1. Stacy - Same here. I sent her an e-mail to check in with her, but never heard back. She is missed.

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