GPL Blog

Book Review | Trailed by Kathryn Miles

From the publisher: In May 1996, Julie Williams and Lollie Winans were brutally murdered while backpacking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, adjacent to the world-famous Appalachian Trail. The young women were skilled backcountry leaders and they had met—and fallen in love—the previous summer, while working at a world-renowned outdoor program for women. But despite an extensive joint investigation by the FBI, the Virginia police, and National Park Service experts, the case remained unsolved for years. Trailed is a riveting, eye-opening, and heartbreaking work, offering a braided narrative about two remarkable women who were murdered doing what they most loved, the forensics of this cold case, and the surprising pervasiveness and long shadows cast by violence against women in the backcountry.

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Book Review | Bone Deep: Untangling the Betsy Faria Murder Case by Charles Bosworth Jr. and Joel J. Schwartz

From the publisher: The explosive, first-ever insider’s account of a case that continues to fascinate the public—the shocking wrongful conviction of Russell Faria for his wife’s murder—a gripping read told by New York Times bestselling true crime expert Charles Bosworth Jr. and Joel J. Schwartz, the defense attorney who battled for justice, and ultimately prevailed.

I am not much of a True Crime reader, but something about being in a pandemic has me reading more True Crime than usual. Despite how all facts are already known about the case covered in Bone Deep, I was riveted by the narrative. I personally knew nothing about the case before picking up Bone Deep, although there has apparently been extensive media…

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Book Review | Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing by Lauren Hough

From the publisher: As an adult, Lauren Hough has had many identities: an airman in the U.S. Air Force, a cable guy, a bouncer at a gay club. As a child, however, she had none. Growing up as a member of the infamous cult The Children of God, Hough had her own self robbed from her. The cult took her all over the globe — to Germany, Japan, Texas, Ecuador — but it wasn’t until her mother finally walked away that Lauren understood she could have a life beyond “The Family.”

Along the way, she’s loaded up her car and started over, trading one life for the next. She’s taken pilgrimages to the sights of her youth, been kept in solitary confinement, dated a lot of women, dabbled in drugs, and eventually found herself as what she always wanted to be: a writer. Here, as she sweeps through the underbelly of America–relying…

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Book Review | Boys Enter the House by David B. Nelson

From the publisher: As investigators brought out the bagged remains of several dozen young men from a small Chicago ranch home and paraded them in front of a crowd of TV reporters and spectators, attention quickly turned to the owner of the house. John Gacy was an upstanding citizen, active in local politics and charities, famous for his themed parties and appearances as Pogo the Clown. As public interest grew, victims became footnotes and statistics, lives lost not just to violence, but to history. Through the testimony of siblings, parents, friends, lovers, and other witnesses close to the case, Boys Enter the House retraces the footsteps of these victims as they make their way to the doorstep of the Gacy house itself.

I was a senior in a suburban Chicago high school when the John Wayne Gacy story broke. I…

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Book Review | In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

From the publisher: In the Dream House is Carmen Maria Machado’s engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.

And it’s that struggle that gives the book its original structure: each chapter is driven by its own narrative trope―the haunted house, erotica, the bildungsroman―through which Machado holds the events up to the light and examines them from different angles. She looks back at her religious adolescence, unpacks the stereotype of lesbian…

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Book Review | Believing by Anita Hill

From the publisher: From the woman who gave the landmark testimony against Clarence Thomas as a sexual menace, a new manifesto about the origins and course of gender violence in our society; a combination of memoir, personal accounts, law, and social analysis, and a powerful call to arms from one of our most prominent and poised survivors.

I recently attended a library conference, and Anita Hill was announced as one of the speakers. The Clarence Thomas hearings seem so long ago, and I thought she must be elderly by now, but nope – she is only a few years older than me. She was 35 when she testified about the sexual harassment she dealt with from Thomas…

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Book Review | Rainbow in the Dark by Ronnie James Dio

From the publisher: The long-awaited autobiography by one of heavy metal’s most revered icons, treasured vocalists, and front man for three legendary bands —Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Dio.

Rainbow in the Dark is the autobiography of the late, great metal singer Ronnie James Dio, and covers his early life from his childhood through his long journey to rock & roll success, reaching the top of the music business mountain first with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, again with Black Sabbath, and finally with his own band Dio.

It might seem strange that Dio’s autobiography came out in 2021 when he died of stomach cancer way back in 2010. In the book’s preface, his widow Wendy Dio explains that Ronnie…

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Book Review | Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey

From the Publisher: At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became.

The story of Greek priestess Cassandra isn’t the most well-known of ancient tales. In an effort to woo Cassandra, the god Apollo gave her the gift of clairvoyance, but when Cassandra turned down Apollo’s advances, he turned that gift into a curse: she could see the future, but no one would believe her prophecies. When Natasha Trethewey was a…

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