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Journalism 101

May 11, 2023

I’m not the biggest fan of the news media. In fact, since I got rid of cable TV, I haven’t really watched any news at all. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a good journalist story. Something fast-passed and captivating, usually about something I know nothing about. Then I learn new things, which will make me more prepared for when I’m on Jeopardy (or just for local trivia. Either way.)

If you had asked, I never thought I would have enjoyed a book on fracking. I'm not sure I really even understood what it was. So when this one was recommended, I thought, why not? The first half was really captivating. I didn't want to put the book down. The author explained how fracking works and told about the lives of people in Williston, North Dakota. They’d gone through oil booms before, but nothing like the most recent one. Before you get too excited, know that all booms eventually go bust and the back half of the book walked us through how those busts affect people’s lives. Very interesting read that you can get though ILL, even if there wasn’t always a happy ending.

Whew. I didn’t know if I could read this one or not. I was afraid that I would just be mad the whole time. Basic premise: a founder of a health-care company makes lots of promises about how she can do hundreds of tests on one drop of blood, but never figures out how to actually do it. So…I was mad, but by that point, I was already so engrossed in the story that I had to finish the whole book. It is shocking the things that flew under the radar for so long. I wasn’t aware of Theranos or Elizabeth Homes prior to reading this book, and I think that’s a good thing. But let me tell you, I have since gone YouTube diving and learned so much more. I won’t spoil it for you, but trust me, this one is worth the time. You can also watch The Dropout, on Hulu, based on this book. The library has to soundtrack to listen to.

Sometimes I read books and think, “Yep, these are my people.” This is not one of those people. I’m not good at roughing it. I think everywhere should have indoor plumbing and AC the way the good Lord intended. That said, I found this fascinating. I had no idea that this whole other world of vandwellers, RV enthusiasts, and campers extraordinaire existed. I also enjoyed all the punny names for their vehicles. For example, the author lived in a van named Halen. (Get it? Right?) Anyway, I started this on audio, but for some reason I found it to be pretty depressing. Once I switched to print, I was able to get into the story more. Also, there are some great pics in the book that I was missing in the audio. So check this one in whatever form makes you happy and start learning about this part of 21st century America. 

When I was in college, I chose to not join a sorority. I wasn’t big into the partying/drinking scene and to this day, I’ve never regretted my decision. That said, I found this book captivating, maybe because I didn’t participate in college personally. The author followed two men - one at a hazier, party frat and one at a more respectful fraternity that still managed to get in trouble. The bonding part almost made me wish I’d rushed (almost), but there is no way I would have put up with the hazing. I’m ride or die GDI, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy reading about folks who chose to go a different way.

Ok, that’s what I’ve been reading lately. I thought these were all great reads. If you are looking for something interesting, check any of these out.

Happy journalizing…
:) Amanda

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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.

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