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American Fire
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land | Monica Hesse
Shocked by a five-month arson spree that left a rural Virginia county reeling, Washington Post reporter Monica Hesse drove down to the desolate county of Accomack to cover the trial of Charlie Smith, who pled guilty to 67 counts of arson. But Charlie wasn't lighting fires alone: his crimes were galvanized by a twisted love story. Over two years of reporting, Hesse uncovered the motives of this troubled addict and his struggling accomplice, girlfriend Tonya Bundick. In depicting the dangerous shift in their passionate relationship, Hesse brilliantly brings to life the once-thriving coastal community and its distressed inhabitants, decimated by a punishing economy and increasingly terrified by a string of fires they could not explain. Incorporating this drama into the long-overlooked history of arson in the United States, American Fire re-creates the anguished nights this quiet county lit up in flames, mesmerizingly evoking a microcosm of rural America--a land half gutted before the fires even began.
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review
cherinium
Pickpick

Intriguing #truecrime. Who knew arson could fix relationships?

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cherinium
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Struggling to find good light for reading while staying at a non-reader's house for pet sitting. Even though, technically the pet is mine (one of my cats lives at my married-but-living-apart husband's house). #thestruggleisreal #currentlyreading #truecrime

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BritanyA
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️: Non Fiction about a messed up love story, erectile dysfunction and arson.

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Megabooks
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Pickpick

This was a great choice for a #BOTMchallenge reread. I fully blame @Cinfhen @Reviewsbylola and @emilyhaldi for my newfound true crime addiction!

C‘mon please Accommack County, #gimmeshelter! So many old, deserted places were burned down by Charlie and Tonya, including the Whispering Pines resort, pictured. It‘s great that no one died, but I really feel for the volunteer firefighters called out night after night during the arson spree. 4⭐️

Mdargusch I 🖤 true crime! This one had me googling and stalking on FB! 3w
emilyhaldi I‘m due for a good true crime read!!! The best! 3w
See All 13 Comments
Megabooks @emilyhaldi Try this one. Cindy recommended it, and I‘m enjoying it. 3w
Megabooks @Mdargusch oooo...find anything juicy?? I‘m not on fb. This is a really fascinating book!! 3w
Cinfhen I just requested a whole slew of new True Crime books from NetGalley 😬 @emilyhaldi @Megabooks so far I‘ve been approved for 3w
Megabooks @Cinfhen Someday I‘m going to get on Net Galley! It sounds fun! (edited) 3w
EadieB @cinfhen @megabooks @emilyhaldi @Mdargusch
I just requested this month from LibraryThing this true crime book to review:
Trace: Who Killed Maria James? by Brown, Rachael
2w
Mdargusch Sounds good @cinched. I‘ll be waiting for your review. 2w
Mdargusch I will be waiting for your review too @EadieB 2w
EadieB @Mdargusch Gotta wait for it to come in the mail so might be awhile! 2w
Reviewsbylola True crime rocks! And could their pictures be any creepier?! Holy hell! 😣 2w
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola I know! I don‘t know which is worse, the Halloween picture or the mugshots? That is some eyeliner!!!! 2w
95 likes2 stack adds13 comments
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mcausten_sister
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The preface already has me excited.

#nonfiction #americanfire

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Megabooks
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#ThrowbackSaturday #HowFarIllGo #botmchallenge #MayMovieMagic

Oh, Emily, Steph, and Lauren, look what I checked out!! This one of my favorite nonfictions from 2017!

The prompt works because of how far we went reading all 60 #botm back then. It was fun. 😁👍🏻😁 Also, how far will these arsonists go! Six fires in one night with only volunteer fire departments. Just the whole story is crazy!

Reviewsbylola Tonya is one crazy bitch! 3w
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola if I could put a truth sticker here, I would! 3w
Cinfhen Was this one of your firsts?!?!!?? Such a crazy story 3w
See All 11 Comments
Megabooks @Cinfhen it was one of my first true crime books! 3w
emilyhaldi I still can‘t believe we were crazy enough to do that challenge 😜 3w
Megabooks @emilyhaldi Lol! I don‘t think I‘d do it again, but I‘m glad I did it once. Kinda like reaching the summit of Everest. 😂😂 3w
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola I had totally forgotten about the “club clothes” store she ran out Charlie‘s shop and that all she wore was panties and a bra to the bar one night!! 😳😳😳 3w
L_auren @emilyhaldi @Megabooks @reviewsbylola I think that was the best year of books of BOTM thankfully!!! But never again! 3w
emilyhaldi So true!!! @L_auren this year or last, I probably would have had to quit the challenge based on the BOTM choices 😜 3w
Megabooks @L_auren @emilyhaldi @Reviewsbylola 16-17 were definitely the best years. I stopped last year because a) the books sucked, and b) the bindings were super cheap! I‘m back to reading more ebooks now, so I don‘t think it‘s worth the expense, even though I like getting packages! 😉 3w
89 likes1 stack add11 comments
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atla
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“To talk about arson is to talk about buildings burning down. To talk about the term ‘pyromania‘ is really to talk about the unfathomable mysteries of the human brain and the human heart: Why do we do things? Why do we want things? What moves us, and stirs us, and why are some people moved by the things that the rest of us find inexplicable or abhorrent?”

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rachelm
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Favorite time of year in the Midwest.

Almost done with this book. As someone who lives in a small town, sooo much of the book rings true for how small town politics and talk work.

kspenmoll It was a great read! 1mo
kspenmoll Magnolias! Gorgeous! 1mo
Mdargusch Interesting that those kind of politics are typical of other small towns. 1mo
42 likes1 stack add3 comments
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rachelm
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My view after doing eight hours of yardwork. Been good for listening to audiobooks though! Making good progress in this one and loving it so far.

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BarbaraBB
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Pickpick

Above all this book for me was look into vanishing American rural communities. It is depressing. The hopeless situation and the couple portrayed, the arsonists who set fire to more than 60 of the 100s of abandoned houses there. Their personal situation seemed about as depressing and hopeless as that of the county they lived in. And then that Tonya.. such a manupulative #BadGirl
Thanks for sending me this one Cindy 😘

#ReadingUSA2019 VA

Cinfhen Glad you enjoyed. Wasn‘t sure if u like nonfiction/true crime. Great review 🤓 2mo
Librarybelle Yes - I appreciated this one more for its look at a socioeconomic decline in a once vibrant area. 2mo
Crazeedi This was a good book 2mo
See All 10 Comments
Mdargusch Perfect choice! She was such a bad girl and why? I actually stalked her on FB after I read this because I was so weirded out by that couple. 2mo
Reviewsbylola Tonya is the perfect choice for this prompt! 2mo
Rachel_nyc I‘m intrigued and adding this to my tbr. 2mo
BarbaraBB @Mdargusch I‘ve been looking for her on FB too, but couldn‘t find her. There probably is no FB in prison (I have no idea)? Such a weird couple indeed. And I somehow feel sorry for Charly! 2mo
Mdargusch It was her old FB where she was trying to sell her clothes. Sorry you couldn‘t find it because it was creepy. 2mo
BarbaraBB @Mdargusch Oh that one! I can imagine it must have been creepy! I love that you‘ve been stalking her! 2mo
emilyhaldi So true, what a depressing decline 😖 2mo
84 likes3 stack adds10 comments
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Kayla.Adriena
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Pickpick

LOVED this book! 5 stars. Sorry too sleepy to expand my review 😪 #lmpbc #Round 4 #GroupL
@Amanda61 heading out today !

Jennick2004 It was so good!!! 3mo
37 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Mitch
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Thank you Eurostar for whisking me off to Paris ( faster than it took to go to Leeds last week! ) and my new favourite bookstore - Shakespeare & Co! I was very restrained ( Mr K was getting fidgety!) and just got 2 books... but now I know how easy and quick it is to get there.....🤣 #bookhaul

TheNerdyProfessor I just visited that bookstore last month. It was remarkable 😍 3mo
TrishB Loved it there ❤️ 3mo
AmyG Fun! 3mo
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Mitch @TheNerdyProfessor it took my breathe away... it was so beautiful. I wasn‘t expecting it to be so lovely 3mo
Mitch @TrishB me too! 3mo
wordzie 🙌 3mo
AlaMich It boggles my mind that you can take a fast train from the UK to France—another freaking country—and we can‘t even get high-speed rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco!😡 3mo
Jee_HookedOnBookz Love love love that bookstore!! I didn't wanna get out!! 😅 3mo
Mitch @Jee_HookedOnBookz I‘d only planned on ‘popping in‘....didn‘t realise how amazing it was going to be...so I‘d not planned enough snacks and distractions for Mr K! 🤣Next time will be different! 3mo
Mitch @AlaMich I know..it does feel funny to be a little over 2 hours away by train.... we left Paris on 3 hours later we were home, unpacked and tucked up in bed. Very civilised way to travel! 3mo
Jee_HookedOnBookz @Mitch I'm hoping I get to visit again too!! Such a beautiful bookstore! Totally transports you to a different world! 3mo
Jee_HookedOnBookz I wish I lived in the UK so I can do the same thing as you did!! 😊❤️❤️ 3mo
98 likes12 comments
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LiteraryLona
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Mehso-so

Interesting delve into a serial arsonist love triangle. 🤪🔥🚒

Reviewsbylola What a nutty couple! 3mo
LiteraryLona Yes! I bet they'd be friends with the parents from "Abducted in Plain Sight." 3mo
7 likes2 comments
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Kayla.Adriena
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"The kind of love that is vaguely crazy and then completely crazy and then collapses in on itself in a way that leaves the participants bewildered and telling very different stories about what actually happened." In this instance the stories shared one essential truth: When this string of fires began, the defendants were in love. By the time they finished, they weren't. " LOVE IT Already

Kayla.Adriena Also what are steak umms? They sound like a dog treat 😂 3mo
laurenslibrary Omg Steak Ums are disgusting. They basically are dog treats. They're literally a slab of some sort of processed beef that has the nerve to call itself steak. 3mo
Crazeedi Steak ums are in the freezer section, thin slices of supposed meat that fry up quick for sandwiches, they are not very good. 3mo
Crazeedi But this book is very good 3mo
Kayla.Adriena @laurenslibrary @crazeedi I'm surprised I've never heard of them! I grew up eating Salisbury steak and frozen turkey slices, stuff like that. Choc full of sodium but cheap 3mo
44 likes5 comments
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
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These two definitely had a #Crazylove and 67 counts of arson to go along with it in Accomack County Virginia... 😳🔥

#LiteraryLove

sk888888 On my TBR! 3mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @sk888888 it‘s good!!! 🔥🔥🔥 3mo
Eggs Brilliant photo 🕯 3mo
See All 8 Comments
Jules7 Crazy. Read it awhile ago. 3mo
wordzie Nice pic 😎 3mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @Eggs thank you 😉🔥 3mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @wordzie thank you 🙃🔥 3mo
101 likes2 stack adds8 comments
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jlondon1963
Mehso-so

This has been on my TBR pile from Book Drop since Aug 2018 finally muddled my way through. The book is about the arson fires 🔥 that occurred from Nov 2012 - April 2013 in Accomack County Virginia. It takes you through the fires to the investigations and finally catching the arsonists and bringing them to court for justice.

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Reviewsbylola
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#loveinadangeroustime

Because what could be more dangerous than lighting fires with your lover?? And what a darling couple to think of on Valentine‘s Day! 😆 🔥 ❤️ 🔥 ❤️

#timbittunes

kspenmoll Great choice!!! 3mo
Crazeedi This book was crazy, but good 3mo
Eggs Yesssss!! Good one! 3mo
Cinfhen Well played 🔥💥🔥 3mo
Mdargusch Good choice! 3mo
120 likes5 comments
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Kayla.Adriena
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Received the last book for #lmpbc #GroupL!! Excellent idea @shellleigh33 putting it in a ziploc, I was worried it woulda been soaked!

@DGRachel @Amanda61

Kayla.Adriena @amanda61 I see the ziploc was your idea and you're a doodler! I included a bookmark for you to color in one of the rounds, can't remember which one 🤔 4mo
Amanda61 @Kayla.Adriena Hey. Sorry. Didn't see this. I did get that bookmark though it honestly never occurred to me to color it for some reason! Lol. Consider it colored now though. 😁 And yeah, Ive had experience with getting books back wet from shipping so ziploc seemed like the easiest solution 4mo
42 likes2 comments
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AbbiJack
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#24B4Monday - my top picks while I ignore the TBR pile of professional development books on my table!

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razmanda
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Pickpick

This was a fascinating look into a rural agricultural community and the five month arson spree that kicked off in November 2012. The arsonists, revealed very early on, are not the full focus of the book, but rather the series of circumstances that left the county in its current state and how that lead, in ways large and small, to the arsons.

23 likes1 stack add
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Librarybelle
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In some ways, this book covers a #BoulevardOfBrokenDreams . An economically deprived community, a community whose popularity from decades ago is still present in the decaying buildings. I liked this book more for the picture of the community rather than the arsonist angle. But, still a compelling read. #MusicalNewYear

Mitch I‘ve had this on my TBR for a while...it‘s moving on up! 4mo
Crazeedi I like this book, it was a very compelling read 4mo
Tamra Such a compelling cover. 4mo
vivastory One of my favorite nonfiction books of last year 4mo
Cinfhen Great pick!!! 4mo
105 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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razmanda
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What a story! I‘m about 75% of the way through the audiobook after a long day trip in the car and I‘m totally engrossed in the narrative of a serial arsonist in a shrinking rural community. The “who” is revealed very early but the why‘s are plentiful and fascinating.

27 likes2 stack adds
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shellleigh33
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Started this for #LMPBC #round4 #groupL. Starting out good so far. @Amanda61

Amanda61 Glad you‘re enjoying it so far!! 🙂 4mo
36 likes1 comment
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DGRachel
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Mehso-so

I had to switch to audio so I could do other things just to get through this book. I didn‘t care for the author‘s writing style, but I did like the way she formatted the story, alternating between history of the county and the arsonists. Much of the tawdry tale made me rage-y, so kudos to the author for accomplishing that. I guess my issue is less the book than the actual crime/criminals which leave me wanting a hot shower to wash the stink off.

DGRachel #LMPBC #groupL @shellleigh33 I‘ll get this out to you tomorrow. 5mo
Reviewsbylola Great picture! 5mo
DGRachel @Reviewsbylola Thanks! I used a stock image background from the Typorama app and the book cover image from Goodreads. 😊 I don‘t actually own matches. 😂 5mo
Crazeedi I liked this book but I see what you're saying 5mo
shellleigh33 Thanks @DGRachel I‘ll be watching for it 5mo
91 likes5 comments
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DGRachel
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#24B42019 check in. I haven‘t finished anything today, but thanks in part to Hoopla, I‘ve made progress in my book club read and this fabulous short story collection. It‘s after midnight in my neck of the woods, so I‘m calling it a night and headed for bed now. 😴😴

TheReadingMermaid No worries I'm sure you'll finish something soon. Great time hun 👍🏻 5mo
Andrew65 Going well! 👏 5mo
98 likes1 stack add2 comments
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DGRachel
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Struggling with this book, but discovered Hoopla has it on audio, so I‘m going to attempt to make some headway in it while doing #audiocrochet and testing out my new yarn bowl. I‘m so far behind on my #temperatureafghan, it‘s not even funny. 😔

LaLecture Omg that‘s the first time I‘ve heard about yarn bowls 😳. I think I need one 😄! 5mo
LazyDays Oh no! I was just going to ask if you finished! You can do it!🎉🎉 5mo
LeahBergen I almost forgot about your afghan! 5mo
See All 8 Comments
VeganCleopatra I didn't like this one either, the audiobook didn't help me. 😬 5mo
DGRachel @LazyDays @LeahBergen My a/c died in June and it was too hot in the house all summer to work on this monster. I couldn‘t stand to have all the weight in my lap and once it cooled off, Life just kind of got in the way. I will finish it, but it‘ll be well into 2019 before I do. 😔 5mo
DGRachel @LaLecture Etsy is a dangerous place. I love mine as it‘s fairly simple, but has a gorgeous glaze. 5mo
DGRachel @VeganCleopatra It‘s for book club so I have to get through it. At least with an audiobook I can do something else at the same time. 😉 5mo
VeganCleopatra Ah yes, I've gotten through many a book simply because an audiobook let me do other things along with it. 5mo
93 likes8 comments
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DGRachel
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Duh. So far, this whole chapter on the research into arson and the psychology of arsonists is just making my blood boil - what a bunch of misogynistic fiddlefaddle. 🤬

Pruzy Yikes, how long ago was that? 1200s? Please don‘t say 1800s! 5mo
DGRachel @Pruzy The first “study” cited with this nonsense was from the 1700s, with a case study in a medical textbook dated 1815. This chapter then moves on from “periods make poor women crazy” to Freud, though, and his theories are just as ridiculous. 5mo
Pruzy @DGRachel We knew that about Freud already though, right? 5mo
See All 18 Comments
DGRachel @Pruzy Sadly, yes. 😉 5mo
dsfisher Yikes, I am sitting close to an angry smart woman who I‘m hoping can get through this chapter without bursting into 🔥 5mo
DGRachel @dsfisher You‘re so rude and lucky I love you. 🤣🤣 5mo
dsfisher Yeah, nice that you love your mom 5mo
LazyDays 😬 5mo
LauraBeth I see your fiddlefaddle and raise you a poppycock 5mo
DGRachel @LauraBeth 🤣🤣 I love you so much! 😘 5mo
Amiable @LauraBeth I see your poppycock and raise you a gobbledygook 5mo
DGRachel @Amiable I see your gobbledygook and raise you a balderdash 5mo
Amiable @DGRachel I see your balderdash and raise you some twaddle 🤔 5mo
DGRachel @Amiable 😂 I fold. 🏳️🏳️ 5mo
Amiable @DGRachel And that's no malarkey! 😀 5mo
DGRachel @Amiable @LauraBeth Thanks for the laughs today! I needed them. 😊 5mo
87 likes18 comments
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TheFunkyBookworm
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Really enjoyed this nonfiction story about a string of arsons committed in a small town. The method of storytelling was interesting bc the author revealed the culprits in the first chapter and then proceeded to tell parallel narratives of the guilty parties and the fire fighters/law enforcement involved until they finally converged when the guilty parties were caught. A little simplistically written, but that fit the themes of the book.
4 ⭐️

104 likes3 stack adds
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TheFunkyBookworm
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My hubbs took me to TWO libraries today and now we are relaxing at home reading.... I‘m just over here living my best life 😍🥰📚

tracey38 Sounds like a great day! 5mo
TheFunkyBookworm @tracey38 yes! It‘s been quite lovely 💜 5mo
JennyM Perfect day! 5mo
84 likes3 comments
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DGRachel
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Hey @Amanda61 - just wanted to let you know that your #LMPBC book arrived today! I am looking forward to it! 😊

Amanda61 Awesome ! Glad it made it there safe! It‘s a really good read! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did 5mo
Crazeedi I enjoyed this book! 5mo
81 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Gaylagal2
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Pickpick

This book was one my top five of the year! Very, very well written and with lots of information that's so easy to follow. Monica Hesse has an amazing winner here!

Thanks again @fourxblessed 😘

Crazeedi I really liked this book too! 6mo
Vreyes Glad u enjoyed it! 5mo
27 likes1 stack add2 comments
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krismlars
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I love reading by the light of a Christmas tree🎄

8 likes1 stack add
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Amanda61
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Pickpick

Running a bit behind on my #LMPBC pick but I should have it in the mail, on its way to @DGRachel tomorrow.

Really, really enjoyed this one! Hope everyone else enjoys it as much as I did.

22 likes1 stack add
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Gaylagal2
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It's starting to snow and I'm bundled up for the night with a great book (s) and the Kidding marathon playing in the background.
This book is so well done and I'm enjoying every page. Thanks again @fourxblessed for this new discovery!

# winterdays

LeslieO My neighbors just got back from visiting relatives in Accomack. I said wait! Have you read this book?? They are reading it now. 6mo
Gaylagal2 Wow, that's awesome! 6mo
LiteraryLona I bought this one today! 5mo
30 likes3 comments
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Amanda61
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My favorite quote from this book so far!! (Really good read by the way).

I'm not sure if this is hysterical or terrifying? Either way, best watch out men. Never know what the unpredictability of female biology might make us do!! 😂

QuietlyLaura Just wow. I rolled my eyes so hard they just fell out of my head! 😒 6mo
14 likes1 comment
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gradcat
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Good luck to all who are participating in 24 before Monday.
This book is a well written one (author is employed by Washington Post) about a series of fires that taxed a rural community‘s resources until the perpetrators were found. So it‘s true crime, for sure, but so much more than that. I highly recommend it.

CoffeeNBooks Welcome to Litsy! 🎉 7mo
gradcat Thank you very much, #CoffeeNBooks...by the way, I love that picture of Mustachio coffee...cute! (edited) 7mo
CoffeeNBooks @gradcat I love that brand of coffee- all their packaging is so creative! Welcome again to Litsy- I hope you love it here. This is a great book community! 📚 7mo
gradcat @CoffeeNBooks I‘m quickly finding that out...about the book community, I mean! 7mo
31 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Coffeymuse
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Woops. Meant to take a break and ended up napping for four hours! Back at it with Mizzou playing in the background. #deweysreadathon

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Coffeymuse
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Late start to #deweysreadathon but here we go!

Julsmarshall Loved this book! 7mo
6 likes1 comment
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Eggs
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A house 🏡...what's left of it! Great book
#TeaserTuesday @SilversReviews

SilversReviews Love it...thanks for playing. 8mo
Eggs @SilversReviews 😊😍 8mo
73 likes2 comments
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Librarybelle
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I found this to be a sad tale of a once vibrant community that has fallen on bad times made worse by arsonists. #MeetMeInTheDark #OctoberXFiles

Cinfhen This was really crazzy 8mo
92 likes1 stack add1 comment
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lhseidel
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As economies change, as landscapes change, nostalgia is the only good America will never stop producing.

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introvertedbooks
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A little late night snack and late night reading on my #kindle. What are you reading? #ereader #ebooks #icecream #birthdaycakeicecream #truecrime

anored Is Halo Top ice cream good? I‘ve been scared to try it. 8mo
introvertedbooks @anored it was good. It was my first time trying it and really enjoyed it. I would make sure you try a flavor you really enjoyed but their birthday cake flavor really tasted like cake batter. 8mo
23 likes2 comments
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DHill
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1. Yes but not often
2. 22:3 fiction
3. True crime
4. Helter Skelter
5. American Fire
#hellothursday

wanderinglynn Thanks for playing! 😀 9mo
SexyCajun Yes. More fiction then non. Love true crime books and podcasts. Last non fiction was David Spade “Almost interesting” (edited) 8mo
31 likes2 comments
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SomedayAlmost
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Pickpick

This truth is stranger than fiction! 5 stars for this thoughtful look at arson, firefighting, the decline of rural towns, & Bonnie & Clyde with a lighter. Part sociology & part true crime, this exploration by a Washington Post reporter kept me fascinated. I appreciated Hesse‘s insights such as “nostalgia is the only good America will never stop producing.” I read it as writing research. #arson #nonfiction #couplesincrime #ruralAmerica

21 likes3 stack adds
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Vreyes
Mehso-so

It was okay. I liked the historical parts of the book and how the author tied everything together and was very descriptive of everyone involved in the case. #reversereadathon

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Vreyes

This book has a lot of history of the town in the beginning. Then jumps to the fires. A bit boring but it‘s still the beginning... on page 35

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Vreyes
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Books I‘ll be reading for Dewey‘s #reversereadathon hoping I can knock out at least two and an audio book

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SomedayAlmost
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Part sociological study, part true crime, & part Bonnie & Clyde warped love story, this book fascinates. Started it to research my possible novella about an arsonist, but loving this well-written book by a veteran reporter!#nonfiction #fascinating #arson

SilversReviews Great photo. 10mo
SomedayAlmost Thanks. Reportedly a pic of firefighters battling one of the arsons described in the book. 10mo
14 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Hrhadrienne

“There‘s radar, gay-dar, and maybe, mur-dar.”

rather_be_reading welcome back to litsy! 📚🎉📚 @LitsyWelcomeWagon 9mo
3 likes1 comment
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Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this book. It‘s journalistic rather than literary in style, which is to be expected. But it has more depth than an article could . It made me want to google news sources from the time.

55 likes1 stack add