What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

What Happened



When I picked up this book, I wasn’t quite sure how I’d react to it. From what it looked like, it was going to be a pity party about why she lost and where she’d put the blame on everyone else but her.

I also would have preferred Bernie Sanders. Since I’m registered as an independent, I can’t vote in the primaries in my state. However, when it became clear that she was the Democrat nominee, I 100% changed and knew that my vote was for the most competent person running. It was also a vote against Trump as well. Because there was no way I was having a racist, misogynistic, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, rapist asshole as my president. It was also a vote for history, for a woman who knew what she was extremely competent.

Yet, I didn’t think she had a strong platform because I never heard anything about it. It was all about her damn emails. And what you heard about it, it sounded like another four years of the same old, same old. While that sounded like bliss to me, it wasn’t what others wanted. And there was Trump, spouting his racist rhetoric about how all immigrants are rapists, murderers, drug dealers, or terrorists.

What Clinton did in this book was lay out what happened and what her platform was because the news focused on her emails and the circus Trump was running to confuse everyone. It was doable. It had clear solutions rather than grandiose ideas that Trump (and Bernie) spouted off. And while she did some blaming, she explained what was going on for her to say this AND took a whole lot of responsibility.

The end of the book stuck with me the most. It called for empathy. For kindness and loving people. For understanding people even if you don’t agree with them. It was basically the same message of One Nation After Trump, a book that I loved because of that message of spreading empathy rather than hating and shouting at people. And, sadly, people ignore that message. Yet it’s one I stand by and agree with wholeheartedly.

Even if you didn’t vote for her or hate her guts, I highly suggest you read Clinton’s book. It was enlightening and heartfelt down to its core. It almost feels like required reading for everyone who watched the 2016 election happen.

First Lines Friday

Welcome one and all to March. This is crazy that we’re here already. Where did the first two months go??? Although, I think that we say that every time. Time passes so fast.

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.

Deep breath. Feel the air fill my lungs. This is the right thing to do. The country needs to see that our democracy still works, no matter how painful this is. Breathe out. Scream later.

Another short one from me. I think that it’s kind of obvious what this one is, though. Most people have read it already (I’m late to the game as usual) and the first sentences give it away.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

What Happened

I’m not going to go too in depth with this. I’d like to save that for the review, after all. Get into what I thought once I read it. I’ve come to this book with opinions and while not all of them are being destroyed, some are. Either way, the writing is absolutely beautiful and I like the glimpse into what she felt, not her carefully constructed facade.

Let’s start with the end of the world, why don’t we? Get it over with and move on to more interesting things.

Mine is very short this week as well because I think this small paragraph says all there is to know about the world this book takes place in. It’s a world that ends over and over again and now it’s ending again. I think it’s a bit obvious what this book is, as it’s part of a trilogy I wanted to read as part of my 2018 Bookish Goals. So without further ado, I present…

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

TheFifthSeason cover

So, I’m not very far into this, but I’m expecting great things. Everyone who I have ever seen or heard talk about this book says it’s incredible. I’ve heard almost all of the characters are people of color, that there are queer characters, and that there is even a polyamorous relationship. If all of these things are true then I will definitely be into this book. Especially because the concept itself is very interesting. I’m glad I’m not putting it off any longer. 

Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose by Joe Biden

Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose



To me, this book was an explanation. Perhaps an apology, but mainly an explanation about why he chose not to run. And, I don’t have much to say about this book. It’s incredibly well-written and insanely moving. Between bouncing about domestic and foreign problems that came up during this period (2014-2016), it also covers his son’s, Beau, battle with cancer that he eventually lost.

And, yes, I did cry. A few times. And teared up about every single chapter. So, don’t read it in public. Unless you like crying in public, then go for it and don’t let me dictate your life.

What I really loved was how Biden quietly showed just how much he had going on in his life, without it feeling as if he was hammering it into me that it was too much stress and too many hardships that were pressed upon him. He showed exactly why. He weaved in the never-ending Ukraine/Russia problems. The issues with ISIL and trying to get people from the area to work together. The domestic shootings, from the two police officers murdered in their patrol car to the Charleston shooting. And then he covered Beau’s cancer and the progression of that. He explained the difficult things, using them quietly to make the point for exactly why he chose not to run.

An extremely good memoir for a very specific period in his life. I’d highly suggest it.

Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win by Luke Harding

Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win



Yet another book to teach me something about the world! And this one was really good. The only downside is that I thought I should have read a physical copy, not listened to it as an audiobook. A mistake on my part, but it made it hard for me to make connections when I just wanted to scribble all over a book.

I have to say, this book was terrifying. It covers when the USSR was still a thing through to as recently as the book came out in 2017. During that, it meanders down the path of how all of this got out about the Trump campaign working with Russia, Russia’s tactics to get people to work for them through blackmail and how they likely got to Trump, the major players and why they’re important through their history. I mean, it really got down to the brass tacks of the problem to tell me why it matters.

The scariest thing to me is the more that I learn about Russia, the more Soviet it sounds without it being communist anymore. And this story explains why the case for collusion is so strong.

Despite it being a daunting topic, I would recommend this book to anyone. For it being a very dense topic, it was also very accessible and made sure that I understood what was going on in the book. I could connect the dots. I could follow the strands. And it was incredibly worth it to have someone so immersed in the topic lay out the timeline.

Crusade and Jihad: The Thousand-Year War Between the Muslim World and the Global North by William R. Polk

Crusade and Jihad: The Thousand-Year War Between the Muslim World and the Global North



Thanks to Netgalley and Yale University Press for the advanced copy! This did not influence my opinions whatsoever.

First thing’s first. I didn’t technically finish it. I got super close to the end of part three before I decided that, right now, it was enough for me and that I had formulated my opinion very early on. I simply did not need to keep reading the book to find out more.

It’s a very dense book. I mean, it takes you from pre-Islamic history (because you have to get background on exactly why Muhammad’s message was radical) to current times. That’s a lot of history. And since Islam spread globally, that is a lot of countries, areas, and names. It’s dense. It’s difficult. It’s a journey.

And, I couldn’t get through it because I was finding myself confused. That’s not a ding on the book, per say. It’s just that you have to concentrate very hard on it to glean the information, keep names straight, and really understand what was going on. It’s not an easy book. While I wasn’t looking for one, I didn’t expect it to exactly be like this.

The writing was good. Polk assumed that you knew nothing or next to nothing. I think he had great theses and really backed them up with how many examples he gave, not to mention the depth of analysis he was able to draw from his examples.

However, this book is not for a beginner such as myself. This is a book that you should take months to read and absorb. I didn’t have that much time. So, good but a bit too much for me right now.