Sugar (Jane Doe Six Sentence Stories)

“Lighten my load a little.” Kathy extends the laden tray to Torrey. “These red velvet cookie pies are adorable, and don’t tell me you can’t indulge in a little sugar for the holidays.”

Torrey glances up at the mistletoe over her head, then nods her chin across the room. “Eventually Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome has to come this way for a fresh drink, and until then I’ll be right here holding up this doorway. He’s the only sugar I’m after at this party.”

Kapa65
Photo: Kapa65

Every week, Denise at Girlie on the Edge hosts the Six Sentence Stories flash fiction linkup and blog hop. This week’s cue was SUGAR. Fun sixes from other writers are at the link. Come join us! It’s a blast!

The Bonanza King by Gregory Crouch (Book Review)

The Bonanza King: John Mackay and the Battle over the Greatest Riches in the American WestThe Bonanza King: John Mackay and the Battle over the Greatest Riches in the American West by Gregory Crouch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bookshelves: american-history, there’s-gold-in-them-thar-hills, wild-wild-west, made-me-homesick, biography, non-fiction, rags-to-riches

I am one of those weirdos who at least skims the acknowledgment pages of books, hoping to find someone I know. My son, as a university special collections librarian, is in these acknowledgments, so that was the number one selling point. The other was that Virginia City, Nevada, was part of my stomping grounds as a kid. I’ve had good times getting hammered at noon in the Delta Saloon of touristy, modern-day Virginia City. I’ve tramped its surrounding hills and old mine tailings on childhood rock-hunting trips with my grandparents, and gone through some of the old buildings on ghost-hunting expeditions. There’s a lot of fun to be had in Virginia City.

This book is not about rocks or ghosts; it’s a history of the Comstock Lode and a biography of John Mackay, a fabulous rags-to-riches story of an Irish immigrant who journeyed from hawking newspapers on NYC street corners, to toiling through the California Gold Rush, to becoming one of the richest men in the world through honest hard work and innate business savvy. Few deserved it more than Mackay, who remained down-to-earth and likable despite his unimaginable wealth. He stayed at the top by treating his employees well, jealously guarding his good name and reputation, and successfully taking on some notably unscrupuled heavy hitters of the time, including Jay Gould and William Sharon and his notorious Bank Ring. I might have learned more than I’d ever planned to about the science and engineering involved in mining, and I’m okay with that. It was fascinating.

Mary Jane Simpson was AWESOME. I’m talking about the mule, not the newspaper correspondent, although I’m sure she was a very nice person. But this mule!

It’s not an easy-breezey read; I had to renew my library copy twice, and I’m frankly surprised they didn’t email me saying, “You’ve had it long enough. Give it back. Go buy your own.” Which I probably will.

Join me on Goodreads: View all my reviews

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (Book Review)

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBIKillers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once upon a time, the Osage tribe was threatened, massacred, and leveraged out of their own land. They invested the pittance they were paid and invested in more, different and apparently worthless lands in Indian Territory in what is now northeastern Oklahoma, near the end point of the Trail of Tears, buying it and settling in during the 1870’s.

Then somebody struck oil.

And, as one newspaper reporter wrote in 1923, “The Osage Indians are becoming so rich that something will have to be done about it.”

Killers of the Flower Moon is the pull-you-along recounting of the 1920’s “Reign of Terror” in Oklahoma oil country that saw dozens of Osage murdered for their oil headrights, their “underground reservation.” The U.S. government decreed that American Indians were automatically incompetent and therefore incapable of managing their own property, appointing white (naturally) guardians and creating an irresistible opportunity for whites to murder and steal with impunity.

Simultaneously, the book also tells the story of the nascent FBI, its creation under J. Edgar Hoover, and the “cowboy” lawmen who were determined to bring killers to justice – or some kind of justice, anyway.

This is non-fiction that reads like a mystery novel, highly readable and compelling. This story of a shameful part of American history is not to be missed and should be required reading in our schools.

Bookshelves: american-history, native-american-history, bigots-gonna-bigot, journalistic, social-commentary, true-crime, non-fiction

Join me on Goodreads: View all my reviews

Annual (Jane Doe Six Sentence Stories)

“Oh sweetie,” Helen says, wrapping her daughter in a tight hug, “I wish we could do this every month.”
“Once a month?” Becca pulls back. “Dinner it takes a week to cook? Miserable airports and overbooked flights and fighting to get time off and spending money I don’t have to show everybody how much I love them and Uncle Ed’s never-ending fart jokes? I’d like to see you every month, but I think annual is too much even for yearly holidays!”

Skitterphoto
Photo: Skitterphoto

Every week, Girlie on the Edge hosts the Six Sentence Stories flash fiction blog hop. This week’s cue was ANNUAL. (And may I add that doing all of my holiday shopping while never getting off the couch is cause for celebration itself, for people like me who have a pathological dislike of peopling. Just finished mine online–booyah!)