On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes by Stephen Browning

On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes by Stephen Browning

I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan which is why On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes caught my eye. The author sets out a series of walks around London, incorporating locations that feature in stories from the canon and incidents in Conan Doyle's life. There are even tidbits about family, friends, and literary contemporaries to Doyle along with the mention of real life individuals and their stories that likely influenced his writing of Sherlock Holmes. It made me want to go to London and follow the walks and suggested side excursions. It also made me want to go back and read some of the stories again and maybe watch some of the adaptations I haven't seen. The appendices were fun too, giving a chronological timeline of the Conan Doyle stories, notable actors to have played Holmes over the years, and an alphabetical Holmes miscellany. My one complaint is that I wish there were more and better photos. I'd love full...
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Wine for Normal People by Elizabeth Schneider

Wine for Normal People by Elizabeth Schneider

Wine for Normal People is such a good book. I enjoy wine — well, some wines — but know very little about it. Wine is complicated, from the color, to the region in which it's grown, to the correct pairing with food, and the temperature at which it's served. I tend to stick with what I know I'll like, but this book has given me a bit of confidence to pick some less safe options. The book is interesting and conversational. We learn how to taste wine, how it's made, how both the winemaker and where the grapes are grown affect that taste. We get a quick tour of wines in both the Old World and New World. The author also gives advice on pairing wine and food, not a list to memorize, but characteristics to take into account. I listened to the audiobook narrated by the author, who also has a podcast by the same name. It felt like a friend...
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Putin’s People by Catherine Belton

Putin’s People by Catherine Belton

Putin's People is a clearly well-researched, possibly slightly biased, history of Putin, the KGB, and Russia from the fall of the Soviet Union to a couple of years ago. This was obviously published before the current war, but you can still see it coming. Honestly, the war is why I picked it up. I don't read much history or politics or economics, but then something happens and I wish I had more background to draw on. I am probably not the best audience for this book. There are tons and tons of people, places, companies, very few of which I'm familiar with. It's a dense book and I won't remember many of the details, but it's also well laid out and at times almost reads like a thriller. The Russia of today isn’t much different from the Russia before 1991 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Not only are the viewpoints, world views, and goals for the most part...
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Death by Unknown Event by Eliza Smith

Death by Unknown Event by Eliza Smith

I had never heard of the Cindy James case before, but Death by Unkown Event, another podcast available on Audible Plus, caught my eye. Cindy James suffered for 8 years, filing multiple reports of harassment and assaults. The podcast takes us through the events in Cindy James' life, and looks at the investigators in her case, her ex-husband, the psychiatrists, neighbors, private detective. It's a devastating story. We see all the theories and options, but at the heart of the case is that everyone failed Cindy. I think that's the writer's point. Regardless of how you see the case, Cindy asked for help again and again. And ended up dead. ...
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The Murder of Robert Wone by AYR Media

The Murder of Robert Wone by AYR Media

I don't usually listen to podcasts - I'm not sure why. The Murder of Robert Wone is available for free on Audible Plus, and it sounded interesting. I honestly wasn't sure what I wanted to listen to, so free and short is as good a reason as any. It turned out to be pretty fascinating. Robert Wone was found stabbed to death in his friends' home in Washington, DC. The podcast was put together well. It took a thorough look at the people involved and evidence found that night and in the following days. I usually read crime fiction, where more often than not, we get a resolution. True crime can be messy like it is here. People may have their suspicions, but proof is sometimes impossible to get. ...
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Strange Frequencies by Peter Bebergal

Strange Frequencies by Peter Bebergal

I picked up Strange Frequencies for RIP's Peril of the Real. When it comes to fiction, I stay in the mystery aisles most of the time. Nonfiction, however, can be about anything. I can't say that I was really interested in the intersection of technology and the supernatural, but I can find most topics interesting and learn fascinating bits and pieces, especially when the writer/speaker presents it well. Bebergal covers a wide variety of topics, from golems to seances to electronic voice phenomena and he does it from the view of maybe a hopeful skeptic. He researches, but he also experiments. He talks about the history around certain devices or myths and contacts, when possible, experts. He also goes to the seance, tags along with the photographer, builds a Tesla radio, uses his dad's old tape recorder. My one complaint is that it jumps from topic to topic. I would have liked there to be more to it, not just...
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