4 Books to Read if You Love Tiger King

Well, it’s official. If Joe Exotic is on this blog, he’s everywhere. Tiger King-fever has swept the globe. Why? What is so fascinating and why is it impossible to look away?

I think it’s because we are all unknowingly obsessed with the very niche sub-genre Nonviolent True Crime. True Crime books are so much fun because they are ABSOLUTELY BANANAS, and they are REAL. But, serial killers are macabre and disturbing. Hence, Joe Exotic. Terrible crimes, low gore, outrageous personality, bingo! Since discovering this genre just over a year ago, I have officially become obsessed. I am always on the lookout for my next true-crime fix.

While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, here are some of my favorites.

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

If the unending spiral of increasingly heinous crimes is what appealed to you about Tiger King, then Bad Blood is the right book for you! Elizabeth Holmes started out well-intentioned, wanting to bring to the world a machine that could run multiple blood tests on just one drop of blood. She raised a ton of money, had elite silicon valley executives on board, and created a state-of-the-art facility. But the machine never worked. The longer you read the more outrageous the lies, deception, and illicit activities get. By the end it all completely bonkers, and I loved every second of it.

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Review: The Library Book

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Genre: Non-Fiction
Maturity Level: 3
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Rating:
⋆⋆⋆⋆

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.

In The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity; brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago.

Along the way, Orlean introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters from libraries past and present—from Mary Foy, who in 1880 at eighteen years old was named the head of the Los Angeles Public Library at a time when men still dominated the role, to Dr. C.J.K. Jones, a pastor, citrus farmer, and polymath known as “The Human Encyclopedia” who roamed the library dispensing information; from Charles Lummis, a wildly eccentric journalist and adventurer who was determined to make the L.A. library one of the best in the world, to the current staff, who do heroic work every day to ensure that their institution remains a vital part of the city it serves.


This book was completely different than I was expecting. Now that I’m re-reading the synopsis I see I can’t blame THAT for misleading me, but for some reason I had it in my head that this was going to be a true-crime book similar to The Orchid Thief. And while there were some elements of that present, that is not the proper way to characterize this book. Instead, this was Orlean’s love-letter to the Los Angeles Public Library.

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Review – The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century

The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson

Genres: True Crime, Non-Fiction
Maturity Level: 5-
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London’s Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin’s obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins–some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin’s, Alfred Russel Wallace, who’d risked everything to gather them–and escaped into the darkness.

Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins? In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man’s relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man’s destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.


This. Book. Was. Nuts! In the very best possible way.

Continue reading “Review – The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century”

Review- Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Bad BloodGenres: Non-fiction, True Crime (?)

Maturity Level: 5-

View on Goodreads

Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers.

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley. 


Honestly, this book wasn’t quite as shocking as I was expecting it to be. Maybe it’s because I don’t know much about business or medicine, so I couldn’t appreciate just how bad the things Tharanos was doing were, but it was all pretty much exactly what I was expecting to read. It wasn’t until the author got involved with the story and Theranos tried to keep things under wraps that I started to get really into it and excited. Continue reading “Review- Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup”