Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eicher

Dead Mountain, Book Journey, Donnie Eichar, Dyatlov Pass, Russia

1959.  Nine excited college students planned to hike the Russian Ural Mountains and reach Ortorten, a challenging trek.  All 9 in the party (7 boys and two girls) were experienced hikers and used to mountain expeditions.  They had trained, and planned, and envisioned victory. The group left on January 27 with plans to communicate once they reached Vizhai which they believed would be around February 12th, but perhaps a little longer.When February 12th came and went, there was no panic. however when February 20th came around a rescue team was sent out to look for the nine hikers.

On February 26th the rescue team found the camp site of the hikers where the tents had been partially torn down and cut open with knives from the inside.  Inside the tent were also the shoes of the hikers.  Tracks could be seen of stocking feet as well as bare feet around the site and the rescue team followed.  As they searched the area all nine of the hikers bodies were found in different states of dress, looking as though they had abandoned the tents in a hurry.  But why?  What would cause this experienced group to venture out into the cold snow without their shoes or jackets?  What would cause them to destroy their tents from the inside?  What were they trying to escape?

While it was believed they died of hypothermia, some of the hikers had extreme injuries, blows to the skull, chest fractures and one was even missing his tongue.

Photo footage and journals found left by the hikers showed that the communication ended on February 2nd.  Yet all of these years later, a solid answer to what happened has never been found.



Book Journey, Dyatlov pass, dead mountain, 1959


Book Journey Dyatlov Pass Incident, 1959, Dead Mountain


Once again I embark on a read that I have no idea about.  I admittedly had never heard about the Dyalov Pass or about this extreme tragedy.  When browsing the audio sale this one caught my eye as I seem to be drawn to unsolved mysteries.  At around 6 1/2 hours of audio listening this was a doable listen.  I tend to like my audio to be around that 6-9 hour mark if I have no relationship with the author or narrator to cause me to invest more time.

Donnie Eichar plays many roles in this audio.  Not only is he the author and narrator, he is also telling the story not as a third person observer – but as first person, as Donnie was part of a team that followed in the tracks of the hikers in 2012, trying to bring in new answers to an old mystery.

I did enjoy this listen.  It was very interesting to learn about the hiking group, listen to parts of their journal and discoveries, and try to piece together what may have happened.

While this book will not give you a full out positive answer as to what did happen, it does go over many theories which Donnie Eichar will tell you why some theories hold merit and others do not.  In the end, Donnie will also give you his thoughts on the mystery that surrounds the Dyalov Pass tragedy.


Other stuff:  A movie is 2013 called Devil’s Pass is about 5 filmmakers who retrace the steps of the 1959 hikers.

You Tube has an Unsolved Mysteries video with good insight and pictures of the hikers:


  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 6 hours and 23 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Release Date: March 18, 2014




Morning Meanderings… Dog Surgery and Audio Anticipation (a CRAZY mix)


Good morning!  Thursday and I imagine many of you are making your plans (if you have not already started) for the big 4th of July weekend!

I mentioned yesterday I was taking Mater to the vet.  He was running a fever and acting like Eeyore walking slowly around with this head down.  No energy.  Turns out he had a lymph node infection in his shoulder and it had to be cut open to drain (yes… you may want to put down your breakfast for a few minutes).  They had him in the office for the day but he is home now, doing well and my job is to place a warm wash cloth over the would area several times a day to keep it open so it can drain.  Due to this, there was no strawberry picking as originally planned.




Dog and owner are doing well this morning.


I did want to talk about audio.  June as you know was audio month and I did not have my normal posts on how awesome audio is and why you all (yes you too Laurel!  ;) ) should give it a try.  However… this little gem on info from crossed my path in email format yesterday and I can not help but share some highly anticipated audio coming in July.

6Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.  Harper Lee!!!!  Yes the author of To KIll A Mockingbird brings in this long anticipated jewel.  Narrated by…. wait for it… wait for it…. Reese Witherspoon!  I am seriously curious about this one. Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014.   Release date 7/14/15




1Armada by Ernest Cline (author of one of my all time favorite audio books Ready Player One).  I have gushed about this one before.  Another gamer type book, save the world, blah blah blah but also narrated by the great Wil Wheaton who is an EXCELLENT narrator.  Also release 7/14/15.  Can not wait!!!





2Circling The Sun by Paula McLain, author of the Paris Wife.  This one is about the British born Kenyan Aviator Beryl Markham, the first woman to successfully cross the Atlantic solo from east to west.  There is  lot more to Beryl than meets the eye, so venture in to this historical treasure.  Released 7/28/15





8 Dexter Is Dead.  I never followed the whole “Dexter ” hype.  My son Brad said it was a crazy good series but I don’t think it is for me.  Anyhoo… Dexter is arrested on charges of murder. He has lost everything – including his wife, his kids, and the loyalty of his sister. Now completely alone, Dexter faces a murder charge (for a crime, ironically, he did not actually commit.  Written and narrated by Jeff Lindsay this is probably one to listen to if you are a fan of the series.  Release date 7/7/15



8Bradstreet Gate catches my eye.  Georgia, Charlie, and Alice each arrive at Harvard with visions of what the future will hold. Then, just before graduation, a classmate is found murdered on campus, they find themselves facing a cruel and unanticipated new reality. Moreover, a professor who has loomed large in their lives is suspected of the crime. Though his guilt or innocence remains uncertain, the unsettling questions raised by the case force the three friends to take a deeper look at their tangled relationship.    Sounds good to me!  Release date is 7/7/15



There are more on the list that you of course can check out for yourself.  For new audible users, your first audio book is free so take a peek if you have not tried audible before.  I have used it for three years and love it.  The audio downloads right to my phone and I have it everywhere I go.  I also like that if I start listening to something I do not enjoy, I can return it to them and they give me my credit back to choose something else.


Today should be a fairly quiet day.   I am running to town this morning to get a few errands done and then working around the house today on a mailing I am working on and the monthly newsletter for the Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library.  I may have a coffee date this morning this will be nice as it is a lovely day to also sit on the deck.


Notes To Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn’t Share In Public by Pamela Ribon

notes to boys, pamela ribson, book journey

Notes To Boys is a memoir of the awkward (occasionally cringe worthy) letters that best-selling author and screen writer Pam Ribon wrote to boys when she was growing up…. some sent (she had a tendency to always make a copy), some not sent… and some she hopes she didn’t send but has a weird feeling that she probably did.

Growing up in a small town in Texas and the internet and cell phones still a long way off, Pam spent time writing letters, LONG deep, and teen angst letters that now – years later she share. Pam laughs at herself, filling in the gaps behind the letters, and adds laugh out loud commentary as she questions this younger version of herself’s motives.

Now married with a child, Pam finds “Young Pam” to be at times a little sad, but mostly a strong boy crazy gal struggling to find who she is and who she will be.




To give my thoughts on this particular audio book I think I need to break it down.

Why I listened to this audiobook:  I enjoy memoirs that are read by the author.  While I admit I had not heard of Pam Ribon (remember at times I do feel like I live under a rock), I thought the synopsis of this one sounded interesting.  After listening to the audible sample, I enjoyed Pam’s fast talking fun way of narrating and her occasional cracking herself up.

What I liked:  Pam is a fast talking funny gal.  Impressively so… how she doesn’t stumble on her words sometimes is a wonder. Her stories in most cases are pretty funny. Tiny warning:  occasionally a bit raunchy.  I enjoyed that to “protect the innocent” each of the boys she wrote about had an alias such as “Holly Hunter Boy” (the boy she watched Broadcast News with) and “Super Mario Brothers Boy.”  She has a quick wit and I liked how she would rabbit trail while reading but never to the point that I was lost.

What I didn’t like:  While there are a couple of moments in the book/audio where Pam shares some deeply personal and painful past happenings, it almost doesn’t fit with this style of book.  Her funny moments are so over the top funny that when she switches gears to share something serious it is like a record scratching.  In most cases this works in memoirs and would have if the letters were not so funny and her narration is so over the top fun that the sad parts were a bit “oh… OH… she is serious here.”  I also have to mention the volume of her narration.  At times Pam becomes very loud even shouting and for me, at one point I was listening in the living room after Hubby had gone to bed and I had to keep adjusting the volume lower for when she became loud and turn it up when she spoke softly.  The same thing happened when I was mowing the lawn and had ear buds in – the volume had to be adjusted so I didn’t hurt my ears when she shouted (and she really shouts!)

Overall:  Pam does do a great job at narration and most of the letters are quite funny.  I had to imagine what kind of girl writes long letters to boys and makes copies?  Then I reminded myself that I am the girl who wrote poetry about EVERYTHING (boys included and one about socks too..and placed my poems in photo albums.  (Remember old school photo albums with that sticky top layer?  Yes – those.)  I recommend giving the audio sample a listen.  I think in book format this would come off well, however if this sounds like your kind of listen, even with the volume adjustments, this is a unique listen that reminded me a bit of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 6 hours and 17 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Rare Bird Books
  • Release Date: June 18, 2015




Morning Meanderings… How Is It July?

meme July. Wow. I look at that and it brings me pause.  How is it July? How does the world keep on moving at its normal clippy pace while I seem to have stopped moving…. or maybe not stopped, but definitely a way more sluggish pace like walking through pea soup.

Yesterday my aunt and uncle came over in the morning to see the memorial bench.  In the afternoon a neighbor brought over banana bread.  A sweet book came in the mail from a friend of my mom’s.  And in the evening Justin’s good friend Heather came over and picked me up to take me to another of Justin’s friends who are camping about 40 minutes from here to grill and catch up.  These kids are so awesome.  We laughed and cried together.  After getting lost on the way home I arrived back here around 11 pm… tired but glad I went. It was a crazy emotional and busy day.

Today…. I finished an audio book this morning!  (Yay Sheila!  Way to go!)

I am taking Mater to the vet 5

This afternoon my cousin is picking me up and we are going strawberry picking which I do not think I have done since the kids were young.

This new me is different for sure.  I am way more fragile and protective of my heart.  Little sparks of the old me pop out once in a while but the old and the new … the before and the after me…. are somehow trying to combine into something/someone sort of recognizable but with a whole new meaning of life.

Do not take today for granted.

Morning Meanderings… I REALLY Do Love To Review Books




I was up at 5 am…. woke up and got up.  That’s the way it works these days.  But I could feel I was still tired.  I messed around an my laptop until 6:15 am and went back to bed.  Up at 8:10 am.

This morning as I am doing the routine of wiping down counters, picking up around the house, and thinking about my day; I reach for the latest book I am reading which is in the bed with my big plans to read last night and instead I fell asleep curled up with the book next to me like a teddy bear….

it hit me.

I really do enjoy reviewing books.

Before you all say “Duh, Sheila.  We know.”  ok, maybe not before you say that, but after you say that, it is really true and perhaps even more so than the average reviewer.

For me books form a young age have been an escape from the reality of this world.  Not is a spooky way where I don’t belong of this thing called Earth and I am unaware of reality thinking I live in Narnia or better yet that I attend Hogwarts.  Most days, ok all days I wish there was such a thing as a time turner.

Any hoo….

This crazy little world of Book Journey that started in June of 2009 has become such a great place for me to not only share books and audio, but also to share me.  I can’t even say how possibly therapeutic that has been at times, especially as of late.  I will celebrate my blogiversary which is usually June 9th probably in September.  I like the sound of a 6 1/4 Blogiverary.

This year has been nothing as I had hoped for.  I can easily say it is absolutely the worst time of my life.  Yet…  my son lived in a way that is inspiring to many.  He Looked at each day as an opportunity to have the best time… and he did.  He accepted everyone with no discrimination, he loved unconditionally, he had words – words words…. all over his walls on signs and on his frig.  Words that are now in this house here as surreal as that is.  I love that he loved words…. I love words.

Ok… I am rabbit trailing so I am off to mow the lawn, be in the sun… and try to live a little more each day…. always missing him.

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell

The disaster artist, The Room, Movie, Greg Sesero, Tommy Wiseau

At nineteen, Greg Sestero knew he wanted to be an actor.  Against his mothers better wishes he participated in an acting school in San Fransisco and this is where Greg met the quirky Tommy Wiseau.  Tom had a strange accent, and had a very unique way of doing things and thinking.  He was a huge frustration to all who had to act with him.  Greg however, was memorized by Tommy’s uninhibited ways.. not caring or even acknowledging others opinions.

A friendship developed between Greg and Tommy.  Greg was curious about Tommy’s belief that he would be a famous actor, his avoidance of anything about his past, and apparently a bank account that had no bottom.  As Greg’s career goals start to take off, Tommy still struggles not understanding why his photos he sends out to acting agencies go unanswered.

Then Tommy starts writing his own screen play.  A screen play that eventually Tommy put in over 6 million of his own money into creating throughout a time where many were fired for not agreeing with Tommy’s bizarre vision.  The movie,The Room eventually is finished with crazy plots introduced and not finished, and becomes known as “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon, with Wiseau himself beloved as an oddball celebrity.




Why this audio?  I found this one in an Audible $4.95 sale and thought it sounded interesting.  I had never heard of the movie and after listening to the audio sample (of you must listen to the audio sample and hear how Tommy talks) I was really interested.  Greg Sestero who flawlessly narrates this book, is also the Greg who was with Tommy through all of this so is giving his first hand account.

The craziness of Tommy’s ideas, refusal to change a thing, and how the movie is made and Greg explaining what to watch for in the movie – honestly makes me want to try and watch this movie that sounds painfully ridiculous.  It looks like their are many sites on line that you can stream the full length movie.  (I just watched a think on You Tube called Everything Wrong with the movie The Room in 8 minutes…. I think that is enough of seeing the movie for me).  While the movie looks horrible – the audio was pretty good.

I enjoyed the crazy truth of this non fiction audio. I found that when I wasn’t listening to the audio, I couldn’t wait to get back to see what Tommy would do next.  This is an excellent example of how the truth really is greater than fiction.




  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 38 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • Release Date: May 19, 2014


Morning Meanderings… Book Friends Make Me Smile


Busy whirlwind weekend… lots of business and while it was good things, I am glad to be in the week and keeping it a little less busy.  I didn’t pick up a book all weekend.  A little audio time as I was in the car – especially yesterday from Brainerd to St. Cloud and back to Brainerd and then to Pine River.

Over a weekend a nice gift came my way.  I received a package from Amazon and tried to think if I had ordered anything… nothing I could recall.  When I opened the box it was a book wrapped in a pretty blue paper and when I opened it, it instantly brought tears to my eyes.

book journey


Thank you Patty for the beautiful journal for me to write in.  It is perfect.  I just keep touching it and you can bet I will be putting lots of thoughts in it.

Today we have an author at the library, Lin Enger author of The High Divide.  I am kind of excited about this one and interested in hearing about his book.  Hoping this afternoon will include quiet time on the deck with a book.  I feel like I am sparking a bit more, but prefer to stay as close to home as possible.  Hoping maybe this week I can get out and ride my bike too – something I have not done yet this year.



The Astronaut Wives Club (A True Story) by Lily Koppel

The austronaut wives club, Lily Koppel, Book JOurney, audio

Thank you to my friend Gail for recommending this one to me!  ~Sheila

1959.  We have all heard of the astronauts that have graced our history books… the first man in space, the first on the moon, those who followed, those… who did not make it.

Starting with project Mercury behind each of these original 7 men were 7 women who suddenly found themselves the center of the world’s attention.  What did they eat for breakfast?  How did they raise their children?  What were their greatest fears?  Their greatest triumphs?  It was all a bit much to be under this constant magnifying glass by NASA as well as the public.  These wives were expected to be perfect, look perfect.  After all… they were representing America.

Some of them thrived in the lime light, other worked hard to keep the details of their marriage under wraps.  The world expected nothing but perfection.  This led to the women creating the Astronaut’s Wives Club.  Together the women supported one another as each man went into space.  They were their, first and foremost, when as it happened, that the husband did not come back.

The wives from Project Mercury, The Kennedy Years, Gemini Missions, and finally the Apollo program were women who didn’t sign up for this assignment but they received it any way.  Some eventually divorced, and one, can not handle the great price her husband paid.  All….

had a story to tell.

This audio book was amazing.  It was so interesting to learn about the women behind the names we know.  If you think it is hard to be shot into space… imagine being the wife left back here on earth trying to hold it together while cameras and reporters are everywhere (even in your house) can capture your every emotion.

I really enjoyed listening to this in audio format.  Narrator Orlagh Cassidy is a new narrator to me and perfect for this book.  In fact many times I checked the case to read her name trying to submit it to memory so I can look up what else she narrates.  (For the record, it looks like she narrates many David Baldachi books).  Her smooth voice flowed through this listen, never a flaw.

I highly recommend this book or audio to those who enjoy non fiction history.  The book is like reading a fiction novel, it is not a difficult read at all and I enjoy spending time with these amazing women.

Side note:  I just read that this became a series on ABC, Thursdays 8/7c starting on June 18th.   Might be interesting!

  • Listening Length: 7 hours and 46 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged


Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Unabridged edition (June 18, 2013)

Morning Meanderings… A Place To Contemplate


Half way through the weekend.

Yesterday my cousin came over in the morning and helped me with a little project.  As I had mentioned before, friends had given us a wonderful memorial bench to put in the yard.  I moved it from one tree to another and could not find a place that I liked… a place where I thought I would use it.

Last Sunday while up town I seen our local grocery store had perennials on sale.  I am not very knowledgeable about plants but read their descriptions and picked out some I liked that would bloom at different times between spring and fall.  This is what my cousin and I worked on yesterday…

Book Journey, planting, memorial bench, Minnesota

My cousin Lesli

and then…


and even better… the night view…

PicMonkey Collage


I really like it even though I admit it drives me crazy that I have a need for a memorial bench in our yard… the very yard I grew up in… the yard I have walked and ran and played in since I was three years old and probably walked over this space so many times not having a clue what it would one day have placed on it.


I just don’t know how to do this.


Bookish news… I think I am starting a Shelley Noble book at some point today.  Beach Colors looks promising.  I leave here in a few minutes for a meeting in St Cloud and later on today a birthday party.  I am listening in audio in the car, just started Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania by Erik Larson.  Its a little longer than I like at 13 cds but we will see how it goes today.

How are you spending your Sunday?

Whisper Beach by Shelley Noble

whisper beach, Shelley Noble, Book JOurney

Vanessa “Van” Moran stands right where she left twelve years before.  Having left her home town as a young girl heartbroken, betrayed, and alone, she had vowed she would never come back.

And yet, here she was.

When her cousin’s husband dies in a freak accident, Van comes to pay her respects.  Her plan is to get in and get out as quickly as possible and move on to her true vacation at a fancy resort many miles from Whisper Beach.  Since leaving Van has created a wonderful business in Manhattan that has made her quite successful.  Part of her reason for this brief visit is for everyone to see that she was now established, doing well, and this town had not broken her spirit.

Things never go as planned.

When the woman who helped her all those years ago Dorie, asks Van to stay a few days to help her with some business decisions, Van decided a few days can not hurt.  Her good friend Suze is also staying at Dories and it would be fun to catch up.  As long as Van can avoid the one guy who broke her heart and the girl that stole him away – she will be just fine.  Anyway, she can leave anytime she wants.

As I said, things never go as planned.




I really enjoyed Whisper Beach.  Once again I find myself locked in a beachy read centered around a triangle of old friends working on healing old wounds.  (When you read enough beach reads you really find a pattern).  It didn’t matter.  I liked Van.  I liked that she was successful through everything she went through in her younger years.  She was strong and broken – but not beyond repair…. I can not say the same for others in the book. ;)

Author Shelley Noble flushes out some very real issues with this book and those within.  I found her writing style to be engaging and while some of the characters you meet in Whisper Beach you really would rather not know- I still wouldn’t mind popping in and hanging out at the Blue Crab with Dorie, Van, and Suze…. and oh yeah… Joe.  I think there could easily be more to this story and I for one would be happy to come and visit Whisper Beach again.

Looking for a good read this summer?  Add Whisper Beach to your list.



  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 16, 2015)



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