My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Cover of My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix.This book follows a friendship from its inception, at a middle school roller-rink party, until its end. Abby, the book’s protagonist, is a scholarship student with working poor parents in Creekside, South Carolina. Abby’s best friend, Gretchen, is from a well-heeled Reagan Republican family in Old Village, “the la-di-da part of Mt. Pleasant where all the houses were dignified and either overlooked the water or had enormous yards, and if anyone saw a black person walking down the street who wasn’t Mr. Little, they would pull their Volvo over and ask if he was lost.”

One night, some ordinary high school debauchery goes very wrong, and Gretchen disappears––only to reemerge literally “not herself.” It’s up to Abby to figure out what’s wrong, because nobody else seems to notice, or care, that her friend is changing in new and alarming ways.

This book’s plot progression reminds me of The Witch. As Abby tries to help Gretchen, she’s alienated from all her friends, her friend’s parents, her teachers, her principal, even her own family. This progression is more horrific than the gross and supernatural events that accompany Gretchen’s possession.

I read this book over a couple of days, foregoing work and sleep to finish it. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in horror novels, or anyone who wants to surf the wave of 80s nostalgia. If any of this appeals to you, give this book a try. Hendrix is a gifted writer, and I look forward to seeing more from him in the future.

Starting a Successful Blog…When You Have No Clue! by Gundi Gabrielle

Starting a Successful Blog When You Have No Clue by Gundi GabrielleThis book (more like a long article) allowed me to start this website, so it’s only fair that I review it.

Before I read this book, I thought self-hosting on WordPress was next door to impossible. I tried to get an SSL certificate for another website I own, and was completely adrift. Every “help” page was written in a language that I almost understood, but not quite. Common words were used in a technical way that eluded me, and trying to figure them out just lead to more confusion. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and couldn’t seem to bridge the gap. How could I therefore install WordPress on my own? Gabrielle made the process very easy to follow, and I was able to transfer this site from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress.org site without much trouble.

Ironically, the one issue I did run into was getting an SSL certificate. My hosting provider offered one for free, which I didn’t know. Before you buy any hosting package, I recommend checking to see if your host offers some kind of SSL certificate before you sign up. It’ll save you a headache.

If you already know how to set up a self-hosted WordPress site, then there’s no reason to buy this book. If you want to use one of the many free articles and videos on this topic to get started, then I wouldn’t get this, since it gives you information you can find for free on the web. This book is only a dollar, though, so if you’re looking for one book to get you started, instead of toggling through a million articles online, I would recommend reading this book.

This book only shows you how to set up your website, plus some tips for choosing a theme. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive guide, look elsewhere.