Reading

Show us your Books: August 2019

August 13, 2019

Does the new theme make up for the fact I’ve been a D- blogger? *grin* I need to tweak the fonts a bit but I like it – it’s simpler and I need that right now. I also created a process in Photoshop that automatically resizes my photos for the blog and I think not having to do that by hand anymore will help me write more because I won’t be dreading photo editing. No presets though, because my life isn’t a washed-out mauve color.

Here is my bleak Goodreads reading challenge status:

Not insurmountable.

I’ll pick up some Chick Tracts and make up the difference. Onto the books! I use the Goodreads rating system which is:

  • One star: did not like it
  • Two stars: it was ok
  • Three stars: liked it
  • Four stars: really liked it
  • Five stars: it was amazing

Evvie Drake Starts Over — Linda Holmes
I have loved Linda Holmes’s writing since her days at Television Without Pity. I cheered when she landed her job at NPR. I follow her on Instagram. I love her dog. And I’ve been waiting for her debut novel since she announced she was writing it. Can a book survive this fangirl hype? YES.

Dean is a pitcher who retires after getting ‘the yips’ — a very real psychological condition where pitchers can’t throw accurately anymore. Evvie is a widow. Both of them have their hangups. Dean moves into Evvie’s attached apartment.

What I liked best about this book is that the adults are adults. They talk about what is bothering them. And there are sentences like this which are beautiful works of art

Shelter bought with death, symphonies bought with broken glass, jars of peanut butter and cans of soup bought with the catered wedding she never should have had.

Evvie Drake Starts Over
I read this during a power outage by the light of battery operated ‘flameless’ candles.

Guh. Four stars, which I equate to a home run!

Daisy Jones and the Six — Taylor Jenkins Reid

In this work of fiction that seemed completely real, Daisy Jones and The Six were huge on the music scene in the 1970s. This book is the chronological tale of their rise and fall, based on interviews with the band members and other involved parties. The oral history format was a little jarring for me at first but it didn’t take long to gel. There is a small narrative twist which, even though I predicted, hit me right in the feels. My favorite characters were Karen – a genuine bad-ass – and Warren, the live-and-let-live drummer.

Four stars! This book was at my local library with a 7-day loan stipulation. I was worried I wouldn’t read it in that short of time. I read it in 2 days. I loved this book and kind of wish the band was real. I would love to hear that music. Instead I’ll go track down some Fleetwood Mac.

Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life — Laura Thompson

This book was a beast and took most of the month for me to finish. I’m not a real Agatha Christie fan, but I thought she lived an interesting life and wanted to read more about it. This book is extremely well researched; however, the author chose to divide the book into thematic chapters and jump back and forth in time. A few lines after Agatha and her first husband marry, we’re told the marriage is doomed. Except we have hundreds of pages ahead detailing the first marriage. So, yay?

Reading the Agatha Christie bio by my ‘pool.’

The author extensively quotes Christie’s works to corroborate what she thought Agatha was feeling through the years which added a lot of heft to this book. By the time Agatha writes a certain book, you’ve seen it quoted dozens of times. That threw off the flow for me. Finally, the author has academic beef with another Christie biographer and spends a lot of words taking down his 20+ year old book and discrediting his source, who is likely very dead. They’re all dead!

Currently reading: The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand, which will likely infuriate me in some way yet I will still be generous with the stars because I’m a sucker for beach books in the summer.

All of my book lists and reviews are on Goodreads.

This a part of the Show us Your Books linkup from Jana Says and Life According to Steph. If you want to read more bloggers gush about the books they’ve read this month, click the button below and have fun!

Life According to Steph

Previously:
2019
January | February | March |April | June | July
2018
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

Life

Show us your Books: July 2019

July 13, 2019

Friends, I feel as if I am having a minor midlife crisis. I’ve completely checked out of my usual life for the summer.

Things I am doing:
Spending time puttering in the garden
Thinking about NEXT year’s garden
Posting Instagram stories about the garden
Doing crossword puzzles
Doing jigsaw puzzles
Mixing fruity cocktails for myself
Listening to music as the dogs run around
Going out and enjoying outdoor summer activities – parades, concerts, beach/boardwalk
Going blonde again

My very tiny carrots and me.

Things I am not doing:
Reading
Blogging

And everything is completely fine. I’m happy and smiley and got a little bit of a tan going, but the last 3 times the SUYB linkup comes around I feel guilty because I’m only dropping in for that these days and not writing about my tan or the garden or the dogs or the fact that WM is refinishing old furniture LIKE A BEAST. Or that we have an aquarium now with EIGHT fish and Harry-the-fish-who-lived has a friend named Fred in his little tank. And then I log into Goodreads and see this:

OOOOOOF.

And omg whoo boy do I feel like a slacker.

Anyway, I’m here now. With the books I’ve read. As always I use the Goodreads ratings scale which is:

  • One star: did not like it
  • Two stars: it was ok
  • Three stars: liked it
  • Four stars: really liked it
  • Five stars: it was amazing

Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

After an interminably long time in the holds list I got this book and … it’s okay? I get that Nick is our romantic lead but I thought he was a complete asshole and could have nipped a LOT of drama in the bud by just talking to Rachel like 2 adults. “Bee Tee Dubs my Gran is SUPER RICH and has ladies in waiting and a giant secret-ish palace.” And Rachel could have done a bit on her part by letting him know what she was experiencing. But this is all on Nick. Despite my griping it was a fun read because of the description of the food and the excess.

Three stars and I bet the movie is more fun.

LOOK MA I’M READING!

The Little Paris Bookshop – Nina George

This was on my list and it was on a table at Barnes and Noble during one of the every-other-weekends that I get paid so I picked it up. Jean Perdu is our heartbroken protagonist. He’s mourning the woman who left him 20 years prior. He has named himself a literary apothecary and owns a bookstore that’s based a boat — his superpower is prescribing just the right book to a person to fit their personality or mood. After opening his heart ever so briefly to a woman in his building, he DRAMATICALLY FLEES on his boat to find himself, to find what happened to his ex-lover, and to find the author of his favorite book. Along the way he picks up male passengers who are also looking for SOMETHING. It was a nice enough escape, but all of the women except one were complete manic pixie dream girls — pixie maniaque filles de rêve since this is a French book.

Trois etoilles.

Evvie Drake Starts Over – Linda Holmes

I’ve been following Linda Holmes and her work since her days of recapping at Television Without Pity. I was so excited about this book that I preordered the Kindle version in February. It arrived as I was 30% through a book about math and statistics. So…just in time.

Evvie Drake is a young widow in a small town in Maine. Dean Tenney is her best friend’s friend – a former major league pitcher who develops “the yips” and ends up retiring in disgrace. Dean needs a place to stay to get out of the limelight. Evvie needs the rent money because her house is too large for just her. And… yeah.

I really liked this book. This is a story about actual adults! Who talk to each other and make mistakes and figure things out and fail and try again! Real people! Evvie and Dean are the anti-Nick-and-Rachel! I finished this book on the train on Tuesday and I sniffled a little that it was over.

FOUR STARS and a giant homerun for a first book.

In Book Limbo:

Given my book goal crisis, do I just take the DNFs on these 2 and move on?

How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking – Jordan Ellenberg
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men – Caroline Criado Pérez

Neither book was bad at all, and I usually am 100% into nonfiction like that but I just couldn’t plow through either of them.

Currently Reading: This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class by — Elizabeth Warren. I have Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls sitting in hard copy on my end table after that.

And thus, I humbly submit my book roundup, 5 days late.

All of my book lists and reviews are on Goodreads.

This a part of the Show us Your Books linkup from Jana Says and Life According to Steph. If you want to read more bloggers gush about the books they’ve read this month, click the button below and have fun!

Life According to Steph

Previously:
2019
January | February | March |April | June | July
2018
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

Reading

Show Us Your Books: June 2019

June 11, 2019

What the hell happened to May, Kim??

Don’t know. It’s funny. I was on a reading TEAR and then got into a new book and…stopped. I kept reading a half-chapter and putting it down. And then I got distracted by life and the garden and yardwork and lovely lunchtime weather and before I knew it I had stopped reading. I went back to dorking on my phone and daydreaming while on the train. I was taking walks at lunch instead of reading. I let two of my holds get returned unread. I didn’t want to read.

yikes!

And then I felt ashamed, and, Readers, I get into these crazy shame spirals where I don’t do THING because I stopped doing THING and for some reason feel unworthy of starting THING again because I will eventually fail at THING. Many verbs and nouns can be substituted for THING. Examples include: reading, blogging, walking, exercising, flossing (!), picking up dog poop daily, breakfasts, and I think you get the picture.

What gets a reader back into reading? The right book.

For my book reviews, I used the Goodreads rating system, which is:

  • One star: did not like it
  • Two stars: it was ok
  • Three stars: liked it
  • Four stars: really liked it
  • Five stars: it was amazing
The dam broke.

Educated — Tara Westover

Deep in my non-reading shame spiral, I deleted 2 emails from the Philadelphia Library saying I had books from my hold list ready to claim. I was 35% into the book I was PLODDING through and I was going to make myself finish that one before starting another one. And then Educated became available. I had been waiting for this one for the better part of a year and I knew if I let it go I’d be eleventy-billionth in line again. I reluctantly put the other book aside and started Educated.

I finished it in ONE AFTERNOON.

This is Tara Westover’s true life story of growing up in a very poor, very religious LDS family in Idaho. Her father was distrustful of public education, so none of the kids went to school. Her parents were distrustful of doctors, so they treated every ailment, from the sniffles to massive injuries, with herbs and oils. As the children aged, two of Tara’s older brothers left home to go to school. Eventually, Tara decided she wanted to give school a shot as well. She studied on her own for the ACT and managed to gain admission to BYU. The more she learned and the more self-actualized she became, the harder it was for her to reconcile her family’s beliefs and intentions.

This book was a hard, harrowing read. It’s chock full of domestic abuse, emotional and physical. There are multiple mental breakdowns because Tara’s journey isn’t an easy, sanitized, and Disney-princess-fied one.

Five stars. One afternoon.

Becoming — Michelle Obama

When Michelle Obama’s Becoming hit the shelves, I bought it for my mother for Christmas because I knew that the time until Christmas + the time it took Mom to read it and for me to borrow it from her would still be < the time it took for me to get this from a library.

This book I took my time with because I didn’t want it to end. I loved Michelle’s stories of her family who selflessly made sure she and her brother had whatever they needed to survive. I loved the stories of her continually pushing herself outside of her comfort zones. I loved the stories about the goofy, optimistic nerd whom she fell in love with and made a life with.

And man I miss having her and her family in the public eye.

Five stars for my fellow rule-follower and box-checker. Believe the hype.

Now isn’t this the most staged book tableau you’ve seen? A real influencer would have turned the towel around but I was too lazy.

The Little Paris Bookshop — Nina George

I bought The Little Paris Bookshop from Barnes and Noble a month ago because I liked the cover. Jean Perdu has a bookshop on a boat in Paris and claims to be a literary apothecary – he asks his customers questions and then prescribes the perfect book(s) to solve their emotional ills.

But of course, our Jean is the illest of all, for he is pining for a love who left him 30 years prior. (his name translates to John Lost in English after all.) After a moment where he allows himself to FINALLY FEEL AGAIN he unmoors his boat and goes on a journey toward healing and such. I should have hated this book with its manic pixie dream “filles” and boorish, self-absorbed men on their grief journeys. But it worked its magic on me in the end.

Three stars and life begins at 50!

Currently reading: Crazy Rich Asians — Kevin Kwan

And that’s it. Three books in one month. But it’s awfully nice to be back. 🙂

All of my book lists and reviews are on Goodreads.

This a part of the Show us Your Books linkup from Jana Says and Life According to Steph. If you want to read more bloggers gush about the books they’ve read this month, click the button below and have fun!

Life According to Steph

Previously:
2019
January | February | March |April | June | July
2018
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December