Show us your Books: February 2019

February 12, 2019
oh, you know, just casually stacking up my books like so.

Happy Show Us Your Books day! I’m off today so I get to actually write this on the day it’s due rather than be smart and cobble it together as I finish each book. Someday I’ll be smart. Today … is not that day.

Gaming wise I pared my Wordscapes habit down to 1x/day – in the morning, after WM goes to work but before I have to start getting ready. It’s a finite block of time and that’s working well. I’m also back on the NYTimes Crossword Puzzles app – WM got me the yearly subscription which scratches the gaming itch PLUS makes me feel smarter. I kill the Monday-Wednesday puzzles, struggle on Thursdays, and usually can’t finish Friday-Saturday without help. Sunday’s a crapshoot.

Now that I got the gaming issue under control, how did the book reading fare? Much better.

8 of 55 books read

Onto the books! I use the Goodreads system to rate books, 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

Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life — Emily Nagoski

Here’s some real talk: I had a very 1980s-era sexual education, consisting of the “period class” in grade school, a terrifying live birth video on one of the cable channels as a tween, high school sex ed taught by awkward gym teachers and Johanna Lindsey books that were smuggled into the cafeteria by others*, and occasional questions answered at home. I had a very small number of sexual partners and fooled around with only a few more than that.

That awkwardness out of the way, this book has a lot of hype surrounding it and I wasn’t sure if it could deliver. I bought the ebook and read it off and on over the course of a month because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t on a deadline to return it. I wish every girl in America could read this book. I am 46 freaking years old and learned things I didn’t know. My biggest takeaway: nonconcordance. Who knew?

Throughout the book, there are fictionalized dialogues with women that are amalgamations** of the many conversations Nagoski had through her studies and classes. And the science is written in a very approachable way for even Liberal Arts majors like me! Nagoski make it clear from the beginning that this book is aimed toward non-transgender women, becuase it dives deeply (ha!) into anatomy.

Five stars. If I had nieces I’d buy copies and put them away for them.

Hope Never Dies (Obama Biden Mysteries #1) — Andrew Shaffer

Barack put an arm around my shoulder. “How you doin’, Joe?”

The speed demon who’d been in my face stared blankly at the president. Then he glanced back at his friend, then to the president again. Barack had a sawed-off shotgun balanced casually on his shoulder.

“Where’d you get the hardware?” I whispered to Barack.

He nodded at the biker clinging to the pool table.

If reading the above makes you roll your eyes and laugh instead of just rolling your eyes, this stupidly fun book will be a good diversion.
It’s a state fair deep-fried candy bar on a stick. You can’t believe you’re consuming this … thing and yet it’s fun and decadent and you’re laughing your ass off that it even exists.

Four stars. It was a NYT Bestseller and the sequel, “Hope Rides Again”, comes out in July.

Homegoing — Yaa Gyasi

Esi and Effia are half-sisters born in Ghana in the 1700s. Effia is given to an Englishman as a bride and lives in wealth in Ghana. Esi is sold into slavery and is shipped to the USA. Homegoing is the wrenching story of their descendants. Effia gets a chapter. Esi gets a chapter. Effia’s son gets a chapter. Esi’s daughter gets a chapter. And so it goes down the two lines until we reach the present day. It’s a hell of a primer on the absolute SHIT HAND that was dealt to Ghanaians due to white meddling. But there are also threads of hope and resiliency. It’s gorgeous and gutwrenching and even though it was HARD for me to read I ran through that book. I was satisifed with the ending, contrived as it was.

Five stars. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse; drugs, kidnapping, just everything. It was a real kick in the ass after the lightness of Hope Never Dies.

My Year with Eleanor — Noelle Hancock

This is one of those “I have tons of money and decide to spend a year doing A THING” books that I lap up like kittens lap up cream. Noelle is a writer at a popular website until she is laid off. Twenty-nine years old and reeling, she sees the Eleanor Roosevelt quote “Do one thing every day that scares you” and says “Okay!” Luckily, she made enough money to have an apartment with no roommates in Manhattan and has a savings account large enough to pay her bills and finance her adventures. She also has a therapist, a loving, long-distance boyfriend, sassy adventurous friends, and parents who have the ability to say “hey honey, we’ve decided to gift you the airline miles to go Kilimanjaro!” Her adventures are interspersed with parallel-ish stories of Eleanor Roosevelt conquering her own fears and challenges.

Two-and-a-half-stars rounded up to three. Its privilege was a real kick-in-the-ass after the gravity of Homegoing.

Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North — Blair Braverman

ARGH! I follow Blair Braverman on Twitter and I love her writing and her dogs and her husband and I’m rooting for her to finish the Iditarod. This is her book about finding herself and living in Alaska and Norway and trying to find what life she was destined to live. Except…

I feel like Braverman wrote one piece of work, the publisher marketed the book as another and I really wanted to read the book the publisher said it was. Easily 85% of this book is stories about the fucked up men of the north (there’s a calendar idea) who Blair had to endure. The stories are well-written and her talent is completely evident but … I didn’t want to read their stories. There are sled dogs on the cover and rapey men in the pages.

Two stars. Trigger warning for rape and rapeiness. I still love Blair and her dogs and her husband and I’m still rooting for her to win the Iditarod.

And yes, that is an Eleanor Roosevelt bookmark.

It’s Up to the Women — Eleanor Roosevelt

I saw this book at the library as part of a display and even though it wasn’t on my TBR list I grabbed it. I thought it was going to be a timely series of essays by my girl ER about women pulling things together in grim political climates. Instead, it was ER’s very first book! It was written in 1933 and is ALL about how women can pull things together in grim political (and economical) times.

She was quite the visionary, with her “let women have jobs!” and “teach your sons to hold and change babies!” attitudes. This book has advice on how to create a budget and how to nutritionally feed your family and how you should be nice to your maids so that they are happier and are better maids.

And sure, Eleanor Roosevelt was never poor so some of her advice seems a bit tone-deaf. But overall the book holds up very well. I’m glad I took a chance on it.

Three stars and a $10 dress can be as pretty as a $100 dress if you style it right! (Actual Depression-era person: who the eff had $10 for a dress in 1933, Eleanor?)

The Bookshop on the Corner — Jenny Colgan

This is another example of publisher cover/title shenanigans, because there is no bookshop on the corner in this book at all. Jenny Colgan wrote the Little Beach Street Bakery books, which I enjoyed. This is her most recent book and I loved it even more!

Nina is a laid-off librarian who decides to buy a van and run a mobile bookstore. She ends up doing just that … in a rural village in Scotland.

THAT MEANS KILTS! I didn’t expect kilts!!!

What I liked best about this book was that instead of Nina having problems that the big, strong, (kilted!!!!) man solves, Nina solves other peoples’ problems. That’s nice in a book like this.

Four stars and I want to be Jenny Colgan’s friend. And KILTS!

Bonus book: The Effects of the Direct Instruction With Computer-Assisted Instructions in Reading for Students with Learning Disabilities — Arlene Dowd.

Bonus book: My Mom’s Masters Thesis from 2002, which I checked out of Rowan’s library last weekend. We had nev

My Mom’s Masters thesis from 2002. I checked it out of Rowan’s library this weekend because we had never seen it in its final, bound form. DNF – too academic for my poor brain. 😉

Currently Reading: When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon by Joshua Mezrich. Another book that was not on my TBR but was part of a library display.

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

*I learned about the risk of being kidnapped by pirates or angry Scottish clansmen long before I even heard of an STD other than AIDS.
** Crosswords, baby.

January |
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

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  • kristen February 12, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    i own The Bookshop on the Corner – had no idea there was no bookshop on the corner and that there were kilts! obviously i need to read it asap.

    • Kimberly February 17, 2019 at 7:25 pm

      There is nothing like a surprise kilt in a book to make my day!

  • SMD February 12, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    I freaking loved Homegoing. What a tremendous book that still sits in my chest.

    Holy crap I had no idea about the Obama/Biden books. I must read them.

    • Kimberly February 17, 2019 at 7:28 pm

      I learned about Homegoing through the link roundup so thanks to you and Jana!

  • Nancy @ NY Foodie Family February 12, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    I have heard such good things about Homegoing. It’s been on my to read list for awhile. The premise of My year with Eleanor sounds like the kind of book I’d like….but the privilege of the writer kinda ruins it for me. I’ve only read Colgan’s Little Street Bakery but really liked it.

    • Kimberly February 17, 2019 at 7:27 pm

      Nina is a more-pulled-together version of Polly from Little Beach Street Bakery. No puffins in this one though.

  • Jana @ Jana Says February 12, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    Homegoing was AMAZING.

    I did not know about the Obama/Biden books and I am already in love with them.

    • Kimberly February 17, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      That stupid Obama/Biden book was so fun. Obama is a 100% nerd through the whole thing too. Guns and all.

  • Dara February 12, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    I loved Homegoing! I wished it had so many more chapters. The Obama/Biden book sounds hilarious and that first one sounds really interesting!

    • Kimberly February 17, 2019 at 7:21 pm

      Guh Homegoing was so good. I agree – she could have had 2 chapters for each character and I would have lapped it up.

  • Tanya @ A Mindful Migration February 12, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    I had seen the Obama/Biden books but wasn’t sure if they would be fun or stupid. But lordy, we need happy, care-free times so I’m giving them a try. And yes, I had the totally awesome 80s sex education too. And learned the most from steamy books too, which is so, so bad because you know …. not remotely realistic. 😀

    • Kimberly February 17, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      The Obama/Biden book was so incredulously dumb and fun but I never reached the “oh I can’t with this” threshold. I also got a heaping helping of 80s sex education I got from Judy Blume’s Forever.

  • Kay R.D. February 13, 2019 at 8:02 am

    Homegoing has been on my list for a while! Cant wait to get into it.

    • Kimberly February 17, 2019 at 7:17 pm

      Homegoing was so good that it hurt.

  • Michael February 14, 2019 at 10:11 am

    I had no idea there were punny Obama/Biden books. Those sound interesting! I think it’s cool you could even check your mom’s thesis out of a library! Way too academic for me as well, I had to read the title three times!

    • Kimberly February 17, 2019 at 7:14 pm

      I earned good daughter points that day. I also don’t understand a thing she wrote.

  • Alexandra Consolver February 14, 2019 at 11:36 am

    I didn’t love Little Bookshop. I do really want to read Come as You Are though!! I just requested it from the library. Thank you for giving such a candid review. 😉 XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    • Kimberly February 17, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      Come as You are was great. My big takeaway was that if you have the parts, and there is nothing physically wrong with them, whatever they do or do not do is normal.