Tag - books

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Show us your books: November 2018
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Show us your books: September 2018
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Show us your books: August 2018

Show us your books: November 2018

Life is slipping through my fingers so quickly lately — like I’m trying to hold onto sand. I go to work, I go home, I’m doing things, but by the time I get to the point of the day that I’d blog, I have dogs on my lap or the Surface has no charge or I’m writing Postcards to Voters and … meh. It is what it is.

I have no pics of me reading so here is some of my writing.


With that, let’s commence the 87th jump-start of this blog with this month’s book report, aka Show Us Your Books!

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

Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8) — Terry Pratchett
You know, you read one of my Discworld reviews, you’ve read them all. This series is like a warm blanket and a bowl of Froot Loops. I laughed a lot, I cried a little. Give me a story where unlikely goofballs become heroes, love blossoms in unexpected places, and good triumphs over evil and I’ll fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

Four stars and the dragons live.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History — Megan Mullaly and Nick Offerman
Mullaly and Offerman are the richer, more talented, and raunchier version of WM and me. I love everything they do and fully expected to toss five stars at this book. I’m going to preface this by saying that I am a flawed person who has never written a published book. But I don’t think recording yourselves chatting about any topic and getting it published is the same as writing a book. It was perfectly fine, and parts were funny and parts were interesting. But it’s not even like they each take a chapter. It’s a literal dialogue, with each paragraph prefaced by M: or N: depending on who is talking.

Three stars. Get the audio book instead. I’m sure it’s better that way.

From the Corner of the Oval — Beck Dorey-Stein
It’s another Obama staffer memoir, a coming-of-age (albeit in one’s late 20s) story with a huge side helping of Hope. Beck Dorey-Stein was in DC with no full-time job prospects (but multiple crappy PT jobs) when she answered an ad that turned out to be a job as a stenographer in Barack Obama’s administration. Soon she’s in “The Bubble” — keeping crazy hours, traveling around the world, making better money, etc. But she’s also trying to find herself and what she’s supposed to do with her post-Obama career amidst a chain of questionable relationship decisions. It was funny and gossipy enough that WM was reading over my shoulder on the plane ride back from Disney.

Three stars and I wonder how many condoms the staff used during the 8-year administration….


Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose — Joe Biden

You’ve heard of Joe Biden, lifelong politician and former Veep. You know of his tragic early adulthood, of his wife and 3 little kids being in a car accident, and only his 2 sons surviving. This is his telling of the time when his son, Beau, was living with and dying from brain cancer. Biden was VP, with several important foreign policy crises happening, AND a 2016 presidential bid to consider. We know how it all ended. This story tells you why.

Three stars. Biden wants us to know that he would have been a great President and likely would have won, if he had chosen to run.

White Houses — Amy Bloom
I’m a very big Eleanor Roosevelt fan, and so I was troubled about whether I should check out this book — a fictionalization of her love affair with Lorena “Hick” Hickok. Would it be disrespectful? Or sleazy Eleanor slash fic? But EVERYONE in this book is dead now, so I took the plunge. It’s a lovely and bittersweet, slow moving story of adult forbidden love. Franklin Roosevelt is dead, the funeral is over, and Eleanor and Hick are spending the weekend at a cottage, going through sacks of condolence letters. The story is told by Hick, and the letters remind her of times in her life before Eleanor, and her life with Eleanor.

Hick’s childhood is triggery as all get-out, with abuse and incest/rape and yeesh. But it provides a very good foil for what Eleanor considers to be hard.

Four stars.

Currently reading: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Which I might abandon because I’m not feeling self-helpy right now.

Book reading is slowing down a bit, because I get queasy reading on the train when it’s dark. It only happens this time of year, since the light starts coming back by January.

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

What are you reading?

Previously:
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October

Show us your books: September 2018

I can’t believe it’s this day again. Show Us Your Books Day!

And yes, it’s also 9/11. Seventeen years ago I was an adult and watched the horror on one of the TVs at the Courier-Post while it happened. (And then we went to work putting stories and photos online, because that’s what newspaper people do.) I still look at low-flying planes to gauge if they are flying erratically. But I, me, Kim, speaking for myself, can’t dwell on it every year for the rest of my life. I can recall the pangs of fear and loss and helplessness, and then go on trying to make life as great as I can.

outdoors reading

I will miss this most of all when summer leaves us.

Which includes posting book reviews on the day designated. Which is today.

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

Let’s Talk about Death (over Dinner): An Invitation and Guide to Life’s Most Important Conversation — Michael Hebb

Weird fact about me: I am always interested in books about death and dying. I even have a shelf.

Tired of playing Table Topics? How about hosting a Death Dinner? In this book, Michael Hebb gives tips on how to talk about death. He suggests doing it over dinner, but the questions included in the book are good for discussion anytime, or answering them for yourself.

Death is an inevitable part of life, and a natural consequence of living is having to deal with the deaths of those close to you. Working through the questions with your family and friends will undoubtedly make that easier.

I enjoyed the anecdotes from Hebb’s friends and colleagues as they tackled the questions. It’s a lot to think of.

Four Stars. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Kiss Quotient — Helen Hoang

Stella Lane is super smart, super successful, and super rich. But she’s awful at dating and doesn’t like sex. Stella has Asperger’s Syndrome, which doesn’t make social interactions impossible, just more difficult. Stella hires an escort, Michael, to give her lessons.

THIS BOOK GETS STEAMY. As in, I stopped reading when someone sat next to me on the train. But I really really loved it because it was a different kind of romance. After years of avoiding the genre because I thought I was too snobby for it, I’m enjoying the modern take on romance novels.

I gave this five stars on Goodreads because I was all YEAH immediately after reading. It’s probably a four-star book, but I feel bad taking stars away on Goodreads after the fact. Especially when the author is active on Goodreads.

Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties — Camille Pagán

Maggie Harris is 53 years old with two adult children, an unnecessary part time job, and a good marriage with her attorney-husband. Who suddenly ends their marriage because of someone else. In dealing with all of that mess, Maggie realizes that she lost herself to her family years ago. She decides to build a new life for herself, taking all sorts of chances along the way.

Four Stars. I was rooting for Maggie the entire time. The book sounds super cliched and formulaic, but the characters grew more real as the book continued.

The Widows of Malabar Hill — Sujata Massey
In 1921 Bombay, Perveen Mistry is a solicitor in her father’s law firm. Acutally, she is the only female lawyer in Bombay so although she’s not allowed to be appear in court, she is able enter worlds that her male colleagues cannot. In this book, she’s integral to solving a murder that happened in the house of three Muslim widows who have closed themselves off to the world. Through the second plotline set in 1916 we learn about Perveen’s past.

You know how people tell you to read books from writers of different backgrounds? They’re right. I learned a lot about Indian culture of the time, the struggles of women, and religion. There’s a glossary in the back but the book is so well written I didn’t need it. The first half of the book moves slowly as all of the characters are established but once it gets going, it goes.

Four Stars. The second book in the series is coming out in February! Sujata Massey writes another mystery series around a 27 year old Japanese-American teacher in Tokyo. The first in that series is called The Salaryman’s Wife and I’m adding it to my TBR.

Currently reading: Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession — Mya Spalter. It’s a NetGalley book and I’m allllllmost done. It’ll be my 50th book of my 50-book goal. I’ll be tackling more reading in the next few days.

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

What are you reading?

Previously:
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August

Show us your books: August 2018

I eked out five books this month. My Seattle trip was heavy on the socializing, and I actually watched a movie on the flight back instead of reading. It was Game Night. It was funny enough and had my problematic boo Jason Bateman. Two of my books required a bit of digestion which slowed me down.

The reading I’ve been doing lately.


As always, I have many magazines to keep me busy. O Magazine continues to delight this middle aged lady, but sadly Magnolia Journal has become a bit of a hate read and I’m not going to renew it. I want to see pretty things and learn about decorating, but I’m getting preached to instead. Chip’s column this issue comes really close to declaring themselves as Quiverfull Christians and … not my cup of tea. But they have millions of adoring fans who share a belief system so they won’t miss my subscription. Funny enough, I buy items from their Hearth & Home line at Target, but only if they go on clearance. If they can save money by re-purposing old doors and windows, they’ll be okay with me not spending full price on their stuff.

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

Men Explain Things to Me — Rebecca Solnit
I needed to top off my rage meter and this little ditty did it. It’s a collection of Solnit’s essays about feminism. The first essay (and source of the book’s title) is probably her most famous. It touches on how men feel the need to explain things to women, even if the man clearly knows less about the subject than the woman does. It’s the source of the term “mansplaining” even though Solnit didn’t coin the phrase.

The essays are, frankly, depressing, and I had to put the book down in between each one. Women are hated. Women are silenced. Women are disbelieved and abused and killed. It was true hundreds of years ago, it’s still true today as evidenced by domestic violence statistics and how at least once a week I have to say something like, “yes, I know. I was the one who told you.”

“Most women fight wars on two fronts, one for whatever the putative topic is and one simply for the right to speak, to have ideas, to be acknowledged to be in possession of facts and truths, to have value, to be a human being.”

Four stars and when’s the next march?

Behold the Dreamers — Imbolo Mbue
What is the American Dream? For Jende Jonga, it’s providing opportunities for his children that they wouldn’t have in his native Cameroon. For his wife, Neni, it’s the ability to get an education and be rich. For Clark Edwards, it’s making as much money as he can to provide for his family. For his wife, Cindy, it’s the ability to rise above a rough start. For their son Vince, it’s freedom to escape.

These two very different families and their futures intertwine right before the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008. The story was pretty simple but the feelings ran deep. It made me think a lot about class, race, and privilege.

Five stars!

Grin and Beard it #2 — Penny Reid

I started this in July, but because I owned it, I put it aside when Behold the Dreamers finally became available. I know that main characters don’t always have to be likable, but it really helps in a romance novel when you don’t find the heroine annoying. Sienna Diaz is an intelligent, funny, Latina Academy Award winning actor with no sense of direction. She’s in Green Valley, Tennessee to shoot a movie. Jethro Winston is a bad-boy biker turned park ranger, trying his best to make up his past transgressions to his family and the community. Of course, his nose is so far on the grindstone that he hasn’t heard of Sienna, so their meet-cute is pretty cute. I found Sienna to be too “extra” as the kids today would say. The sizzly parts made for uncomfortable train reading, but everything ends up (inconceivably) fine in the end.

Two stars which means it’s not bad, just okay. I’ll get the third one if it hits $1.99 and features one of the more-fun Winston brothers.

Also, I am in awe of the readers on Goodreads who review romance novels and provide collages of how they’d cast the main couple.

Pyramids (Discworld #7) — Terry Pratchett

Pteppic is next in line to the throne of Djelibeybi, Discworld’s version of Ancient Egypt. He spends his youth at the Assassin’s school in Ankh-Morpork and on the day of his final exam, his father dies. Pteppic goes home and finds out that being a God means a lot less freedom than being an assassin. The story diverts into some metaphysical and mathematical weirdness which seemed to function as padding. I had to go back and reread a key part to figure out what actually happened. I think this is probably when fans started referring to him as Pterry.

Three stars – I liked it just fine.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand — Helen Simonson

I purchased this a while ago, waiting for the inevitable gap between library holds. It’s a sweet book about a 68 year old widower, Major Ernest Pettigrew, and his love affair with 58-year old widow Mrs. Ali. He’s English, she’s Pakistani. Their cultures, families, and friends clash, but our couple keeps their heads up high through the whole thing. Subplots include the fate of a pair of shotguns, a developer encroaching upon the small English village they live in, and a disastrous country club gala. Growing old is a bitch, but it’s easier if you have love.

Four stars because I’m a sucker for sweet love stories and can I have this as a movie, please and thank you?

Currently reading: Let’s Talk about Death over Dinner, by Michael Hebb. This is my first-ever Netgalley book. And The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, because my Kindle died in the middle of my nightly sitting-outside session. Rude!

Stupid purchase: Hope Never Dies, a fictional (natch) Obama/Biden murder mystery. WM sent me this NPR story about it and I bought it right on impulse. How could I resist this cover?

Philadelphia Library eBook Hold list:

I’m using Libby, the new Overdrive app, to manage my holds now.

  • The Queen of Hearts — Position: 10 of 28
  • The Widows of Malabar Hill — Position: 7 of 33
  • The Female Persuasion — Position 86 of 211
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet — Position: 41 of 55
  • You are a Badass — Position: 70 of 102
  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup — Position: 65 of 145
  • There There — Position: 171 of 185
  • From the Corner of the Oval — Position: 64 of 99
  • So Close to being the Sh*t — Position: 35 of 38
  • Guards, Guards! — Position: 6 of 9

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

What are you reading?

Previously:
January | February | March | April | May | June | July

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