Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush
I didn't know much about the Bush sisters, other than that they partied in college and Jenna has some sort of national book club. This was an interesting account of their coming-of-age and what it was like growing up in the public eye. It was maybe a wee sappy here and there, but overall I really enjoyed it and especially loved the included e-mails from George Bush Sr. Plus, the sisters are very different but both likeable. Who knew Barbara Bush was doing all sorts of cool things to help the world? Recommend (politics aside)!
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
I picked this up because it won the Pulitzer Prize... that's it. That's my reasoning. There's a lot going on in this book and it is therefore one you're going to want to read pretty much all at once, or else you may lose track of the various sub-plots. There are several wonderful characters and it is certainly an important and well-written story about Native Americans and the government's attempt to steal their reservations from them in the 1950's. However, for some reason this didn't *stay* with me. That could be my own shoddy memory's fault, but take that for whatever its worth.
The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict
This always happens to me, mostly because I go into my books so blind. But I'll be happily reading a novel, only to later find out the characters were actual people! (Or vice versa, with Daisy Jones & The Six) Obvious I know J.P. Morgan was a person, but it wasn't until the book finished up that I realized this "personal librarian" was a legit person. Which explains why it didn't necessarily follow the standard novel formula that I was expecting.
No matter what you know when you dive in, it's an absolutely fascinating read chock full of fine art, literature, smart quips, shrewd negotiations, family drama, love affairs, and race and class relations. What a total win.
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
One of my favorite friends with excellent taste in books has been going on about this book for over a year. It's been sitting on my TBR list for just as long, but I was hesitant to read it because I was nervous to read about someone's month of madness. That sounds....maddening. Plus everyone is basically losing their minds right now so what of it?
Still, I'm glad I finally gave in. It was as I imagined it would be - haunting, scary, anxiety-inducing - but still a story well told that provides much food for thought.
However! Veronica said that this is on Netflix or something? I definitely have no idea how that could be a thing. She assures me it is fabulous.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
Many of you know my beef with all of the stupid tricks of the publishing industry, most especially with sticking the word "girl" in the title of EVERYTHING, whether it makes sense or not. Certainly it once again makes no sense here. It's pulled from a play that is performed in the novel, which also is inappropriately titled. Enough with the girls!
Stupid title aside, this is fun and amazing and interesting from beginning to end, and I was a stupid GIRL for waiting so long to read it. (Admittedly I was nervous it actually would be about a city of girls, which doesn't sound like a fun read.) This is about New York City in the early 40s, theatre, drinking, starlets, showgirls, drama, stupid decisions, amazing costumes, and lots of sex. This is a perfect chaser to any sort of deep or depressing book you might've just read, but it's smart. Recommend!
This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith
I'm not even sure how to describe this weird book. Mostly because it could've been so high drama, what with the suicide intervention opening scene, but it was also high-level cozy autumn porn with nonstop blankets, cats, tea, books, crunchy leaves, pumpkins and delicious food descriptions. I still don't even know what to make of it, other than I really liked it and felt that it ended on a nice realistic happy note despite some characters and plot points being over-the-top throughout the book.
I'd describe this as an off-beat love story and would recommend it for those who might like such a thing (I did.)...
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
This book also languished on my TBR list for a million years, which is ridiculous because it was solid gold. I'm not even going to tell you about it, just that the characters as they are written might as well pull themselves off the page and sit down to dinner with you. You might need a tissue for this one, but it's worth it.
By the way, the main character is actually a GIRL, but there are no mentions of a girl in the title, just wolves. So I'm awarding bonus points for that.
How was your month in books?
Dare I say it - "especially now."
I hate seeing funny stuff captioned with someone lamenting that they laughed way too hard it whatever it was. Unless you laughed so hard you vomited or ruptured something, there is no such thing! That would be a much better caption. "I ruptured my spleen!"
There are a lot of really good and gritty, depressing, thought-provoking books out there that need read, but they also require a chaser. Life is like that right now, too. Watching the news or even scrolling Facebook or Twitter requires a shot of joy that reminds us that there are still so many reasons to smile (despite all of the very real reasons to punch the air, cry, pray, or go to bed early and hope tomorrow is better).
So - I like to pepper my reading life and my real life with books that will make me laugh! Lots of laughing, maybe a *little* thinking, but not too much. Here are some of my favorite authors who always deliver:
Jerry Seinfeld - Read his latest, "Is This Anything?" It's pretty much just a script of some of his best material through the decades. You'll read it in his voice and certainly recognize many of the jokes. Perfect for when you just have 10 minutes here or there but need a laugh.
Nora Ephron and Sloan Crosley - I lump these two together because they dish out hilarious and phenomenal essays. Now that Nora is no longer with us, I think Sloan fills her shoes very nicely when you're looking for the funny female perspective on life.
David Sedaris - It turns out that David Sedaris is not universally loved and appreciated by everyone, who knew? I had my book club read one of his hilarious memoirs and they were lukewarm. Granted, he can be a little darker and less laughs per minute than most listed here, but the laughs and snickers are definitely worth it. Try one. If you like it, there are like 1000 more. All he does is walk and write.
Jim Gaffigan - Jim's books are similar to Seinfeld's "Is This Anything" referenced above, but organized more by topic. I love Jim Gaffigan so much, and his relationship with food is totally relatable!
Tina Fey - For whatever reason, I held off for many years reading Bossypants. Have you ever seen a book cover so many doggone times that you just avoid it out of spite? Big mistake in this case!
I swear, I ruptured my spleen.
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.