From Green Gables to New Orleans and straight outta Westboro Baptist (books read 12/30/19)
The pages have been flying! I have five books to review for you, which means I'm going to keep the commentary to two sentences or less, because you're a busy person and have your own books to read. <Until I go to post my blog and see that I have altogether forgotten that rule.> But I definitely have one I need you to read so we can TALK ABOUT IT!
Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy
This was recommended for the book club I'm in, and it was a lovely book that made me a little more interested in reading Anne of Green Gables. I'm afraid I'm going to have mostly forgotten about it by the time I go to write my next blog post, though.
Do You Mind if I Cancel? (Things That Still Annoy Me) by Gary Janetti
Well, one thing that annoyed me was that he didn't say anything about how frustrating it is when people say "Do you mind if I cancel?" I thought for sure that would be in there!
This gay-New-York-funnyman book of essays makes me think of Dave Sedaris lite - funny but not AS funny and introspective but not AS introspective. If you need something to cackle at while nursing a book hangover, this could be it.
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Well. I usually like Liane Moriarty because she provides something relatively light but not total brain candy. Something to dive into at the end of a long stressful day that's enjoyable and usually thought-provoking...Goldilocks would say her books are just right. Not too smart, not too stupid. I ready What Alice Forgot many years ago and still think about it several times a year.
Nine Perfect Strangers was a miss for me. I only cared about maybe one character and despite the setting being at a beautiful health spa, the plot was lame. And then everyone lived happily ever after (spoiler alert, but is it really?).
All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenburg
As with Nine Perfect Strangers, I really enjoyed the setting! I always enjoying reading books set in New Orleans, although this one featured the heat more than any fun restaurants or shops. So this is a story about a really mean dad who dies and leaves his super self absorbed family to reflect on what a turd he was. I would file this book under the ever-growing pile of "All Men Are the WORST" novels where one is hard pressed to find a male character with even one redeeming quality. To be fair, most of them women were pretty terrible as well.
It's all good - if that's not off-putting to you as a reader, then dive in. She's a gripping writer and families-with-issues can be good fun.
Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper
But if you REALLY want to read about families with issues, my goodness, RUN DON'T WALK to your nearest library or bookstore and grab Unfollowed off the shelf. One of my favorite aspects of this book is that while Megan paints the picture and provides the account of how conflicted she eventually felt about leaving her family (not so much the church, because once she saw the light, she knew she had to leave), she's pretty blunt. She just lays it all out for the reader without trying to sugarcoat anything, though she provides some insights for how Scripture was used to get questioning church members to follow along with their beliefs.
It was a fascinating story and led to some good research after the book had ended, as well as some good mulling over of what I believe and why I believe it and all of those important internal dialogues that one should have with oneself from time to time. (Spoiler alert: What Westboro Baptist Church members believe is NOT what I believe)
Definitely consider adding this to your list for 2020 and let me know if you like it - I'd love to discuss it with someone!!
What I'm reading now:
Jeff and I are planning a Honeymoon Re-Do to the Caribbean for the Springtime, so I'm going to ease my reading back just a hair to allow a little more time for seeing if I can decrease my fat roll count by 1 or 2 before the trip.
However, I did just start a really phenomenal book of life advice from various people and I'm only three pages in and already screenshot a page to send to someone. So that's looking good. I also started a much hyped relatively new release that is so far brilliant. A great start to the year!
How is your 2020 reading life starting out?
I swear I'm reading. I know that I'm making my way through some super interesting books, but I'm also busy shopping, wrapping, cleaning, diapering, fundraising, cooking..... you know how it goes. Thus, it's been a million years since my last blog post. But - I do have three books to share with you!
Seinfeldia by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
This was loads of fun. Jeff super loves Seinfeld (every episode is THE BEST EPISODE EVER) and I enjoy it as well, so I got a kick sharing fun facts with him (although he somehow already knew many of them). Armstrong does a great job taking the reader through the world of Seinfeld from inception to present and from everyone's perspective, which was cool. This would be a fantastic book to pick up after you've just finished something heavy, especially if you enjoy the show (and who doesn't?)
Let It Go by Dame Stephanie Shirley
Okay, a couple of things about this book - first, it's hard to find, because there are any number of reading materials with this title, Frozen aside. This is why I link to all of my books! Second, a donor recommended this book to me. For a while, a donor (who I have still never met) and I became pen pals to some extent and along the way, he said that I had to read this book. It lingered on my TBR list for a year or so and I finally bit the bullet and read it - thank goodness!
Five stars, hands down. This is a memoir with honesty like I've never seen (one line: "It took a long time for our marriage to recover from that. In fact, I'm not sure it ever did fully recover." Damn.) about a woman who started a tech company in her house, forever ago before tech was even much of a thing, and built and built and built and then she basically became one of the richest people ever and then gave everything away. WHILE raising a son with autism and seizures. This book was so good sometimes I had to just put it down for a while. There's a lot to process. Go read this one! Highly recommend!
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
This had the potential to be the perfect kind of book for me - a complex family saga with tons of fun issues to pick apart, lots of fun tense weird relationships, a large span of time covered so we can see characters evolve...not to mention lots of wine and luxury.
It wasn't *awful*, in fact, I'd still call it a solid "Good", but the two components that really annoyed me were: 1. the dialogue (do you ever just read a line and you're like, okay, nobody ever ever talks like this?) not to mention that some of the characters never finished a sentence ("But I- How did you-? I mean, listen, I-") and 2. one of the characters said that the name Jax is dumb. Boo! Jax is awesome. Actually in the context it was kind of funny, but still. Automatic half a star knocked off.
Still, it was worth reading for those who enjoy a good family-issues 500+ doorstop. It could be pretty heavy, so you'd have to pick up a book about Seinfeld to cure that book hangover.
Next up: I'm reading something on the fluffier side and then something else on the even fluffier side. Two piles of fluff, is what I'm working with right now. But it's good timing! It's Christmastime, and I don't really want to be hanging out in World War 2 right now or something. What are YOU reading?
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.