As August winds down, we're trying to spend as much time as possible outside. Jax is toddling around now, Veronica has entered high school, Vinnie has entered junior high, and Vivian is going back to school two days a week for some much-needed therapy and school time. So - life isn't ideal for reading, but I've managed to polish off four interesting reads in the past couple of weeks. Here are my quick reviews!
The Holdout by Graham Moore
I'm not usually too much into the courtroom drama / mystery / murder stuff, but this was a fantastic page-turner in that genre that I found myself thinking about obsessively while I had to take reading breaks and do real-people things. Synopsis: A jury makes a very controversial decision in a murder trial and then comes back together for a documentary 10 years later and chaos (and murder!) ensues. DEFINITELY thought-provoking in regards to race relations. Recommend!
Godshot by Chelsea Bieker
Wow, what a super weird book! A little bit Handmaid's Tale, a little bit Westboro Baptist, a little bit everything else covered in gold glitter. Oh, and all of the men are totally evil - not a one with layers of anything but bad - imagine that! Anyway. If this sounds up your alley, I'd recommend, as it was well-written for sure. Overall though, I could've found a better book for my time.
Compelling Conversations for Fundraisers: Talk Your Way to Success with Donors and Funders by Janet Levine and Laurie Selik
I'm going to catapult myself into fundraising superstardom by reading all of the fundraising books and reviewing them to other fundraising professionals and somehow this will ultimately lead to my traveling the country talking about fundraising trends and the like. So this is where I started - it was a super quick read and was almost like workbook style, which came off to me as an author's way to meet their page minimum requirement but what did YOU think about the book? (insert 10 blank lines here for you to write out your thoughts)
Mostly basic information, but I did appreciate a great chapter about pivoting the conversation from small talk to down-to-business talk, although some of the pivots seemed a little rickety to me. ("That's really great about your new house! Too bad some of our clients don't have anywhere to live at all....") (Just kidding, that's not a direct quote) (But it's not too far off). So! A good book for a beginner.
The Paris Hours by Alex George
Everything Alex George touches turns to gold. That's all there is to it. All of his books make me think, "THIS is why I love reading." His books are so descriptive and musical and just...beautiful. This one is set in Paris about a hundred years ago or so and we hang out with Ernest Hemingway, Proust, Josephine Baker and follow the stories of a few other fictional folks who have intersecting situations. It's all very tragic and romantic and exciting. I liked his other books just a hair better, mostly because I didn't feel like I got *enough* of these great characters.
I would certainly recommend The Paris Hours OR Setting Free the Kites, OR A Good American and just be prepared to be completely immersed. SO GOOD.
Up Next: I'm finishing up a brain candy book on my phone that's actually really lovely, and I'm about to start another fundraising book. Our book club choice for September is Hamnet and I'm beyond excited because the author is amazing and the premise sounds fascinating. I'll pick it up from the library today! What are YOU reading?
Due to my vacation and just general busy-ness, I haven't posted any reviews for a while. So - I have five book recommendations to share. There's probably something here for everyone!
The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
I actually read the updated version of this book, which as been on my TBR list since I read his amazing Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World.
I could have certainly written an extended review on this one, as I have a LOT of thoughts (and shared most of them with Jeff as I went along)... instead I'll just say that this book is chock full of both really great life advice and really wacky life advice. Tim Ferriss is an oddball to be sure, but this book serves as a fantastic reminder that there can be alternate realities where we are truly living our best life and break the 9-5 barrier. I like my career and I'm not sure what I might do with some of the takeaways here, but I've definitely still got this book on my mind despite having finished it weeks ago.
Oh, and one of my favorite insights of his was that someone's success is largely dependent on the uncomfortable conversations they are willing to have. I'm not sure if that's 100% true for everyone, but it has certainly been my experience!
Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West
My goodness, I had heard so many consistent rave reviews about this debut! Set in the south side of Chicago, this novel explored race relations but certainly family relations. The theme seemed to be that people are messed because their parents were messed up (and THEIR parents messed THEM up!) It also had a pretty fascinating whodunit element that I really liked (sometimes my fiction choices trick me because they're actually mysteries DISGUISED as fiction.)
I'd recommend this if you are in the mood for a really meaningful work that's going to depress you. Have a chaser ready.
All Things Reconsidered: How Rethinking What We Know Helps Us Know What We Believe by Knox McCoy
A book club pick! Thanks, me! (It actually sucks to be the one who makes the recommendation because then you're constantly worried that everyone will hate your choice.)
I love Knox McCoy (although he has a podcast and I've never listened, so I guess I'm not a true fan but I'm not really doing the podcast thing, I'm doing the listen-to-mindless-music-and-tune-out thing.)
I really enjoyed this majorly quick read, but I will say that this is actually just a book of essays he published and then tried to build a theme around them. The reconsidering piece didn't really play out, in my personal opinion. That said, I was awarded with big laughs and much to think about, so that's a win for me. I hope everyone else didn't hate it.
I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections by Nora Ephron
I just dearly loved Ephron's "I Feel Bad About My Neck" to I decided to quickly download another of her essays. It was just another hysterical fun book that served as brain candy and a wonderful chaser for a book like Saving Ruby King. Nora Ephron was sassy, sharp, and so funny. We lost her too soon! I plan to read everything she's touched.
Up Next: I just started a big one that my sister and bestie have urged me to read for a million years, and I also am FLYING through a courtroom drama. What are YOU reading?
I’m not a big Jessica Simpson fan.
I remember one of her songs (Irresistible), saw maybe 5 minutes of Newlyweds (that was enough), remember being annoyed in college as she was just one in an endless string of blonde pop stars, saw a smokin’ picture of her as Daisy Duke, and in general just remember that she was known for her pipes, hot bod, and blonde hair. That’s it!
I saw she had a memoir out, and didn’t care. But then I kept seeing that people were just loving it! Okay, fine, I decided to see what all the hype was about. I remember Jeff laughed when he saw the book on the shelf. He wasn’t being mean, I understood the confused laugh. I think I laughed the same way when I checked it out at the library.
I actually really liked it.
I guess I was expecting a book about her rise to stardom and maybe a passage or two about her cruddy marriage but mostly a play-by-play of her perfect life. My guesses were proven wrong from the very beginning, as she opens with a couple of scenes from present day that immediately shed any sort of a perfect life filter. It’s very much an immediate glimpse of what a hot mess her life has been and occasionally can still be.
I’m not judging her particular hot mess, as I think we are all navigating through our own complex and sometimes nightmarish situations. I learned from my reading that she has the tendency to complicate her situations, but don’t we all?
My family probably hates me because I always share the story about how if we were to all throw our problems into a big pile, we’d be rushing to grab our problems back as opposed to trade them with anyone else’s problems. I mention this so often because it’s both weirdly comforting and yet constantly surprising. I’d rather have my own problems than even Jessica Simpson’s problems. Wild!
Her memoir title is accurate. She gives an overview of her life basically from start to present, and does a good job of providing the highlights (and lowlights?). She even owns up to some of the really stupid things she has said and although she usually provides some context, she never excuses herself for it. She’s not trying to get readers to think she’s any sort of deep thinker, although she has a great line in the very beginning about how she knows some people wouldn’t expect that she could string a sentence together but that she’s actually a big reader and writer. I believe that, and in fact I was kept on my toes by just the back and forth of her describing something stupid she said or did (what an idiot!) and then her profound insights about herself and her life (what an introspective and normal-seeming person!)
I also really appreciated how open she was about her faith. When I was at Big Brothers Big Sisters, I conducted a lot of volunteer interviews with folks primarily within about 10 years of my age. I learned a lot from those interviews (and would love to discuss that further with you) but one pattern that I saw was this wrinkling of the nose when I posed the question, “Are you religious?” Their response 90% of the time was, “I’d say I’m more spiritual.” It seems like people within this demographic are increasingly wary of organized religion and seem to be more in favor of a more personal spiritualism. (Although I’m getting away from my point, I’d venture a guess that church politics plays a role.) (This is just me spouting off from my anecdotal evidence – I’m bringing nothing to the table right now in the form of research, sources, or supporting poems.) Anyway – right or wrong or neither, Jessica opted not to appeal to the masses by talking in vague terms about spirituality and inner voices but really just put her beliefs right out there and never deviated from them. I found that refreshing and amazingly – believable.
After turning the last page, I decided to “follow” her on Twitter. Pretty much all of the comments are yay or nay on the state of her body. Annoying. So I’m glad that there are those like me who chose to spend some time with just her brains (and heart!) for a while and better understand who she actually is.
Author's Note: The theme of Jessica's second wedding was Great Expectations, and I'm sorry to spoil it for you, but she *didn't* have her makeup artist make her up to look like an old lady in her wedding dress. So she wasted a totally perfect opportunity, which I have placed in her "dumb moves" file.
I hope all is well in your world! I've recommitted to taking 10,000 steps a day while staying on track with my reading goal. So far, so good (but it has only been a couple of weeks). Here's what I've finished up in the last couple of weeks:
Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman
This sat on my “To Be Read” list for years. I’m trying to work in both directions – exciting new releases and books that have languished on my list, and finally ordered this for my Kindle. What I thought would be a sexy travel memoir was actually an account of a round-the-world trip gone haywire thanks to the declining mental health of the author’s traveling companion. Quite the page-turner, although I would’ve made much more selfish (and smarter) decisions along the way.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
I literally only picked this one up because the cover was awesome and it seemed to be getting a lot of hype. I knew nothing about the author or what it was about. Wow! I finished this a week or so back and I’m still at a loss for how to describe how I felt about it. This was a memoir from a gal who likes to write memoirs and reflect on all the feelings. I disliked how she contradicts herself throughout her life and even throughout her book (personal growth is one thing, but does Doyle just roll with whatever, whenever? Read it and let’s discuss) but I *did* like some of the life advice she provides and actually found it to be incredibly inspiring and change how I’m thinking about some aspects of my life. So that’s huge! But, naturally, I *didn’t* like how this life advice was billed as being so “women-centric”. It all seemed pretty universal to me.
I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
I saw this for sale for my Kindle and I flew right through it. It was an excellent book to read simultaneously with a much darker book that I will be reviewing next round. I hadn’t yet discovered the books of Nora Ephron, just the wonderful movies she wrote. So now I’m going to be sure to read everything she’s written. This was just a great, laugh-out-loud collection of essays – and you know I’m a fan of those!! Plus it was a great reminder to start taking care of my neck.
Next up: I’m almost done with a book so heavy I don’t usually look forward to picking it up, but it’s helping me to better understand the world, so that’s a good thing!
The first thing I need to tell you is that my local library opened back up yesterday and I couldn't be happier. Libraries are amazing, and they just can't be replaced virtually.
I've also been reading some books!
Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
This is a cutesy and predictable romance centered around a winning lottery ticket gift. Once I realized that this would be the case, I almost abandoned it. I’m not much for cutesy romance. However, I found myself turning the pages quickly and actually enjoying the story. I like this book because it allowed me to daydream a little about how I’d spend my lottery winnings, but I also thought the character development of the protagonist was remarkably well done. I would recommend Windfall as a beach read, or when you just need some fresh air between heavier books.
This is Big: How the Founder of Weight Watchers Changed the World by Marisa Meltzer
I really had high hopes for this one, and had been looking so forward to reading it. But, it super sucked. Actually, the first half was marvelous. The author flips between her story and the story of the founder of Weight Watchers. Her story started off funny and interesting and the story of the founder started off inspiring. But it all took a nosedive somewhere in the middle where the author’s story started spinning in circles with no real revelation to be had and the founder’s story was just sad. Skip it.
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
Everyone needs to read this book. Newport provides a solid argument for becoming a digital minimalist and provides practical and proven tips for getting off your dang phone and being present for your family, getting loads more work done, and also what to do with all that extra time you will have! One of the best quotes was from someone who became a digital minimalism and described what it was like to be the only parent at the playground actually playing with their kid and not looking down at their phone. It’s true – we’re abandoning our real, actual lives to watch people we don’t care about fight with each other on Facebook. If you’re ready to give the phone a rest for a while, pick up this book instead.
Next up- I’m reading a book that has been on my TBR list for many years and I’m loving it. I’m also reading a brand new book just because the cover was pretty, and I’m not even embarrassed to be telling you that.
What are you reading?
My amazing-book streak has ended, although I'd still rate all of these recent reads as pretty good and worth picking up if you're so inclined. Or just skip down and read my ranting and raving and post a hateful comment. That'll make us feel like we're having the current human experience.
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
This was a fun and interesting read, much more about family dynamics, abandonment issues, friendship drama and that sort of thing than about kids catching on fire. Normally I’d be writing something to you about how I’m a little crotchety that there were pretty much no good men to be found in the book and why is this the trend now, etc, but it turns out that the author is actually a man, and therefore I guess I’ll save that rant for a little later in this blog. I will say that the actual protagonist was tough to wrap my mind around, and although I typically am 100% with an author writing from the POV of whomever – in this case I think it might’ve impacted the character development here just a hair. At one point I went back to ensure that the protagonist was definitely for sure a woman. It’s hard to put my finger on why, just – if you read it, let me know your thoughts on that.
Still, I would recommend this as an interesting new book to check out if you’re looking for something a little different.
An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew by Annajet van der Zijl
This is our book club book, so I won’t say too much. It’s a rags-to-riches story of an American woman who knew how to marry well and ultimately make smart decisions with the wealth she acquired as a result. However, it seemed to me like she actually had a pretty crappy life and this biography definitely underlines how money isn’t everything. I enjoyed the book, but I wish the author could’ve dug up more – not just the facts but how the events impacted the “princess” and those in her circle.
All Adults Here by Emma Straub
I’ve got to say my piece here. What’s a blog for, if I can’t share my opinion with my six readers?
Please understand, I’m in favor of the freedom for authors to write whatever they please. While it can be entertaining to read stuff that I practically could’ve written, it’s good to read some diverse thought. So this is just my personal opinion and by no means do I think that these authors are doing something actually wrong.
That said, I’m just sad to be reading so many books lately that don’t have ANY good men in them. Every man that shows up on a page ultimately turns out to a villain or at best, an idiot. Is this actual reality for people? And yet, more often than not, the author’s bio shares that so and so lives with her husband and two Labradors.
It just bums me out, the same way it bums us all out when every woman on a particular sitcom or movie is an airhead or obviously just serving as eye candy. Can’t we do better all the way around? Isn’t it more compelling to write a story that reveals how we’re all flawed yet amazing and that no gender has a monopoly on good or evil?
This book in particular is so much this way – not only with the male characters = evil issue, but just with every few pages a constant reminder to the reader that men are idiots or bad people. A description of a good OB-GYN can’t stand on its own without the character taking a moment to feel sorry for anyone who ever had to suffer through a male OB-GYN. Sisters-in-law can’t have a meaningful conversation without admitting that the reason the brother isn’t involved in the conversation is because he’s a man and men are horrible at meaningful conversations. I could go on….and on.
THEN, in the author’s note, it turns out that she was opening a bookstore at the time of writing this novel and her husband was SO AMAZING and SUPPORTIVE and basically did everything to run the household and bookstore while she was writing. So, that’s great that she gave him props in the author’s note, but…there’s no way her husband could read that book and not come away with the nagging feeling that his loving wife more or less hates men altogether.
Or is it just her *characters* who are dismissive of men? But if so, what am I supposed to come away with here?
Interestingly, I have to tell you that if you can stomach all of what I just griped about (and maybe most people can stomach it a lot better than I can) – it’s actually a lovely story. It’s a coming-of-age story for an entire family, with Grandma at the core opting to right her wrongs after an accident helps her realize how we’ve only got one short life. It’s very character heavy, and maybe a lot plot-light.
Also, why does the cover look so much like the cover of Fredrick Bachman's soon-to-be-released novel? Is this going to be the new thing now, with abstractly drawn people with their backs to us on all of the covers? Remember how for a while the big thing was to have a woman's big face on the cover of everything? The publishing industry is a mystery to me, but I guess they know better than me.
My gratitude for books has certainly been revived here lately. While I'm trying to be an informed and engaged member of society, I'm really enjoying those opportunities to just shut everything off and get lost in someone else's story.
For some reason the last few months, I've gravitated toward memoirs and tell-all books from the world of comedy, which is certainly one of my favorite worlds. I try to look at the lighter side of things most of the time, and definitely try not to take myself too seriously. I've been learning a lot about others like me (but who are actually, like, professional-level funny).
Anyway, here's what I've finished up lately:
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Sometimes I’ll have a book on my “Want to Read” list for so long that then I almost feel like I’m avoiding it somehow. For example, Bossypants by Tina Fey. I like Tina Fey in general, and I had heard great things about the book, but I just never grabbed it for some reason. When I saw it was a Kindle deal recently, I thought, “At this point, should I even bother?” But I’ve been in a bit of a streak reading about comedians and actors. I decided to finally pick up Bossypants to continue the streak and honestly, I want the comedy right now.
It was great! I loved reading about her relationship with her father, her time coming through the ranks at Second City, and her experiences with Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock (which I’ve still never seen). Tina has always felt very accessible, and her book is definitely set up like she’s right there with you, cracking jokes. I’m glad I read this one, even though it took YEARS to get around to it!
The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History by Andy Greene
I’ve been so excited to get my hands on this book, and I finally did – digitally – when it was on sale via Kindle. The Office is everything (minus the last two seasons, obvs). This book is great because it tells the story of The Office from a zillion perspectives. This also made for a lightning quick read, in my opinion. Initially it started out a little, “This happened and then this happened and then this happened.” But soon it became more interesting as everyone dealt with initial failure and then success, and then egos, and then Steve Carell leaving the show. Even more than Seinfeldia, this book had me constantly wanting to watch The Office. Also, I’m not sure how Jeff felt about me sharing tidbits from the book pretty much round the clock.
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Modern Mrs. Darcy raved about this book, which is really just a collection of short stories from the same town and with a central character tying everything together, but I found it to be one depressing chapter after another. The best part was the interview with the author (and the main character!) at the end.
For anyone keeping track, this is my first dud in a long while.
But it won a Pulitzer, so what do I know.
Next up – I’m finishing up a book about kids who catch on fire when they’re riled up! Good stuff.
Once again, I don't have even one mediocre book to share with you. I've got four strong recommendations, depending on what you're needing right now.
Sourdough by Robin Sloan
This was a really oddball, sweet, amazing book about sourdough bread and a million other things. As I was reading, I kept thinking that the premise sounded kind of stupid and wow, I really love this book. The main character, Lois, was smart and very real to me. Don’t read anything about it, just dive in and go. It’s light but smart and a fairly quick read. Plus, it’ll make you want to make bread! In other words, a perfect book for Spring 2020.
(Note: Sloan also wrote Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, which I found to be mostly kinda stupid. SOURDOUGH WAS WAY WAY BETTER.)
Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby
Sam Irby is HILARIOUS and then poignant for a minute and then she’s hilarious again. I loved this book of essays and I think I’d better go grab her other books as well. She’s really crass and she will have you spitting out your drink, I promise. I asked Levi if he wanted to borrow a book of essays by a crass overweight black Midwestern lesbian (and he said yes, obvs!)
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
Behold this phenomenal and sad story about the American dream, the ’08 economy, money, family, depression, New York City, and humanity. What I loved, and what is referenced at the end with the conversation with the author, is that this is straight up just an amazing story without getting caught up in the right-or-wrong and this-is-how-you-should-think narrative. I really appreciated that while we’ve got plot and drama for miles, it’s just so *real*, especially as the book wraps up. I would really love to discuss this one with someone. I’ve heard people reference books as being “compulsively readable” and although I know what that means and have experienced that with other novels, I feel that this particular descriptor is especially accurate for Behold the Dreamers. In that “Oh sweet, I have to go to the bathroom, I can read my book for a few minutes” sort of way.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This is a book club book that we’ve not yet discussed, so I’ll be just a little tight-lipped on how I felt about it for now. This was a high school book that explored…..all the things. That would be my main criticism is that so many heavy topics were packed into this one small book about Charlie’s freshman year. Most of the rest of my commentary on Wallflower would be positive, though. I especially loved how Charlie’s narration changed over the course of the year. There will definitely be much to discuss at our meeting!
Next up: I peed my pants when I saw that the new book about The Office was $5 on Kindle, so I’m quickly making my way through that. Spring of 2020 might be crappy in a lot of ways, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve read so many great books in one stretch. Hopefully that continues!
Hello to you from the inside of my house. This is where it all goes down. All of it.
Including reading! I wish I was reading at a faster clip, but alas, I still have to fundraise and rear the kids, darn the socks, slop the pigs. But I did devour some super books in the last couple of weeks and here they are!
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
One of my favorite sources for book recommendations is my dear friend Kara. She recommended H is for Hawk quite a while ago, and I just couldn’t pull the trigger on it until now. Because….I’m not super interested in hawks, and I was concerned that the book would be all about hawks.
So this book was all about a hawk. But if you pluck it out of the line-up at just the right time, when you’ve got the focus to read this terrific memoir about one woman’s quest to deal with the grief of the loss of her father by way of training a hawk…it works. This is gorgeously written, and I would recommend reading it in just a few sittings as opposed to multiple stop-starts. I enjoyed how the author interwove the story of a famous author’s hawk-training with her own.
Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy by Judd Apatow
I dove into this on my Kindle, not realizing that it was over 500 pages long. So that’s a long book, but it was a swift 500 pages, full of great conversation/interviews with some of the best comedians EVER, including many of my favorites. Of particular interest to me was his interviews with Jerry Seinfeld – one in 1984 and one just a few years ago.
This book definitely WOULD be an excellent stop-and-start option, and one that will have you flagging various movies and shows and comedy specials to check out if you haven’t already.
My ambition used to be stand-up comedy and while I still think I would have been awesome, Sick in the Head really illustrates how tough of a life that can be. Maybe I’ll wait until later when I’m a grandma, and that will be my shtick!
I would highly recommend this book if you love comedy (and why wouldn’t you?)
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
Thanks to my resolve to quit crappy books once I realize they’re crappy, I’ve had a string of SOLID READS. Three for three this round!
Horror used to be my genre, weirdly, because now it is super NOT my genre. So I’ve read some Stephen King – Carrie, Insomnia, Thinner, Cujo… maybe a handful of others I’m not remembering. But I came across this book while sorting stuff a few weeks ago and, knowing that it is NOT horror, I threw it on my pile.
I loved it. It’s an adventurous yet meaningful tale of resilience, and family, (and baseball) and what we’re left with when we’re all alone. I flew through it, and appreciated a chance to hear a story from one of our generation’s most amazing authors without having to navigate murderous clowns, or killer dogs, or dirty pillows.
Recommend! Good for younger folks too, despite just a bit of language.
Up Next: I'm about 30% of the way through a novel I'm enjoying SO SO SO much.
How about you!?!?
Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
At first I wasn't interested in reading Small Fry, because I felt like it was someone talking smack about their famous dead dad just for a paycheck. Then I watched some sort of movie about a snippet of Steve's life a few months ago and so when this book came up on Modern Mrs. Darcy's daily Kindle deals, I decided to give it a shot.
The book is really a grouping of chronological snapshots that volley around between her mom doing or saying something crappy or inappropriate or weirdly loving and her dad doing or saying something crappy or inappropriate or weirdly loving but I admit that she pulls them together surprisingly well, avoiding choppiness and showing the reader the good, the bad, and the ugly of her parents and herself.
I admit I really liked it and even did a little googling to see what everyone looked like. If you give a hoot at all about the Jobs family, or memoirs, or odd paternal relationships, or navigating weird and separate parental relationships, pick it up.
My Own Miraculous by Joshilyn Jackson
Jackson writes southern novels with kooky characters. Plus, she shares my birthday. So I like her by default and have been slowly making my way through her collections. This is a novella, so it's a great trial run or a good choice if you just want a little something to enjoy for an hour or two.
In short, it's a story of a young mother who realizes that her three year old son has a special gift. So is he Jesus or is he just super smart?
Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
I almost gave up on this one early on, because it can be a little raw. If you're a baby like me, be prepared to quickly skim two scenes due to some graphic imagery. But it's okay! You'll get the idea and this is an AMAZING book. Five star read for me, all the way.
The lengthy book is about two adolescent Australian teens and their crazy heroin dealer parents and their escaped convict friends. It's full of adventure, violence, drugs, brotherly love, revenge, dreams, artificial limbs, and it's awesome! I'm still kind of like, what WAS that? I think in a future year I'm going to re-read all of my very favorites and this will be included, hands down.
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy (today - 99 cents on Kindle)
Oh my gosh, I just realized I hadn't yet reviewed Dumplin'! I'll make it quick. EXCELLENT YA NOVEL. I loved it with my whole 16 year old and 39 year old heart. You will think you know what's going to happen, but it doesn't shake out that way. Yes, there is a sassy Texan low income plus size protagonist, and yes she joins a pageant. So I tell you that and you are like okay well I can guess how this is going to go. But it doesn't. So read it and see how it goes. When Veronica gets a little older I'm going to shove it in her hands (not yet, because of language and sexual themes) and I'll remind her that I had kids so that they could read the BOOKS I LIKE!!!
What have you been reading?
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.