Memoir Reading Roundup

Memoir Reading Roundup

I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star by Judy Greer Goodreads / Amazon

As I mention in the next review, I enjoy listening to these kind of memoirs a lot as audiobooks. Unfortunately, I read this galley on my Kindle and I think I’d have enjoyed it more as an audio. (Does Judy Greer read the audio? I don’t even know.) BUT – I did still enjoy it. She had an interesting story to tell via her experiences as a co-star on a variety of projects. She also didn’t try too hard to be amusing, I felt like her natural sense of humor came through well. There wasn’t a lot for me to relate to throughout the book, but it was a quick read and overall, I’m glad I picked it up.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling Goodreads / Amazon

I listened to this audiobook over the course of one day during the recent 24 hour readathon. You guys – it was so great! Funny, interesting, cute…a super great choice to cram into such a short amount of time. I never got bored or wished for it to move faster. The pacing was perfect, and I love Mindy Kaling’s voice. I’m not sure that I would have felt the same way if I hadn’t listened to her reading the story, but I have no doubts about recommending the audiobook if you enjoy this kind of funny/self-deprecating  memoir. Of the three, this is far and away the one I’d recommend the most for newbies to the memoir genre.

Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel by Jason Padgett and Maureen Ann Seaberg Goodreads / Amazon

Wow, Jason Padgett has one heck of an original story to tell, you guys! After being pretty badly beaten, his life changes in a pretty monumental way when he develops mathematical synesthesia. He goes from viewing the world the same as the majority of the rest of us to seeing mathematical formulas and geometrical shapes in everything. Like – literally sees them. I can’t even imagine how scary/overwhelming/thrilling that would be. Fortunately, this book does a pretty good job of telling me! I enjoyed the comparisons of his life “before” and “after” and how much his life has changed and how this ability is both a gift and a curse, and how much work it was for him to find a way to harness it. Even if you don’t like math (believe me, I don’t), this is an extremely fascinating story! I’m not sure if it’s one I would recommend if you don’t normally read memoirs, but if you do? Definitely pick it up.

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Foodie Book Reviews

You guys, I’ve read four foodie-ish books lately – two fiction and two memoir. A couple were good, and a couple were great! You definitely don’t need to be interested in food or cooking to enjoy most of these, so check them out!

foodie books

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl Goodreads / Amazon

I loved this book, you guys! I read it in one sitting because I absolutely had to see where things were going – and then, how they’d turn out. Ruth Reichl is known for writing memoirs, and this is her first published novel. It’s pretty dazzling! It switches back and forth between past and present – starting with Billie, working in a really cool old mansion that used to house a prominent food magazine. In the past, during World War II, famous chef James Beard is corresponding with a young girl who takes her mind off worrying about her father off at war by obsessing over the best way to cook with rations. There is romance, intrigue, mystery – and several really cool reveals! I adored every single piece of the puzzle and will totally be recommending this far and wide.

Chop Chop by Simon Wroe Goodreads / Amazon

This book is totally kooky. The main character, known as Monocle, is having more trouble breaking into the London literary scene than he expected, so he grabs a job at a gastro-pub to pay the rent. His co-workers are a bunch of complete weirdos, some in a good way (and some not so much). There is also a deadbeat dad and a local crime lord in the mix…

This book actually doesn’t have a lot of plot – it’s mostly just the hilarious exploits of the kitchen crew. I mean it guys: hilarious. If you don’t mind a heaping helping of raunchy, crazy British humor? Pick this up posthaste!

foodie books

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg Goodreads / Amazon

This is a memoir about a couple starting a pizza restaurant in Seattle. It might not sound that thrilling if you’re not interested in that kinda thing, but it’s pretty darn good! Molly Wizenberg has a really laid-back and enjoyable writing style; it was like listening to a story about friends by a friend. From finding the perfect venue to the right recipes to the marital discord, it all felt incredibly personal. Definitely recommended for memoir fans, interested in food or not.

Sous Chef by Michael Gibney Goodreads / Amazon

This is probably the only book on this list I’d say to steer clear of if you don’t care about food. Like, you should probably be the type of person that watches Food Network constantly regardless of whether you actually plan to cook any of the things the chefs are making. This book chronicles a day in the life of a sous chef – that is literally the entire contents of the book. From details about the way the cold storage is organized to the various types of knives different chefs use to how daily specials are created. I enjoyed it, but it probably isn’t for everyone.

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Six Degrees of Separation: The Bell Jar

I talked about how awesome I think this meme is last month, but a quick refresher – the bloggers Emma and Annabel started the ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ feature, where they name a book and then go on to list six books, connecting the list book by book however the creator wants. Fun!

Last month, the book was Burial Rites (check out my list here), this month the title is…

the bell jar

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath Goodreads / Amazon

To be honest? Not really a favorite of mine – but I do appreciate a lot of things about it. It’s the story of a woman going through a mental breakdown, written by Sylvia Plath, who eventually commits suicide.

six degrees bell jar one

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf Goodreads / Amazon

Sylvia Plath’s suicide is what brings me to this novel by another author who takes her own life. I absolutely love this book, you guys. It’s the only Woolf I’ve read so far, but it won’t be the last! My favorite things about it include the way the characters in the neighborhood interact, and the way the story constantly switches between past and present.

Before and Ever Since by Sharla Lovelace Goodreads / Amazon

Speaking of a story about neighbors and a constant flash between past and present – here are two people who grow up next door to each other, have a lengthy separation, and then come back together as adults. The story also involves the woman literally reliving her past – she flashes back to scenes from her own childhood and to that of her family even before she was born. Pretty great contemporary read!

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis Goodreads / My Review / Amazon

Oh time travel, how I love you! This is the story of a serious Medieval history student who travels back in time to actually live in the era she is studying. Pesky things like the plague in both the past and present make this surprisingly thrilling! Definitely a great read for fans of history.

six degrees bell jar two

Black Ships by Jo Graham Goodreads / Amazon

Speaking of fantastical historical things…how about a retelling of The Aeneid from a female oracle’s perspective? I love absolutely everything about this book! Troy, Mount Vesuvius, Egypt…romance, war, the Underworld. It’s all here, and it’s all brilliant. (Also, the ebook is $2.99! Go forth and purchase.)

Longbourn by Jo Baker Goodreads / Amazon

Another great retelling – sorta. This is billed as Pride & Prejudice from the POV of the servants, but really it’s all servants all the time. Mr. Darcy has maybe a paragraph of page time – and I didn’t miss him in the slightest! Sarah, the narrator, doesn’t need the Bennets’ help at all to have a fascinating story. You do get to see the family in a completely different way though – this book has a lot of great things to offer.

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James Goodreads / My Review / Amazon

I’m having fun with the whole retelling thing – let’s keep it going. This is fairly obviously a take on Beauty & the Beast, historical romance style. Also – Piers, the beast? Totally based on Dr. House from the TV show. You absolutely must pick this up if you’re a fan of the genre!

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Library Sale Haul!

You guys – I haven’t filmed a book haul in ages! I just got back from a pretty successful library sale trip, so I decided to film a video and tell you about it.

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In Which LibraryReads Rocks My World

You guys – I have been loving the monthly LibraryReads list. Librarians across the country compiling a list of their ten favorite new releases every month? YES, it can be as awesome as it sounds.

library_reads_logo_website

I have read and loved several of the books on their May list, and there are a couple more I plan to read as soon as I get a chance!

Read:

may libraryreads read

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (my review)
Delicious!: A Novel by Ruth Reichl
Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore (my review)
Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg
The Blessings by Elise Juska

To Read:

may libraryreads unread

The Bees by Laline Paull
Bird Box by Josh Malerman

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Watching the TV and Reading the Books

This week’s Broke & the Bookish Top Ten prompt is matching media with books. I went the TV route, and split the list up a little with different shows. I had more than a little bit of fun coming up with these! (Also, I’ve done it before with The Big Bang Theory, so feel free to check that out.)

books like parenthood

If you watch Parenthood…read The Blessings by Elise Juska Goodreads / Amazon

This is a match made in heaven, seriously. The Blessings are a large and incredibly close family. Every chapter is written from a different family member’s point of view (from the kids to the parents to the grandparents), and the book spans many many years. Good times, scandals, tragedies – it’s all here.

books like hart of dixie

If you watch Hart of Dixie…read Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie Goodreads / Amazon

I think these two go together purely based on the quirky factor. Both the book and show are basically based on the premise of throwing a bunch of lovable weirdos together and seeing what happens!

books like friday night lights

If you watch Friday Night Lights…read Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer Goodreads / Amazon

The good, bad and the ugly in the families and community of a small Texas town.

books like criminal minds

If you watch Criminal Minds…read Don’t Tell by Karen Rose Goodreads / My Review / Amazon

Criminal Minds is all about getting inside the head of psycho killers, and nobody I’ve ever read does that better in book form than Karen Rose.

books like burn notice

If you watch Burn Notice…read Like Coffee and Doughnuts by Elle Parker Goodreads / Amazon

This pair is kind of a setting thing – fighting crime in Florida. Plus, the characters all kinda feel like throwbacks – old fashioned and noir-y. I’ve watched Burn Notice for ages, and this is always the book in the back of my mind. Like Coffee and Doughnuts does involve a gay romance though, so bypass if that isn’t your thing. (If it is, yo – the book is only $3!)

warehouse 13

I’m a pretty big fan of Warehouse 13, you guys. The awesome history mixed with crime solving governmental agents mixed with awesome banter and conspiracies centuries in the making? There is basically something for everyone. The fact that the show is currently in the middle of its final six episode run means it totally gets half of the list!

books like warehouse 13

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley Goodreads / My Review / Amazon

Fighting supernatural forces and secret governmental things, y’all. Like the show, this book has something for everyone. If you like paranormal or fantasy books in any way, shape or form – you should definitely look into picking this up!

Trading Rosemary by Octavia Cade Goodreads / Amazon

Rosemary has a highly regarded library of memory coins, the currency of the world featured in this novella. Scents, tastes, feelings…everything is wrapped up into these commodities that can be traded and sold. The lengths she goes to for her collection and the close connection she feels to it wrap this story up into her library, making it feel like a real thing. It’s no warehouse, but it’s pretty awesome just the same.

The Native Star by M.K. Hobson Goodreads / Amazon

The Warehouse is so steampunk, you guys. There is a big chunk of the show that always feels like it is set in the past. That old world quality is where this book comes in. Two people meet, clash and are then forced to work together to hunt down an artifact. That is pretty much the show description – seriously!

Resenting the Hero by Moira J. Moore Goodreads / Amazon

Partners that get thrown together against their will that have to constantly fight disaster to save the world and get closer the longer they work together. Like I said, classic Warehouse agent behavior, folks.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells Goodreads / Amazon

I know this is an obvious choice, but I promise it doesn’t make the list because I’m being lazy or just ran out of other options. H.G. Wells is a pretty major character on the show, and although she doesn’t much resemble the real Wells (she being a she and all), she IS the reason I finally picked this up. So, if the show can make me read it, why not you?

 

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