Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Book Reviews - A Little of This, A Little of That

Hey-o. No real theme here to share. Rather, there are three books I really dug, and one that wasn't for me. But as always, it might be for you.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green was just a really wonderful story with heart. If you've read any/all/some John Green, you know that his niche is writing unique characters with unique stories. This is definitely that with the story of Aza. Aza is a teenager with anxiety and OCD. Along with her best friend Daisy, she decides to look into the disappearance of a billionaire. After all, there is a big reward involved. The billionaire's son is one of Daisy's childhood friends, so they have an in of sorts to figure out clues. While this sounds like a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys/Encylopedia Brown angle, it's really the story of friendship and how we connect with people. Y'all, I was just captivated by this one. It was such an easy (and quick) read because I loved the characters involved, and I loved the way their story was told with a blend of quirkiness and emotion that John Green does especially well. If John Green is your jam, you've obvs already read this. Even if he's not always, this is a good YA read to pick up and enjoy.

Read this book if - You want something with a YA spin that has heart. You want something that's part mystery and part human connection.

Becoming by Michelle Obama was outstanding. Everything great you've heard about this book, it's true. I listened to it as an audiobook where she was the narrator, and for me, that added so, so much to the story. What I loved most of all is that this is her story. It could have easily been the story of the presidency told from the perspective of a first lady. It was not. Instead this was her story - her whole story. She told her story with such honesty and authenticity. She didn't seem to hold back at all, as she shared how she got to now. I loved having this window into her life and really getting to see who she was through the people and experiences she has had along the way. In my eyes (ears?), the audio version is really a value add as you hear her tell the story. This is a memoir worth reading to really get to know an amazing and inspiring woman. Not only this, it's a chance to think about the stories we all have that impact us and make us who we are. The holds list will be long, but put yourself on it at the library if you aren't already.

Read this book if - You want a honest, beautiful and wonderful memoir.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan was the pick for my book club this month. Y'all, it was heavy and real dark. I didn't know it was going to skew that heavy when I started, and that dark cloud of emotion really took a toll on me as I read. I'll also own that I read a book that took place in a bookstore for my other book club, so there was the inevitable comparison. That's not this book's fault, but it's a reality of my reading. This is the story of Lydia who works in a bookstore. One of her patrons completes suicide in the bookstore. As she tries to find out a why he'd do this, she starts to piece together his life and a connection she never knew they had. This means revisiting a really (and y'all, I mean REALLY dark incident) from her childhood. The book then revolves around Lydia piecing together both the past and the present of her life for Joey and herself. For me, I wanted more bookstore. I went in thinking there'd me more of that (again, partly a byproduct of my previous read, but also it's in the title), but instead I got more of a Dateline mystery with a lot of sadness and horror. For me, I kept reading, and the story kept me captivated, and I did not see the ending twist(s) coming at all. However, I ultimately had a really hard time with the dark and morbid tone of this one. 

Read this book if - You're looking for a darker, heavier read that lives in the past and present. You want something that looks at unexpected connections.

Love The Fur You're In is an incredible book. Everyone needs a book like this in their life. It is a compilation to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of Sesame Street. It is a collection of life advice and wisdom coupled with illustrations from 50 years of Sesame Street books. Y'all, I am a super fan of the show, so I knew I'd love this. However, I loved it even more than I anticipated. It is so wonderfully put together. It's such simple advice, but it's paired perfectly with each illustration. I found myself laughing out loud at pages, while also tearing up at others. Sesame Street is just it for me. They seem to always know what to say, and even all these years later, I find such joy in the messages they put out into the universe. This is one that is worth buying, and it's also something to consider gifting. It'll be one I continue to tell people about - I already am. 

Read this book if - You need a feel-good book. You're looking for a simple, thoughtful and wonderful read.