Monday, September 2, 2013
August Book List
A little late, but it's a holiday!
The Best Worst Thing: A Memoir by Kristen K. Brown (3 stars)
Kristen's husband, Todd, died suddenly of a heart attack when they were both in their early 30s. This memoir recounts their courtship and marriage, and Kristen's process of adjustment to single motherhood and life without her best friend. While she and I are coming from very different places spiritually, I admired her strength, honesty, and zest for life even in terrible circumstances.
Bunheads by Sophie Flack (3 stars)
Hannah has worked incredibly hard all her life just to dance in the corps of the Manhattan Ballet. Then she meets Jacob, a regular college student, and starts to realize how much she's sacrificed for her career. As the ballet season unfolds and company politics heat up, she weighs her options: continue on with no promise of success, or leave and start a real life? I enjoyed this, but often just felt bad about how unhealthy the ballet world is. Wow.
Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life by Natalie Goldberg (4 stars)
This follow-up to Writing Down the Bones was a text for my writing class. As the title indicates, it focuses on setting your writer's mind free and writing out of your instincts. Many chapters end with a "try this" activity idea. Natalie Goldberg is undoubtedly a little crazy, but it's a good kind of crazy. :)
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (4.5 stars)
At a high school in an island community, three very different girls secretly come together to take down the popular crowd: Kat, the rebellious outcast; Mary, the mysterious newcomer with a tragic past; and Lillia, the insider. Each of them have their own reasons for revenge. But as revenge plots often do, this one quickly spirals out of their control. This novel is like a really, really good soap opera with extra depth.
Love at 11 by Mari Mancusi (3 stars)
A decently enjoyable novel about a San Diego news producer, Maddy, who stumbles upon the scoop of her life while shopping for fake designer purses in Tijuana. Her adorable new photographer, Jamie, helps her chase the drug-smuggling case. As they get closer to answers, they also get closer to each other - but unfortunately, he's engaged. Meanwhile, Maddy's parents are going through a messy divorce after 30 years of marriage, and she's left to mother her teenage sister Lulu, who's partying a little too hard. I felt eh about this at first, but the plot tied together and redeemed itself in the end!
The Red Sea Rules: The Same God Who Led You In Will Lead You Out by Robert J. Morgan (3.5 stars)
This short book, really more of a devotional, outlines principles from the Israelites' deliverance in Exodus that we can apply to our own "Red Sea" experiences. It's helpful and comforting, and encouraged me in my relationship with God. But for some reason I was expecting something more revolutionary.
Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn by Melanie Shankle (3 stars)
I'm probably one of few people who doesn't follow the Big Mama blog, but I still wanted to read her memoir about her journey to motherhood and her daughter. It's good, but I'd probably feel more engaged with it if I were a mom.
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith (4 stars)
I received this novel for my birthday and read it in one sitting. After teen star Graham Larkin accidentally e-mails regular teen Ellie, the two start an anonymous correspondence that grows into an unlikely friendship. He's so taken with her that he selects her Maine hometown as the location of his next movie. They finally meet in person... and that's just the beginning. Relationships are broken and mended, and long-kept secrets are exposed, and it's all beautiful and real. I LOVED this book.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed (4 stars)
I heard of Cheryl Strayed, via her newer memoir Wild, before I ever heard of Dear Sugar. But after reading this compilation of her best advice columns as Sugar, I see why she had such a following. Her compassionate, wise words to confused and hurting people ring true because they're born from her own life experiences. I related both to the letter writers and Sugar's answers, and cried multiple times. I recommend this book for anyone who's lost a loved one (Sugar's mom died when she was 22), or really anyone who's been through hard times. Even if you don't agree with all her advice, as I didn't, you'll feel stronger in your own worldview because of what she shares. Amazing work.
Books for August: 9 (at least 3 were read in an airport)
2013 year to date: 50