Book #31: A Girl Walks Into A Bar by Rachel Dratch

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This book comes from my obsession with Tina Fey. I love Tina Fey. She’s so incredibly funny. She’s smart, sassy, and above all, unapologetic. I found this book, Rachel Dratch’s, on audible.com as a recommendation because I downloaded Bossypants. Dratch writes about her experience as a female comedian, actor, and writer on Saturday Night Live.  Continue reading

Book #30: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The-Art-of-FieldingThere have been a few books that I’ve read in the last year that I’ve had a hard time writing about. Some because I disliked them, but more because I adored them completely and totally. I loved The Night Circus so much that I read it in two days. And The Solace of Leaving Early left me feeling totally inadequate to describe how lovely it was. The Art of Fielding belongs on that short list. It’s truly a remarkable book, and I picked it up at the store completely by accident. Continue reading

Book #29: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

15790837It’s time for yet another book of David Sedaris’ essays, which I have to admit–I absolutely adore. I remember when I was in high school and a friend gave me Me Talk Pretty One Day, which I read in exactly one night. I was immediately enamored with the way that David Sedaris tells stories; he’s so approachable and honest in the way that he remembers things and shares them. When I went to college and began my obsession with This American Life, I discovered that David Sedaris is a regular guest, and I listened every week. There’s this one episode where David Sedaris discusses his father’s interest in having musicians for children, and David impersonates Billie Holiday singing local shopping mall jingles, and I’ve probably heard it 50 times since. It never fails to leave me doubled over with laughter. Continue reading

Book #28: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

9780345525550_custom-dd0dcabf7b2c7bfce49cefd4114316d7d56ae244-s6-c10Do you ever start reading a book just because you’ve heard of it? You know, you’re looking at the racks of books at the bookstore, and suddenly you recognize one–maybe you’ve seen it at someone else’s house–and you pick it up, immediately feeling some kinship toward the book, simply because you recognize it. Maybe it’s the same with people, too? Some people are just approachable, and maybe that’s because they’re sort of familiar. That’s how I ran into this book: my mom read it, and then I saw it at the library, and thought, “I know that book!” So, I picked it up and read it. In one night.  Continue reading

Book #27 Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

silver_linings_playbook_cover_book-455x700This is one of those rare times when I read a book after I see the movie it’s based on. I wish I had read the book first, but I did still enjoy it, even if I couldn’t stop imagining Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert DeNiro as the main characters.

I feel like I should start by saying that I LOVED THE MOVIE based on this book. Jennifer Lawrence earned every bit of the Oscar she won for her performance, and I never thought I would appreciate Bradley Cooper as an actor after seeing him in The Hangover. He outdid himself. It was definitely the best movie I’ve seen all year. Continue reading

Book #26: The Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

prodigal_summerI have to confess something. In celebration of reaching the halfway mark in my 50 books goal, I bought myself a Kindle. I know, I know. Trust me, I KNOW. My mom has a photo of me with my arms crossed, just after I proclaimed that I would absolutely NEVER read a book on a screen of any kind. I officially retract that statement. My head is hung in shame as I admit that I was wrong; I read a book on a screen. It happened. And the worst part? I LOVED IT.  Continue reading

Books #23 and #24: Truth and Beauty and Autobiography of a Face

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I put these two books together and decided to write about them at the same time because they’re like best friend books. Truth and Beauty was written by Ann Patchett about her friendship with Lucy Grealy, the author of Autobiography of a Face. Diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma at nine, Lucy Grealy spent two years undergoing weekly chemotherapy and radiation.  Most of her jaw was removed, leaving her face disfigured. She lacked half of her jawbone, which caused her face to appear sunken-in on one side. She was left with irradiated bone surrounding her remaining jaw that would not allow for grafts or transplants to re-create a jawbone. After undergoing one major surgery after another, her replacement jaw would look great for a year or so, then slowly dissolve into her face, leaving it looking like it did before the surgery.

As for Grealy’s book, Autobiography of a Face, I really loved entering the world of a fearless little girl faced with so much to be afraid of. Her story was honest, painful, and real. Although she never really seemed to understand what her own experience with cancer would mean for the rest of her life, she had no choice but to face it–and to live with the memories and scars that it provided. Autobiography is a story of self-identification and self-awareness at its heart. As Lucy familiarizes herself with her own illness and her own face, she struggles to find her place in the world. It’s when she’s in college at Sarah Lawrence that she first feels comfortable in her own skin and comes to know and own her face.

It’s when Lucy starts grad school in Iowa that she meets Ann Patchett. They both went to Sarah Lawrence, and Ann remembers Lucy, but purely for the fact of her renowned oddly shaped face. When the two arrive in Iowa, they become fast friends. More than that–according to Truth and Beauty, they become inextricably linked to one another. Continue reading

Book #22 The Commitment by Dan Savage

41zA3XSCpyL._SL500_I first heard Dan Savage on This American Life, telling the story of his son announcing that marriage was for GIRLS and BOYS, not for BOYS and BOYS. He informed his dads that he did not, under any circumstances, want them to get married. He was glad that they were his dads, and glad that they loved each other, and that they loved him, but he was definitely not down with BOYS marrying BOYS. This is especially hilarious because Dan Savage is a major gay rights activist. He writes for the advice column for the Seattle Newspaper The Stranger. His column, “Savage Love,” is certainly not for the faint of heart, and I’m almost positive that there is nothing that Dan Savage could be asked that would throw him off his game. He’s open, honest, and frank with his readers, and that sort of straight-forwardness is really refreshing. Anyway, this isn’t about his column, it’s about his book, The Commitment. Continue reading

Book #21 Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky

Book Review Heads in BedsHave you ever wondered whether or not you’re supposed to tip the maid at a hotel? And if so, how are they going to know that it’s for them and not just your money lying on the dresser? What about bellmen? And what can you do to make sure that the staff at the hotel is looking out for you? Or, conversely, what should you absolutely NOT do to make sure that no one holds a grudge against you? Heads in Beds has those answers, and lots more. Continue reading

Book #20: Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

remarkable-creatures1Tracy Chevalier’s novel Remarkable Creatures is not entirely fictional. The novel tells the story of two women living in Lyme Regis, a small coastal town in England. Miss Elizabeth Philpot meets Mary Anning when Mary is still a young girl and Miss Elizabeth has just resigned herself to spinsterhood. The two share an interest in collecting fossils, called “curiosities” or “curies,” on the beaches surrounding Lyme Regis. Mary collects them to sell them to tourists, while Miss Elizabeth keeps them for her personal collection. The two become close, spending their days combing the beaches together. Continue reading