Tag «Memoir»

Single Sundays: As You Wish by Cary Elwes

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride (from Goodreads):

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets, backstage stories, and answers to lingering questions about off-screen romances that have plagued fans for years!

With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Nonfiction 2016
Author: Cary Elwes
Genre: Nonfiction, Humour, Memoir, Celebrity
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: October 24, 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

The Princess Bride is one of my favourite movies AND a favourite novel. The book is fantastic but the movie is just as good–if not better. If it is on TV, I have to sit down and watch it, regardless of what I am doing. Yes, I’m one of those people who throws out the famous lines whenever I have a chance. It’s a classic.

vizzini princess bride animated GIF

Anyways, I didn’t even know this book existed until I read a review by Lindsey @ Bring My Books last winter. The audiobook really appealed to me because I enjoy memoirs more in their audio version and the idea that all of these actors reunite to present their fave stories from the set? Fantastic! It took me a ridiculously long time to get my hold from the library, but once I did, I dove right in.

The Concept:

Let me explain... (The Princess Bride)

The best way to describe this book is this: it’s like a behind the scenes narration of a movie set. You know, that feature on DVDs where you can turn on commentary or a special video feature? It is just like that.

Cary Elwes (Westley), leads you through the making of the movie from its conception as a book, through the early stages of production to filming and how it has been received over the years since. Along the way, you get little tidbits from everyone else who was a part of it.

It’s a lot of fun to listen to if you enjoy behind the scenes stories and memories.

The Writing/Narration:

Image result for princess bride gifs

I thought the story had a great flow to it so it made it easy to listen to. Cary does a good job of explaining what filming was like “back in the day” so you don’t have to guess or fill your mind with stereotypes.

But what really sold me on this book was the narration from the other cast members. You can tell they have genuine affection for this movie and their time together which is so nice to see/hear. It just warmed my heart to listen to.

Did it Impact My Life?

Image result for princess bride gifs

Not particularly. I think it made me love the movie more though. The very idea that this movie might never had happened breaks my heart; but to see the end product and to see how the cast and viewers love it makes me smile a little bit more since reading this book.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you enjoy The Princess Bride movie and want to know more about how it was made, this is a great read. It brings back all the great memories you probably have of reading the book or watching the movie.

Read if You Like: behind the scenes stories, memoirs
Avoid if You: dislike the Princess Bride  <–if you ask me that would be:


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Movie Mondays: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this edition’s offering:

Book: I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (2013) | Movie: He Named Me Malala (2015)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Author: Malala Yousafzai
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I didn’t know much about Malala other than what the title of her book says. But I was curious to learn more.

The Concept:

I thought this book would be more about her life after she was shot–but in hindsight I’m not sure why. I mean, you have to learn why she is shot in the first place, but I guess I just didn’t expect so much history. However, it is the best aspect of the story.

I learned a LOT about the history and political turmoil of Pakistan. I only know the gists from headlines back in Canada–but it always has a foreign spin to it and not the native context that this book provides.

So you learn about Malala’s life all the way up to the moment she is shot and the events that follow after. It’s quite detailed but well informed and doesn’t bombard you with information you can’t retain.

This might sound bad, but I was worried that Malala would be portrayed in a “perfect” light. What I mean is that, I worried she would only focus on her activism and trimuphs. But that isn’t the case at all. She has no qualms sharing her faults (like her quarrels with friends, etc) and I greatly appreciate that. It grounds her and provides a realism to this story that adds to its message.

The Writing/Narration:

You might think Malala narrates this entire audiobook but she doesn’t. She just narrates the prologue and another woman narrates the rest of the book. And honestly, it is just as heartbreaking and inspiring to read even when you know Malala isn’t the one speaking to you.

Did it Impact My Life?

This book broke my heart and made me feel extremely guilty for taking for granted the many privileges and rights I have everyday in my life.

Here I am, a girl complaining about being in her 6th year of post-secondary studies and here is this girl telling me girls in her country are denied the chance to attend any school in their lifetime.

Here in North America we are fighting for equal pay for the genders while there are some countries that don’t allow women to work at all.

This book really opened my eyes to the injustices of the world–especially those against females–and I will be forever grateful.

overall

Heartbreaking but inspiring, this is a fantastic read for anyone interested in how one girl draws attention to an issue faced my millions around the world.

Rating: 3.5/5


Were My Expectations Met?

I went into this movie/documentary hoping that this movie would focus more on Malala after the shooting and her work afterwards; only briefly touching on her life in Pakistan.

And that’s what we get.

At times, the movie feels like an extended epilogue to the memoir. You get to see how far she has come from her injuries and how that hasn’t slowed her down in any way. It’s inspiring in a whole other way.

How Close is it to the Book?

The movie definitely glosses over the finer details of the turmoil in Pakistan, just giving the viewer enough information to give context to Malala’s circumstances. Some scenes are right from the book though.

And like I said above, I feel like this movie is shows you more of what happens after her recovery and what her life is currently like. It also gives you the global perspective of the reception around the world.

But it still does a great job of showcasing Malala as an everyday girl who wants girls all over the world to be seen as equal to boys.

thewinneriswintie

I think the book and the movie should be paired up. That when you finish one, you read/watch the other. If you don’t want to read the book and get the details of the current situation in Pakistan, the movie is a great crash-course in understanding the basics. They are both interesting and inspiring works that girls (and boys!) should experience because we still have a long way to go when it comes to equality around the world.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban (from Goodreads):

I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world

Trailer:

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Single Sundays: Sh*t my Dad Says by Justin Halpern

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Sh*t my Dad Says (from Goodreads):
After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, twenty-eight-year-old Justin Halpern found himself living at home with his seventy-three-year-old dad. Sam Halpern, who is “like Socrates, but angrier, and with worse hair,” has never minced words, and when Justin moved back home, he began to record all the ridiculous things his dad said to him:
“That woman was sexy. . . . Out of your league? Son, let women figure out why they won’t screw you. Don’t do it for them.”

“Do people your age know how to comb their hair? It looks like two squirrels crawled on their heads and started fucking.”

“The worst thing you can be is a liar. . . . Okay, fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but then number two is liar. Nazi one, liar two.”
More than a million people now follow Mr. Halpern’s philosophical musings on Twitter, and in this book, his son weaves a brilliantly funny, touching coming-of-age memoir around the best of his quotes. An all-American story that unfolds on the Little League field, in Denny’s, during excruciating family road trips, and, most frequently, in the Halperns’ kitchen over bowls of Grape-Nuts, Sh*t My Dad Says is a chaotic, hilarious, true portrait of a father-son relationship from a major new comic voice

breakdown

Author: Justin Halpern
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Sometimes, I get car sick when I read. It puts a damper on my reading plans (that’s 3-6 hours I could use to starting/finishing a novel!) but when I discovered the awesomeness that is audiobooks last year, I saw a great alternative. So when it came to the summer and I had two road trips scheduled, I made sure I had some audiobooks on hand just in case I felt like tossing my cookies while I attempted to finish a novel.

Honestly, I found this novel by browsing the nonfiction>humour>available now options at my library. I was familiar with this story though and thought it would be a fun one to listen to, especially with my family who loves witty comedies.

The Concept:

This is a pretty fun concept. We all have that one family member who seems to say the randomest things that make you laugh. It could be your dad, your uncle, your mom, your sibling, your grandma–the list is endless. And then. ever once and a while, they impart this little nugget of wisdom. So I think it goes without saying that most readers can relate to this in some way or another. I know I can from all of the above.

The Writing/Narration:

Each chapter focuses on Justin coming to terms with his current life situation and how something his dad says applies to the lesson he learns. And in between the chapters, you get random quotes from his dad.

I honestly think this book is one the is 20x more fun to listen to than read it. By listening to the story, you get to actually hear the lines delivered to you the way they were delivered to Justin. It almost makes this book seem like a comedy routine instead of a novel.

Did it Impact My Life?

I’ve now started to compile a list of all the sh/t my dad says…just kidding 😉

My Rating: 4/5

overall

This book is short but highly entertaining. I would definitely recommend listening to the audiobook over the physical book–it is so, so funny.

Read if You Like: humour, family based stories, memoirs
Avoid if You: dislike audiobooks, want a longer read

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Single Sundays: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir (from Goodreads):
For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.

Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking”; “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane.” Pictures with captions (no one would believe these things without proof) accompany the text.

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Author: Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 17, 2012
Source & Format: Audible–eAudiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When this book first came out, it was everywhere for me and I’ll admit, I was curious. I mean, a mouse wearing Shakespeare garb? How funny is that? (Answer: very). So it seemed like a funny read but I never got around to reading it.

In the last year and a half, I’ve really gotten into nonfiction reads, especially humourous ones I can listen to as audiobooks. When I needed to spend my last Audible credit, I wanted a really good book that I couldn’t easily get from my library. Turns out, this book is still super popular and comes highly recommended so it seemed like a no-brainer.

The Concept:

In this memoir, Jenny walks you through her life from a young child right up to the current day (well, current 2012). It follows a mostly chronological order but she does throw in random tidbits here and there or goes on little tangents. Her life has had some very interesting events in it that are highly entertaining and perhaps a little unbelievable (I guess that’s where the “mostly true” part of the title comes into play).

What I really appreciate about Jenny’s approach is that she never shies away from anything. She is completely open about her various mental health events and I really respect that. It takes a lot of strength to be able to reflect upon that as an individual, but to share that with people who may not necessarily understand, I think it’s great. It isn’t a large focus of the book, but she does mention it enough that the reader is fully aware of the circumstances.

The Writing / Audio Experience:

I felt like this book has a great flow to it. It’s basically one highlight of her life at a time and her narration and outlook on certain events is hilarious. I appreciate her darker, often cynical humour but don’t think that is all she has to offer. She definitely has a great sense of humour that most readers will find funny.

My only “problem” with this book is that it is really long! It clocks in at close to 9 hours as an audio CD, which is a long time to listen to anyone speak. I would have been more than satisfied if it was a little shorter but I did enjoy the entire piece, even if I did get a little bored of it by the end.

Did it Impact My Life?

Not necessarily, but it did remind me to cherish my childhood and all the memories and experiences I had, even if they seemed crazy or out there.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

Honestly, I got a little bored near the end. I think fans of humourous memoirs will enjoy this. But if you like shorter audiobooks, maybe pick up a different one.

Read if You Like: memoirs, humour, female writers
Avoid if You: want a shorter audiobook
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Single Sundays: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Why Not Me? (from Goodreads):

In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

breakdown

Author: Mindy Kaling
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source & Format: Own–Audiobook | This was a giveaway gift from the awesome Tonya @ Lilybloombooks

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I won Tonya’s audiobook twitter giveaway, I struggled to come up with a book to pick. But when I looked at where I was on the hold list for Mindy’s Why Not Me?, I decided that it would be a great choice (I was VERY far down on the hold list and really wanted to read it sometime in the near future).

I really enjoyed my second attempt at reading Mindy’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me when I read it as an audiobook. So I was ready to be thoroughly entertained as I listened to this latest one.

The Concept:

In this book, Mindy gets a touch more personal in terms of what she writes about. While her previous book chronicled her life and professional past, this one gets a touch more philosophical shall we say. Meaning it’s a lot of Mindy sharing her thoughts on everything from weddings to dating to life in general. Which is fine and all but it isn’t as exciting or as fun as it could be.

Don’t get me wrong, I like this serious side of one of my favourite comedians. It really grounds her and makes you realize that celebrities are just like us despite their day job. I love that humanizing aspect that this book provides. Sure, at first it seems like Mindy is complaining about her life despite the fact that she lives better than the average person. But at the same time, as you listen to her story and thoughts, you realize she is just a person like the rest of us.

However, I felt like I was in the same position I was in with Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please!–I don’t want to listen to someone’s philosophy on life for 6 hours. I don’t find it entertaining, especially when I picked up a book expecting to laugh out loud throughout it. So while I appreciate the fact that Mindy is strong enough to share her insecurities and views on life with the world, I did get a little bored listening to it all.

The Writing/Narration:

I definitely didn’t laugh as much as I did in her previous book but that is ok. I appreciated seeing this alternate view to the Mindy I have in my head (who is this weird mash-up of all her characters that I have seen her play as well as her genuine self).

Her writing has a great flow and I love the way she narrates it. It is so much better than reading the words on a piece of paper because the tone gives so much more to the meaning she is trying to get across.

Did it Impact My Life?

Not really. I still want to be her BFF (even though she talks about the fact that she doesn’t understand why people always say that in her book).

My Rating: 4/5

overall

While not as funny as her first book, Mindy gives a solid effort in this book and it is entertaining nonetheless. Highly recommended for fans of Mindy Kaling.

Read if You Like: Mindy Kaling, celebrity views on life
Avoid if You: dislike Mindy Kaling (we can’t be friends anymore 😉 ), dislike memoirs

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Single Sundays: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Bossypants (from Goodreads):
Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

(Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Audiobook 2016
Author: Tina Fey
Genre: Nonfiction, Humour, Memoir
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I probably should have started with Tina Fey’s Bossypants when I first wanted to get into celebrity memoirs. It seems to always grace the list of great nonfiction reads for women and one of my good friends totes her praises to everyone, especially this book.

I too, love Tina Fey. She is one of my favourite comedians and I am always impressed by her intelligence. I personally think she is one of the smartest and most talented female comedians in the entertainment industry and she never seems to get the credit she deserves if you ask me. And she also makes up one of my favourite comedic duos when she teams up with Amy Poehler:

Need I say more? I think it is fairly obvious that I had very high expectations for this one!

The Concept:

Like all celebrity memoirs, this book consists of Tina describing her road to frame and fortune through a series of personal essays but features her incredible wit and sarcasm. It’s nothing new really but the spin she puts on everything makes it very enjoyable.

The Writing/NARRATION:

Without a doubt, this is probably the funniest audiobook I have ever had the pleasure of listening to! Tina’s way of approaching things and the observations she makes are so smart and funny that this book was a lot of fun to listen to! Usually, it takes me awhile to get through an audiobook but I just couldn’t stop with this one.

Not only is it funny but it is also very smart. Tina’s intelligence really shines through in this book when she describes why she approaches situations that she finds herself in. She is such a strong woman and I think it really shows here.

Did it Impact My Life?

In a way it definitely did. I like the approach that Tina takes to women’s issues. Obviously, Tina is a feminist who strives for gender equality but she isn’t in your face about it nor is she one of those women who is “odd” because of it. She is extremely sensible and I think is an example of what the modern women should be when it comes to fighting for gender equality. She not only has broken a lot of the stereotypes about female comedians but she is so chill about it all that it really is amazing. She is definitely a personal hero of mine and this book really reaffirmed that fact for me.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

This book was everything I was expecting it to be: enlightening and hilarious! It was so much fun to listen to and I can only hope that she will be inspired to followup this book sometime in the future.

Read if You Like: Tina Fey, celebrity humorous memoirs
Avoid if You: memoirs

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Single Sundays: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (from Goodreads):
Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

breakdown

Author: Mindy Kaling
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour, Biography
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I actually tried to read the paperback of this years ago when my roommate lent it to me but I just couldn’t get into it! And that absolutely shocked me because I love Mindy Kaling. She is one of my all time favourite comedians and I think the Mindy Project is one of the smartest and most humorous comedy shows in recent years. So why couldn’t I get into it?

I think it was the same problem as I had with Amy Pohler’s Yes Please book: I didn’t find the text to be funny. I need to hear the tone of delivery when a joke is told and I can’t do that when I read a book on my own.

In the fall of 2015 I decided to try my first audiobook and it was Stephen Colbert’s America Again. It was hilarious and confirmed what I had suspected: I can listen to humorous audiobooks better than I can read them. So when I saw Lindsey @ Bring Me Books post her review of Mindy’s audiobook, I was inspired to try and read it again.

The Concept:

This is basically a memoir of Mindy’s rise to fame and how she got to be where she is today. It’s your typical memoir book but I thought Mindy had a cool take on things. It wasn’t depressing or boring; rather it had a fun, humourous spin on things. I also liked that it had a linear projection but she added random tidbits here and there.

It was really neat to get her thoughts on The Office  (one of my all time favourite shows) and what it was like to work there. But I also enjoyed the stories of her early days. I think I love Mindy so much because she is so relatable. I think most women have had similar experiences to Mindy at some point in their life and getting her hilarious but heart-felt takes on things was great.

The Writing/Audio-Presentation:

One of the reasons I think I struggled with the physical book was that Mindy writes like she talks. Which is fine, but part of Mindy’s charm is her delivery. So to actually hear her say her words in the exact tone that she wants you to hear them in really made this audiobook work. It was super easy to listen to her and I’m sure I looked like an idiot laughing at some of the things she said.

Did I mention that BJ Novak makes an appearance as well? I simply adore BJ and Mindy together in a completely platonic way. They seem like the best of friends in real life and I think that is the coolest thing ever!

Did it Impact My Life?

Not particularly and I really don’t think it is supposed to either. But, it did restore my faith in celebrity memoirs…so long as they are audiobooks.

My Rating: 4.5/5

overall

I enjoyed the audiobook 20 bazillion times more than the printed copy. I feel like the humour is more apparent and it is just a lot of fun to listen to. However, if you don’t really like celebrity memoirs or the Mindy Project, you probably won’t like this one!

Read if You Like: Mindy Kaling, celebrity memoirs, humourous audiobooks
Avoid if You: don’t like Mindy Kaling

similarreads

  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey

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Single Sundays: How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for How to Be a Woman (from Goodreads):
Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.

breakdown

Author: Caitlin Moran
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Feminism, Humour
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: June 16, 2011
Source & Format: Public Library–Audio Book

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

After successfully listening to my first audiobook (Stephen Colbert’s America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t), I quickly went out to find another one to listen to while I ran errands at school. I remember seeing this book everywhere when it first came out and I heard it was a pretty funny read. I was also interested in how it approached feminism. I had tried earlier to read Spinster, a book that I thought focused on the modern view of a women but instead focused on one woman’s discovery of notable female poets…at least, that was all I got from the first two chapters before I DNF’d it.

So while How to be a Woman is essentially a memoir, the promise of humour made this book way more appealing to me and so I was excited to read it.

The Concept:

The book is essentially Moran describing her growth into womanhood from her youth to now. What makes it fun is Moran’s witty and often cynical approach to the various topics, like getting her period for the first time or shaving her legs. Things every woman has essentially had to go through or every girl will go through–making it very relatable for the female reader and enticing a laugh from her simultaneously.

The Writing / The Narration:

She reminds me a lot of a Georgia Nicolson from Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, only if she was 35+ years old and lacked a filter. And I mean no filter. There really isn’t a thing that Moran does’t touch in this book and while I admire and respect that, it didn’t make it any easier to read/listen to.

Case and point: her lengthy chapter on the discovery of masturbation and pornography. First, I commend her for discussing a somewhat taboo topic in society but that didn’t make it easier to listen to while I was grocery shopping in public…

One thing I think this book struggled with was maintaining the balance between Caitlin Moran’s personal life and her observations of what it means to be a woman. I had no idea who Caitlin Moran was before I picked up this book and so I had very little interest in hearing her long-winded stories about her personal life. I understand that this book is a memoir and a lot of her stories were completely relevant to the topic at hand–but it made me feel as though this book was 20x longer than it really needed to be.

And I’m upset that I feel that way because when she actually does get to the observations of society and what it means to be a woman, I was thoroughly engrossed. Her reflections are spot on and it makes me wish she spent more time talking about them with little tidbits of her life thrown in here and there instead of having the first 5 or so chapters retelling her life story.

Did it Impact My Life?

Yes, in a way. It reminded me that it shouldn’t be awkward to talk about some of the things she does in the book and I think it shows some of the double standards we have in society with respect the men and women. There is a time and a place for everything of course, but I think my reaction to some of the topics she addresses goes to show how conditioned I am about certain things. So in that sense, I found this book to be enlightening.

It also reassured me that I am not alone in my observations of how females act or why they feel pressured to do something a certain way. As I was listening to some of the things she was saying, it was absurd to me that some of these positions/standards haven’t been challenged.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

While I think some of the humour would have been lost if I was reading the actual text, I think I might have preferred to read this one instead. The audio book clocks in at approximately 8 hours and I know it would have taken me only 5 to read it. I felt like it was slower at times and I think reading would have let me move past those parts at a better pace. But once I got used to Caitlin’s approach and she started to delve deeper into the feminist issues, I found it much easier to listen to.

Read if You Like: cynical humour, British humour, books about female views
Avoid if You: want a short audiobook

similarreads

  • Yes Please by Amy Pohler
  • Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

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DNF Review: Spinster by Kate Bolick

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own (from Goodreads): “Whom to marry, and when will it happen—these two questions define every woman’s existence.” So begins Spinster, a revelatory and slyly erudite look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why­ she—along with over 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing—remains unmarried. This unprecedented demographic shift, Bolick explains, is the logical outcome of hundreds of years of change that has neither been fully understood, nor appreciated. Spinster introduces a cast of pioneering women from the last century whose genius, tenacity, and flair for drama have emboldened Bolick to fashion her life on her own terms: columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. By animating their unconventional ideas and choices, Bolick shows us that contemporary debates about settling down, and having it all, are timeless—the crucible upon which all thoughtful women have tried for centuries to forge a good life. Intellectually substantial and deeply personal, Spinster is both an unreservedly inquisitive memoir and a broader cultural exploration that asks us to acknowledge the opportunities within ourselves to live authentically. Bolick offers us a way back into our own lives—a chance to see those splendid years when we were young and unencumbered, or middle-aged and finally left to our own devices, for what they really are: unbounded and our own to savor.

breakdown

Author: Kate Bolick

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Feminism, Sociology

Heat Rating: N/A

Point of View: First Person, Single

Publication Date: April 21, 2015

Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t know how I found this book. Normally, I find out about my nonfiction reads from The Daily Show or because the author is a celebrity I like. I think I found Spinster after reading So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed via Goodreads but who knows! Anyways, I wanted to read it because I wanted to explore the topic of marriage expectations for women in today’s culture.

It’s going to get a bit personal and so I apologize. But I wanted to have this discussion because it helps explain what I wanted from this book and why I picked it up.

I’m 23 and I always thought that I would be in a serious relationship, if not possibly married by this age. But I am still single and have no romantic prospects in sight. Prior to starting university, I had a plan to find my husband, go to graduate school and then have kids before I was 30. But the more I thought about my post-post-secondary, I realized I didn’t want to spend another 4 years in school (a total of 8 years of post-secondary education) and then have kids before taking off time to have children. And so, I made the decision to pursue a different post-graduate degree and just let my romantic relationships go with the flow. I want to be clear that I have never felt pressured to be married and have kids. It’s just something that I want to have in my life when the time is right. As of right now, I know I’m not ready for kids and I’m OK with that. Out of my close group of friends, only one is engaged to be married but isn’t getting married for a while; only a few are in serious relationships and the rest are single like me. So I don’t feel like I am behind or missing something from my life. Why do young people, especially young girls, feel like they can’t remain single. It drives me crazy when I watch Say Yes to the Dress and I hear the girls say “This is the most important day of my life”. Is it really? I don’t deny that marriage isn’t an important event in someone’s life. But what about the day you graduated from university? What about the day you started your first job; or accomplished a big goal? Why is marriage SO IMPORTANT? And why is is especially for females?

That was what I was hoping this book was going to explore.

Why I DNF’d:

This book was not what I was expecting! I thought it was going to be an insightful look into the way society has viewed single women throughout the decades. Why I thought that when I reread the synopsis now is beyond me–because what the synopsis says is what you get! This book is really just a memoir of Kate Bolick and her explaining how these 4-5 women made her into the woman she is totally. Which is great and all, but I honestly don’t care! It doesn’t interest me! I’m not one to read memoirs–even if it is someone who I admire or am interested in. I also had a hard time with the writing. It was way too academic for me, making it read more like a college essay than a story. I also had a hard time with the flow. Reading the first entry lost me in terms of why this little blurb was relevant to this little blurb. I found myself getting bored and when I wasn’t bored, I was frustrated and so, I decided to DNF this book.

My Rating: N/A

overall

This book just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I wanted a book that explored cultural expectations of single women and instead, I got a memoir about a girl who became a woman. Perhaps if I had stuck it out, I would have read the parts that I wanted but my perusal of the pages ahead didn’t look very promising

Read if You Like: memoirs Avoid if You: want an investigative look into popular cultural

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Single Sundays: We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story (from Goodreads): 
A bright, poignant, and deeply funny autobiographical account of coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor, from Josh Sundquist: Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker.

Josh Sundquist only ever had one girlfriend.
For twenty-three hours.
In eighth grade.

Why was Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date and asked them straight up: What went wrong?

The results of Josh’s semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation are captured here. From a disastrous Putt-Putt date involving a backward prosthetic foot, to his introduction to CFD (Close Fast Dancing), to a misguided “grand gesture” at a Miss America pageant, this story is about looking for love–or at least a girlfriend–in all the wrong places.

breakdown

Author: Josh Sundquist
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: December 23, 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I can’t remember whose blog it was (if it was yours, let me know!), but I found out about this book there. It was applauded for its humour–and I love a story that can make me laugh!

The Concept:

It takes a lot of guts to admit your embarrassing dating stories to your friends; but to write a book and share it with the world? Now that’s bold and takes a lot of guts. Not that anything is extremely embarrassing–it’s actually pretty typical and realistic. But I could see why, looking back, that it is embarrassing 😉 Whether or not all those things happened? I’m sure they are embelished a bit, but it sure is entertaining!

The semiscientific approach was a cute way of analyzing the events without it being like an essay. It kept the flow going and definitely added to the humorous tones of the novel.

The WRITING:

This book was super easy to read! It never dwelled on anything too long, it had a great flow and it was funny! Humour can be really hard to convey through text but I think Josh did a great job with it here.

did it impact my life?:

Not particularly, though I think a lot of us can relate to the events that happen to Josh. We all have those stories where we assumed things when it comes to our romantic lives.

To me, the main message of this book was to not let the past get you down. Reflect on the past and learn from it but move forward.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

This book is perfect for those who want a quick but uplifting, humourous read. I had a lot of fun reading this and I think most people will as well!

Read if You Like: humourous true stories
Avoid if You: want a more thought-provoking read

similarreads

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