Tag «Nonfiction»

Single Sundays: Making Habits, Breaking Habits by Jeremy Dean

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 Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick (from Goodreads):

Say you want to start going to the gym or practicing a musical instrument. How long should it take before you stop having to force it and start doing it automatically?

The surprising answers are found in Making Habits, Breaking Habits, a psychologist’s popular examination of one of the most powerful and under-appreciated processes in the mind. Although people like to think that they are in control, much of human behavior occurs without any decision-making or conscious thought.

Drawing on hundreds of fascinating studies, psychologist Jeremy Dean busts the myths to finally explain why seemingly easy habits, like eating an apple a day, can be surprisingly difficult to form, and how to take charge of your brain’s natural “autopilot” to make any change stick.

Witty and intriguing, Making Habits, Breaking Habits shows how behavior is more than just a product of what you think. It is possible to bend your habits to your will—and be happier, more creative, and more productive.

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Author: Jeremy Dean
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help, Psychology
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: December 25, 2012
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I picked this book up in the hopes it would help motivate me to develop some good habits. See, I finally finished my post-secondary education and was about to start my career so I wanted to get some good habits started right from the get-go of my new lifestyle.

My hopes for this novel were that it would help me come up with some strategies to implement a routine that included work, reading, working out and writing!

The Concept:

The scientist in me really appreciated the use of psychology/sociology studies to explain why certain approaches were more successful than others. I like evidence and I don’t like books that just spew out ideas that have no support. So that really worked for me.

For me, I wanted this book to focus more on creating habits as opposed to breaking them and I felt that at times, this book geared more towards the breaking of habits. But maybe that is just what I got out of it.

The Writing/The Narration:

However, at times, I felt like I was just sitting in a psychology lecture because the first half of the book is so focused on the science of what a habit is and why it is hard to break. It was more educational to me than inspiring for the first 50% of the book. Though that did improve on the later half.

I’m glad I listened to the audiobook though. I think I would have felt like I was reading a textbook if I read the physical book. It was a very easy read.

Did it Impact My Life?

Perhaps not as much as I had hoped. I think I wanted some clear cut strategies for starting new habits and I didn’t totally get those. BUT, it helped to remind me that it can take a while to create a new habit; that I shouldn’t be afraid to try new strategies; that it’s ok to miss a few times or make a mistake. So I did find it a worthwhile read because it made me want to try and create some new habits.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

A very informative book but it didn’t offer too many everyday strategies for making/breaking habits. Instead the focus seemed to be more of why people struggle and that it is a normal occurrence to endure.

Read if You Like: nonfiction, psychology
Avoid if You: dislike self-help books

 

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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

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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

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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: Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman

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 Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living (from Goodreads):
Parks and Recreation actor Nick Offerman shares his humorous fulminations on life, manliness, meat, and much more in his first book.

Growing a perfect moustache, grilling red meat, wooing a woman—who better to deliver this tutelage than the always charming, always manly Nick Offerman, best known as Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson? Combining his trademark comic voice and very real expertise in woodworking—he runs his own woodshop—Paddle Your Own Canoe features tales from Offerman’s childhood in small-town Minooka, Illinois—“I grew up literally in the middle of a cornfield”—to his theater days in Chicago, beginnings as a carpenter/actor and the hilarious and magnificent seduction of his now-wife Megan Mullally. It also offers hard-bitten battle strategies in the arenas of manliness, love, style, religion, woodworking, and outdoor recreation, among many other savory entrees.

A mix of amusing anecdotes, opinionated lessons and rants, sprinkled with offbeat gaiety, Paddle Your Own Canoe will not only tickle readers pink but may also rouse them to put down their smart phones, study a few sycamore leaves, and maybe even hand craft (and paddle) their own canoes.

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Author: Nick Offerman
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour, Celebrity
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

My first exposure to Nick Offerman was as the enigma of Ron Swanson on the fanastic TV comedy Parks and Rec. So I am going to apologize in advance for the many gifs that I’ve added to this review.

Ron Swanson is one of my all time favourite TV characters and because of that, I love Nick Offerman. I don’t like to be that person who equates an actor to be the same person they play in a TV show but I have a feeling Nick and Ron share a lot of commonalities and view points. What those were exactly had me excited to listen to this audiobook. No way was I going to miss out on Nick Offerman’s verbal humour by reading the novel via paper!

The Concept:

Like most celebrity memoirs, this novel is a mix of life stories and life philosophies. It isn’t anything new or unexpected on that front.

The Writing / The Narration:

I love the way Nick Offerman delivers his sarcasm and wit. He’s a funny guy but also very intelligent. Like his character of Ron, he often delivers these unexpected nuggets of wisdom that just make you think.

However, I did find this novel excessively long. The audio version is close to 10 hours in length and I don’t want to listen to anyone for that long. 5 hours is my max for a memoir.

Did it Impact My Life?

I really liked how Nick reminds people to keep it simple in life. He’s blunt and straight-forward and I appreciated that a lot.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

While this was wayyyy too long for me, I did enjoy it. It definitely had its funny moments and it was exactly what I thought it was going to be. But if you don’t know who Nick Offerman is or enjoy celebrity memoirs, this most definitely isn’t for you. As Ron says:

Read if You Like: Parks and Rec, celebrity memoirs
Avoid if You: dislike long memoirs

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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

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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: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

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 Modern Romance (from Goodreads):
A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”

But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Nonfiction 2016
Author: Aziz Ansari
Genre: Nonfiction, Humour, Romance, Sociology
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Source & Format: Audible–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

In the past, I’ve watched a few of Aziz’s stand-up routines and loved to hate his character Tom on Parks and Rec. I found out about his book when he did an interview on the Daily Show explaining its premise and his motivation to do it. He could have gone the traditional routes of writing a book that most comedians do but instead, he decided to look at a serious social question: why is love so hard to find in this modern age? A question that has always been of interest to me.Tom Haverford Parks And Rec Quotes. QuotesGram

So while I was curious to learn more about the modern predicaments of love, I also wanted to try listening to an audiobook that wasn’t particularly a celebrity memoir. I wanted to see if I could handle reading a book that was more fact based than personal biography. Would it capture my attention or would it make me feel like I was sitting through a lecture at school? While I didn’t think the latter would be possible with someone like Aziz narrating the story, it was more a question of the content than the author for me.

The Concept:

I find it fascinating when you look at the stats: divorce rates are up, people are staying single longer, many relationships start online and so many other interesting observations when it comes to modern romance. The dating world today is vastly different from what it was 30 years ago–to even 10 years ago!

What I really liked about Aziz’s book was that it explored all of these facts in one way or another. He tackles a little bit of everything, from online dating to lower birth rates in Japan, using his own personal experience as well as the evidence of various studies and focus groups. And he pretty much attempts to answer every question you have on why romantic relationships have evolved in the way that they have.

The Writing / Narration:

This book had a great flow to it. It starts on a more personal note but eventually progresses to more objective views on everything, with Aziz giving little humourous tidbits along the way. It was very easy to listen too for that reason. I felt like each chapter built on the previous and it felt like I was on the journey with Aziz as he attempted to tackle these questions himself.

Aziz isn’t just spouting out random facts or endlessly listing them either–which would make this book boring. Instead of listening through a lecture, I felt like I was listening to a story unfold. So it kept my attention throughout.

Did it Impact My Life?

I learned quite a bit actually from this book. There were some really interesting studies that will probably stick with me for quite a while: like why having more options can be detrimental or why people prefer to text. I also think it made me evaluate my own stance on romance when it comes to my personal life. Not in a huge, life-changing way, but I think it reminded me to remain open and to not let my preconceptions get in the way of potential relationships. Relationships don’t have to be set in stone nor do they have to follow a predetermined path and this book was good at reminding me of that.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you like reading about sociology or insights on modern culture but find non-fiction reads to be dry, I highly recommend this book! It was fresh, fun and very easy to follow. I think I would have enjoyed the printed book just as much as the audio–but if you are a fan of Aziz, I recommend the audio book.

Read if You Like: sociology, humour, lighter nonfiction
Avoid if You: want a sociology book with no humour

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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!)

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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: America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t by Stephen Colbert

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 America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t (from Goodreads):
Book nation, in the history of mankind there has never been a greater country than America. You could say we’re the #1 nation at being the best at greatness.

But as perfect as America is in every single way, America is broken! And we can’t exchange it because we’re 236 years past the 30-day return window. Look around–we don’t make anything anymore, we’ve mortgaged our future to China, and the Apologist-in-Chief goes on world tours just to bow before foreign leaders. Worse, the L.A. Four Seasons Hotel doesn’t even have a dedicated phone button for the Spa. You have to dial an extension! Where did we lose our way?!

It’s high time we restored America to the greatness it never lost!

Luckily, AMERICA AGAIN will singlebookedly pull this country back from the brink. It features everything from chapters, to page numbers, to fonts. Covering subject’s ranging from healthcare (“I shudder to think where we’d be without the wide variety of prescription drugs to treat our maladies, such as think-shuddering”) to the economy (“Life is giving us lemons, and we’re shipping them to the Chinese to make our lemon-flavored leadonade”) to food (“Feel free to deep fry this book-it’s a rich source of fiber”), Stephen gives America the dose of truth it needs to get back on track.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Nonfiction 2015
Author: Stephen Colbert
Genre: Nonfiction, Politics, Humour, Satire
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

In September 2015 I decided to start listening to audiobooks. It takes me approximately an hour to go grocery shopping when I am at school when you factor in walking, buying and returning home. I reasoned that would be the perfect time to listen to an audiobook instead of regular old music.

Lindsey @ Bring My Books wrote a great review of Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me audiobook and it inspired me to try listening to audiobooks of nonfiction novels–especially humour ones. Why I didn’t clue into that earlier is beyond me but it made me want to try an audiobook!

This one was just based on what was available when I looked. I loved watching The Colbert Report and I figured if I could watch Stephen Colbert on a daily basis, listening to him narrate his audiobook wouldn’t be that difficult.

The Concept:

As a Canadian I will admit that I didn’t get every American reference–however, I probably know more than the average Canadian about American politics thanks to my viewing of The Daily Show with John Stewart and The Colbert Report. He even throws in some hilarious Canadian references that had me laughing like a crazy person as I took the subway.

This book is essentially a satirical view of American politics and ideals. It basically reads as if you were watching an extended episode of The Colbert Report but on a much more candid level. As you progress through the story, Stephen gives his ironic tips on how to reclaim every American stereotype I’ve ever heard. It’s entertaining and hilarious and was everything I expected from Stephen Colbert.

The Writing/Narration:

Like I said, I felt like I was listening to a longer episode of The Colbert Report–which is exactly what I was expecting. I couldn’t imagine anyone else delivering this novel other than Stephen Colbert.

Did it Impact My Life?

I suppose it did. The simplest way is that it made me like listening to an audiobook. I had tried to listen to one or two before but I couldn’t get past a female narrator changing her voice to sound like a man during YA fiction. But listening to the author narrate their own nonfiction title–that works for me.

It also taught me a bit more about American politics and ideals. It was rather enlightening.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

This book thoroughly entertained me. It was so much fun to listen to! I don’t think it would have been the same experience if I had read it. Having Stephen Colbert actually speak the words in the way they are intended to be really helps the humour come to light.

Read if You Like: political satires
Avoid if You: don’t like books that deal with politics

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  • A Nation Worth Ranting About by Rick Mercer

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