Books Lately

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Someday, Someday, Maybe By Lauren Graham

This book is about: A girl named Franny tries to make it big as an actress in New York, but she’s working on a self made timeline…if she doesn’t make it big by her designated end date, she’s going to give up her dreams and move on with life.

What I thought:

  • So, yeah, that is THE Lauren Graham who wrote the book (as in the actress!). Don’t worry-she got a degree in English so she knows what she’s doing.
  • A few swear (including the F-word).
  • The characters in this book are so REAL. The dialogue was real, like I could imagine each character actually saying what they were saying-it fell in line with their personalities. I guess that is an awesome benefit of having an actress write a novel-it’s their job to understand people, you know? And I liked how Franny was mistaken about her perceptions of certain people (like in real life). And, over the course of the book, it was obvious that Franny made mistakes and learned in a very realistic way.
  • This isn’t a super happening book. Like, it’s very real life, day-to-day kind of stuff. Nothing outrageously wild happens in it, but even so it was entertaining to read.
  • You get pages from Franny’s planner which is fun and my personal favorite was reading her voicemail messages.
  • At the end of the book, she talks with a friend and they determine that, when it comes to our actions, quantity becomes quality. Like if we do something enough times, we are going to get really good at it. I like this idea. It seems very hopeful to me.

Should You Read It? Yes. While it’s not a crazy page turner, I felt like it’s relatable and offers a fresh layout. Enjoyable read.

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Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

This books about: A lady named Ann who digs into her husband’s past to try and figure out exactly what happened that fateful summer day years ago with his first wife and two daughters. Vague, I know, but I don’t want to give anything away…

What I Thought:

  • This book…where do I begin? I wanted to read this because I’d seen it on a couple social media sites and, hello? I lived in Idaho. So, clearly, this needed to be on my To-Read list. But, upon finishing it, I had a really hard time pinning down how I felt about it. In a word, this book is haunting. I mean, you kind of get pieces of this puzzle and eventually determine what happened and it is horrifying. And sad and sickening.
  • So why would anyone read it? It is incredibly well written. It is the kind of book where you read every. single. word. There’s no skimming or passing by the “he said-she said” stuff. No. Every word matters and if you go too fast you feel like you’ve missed something and you have to go back and reread. The wording is poetic.
  • The author really sets up this book in an interesting way. Each chapter focuses on a different year, and while the whole book is in third person, each chapter has a different character as the focal point. You get a span of years and views from a vast array of characters that can be tied back to the main story line. It’s definitely interesting and well thought out.
  • As I read, it became pretty obvious that, under the circumstances of the book, there could not be a happy ending. There just wasn’t any way that everything could be tied together in a lovely little feel good way. And it wasn’t. The end was…fine? Realistic, for sure. I still had some questions, but, as in real life, sometimes we just never know.
  • From a psychological standpoint, the different views I got from the different characters was rather interesting.
  • I honestly don’t know if I could recommend this book. It was so dark and so sad. If you are a sensitive person at all or if you struggle with depression or if you have a tendency to dwell on things, I would not  recommend this book. The mystery and sadness of it all kind of sucks you in and leaves you in this weird funk. I ended up telling Ben the story to kind of process it and he just kept saying, “Why did you read this again?” and “Who would write about that?” because it is just that messed up. But, having said that, it is really really  well written and it’s the kind of book that you can’t put down. So if you’re a fan of great writing and you’ve got a strong stomach for harrowing tales, this might be the book for you…? Maybe. Honestly, read at your own risk! 😉
  • Towards the end, the author has a line that mentions just how porous we are…like we let things get to us that we don’t even realize. I felt like I could relate this to the natural man. Like when we let those kinds of things get to us and even act on those things, we’re letting the natural man in. And that’s why it’s so important to use Christ’s atonement to protect us from those under-the-skin type things that could potentially cause us to act in a way we’ll someday regret.

Should You Read It? Maybe. It’s not for the faint of heart but it’s definitely well written and engaging. Like stated above, read at your own risk!

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The Selection Series; Books 1-3 (The Selection, The Elite, The One) By Kiera Cass

This book’s about: This chick named America who’s “selected” to compete with 34 other girls at trying to win the hand of the Prince. Set in a futuristic and dystopian society, this book is essentially a teen version of The Bachelor.

Thoughts:

  • So let me just be straight with you all and say that I read the first book because, “Hey! Girls in pretty dresses!” And I read books 2 and 3 because ohmygoshineedtoknowhowthisenddddddddssss!!! Now, this is a 5 book series but book 3 basically wraps everything up. Books 4 and 5 are about the main characters’ daughter in her own Selection 20 years down the road. I did not read those books and, truth be told, I won’t read those books because I wasn’t totally into the series and pretty much kept reading because I needed a complete story, you know? I read spoilers of the other books and, frankly, I don’t think I’m missing out.
  • As you can probably tell from above, I didn’t really care for these. I think they’re written for a pretty specific audience (teenage girls) and the main focus is definitely romancery and general wooing. Meh.
  • The dystopian society setting is almost misleading. It definitely is NOT the main plot point and even seems kind of like an afterthought. Like Cass was really excited about writing a romance story and since dystopian lit seems to be all the rage, that’s where she set things…but it doesn’t get much attention. I mean, yes, stuff happens in the book that specifically regards the setting, but it’s more means for character development than it is to give a message about society or what have you.
  • I know it’s matronly or prudish or whatever but I was really disappointed at how sex is an issue in this book? I mean, technically nothing explicit goes on but there are some pretty racy happenings and I would say it is a theme of the books. I know, I know, it’s like, man, if this can be compared to The Bachelor this sounds pretty tame. But it’s a book for Young Adults! And I felt like there was too much inappropriateness for anyone younger than 16. I guess I’m just used to the chaste Ella Enchanteds of my youth…
  • So many cliches.
  • Love triangle was weak. As someone on goodgreads put it, there is no Team Aspen because he sucks. And all I can say is amen.
  • Obviously I don’t have many good things to say about this book so it’s kind like, well why the heck did you read it? All three books I read were incredibly quick reads. And if Cass does nothing else, she certainly knows how to engage her readers. All these books kept me up later than I should’ve been up because I just could not stop reading. I had to know what happened next!

Should You Read It? Honestly? No. Don’t waste your time. Unless cliche teenage romance is your jam, you can feel totally okay passing this one by.

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Mastering the Art of French Cooking By Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle

This book’s about: French Cooking tips and recipes.

What I thought:

  • LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED this book!!! Love, love, loved it.
  • I know it is so nerdy of me but, yes, I read the whole thing and made a few of the recipes.
  • Everyone should have this book! It has so much knowledge, so many tips and tricks and just so much to offer. It is a treasure trove for anyone who cooks even a little bit. Obviously, not everyone is a crazy like I am who will read through an entire cookbook. But even so, it offers so many basics when it comes to cooking that even if it’s just to have a reference for making broths or roux or sauces, it’s worth it.
  • This book is so incredibly thorough. If the dish can be made ahead of time, it explains how to do that. If it’s freezer friendly, it tells you. Et cetera, et cetera. It is obvious that the authors had extensive knowledge and experience in a French kitchen. And Child turns and makes all of it accessible to American cooks.
  • In the introduction, Child writes that the hope is for home cooks to become so comfortable in the kitchen that they no longer need to look at recipes save to ensure they haven’t forgotten a crucial ingredient. I love the concept of this…but lots of the recipes seem so precise that I don’t think I could ever make them without the recipe in hand!
  • So many of the recipes give the instructions to “Correct the seasoning.” This is an idea I love in theory and in practice. It’s like, if it doesn’t taste good, fix it! Most often, I think the authors meant with salt and/or pepper, but I still like the idea (that I think so often gets lost) that we can add things (spices especially) to make dishes more to our liking.
  • Random, but interesting: They explain that the required temperature for safely cooking a chicken is a whole 15 degrees more in the U.S. than it is in France! Crazy! But I think I’ll stick with the U.S. standard, thank you very much.

Should You Read It? Haha, well, maybe not like me (you know, sitting down reading the whole thing) but I would totally recommend having this one on your shelf! It’s old but classic and a great source for anyone who cooks!

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) By Mindy Kaling

This book’s about: Mindy Kaling and her life! She talks specifically about growing up, how she was drawn to comedy, and her journey to making it big!

What I thought:

  • Mindy Kaling, you’ve done it again…making me laugh out loud!
  • I kind of feel like every celebrity should write a book because everyone wants to know the deets on the life of a celeb, but if we are being real, that would be a huge mistake because I think we’d just get a bunch of crappy and/or false books. This book, though, is awesome because Mindy Kaling IS a writer. Like that’s what she does! And it totally comes through that she knows what she’s doing in the whole “Imma write a book about my life” department.
  • And it is a book about her life. The other book I read of hers was fun/funny but I felt like it didn’t really have a point. I mean, it kind of did, but it was also just felt like a random collection of essays that were funny. This book seemed so much more organized. It’s chronological and, while it’s not super crazy in depth, it does give you plenty of information on Kaling’s life in a fun and let’s-be-besties kind of way.
  • One thing that was not awesome for me is that she is about 10 years older than me and she’s obviously super up to date (and back to date, I guess?) on pop culture. Pop culture is not, nor has it ever been, my strong point. So there were plenty of references in her book that I wasn’t able to fully appreciate. The book was hilarious for me, but I’d bet it’s 10 times more hilarious for someone who’s her same age.
  • Her list of Best Friend Responsibilities was totally hilarious! I loved that part. Funny and true.
  • As a lover of The Office, it was fun to read this and learn more about the inner workings of the show (and hear her rants against Rainn Wilson-ha!).

Should You Read It? Yes. It’s a quick and hilarious read. If you were only allowed to read one of Kaling’s books…I would recommend this one!

2 thoughts on “Books Lately

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me!! While I’m only about 5 years older than you, that’s only 5 years younger than Kaling, so I get more of her pop culture references…although I did go look up and watch a lot of the comedy references she made, because I’m not a comedy nerd and didn’t know a lot of them. Overall, though, I just LOVE a book that makes me laugh out loud, for real! I agree, I liked her 2nd but adore her first! It’s actually April’s book for my book club (my choice) because I love it so much.

    I feel the same way about The Selection. ’nuff said

    I’ll have to go look up the other three. Julia Child’s cookbook has always intimidated me, but maybe I’ll give it a whirl. The Idaho one has me intrigued. While I don’t love super-heavy books with unhappy endings, I do love it when books read poetically, with each line and word having weight.

    Like

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