I liked Amelia from the start. We meet her at 5 years old trying to get into wrestling because that is what her very adored brother loves and her lessI liked Amelia from the start. We meet her at 5 years old trying to get into wrestling because that is what her very adored brother loves and her less adored but still loved father. From there we go through her parents' divorce, custody arrangements, stepparents, high school, college, and discovering that life doesn't always turn out exactly how you expected. Through it all she manages to not take herself to seriously (looking back I mean, I have a feeling the young Amelia was pretty melodramatic) and is incredibly honest with her mistakes and missteps. I did really appreciate that she never fails to take responsibility for her actions even when she can understand why she reacted or did what she did she also doesn't take on unnecessary blame. I ended up really enjoying this book. You never quite know what you're going to get from those impulsive book grabs but this was one ended up being a delightful and unexpected treat. While food is a big part of the book - especially in the last half - there is a lot about acceptance, perseverance, and really growing up. I'm so glad I listened when this book called my name. If you want to get a peek at Amelia's writing you can check out her blog here. My only complaint is there isn't a recipe index in the book which makes it a little harder to find the one I want but I can work with that! Full Review: http://iwishilivedinalibrary.blogspot......more
This was a really interesting little book (it's around 115 pages) and I loved that it was factual but didn't take itself to seriously. It covers everyThis was a really interesting little book (it's around 115 pages) and I loved that it was factual but didn't take itself to seriously. It covers everything you can think of about day to day life in Germany - shopping, work, spending habits, rule following, and holidays to name a few. I know a number of people who travel to Germany for work and I think this book would be very useful - especially the section on meetings. I learned that there are almost as many types of sausages as there are beer and that some are very rare. That patriotism is a conflicting emotion for most Germans and that history is taken very seriously. Actually most things are taken pretty seriously - including bathroom habits! The description of the Christmas Markets made me want to plan a trip to Germany (in German style - about 2 years in advance. Another positive thing about going in December is that I'd miss the asparagus season. My dislike of asparagus and my complete lack of punctuality pretty much confirm my complete lack of German roots This quick read was light and informative. I would have liked some personal stories and some more details about the authors' experiences in Germany I think would have made this book more interesting. If you're heading over to Germany or someone from Germany is heading over here pick up this book so you don't make the faux-pas of trying to make small talk or not taking your hobby seriously. Full Review: http://iwishilivedinalibrary.blogspot......more
If you've read any of Bryson's books before you pretty much know what to expect here. If you haven't - it's basically Bryson meandering around the EngIf you've read any of Bryson's books before you pretty much know what to expect here. If you haven't - it's basically Bryson meandering around the English countryside and discussing everything that interests him. Obscure and not so obscure landmarks, some interesting and not so well known historical tidbits, the way some areas are so carefully preserved and celebrated and others no less important and beautiful completely ignored. He discusses traffic, the British love of systems that are far less systematic than they appear, and everything else that comes into his head in an ordered stream of conscious fashion. I mean all of this in the best possible way. Bryson is mildly grumpy with a low tolerance for idiots but his sense of humor and curiosity really carries the book. There were plenty of times throughout the book when I found myself laughing and just had to read the passage out loud to my husband. Bryson also validated my fear of cows and earned my eternal gratitude. I knew they weren't to be trusted and were always ready to trample someone to death. This was a book I read a little bit at a time and I always enjoyed it. Bryson's voice is gentle even when he's contemplating if violence is appropriate when someone allows their dog to poop on a public walk and then covers it up with leaves. The book is divided into chapters that discuss different regions - Cornwall, London, etc - and for each chapter he explores that region. He has the unique perspective of someone who has lived there for decades and is familiar with the country and able to see how things have changed but he is still just slightly a foreigner. This is a perfect book to read a chapter at a time. It's light and entertaining but still full of fascinating tidbits of information about a huge range of subjects. Full Review: http://iwishilivedinalibrary.blogspot......more
I feel like a comparison to Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) is inevitable. Both she and Brittany are bloggers with a pretty off the wall sense of humoI feel like a comparison to Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) is inevitable. Both she and Brittany are bloggers with a pretty off the wall sense of humor, both have had their struggles with anxiety and depression, and both have husbands who ground them. However, they have distinctly different voices and focuses (and Lawson talks about taxidermy a lot more). There's a lot of talk about this book being "hilarious" and "laugh out loud funny" and I'm not sure I agree. There's a lot more here than just funny. There's learning to deal with parents who aren't in ideal situations, desperately trying to find a place to fit in in high school, finding the right guy and being terrified you'll lose him, and trying to balance to two very different self images of being a wife and a mom. Mostly it's Brittany finding her voice and taking the readers along for the ride. Brittany is funny. I loved her sarcastic comments and appreciation for irony but most of all I really loved her honesty. The really good thing about this book is I think it's easy to relate too. The message is a good one regardless of your weight, marriage status or number of children. And Brittany delivers it in a way that is honest and with just the right amount of humor. Full Review: http://iwishilivedinalibrary.blogspot......more
The Residence is without a doubt one of my favorite reads of the year so far and I suspect it will be on my top ten best in December. This reads likeThe Residence is without a doubt one of my favorite reads of the year so far and I suspect it will be on my top ten best in December. This reads like a can't put down, stay up too late turning pages to see what happens next work of fiction. We start out with White House Doorman Preston Bruce hearing that John F. Kennedy has been shot in Dallas and his subsequent sprint to get to the White House so he could be there when Jackie arrived and the pace doesn't let up. This reads like a mix of gossip column and history lesson and every page is brimming with fascinating tidbits about everyone from the Kennedys to the Obamas. I have literally not shut up about this book since I started reading this with every sentence beginning "did you know..." And there is so much to know. There are bits of good and bad about almost everyone and through it all runs a strong thread of humanity that at times brought tears to my eyes. If it wasn't making me cry it was making me laugh or making me think. The people who run the White House are truly an amazing an impressive group and this is definitely a book worth reading! Full Review: http://iwishilivedinalibrary.blogspot......more
Having teenagers and a preschooler there's not many sections of parenting that I haven't been involved in. Well except maybe dance because as a familyHaving teenagers and a preschooler there's not many sections of parenting that I haven't been involved in. Well except maybe dance because as a family we're not particularly graceful but I had friends in dance so I heard their stories. We did our share plus more of sports and other organized activities and I've spent plenty of time on PTA boards, as chair of something or other for various schools and sitting in parks listening to mothers like the ones Stefanie rants about. Needless to say I could relate to a lot of these stories! She explains the struggle to find a balance between protecting your kids and letting them make their own mistakes and learn how to do things on their own very well and with a good dash of humor. There are also some pretty funny chapters on yoga pants, "gifted" kids, parks and other places she hates, and making friends. While she's definitely on the snarky side I do love that it feels like she genuinely loves her kids and enjoys spending time with them. I always get a little squeamish when humor comes across as mean - especially involving children.
There are a few flaws. At times it the writing feels a little forced and there's a feeling of repetitiveness throughout some of the chapters. Since this is such a quick read that didn't keep me from enjoying this book especially since that's a fairly common issue I have with most humor books.
The length of the chapters was really perfect. It was just long enough to give us a good understanding of where each woman came from, how she met herThe length of the chapters was really perfect. It was just long enough to give us a good understanding of where each woman came from, how she met her famous (or infamous) husband, and what her life was like as a married woman. There was enough to get a sense of the woman without getting overly bogged down in detail. I thought her choices of women was terrific as they were all the wives of people I was familiar with but almost all the names were new to me. I know nothing about Einstein's first wife, or General MacArthur's wife and even less about Ghandi's wife. And poor poor Mrs. Oscar Wilde. The mix of women is fascinating. Some are tragic, some are heartbreaking-ly patient, some are crazy (Gala Dali comes to mind), but they are all passionate women who sacrificed so much to support their husband. Wagman-Geller's voice comes through and you get touches of her opinion on some of the men and dashes of humor which keep the book interesting but still a light read. Overall: The chapters in the book were addicting. Each time I came to a new chapter I thought "well I want to learn about her. I'll just read one more." I thoroughly enjoyed getting a look at the women behind (or propping up) the famous men! Full Review: http://iwishilivedinalibrary.blogspot......more
I wasn't sure what to expect with Why Not Me? Mindy had covered most of her childhood and early career in her first book so I wasn't sure what was lefI wasn't sure what to expect with Why Not Me? Mindy had covered most of her childhood and early career in her first book so I wasn't sure what was left. In her 2nd book she takes us back to college and then to the end of The Office and the beginning and creation of the Mindy Project. We see her a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and a whole lot gutsier but still most definitely herself. She's the woman you want to be best friends with because not only is she intelligent enough to have discussions about comedic greats and the ins and outs of becoming a successful writer but you just know you could also debate if those shoes really work with jeans and she'd be all for it. I really enjoyed her stories on her short lived time as a sorority girl, dating a guy in the Secret Service (or at least I think he was), getting her show started, and listening to BJ Novak defend himself for his behavior at the theater. I didn't find this book laugh out loud funny and there weren't moments where I absolutely repeat something to my husband (which is best - he's still recovering from the Bill Bryson book I read a few weeks ago) but it was entertaining and interesting and just plain fun. Mindy has mastered being smart but not pretentious or unapproachable as well as being shallow without being superficial or vapid. She's incredibly honest and witty and listening to this book made me feel happy. My primary complaints would be that the stories do feel a little random and there are a few that kind of feel like filler. Also, there's not nearly enough BJ Novak but I guess it really isn't his book so I can't complain too much about that. I went the audio route which is read my Mindy and is lots of fun. Listening to it feels a bit like hanging out with a good friend. If you're an audio fan I recommend going that route though I really think it would read great as well. Full Review: http://iwishilivedinalibrary.blogspot......more