Quick Lit: Mini Review of Some Recent Reads – April Edition

 

I’m trying to read more books that I choose for my own reading enjoyment. Not for review, but because I’ve been wanting to read them or they caught my attention. Most of them have been talked about ad nauseam or have been on my to-read list for a long time so they don’t really need a full review. But, I’d still like to give them some space here on the blog.
I’ll be linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and her monthly Quick Lit link up. Be sure to head over to see others link up their Quick Lit posts.
Our family took a Spring Break trip, driving to Dallas, Texas, and back. So I had plenty of time for reading and I read the bottom four books in this post while on our trip. The rest I fit in sporadically around other review books. My reading time is slowing down again now as track season is ramping up (just when I think Mother Nature has realized it is Spring and NOT winter she drops more snow on us) and planning for graduation is in full swing. My spare time is spent working on organizing pictures and other things for graduation party preparation. I’m looking forward to a much more relaxed summer schedule that will include catching up on reading! But, for now, I’m embracing these last moments of our son’s high school experience.
A THOUSAND NAKED STRANGERS
By: Kevin Hazzard
Published: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Scribner
Format: eBook
I really enjoy medical memoirs and this one, from an EMT/Paramedic’s perspective gave me a different look into the medical field. After a career in journalism, Hazzard wanted a have a job that was exciting but also gave him the opportunity to help others and make an impact in someone’s life. After hours of studying, classes, ride-a-longs and being thrown into life and death situations, he started his career at Grady, Atlanta’s toughest neighborhood. He was quickly thrown into the darkest and most difficult moments in people’s lives.  His stories of life and death were horrifying and graphic. The conditions that the paramedics had to work in were beyond horrible and it’s a wonder they were able to save anyone’s life.
Because of his journalistic background, Hazzard writes to keep the reader interested white using metaphors to give us a voyeuristic view into the days and nights of an ambulance crew. Hazzard doesn’t hold back in his story-sharing and his vivid descriptions of scenes whether accidents or family drama or murders made me cringe.
My favorite quote from the book is tragic, but sadly seemingly true:
“Medicine’s great magic trick is how it convinces us we’re here saving lives
 when more often what we’re doing is witnessing death.” 
GIVE A GIRL A KNIFE
By: Amy Thielen
Narrated by: Amy Thielen
Published: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Format: Audiobook
I was interested in Thielen’s book because my cousin knows her and has helped with a few of her book signing events. I have skimmed her cookbook, THE NEW MIDWESTERN TABLE and salivated over her recipes. I also watched her show on the Food Network so I was already familiar with her story a bit. I listened to her memoir on audio, which she reads herself. Her story of working as an NYC chef was fascinating even though a lot of the food she was creating I had never heard of. The long hours and minimal pay were a surprise to me as I assumed chefs were paid well. How she and her husband, Aaron, would just jump in the car and start a new adventure gave me anxiety. Staying with strangers until their car was fixed, trusting that all would work out or living in an old building with strangers in NYC just floored me. It was definitely a different time, but still they were extremely trusting of others. Once they returned to Minnesota and began living off the land, I was fascinated by her willingness to live with so little. I was excited along with her when they got running water for the first time in their cabin. Thielen’s story is more than a food memoir, it is an awakening of what her life purpose truly is.
DREAM MORE
Celebrate the Dreamer in You
By: Dolly Parton
Narrated by: Dolly Parton
Published: November 27, 2012
Publisher: Putnam
Format: Audiobook
This book is similar to MAKE YOUR BED that I wrote about last month in the sense that the book was written based on a graduation speech. I listened to both on audio and by far, Dolly’s is more fun to listen to! You can’t help being happy while listening to Dolly share her stories. She is always full of joy and spunk.
Her laughter, her generosity, and her love of children are what make her the Dolly we all love. To paraphrase her quote from the book, “I don’t want to be remembered for my looks, but for my books.” Her foundation Imagination Library makes it possible for children everywhere to have a book. To find out what that is what she is most proud of in her life, you have to read her book. At just a 1 1/2 hour listen, you can finish it in no time. Well worth your time and make sure you choose the audio version to get the full Dolly experience! I just wish she would have gone even deeper in some of her stories.
FALSE REPORT
A True Story of Rape in America
By: T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong
Published: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Crown
Format: Hardcover
I’m not sure that I can really say much more than what the synopsis has already told you, except for you to be prepared. It’s graphic, heartbreaking, and horrifying. The evil depicted in this book is so much more so because you know every horrific detail of it happened to the women brave enough to tell their story again and again.My first job out of college was as a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counselor. I can handle a certain amount of graphic details as it used to be part of my job, but I will admit, I had to put this book aside several times and take a breather. It’s been a long time since I worked with victims every day, attached to a pager knowing every time it went off, someone had been hurt. It was hard to keep turning the pages knowing the victims weren’t being believed, knowing the rapist was going to strike again, and knowing all these things truly happened was a lot to take.

The reporting in this book is important and should be required reading off all police detectives and counselors who work with victims. The take away for me was the reminder that false reports are rare and each victim’s response to rape can’t be compared to another victim. It’s our job to believe until proven otherwise, listen, and support in whatever capacity possible.

THE CAKE THERAPIST
By: Judith Fertig
Published: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Berkley
Format: Paperback
Who wouldn’t want to read a book with a rainbow cake on the cover?Fertig created the plot of this story while at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival where many other great books began. Claire, or “Neely” as her friends call her, returns to her hometown in Ohio after living a lavish life in NYC married to an NFL star and being well-known for her baking. Her marriage is over as far as she is concerned and it is time to start over.

Neely opens up her bakery right across from her friend’s bridal shop hoping to make their community a destination for wedding planning. Success comes fast and her skill at baking for people’s moods and feelings keeps customers coming to their small town.

Neely has the magical ability to sense people’s emotions and bakes with certain flavors that match up with their feelings drawing stories and emotions out of her customers.

Along with Neely’s story, we are also immersed in a story from the past that has a connection to Neely and her customers. At first, this didn’t make sense to the rest of the story and I was confused, but as I continued along, I realized there was a connection that would tie everything together, which it did.

Readers should know there are some storylines that can be triggers for some people. Overall, I enjoyed the friendships created, the mystery behind the flavors and creating special desserts, and the endless mouth-watering descriptions of cakes.

Favorite Quote:
“Orange wakes you up, but cinnamon makes you remember. 
I guess you can’t have a future without a past. “

 

GLOW15
A Science-Based Plan to Lose Weight, Revitalize Your Skin, and Invigorate Your Life
By: Naomi Whittel
Published: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: eBook
I saw an ad for this book in a magazine while on our Spring Break trip. After reading a couple sample chapters, I bought the Kindle version. I am really intrigued by the philosophy of autophagy and have done parts of the plan since I read it. Again, it takes planning and prep work which I can’t fit in right now, but I liked the recipes in the book as well as the schedule of high and low protein days. The exercise plan in the book also seems doable.
THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN
By: Sherman Alexie
Published: September 12, 2007
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Format: Paperback
This book came highly recommended to me by my nephew who is a high-school English teacher on a Native American reservation school. Our sons read it a couple years ago and I finally decided our Spring Break trip would be a good time to read it since I knew it would a quick read. I have always been curious as to why it was a banned book and yet so many rave about it.
The only part that maybe would be of a concern for parents is that the book has strong themes yet looks to appeal to a younger audience because of the length of the book and the character (think Diary of a Wimpy Kid) drawings throughout the book. But, it is definitely written for mature middle-school to high-school-aged children.
Even though it is a quick read, I did find it extremely depressing and had to put it down a few times just to take a step away from the story. Arnold was born to alcoholic parents so he has had some brain complications and lives in the cycle of alcoholism, poverty, and poor choices that seem to be too common on reservations. Even with his brain issues, he is extremely bright and takes a chance by leaving the reservation school to attend the local high school that is 20 miles away. Many days he has to walk himself to or from school. Other times he catches a ride by hitch-hiking. But, still, Arnold succeeds….even when things are chaotic all around him and it would be so much easier to give up.I had to believe that there would be happiness ahead to keep myself reading and there was, but there was a lot of tragedy too. So, choose carefully if recommending this to young readers.
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3 Comments

  1. bermudaonion on April 16, 2018 at 12:28 am

    I read A False Report a few months ago and I'm still talking about it. What an important book!

  2. Tanya on April 16, 2018 at 2:10 am

    You really read a lot this month! The Dolly Parton audio book sounds really entertaining!

  3. Catherine Gilmore on April 19, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts on False Report. It's a book I know I need to read, but feel as if I'll add it to my TBR, but wait for a bit. So much toxicity in the world right now.

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