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, so instead, I’m offering mini-reviews of the books that won’t get full-page space here.
My reading has kind of been all over the place. I have several books going at once including physical books, audiobooks, and ebooks. Library holds have been coming in and I’ve been having to send them back (oh so painfully) and put myself back on the long waiting list because I am trying to keep to my mostly self-imposed review deadlines.
I am still reading THE ONLY PLANE IN THE SKY. It isn’t because I am not interested in it, but it’s a hard read. the print is small…so low-light makes it hard to read at night and the topic has been difficult to read very much at a time. I’ll be going to the eye doctor in October and hoping I can get some new lenses to help with the reading issues. I’m also part of the launch team for Anne Bogel’s new book, DON’T OVERTHINK IT. I’m a chronic overthinker. I can lay awake at night overthinking like a champion. I’m over halfway done and I am taking away so many important thoughts and tips from this book. Stay tuned!
I’m also still working my way slowly through the eBook of WHY WE CAN’T SLEEP. I’m liking it, just other books are taking my time right now. I just finished THESE GOT ME PUNCHED which is a man’s chronology of 50 kisses told with humor and life lessons. I also finished THE VINEYARDS OF CHAMPAGNE, a WWI novel that I loved. Don’t miss any of the children’s books I’ve reviewed lately. They were all awesome!
Now on to the books….
THE MOMENT OF LIFT
How Empowering Women Changes the World
By: Melinda Gates
Narrated by: Melinda Gates
Published: April 23, 2019
Publisher: Flat Iron Books
Format: Audiobook through the library
I had no idea the level of philanthropy the Bill and Melinda Gates were invested in, related to time and money. I knew they had foundations but wasn’t aware of what Melinda was passionate about. I found her stories of the struggles of women in other countries disheartening and wishing there was more we and the Gates foundation could do, especially in the area of changing the mindset. I was shocked that pharmaceutical companies felt that sending condoms were enough to solve the problem of young child death and poverty without even thinking that the husbands may find them offensive and refuse to use them, leaving the wives and children in more danger. This story and many others including child marriage and husbands sharing in household duties all over the world were eye-opening. Melinda Gates narrates her own audiobook and states many times that she is very aware of her privilege and status in today’s society. But, I felt her approach in the book, both as a writer and narrator, to be honest, forthcoming, and genuine. Their foundation has made a great difference in the world and the impact on communities in the US and all over the world can be applauded. I appreciate Gates’ passion for Global Health and women and children and if these are causes you would like to know more about, I would suggest reading or listening to this book.
How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction
By: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Format: eBook through the library
This book wasn’t even on my radar until just a couple of months ago when I was looking for TED talks about heroes for the junior English class I was teaching. This author’s TED Talk Why Lunch Ladies are Heroes shares why the lunch ladies at his school were his heroes and how one particular lunch lady inspired his very popular LUNCH LADY series of books. His TED Talk inspired me to look into his books. When I saw this graphic novel memoir of his life growing up without his parents, I was intrigued.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long for the library hold to come in and I read it in one day. I was moved and loved the author’s way of telling the horrible parts of life in such a way that it is both appropriate for adults and middle-schoolers on up to read. He doesn’t hold back on his anger and frustration, nor does he hold back on the details. His illustrations are simple, yet full of the necessary details to show emotion while reading. He explains in his author notes the reason behind his muted colors and simple designs.
There are many times that the author could have taken a different path in life and yet, he remained driven to not end up like his mom. Even though his grandparents were maybe not always the best role models for him, they did provide him with a loving and stable environment and were more than a mother and father to him than his parents ever would be. I think his story is amazing and his telling of it in graphic novel format makes it even more impactful.
THE POLYGAMIST’S DAUGHTER
By: Anna LeBaron
Narrated by: Anna LeBaron
Published: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Format: Audiobook through the library
This book had been on my radar for a long time, but somehow it was never added to my to-read list. I realized it was available through my library and I added it to my hold’s list. If you loved EDUCATED by Tara Westover or THE SOUND OF GRAVEL by Ruth Wariner, then definitely add this book to your list.
Even though Anna LeBaron’s story is more famous due to her father’s cult legacy, there was much of her story I did not know. Her story will tug at your heart, shock you, and keep you riveted from the first page to the last. Growing up in a polygamist family was all she had known and yet, she knew that the teachings by her father and his followers didn’t seem right.
LeBaron gives us details of her life that must have been deeply painful and yet cathartic to write and narrate. In the epilogue, she shares about reading the manuscript to her mother, and her mother’s incredulous shock about the things Anna said happened to her as well as her feelings towards her mom. I can’t imagine writing the kind of story of her life that Anna lived through and then reading it aloud to her own mother. Her bravery and candor can be an inspiration to many. Her narration was smooth and only a few times did I note some emotional inflections in her voice. Her narration made the story even more impactful.
Since today is also Valentine’s Day, be sure to check out these Valentine’s Day related posts, HERE.
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