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.
This month’s books include three non-fiction, two of them being celebrity memoirs. The three books were also all listened to on audio. I didn’t intend for that to happen, but they were all library holds and this was the order they became available.
My current reads are LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND for book club this month, THE HOSPITAL for review, and THE THINGS WE CANNOT SAY on audio for my own enjoyment. I’m also still reading HERE SHE IS and ATOMIC HABITS. I’m not sure why these are going so slow for me. When I read them, I’m interested, but they aren’t the books I reach for first.
By: Leah Remini
Narrated by: Leah Remini
Published: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
I had this book in my Libby/Overdrive wish list for quite some time, but it took a reminder from the What Should I Read Next podcast to listen. It was available immediately as an audiobook and so I downloaded it and couldn’t stop listening to it.
An absolutely riveting story of Remini’s journey in Scientology. But beyond that, she shares her path to becoming an actress which was not without difficulty. Her personal stories were shocking, unreal, and frankly, quite revealing at times. I listened to the audiobook which is read by Remini herself. Because of this, you feel like you are sitting across the table while she is telling you her story.
If you like celebrity memoirs or behind-the-scenes types of stories, this one is a must-read.
THE INNER LIFE OF ANIMALS (The Mysteries of Nature 2)
Love, Grief, and Compassion – Surprising Observations of a Hidden World
By: Peter Wohlleben
Narrated by: Mike Grady
Published: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Greystone Books
Last month I shared that I had read THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES by Wohlleben. This one was available on audio through Libby/Overdrive too so I decided to give it a listen.
In the same way, the author told the story of trees, he shares the very human interactions that he witnessed and researched in various animals both on his farm and in the wild. There was no doubt that the animals he shared about showed compassion and empathy for humans and other animals as well as love and even pain and fear. I liked the stories he shared and was even familiar with some of his research, especially the stories he shared about the intelligence of birds. I had learned much of that research from listening to THE GENIUS OF BIRDS.
Reading this book will have you looking at animals differently and appreciating the wide range of emotions they can express.
By: Matthew McConaughey
Narrated by: Matthew McConaughey
Published: October 20, 2020
This was on my Libby/Overdrive hold list. Then my husband heard Matthew McConaughey talk on a podcast and bought a physical copy of the book. The same week, my library hold came in. So, I listened to it and was also able to look through the physical book. I wish I could say one version is better than the other. I actually think you need both. The audio is read by McConaughey himself and is so much fun to listen to. He laughs at himself, uses accents, shouts, bellows, and just has a great time sharing his stories. But, the physical version has tons of pictures and scans of notes and poems that are worth seeing as well.
I loved the story of him working so hard to get the role of Jake in “A Time to Kill” which was his breakout role. In one weekend he went from “being noticed by 4 out of 400 people to being noticed by 396 out of 400 because the other 4 were babies and a blind man.” That was the first movie I remember seeing him in and then watching his career evolve after that from romcoms to more serious dramas.
You don’t have to be a fan to love this book. His advice, stories of making movies, and adventures are ones that anyone can enjoy. I also loved his title, Greenlights, and how he used this term or yellow and red lights at the end of every story. If you are looking for a juicy, tell-all celebrity memoir, this is not it. McConaughey loves his given family (parents and siblings), his created family (wife and children), and his friends well. He has no time for gossip or dredging up the past if it has no purpose.