Category: Books



One Golden SummerOne Golden Summer by Clare Lydon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was one of those beach-read type of books. Done in a couple of hours. It was fun for the most part. It felt very like the male-female romance books in the part I hate them ost about romance. Jealousy. And lack of communication. But it was cute and a quick read, so great to pass the time.

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PersistPersist by Elizabeth Warren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this audiobook up on Libby. For a non-fiction memoir, it was a quick ‘read.” I think it was a couple of sessions. Elizabeth Warren read her book, which made it even better. She is so enthusiastic and thorough. I love her take on the world. I wish I felt as optimistic as she is that all this could work. But I’m all for trying.

Ms. Warren brought up every issue facing women. She also gave ideas on how to handle the bigotry in the world. Her voice and energy are contagious. I enjoyed the stories of her life. I highly recommend this book.

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Anansi BoysAnansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

NARRATOR OF Anansi Boys

Lenny Henry, narrator made this one of the most fun books I’ve read (listened to) in a long time. There were so many quotes that I wanted to put into my blog. But that would be spoilers. Go to GoodReads and look them up once you’ve read this book. I would be doing my diamond painting and then suddenly I’d have to stop because I would be laughing out loud. I’d have to calm down before trying to place the little gem into the picture.

What can I say about Neil Gaiman that hasn’t been said? His writing and imagination is fantastic.

This is considered book 2 of the American Gods. But I don’t know if you need to read that first. I did read AG a bit ago and loved it, too. But it isn’t necessary to enjoy this shorty but goody. Okay, maybe it isn’t so short. But after the tomes of Outlander this was a nice break.

I only decided to read this because Whoopi Goldberg is going to star in the theatrical version. Now I can hardly wait to see it!

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Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash CreativityEmbrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity by Felicia Day
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This has been on my Currently Reading list for a year! It wasn’t that I was struggling to read it. It was digesting and doing the homework. I highly suggest doing it the way a friend and I did it. We held each other accountable as we worked through all the tasks, well, most of them. We often thought about bringing other people on board but realized adding anyone else would make it harder to stay on task.

Both my friend and I found many of our creative issues met through Ms. Day’s carefully set up agenda toward creativity.

Felicia kept us going, her sense of humor lightening some old personal issues of social anxiety and performance anxiety, worries if our art is good enough, and seeing us through those walls we had built up for ourselves. Ms. Day told us about her own issues and helped us see from another point of view. And though her problems were from a young mother’s perspective, we could relate, having been through her issues, and could apply the precepts to our seniors years. We all feel insecure about our soul searching writing and artwork.

Whether or not you use the book in the buddy system or solo, I think you will find depths in your own abilities if you take your time and work on the tasks.

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What Comes AfterWhat Comes After by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, wow! I have never been so impressed with an actor and many writers as I felt reading this book. I wish I had read it before seeing the Negan comic books of this series. I might have been even more impressed to read first. That said, it leads me to give the most enormous kudos to Robert Kirkman for giving life to this universe!

This Walking Dead world that Kirkman birthed is amazing and asks so much of our society to examine. I often think that Mr. Kirkman was wise beyond his years. He seems to have human nature down to each of our kinds and how any society can become its own worst enemy by standing too hard on specific statutes while not paying attention to others. I see that in the news every day.

So the writers of the show have done everything they can to respect the author. It is hard, I’m sure, to move a story from page to people. But all along the way, all 18 issues of this comic, I see how well they do. And resounding praise for the handsome Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The comic Negan isn’t as stunning to look at, but, oh, my! Mr. Morgan has made the paper Negan come to life! I didn’t realize it before reading this book. I just saw the gorgeous man we all fell in love with on Grey’s Anatomy become with the same smile and demeanor an evil bastard you love to hate. He had every line of the comic book delivered in the same fashion. Just amazing.

If you get the chance to read these comics, please do. The Kindle version works better as I couldn’t see the text in the paper version. Kindle lets you enlarge everything. Details of the drawing are more precise. Wow! Just Wow!

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Apparently There Were Complaints: A MemoirApparently There Were Complaints: A Memoir by Sharon Gless
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sharon Gless was on the View not that long ago promoting this book. Though I am not a cop show fan, I like shows about strong women. Cagney and Lacey was that kind of show for me. I still love these two actors in everything I’ve seen them in. So I looked at the library link for Libby and found this book in audio form there. Yay! I knew it would be in Ms. Gless’s voice.

As with all autobiographies, I feel it hard to give a review. This is, after all, her life. Her trials and triumphs. Who am I to judge? Still, it was less and more than I expected. But it was heartfelt and her truth. And I was glad to have read/heard it.

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Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4)Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished this second read of the fourth book. I wanted to be ready for the new season on television. I didn’t need to read the whole series, though I watched the whole show from season 1 again. I really love the music by Bear McCreary. I just wanted to refresh myself of the memory of what happens to the Frasers and the rest once they are in America.

I loved the story written, narrated, or acted. Though a little different in each case, it is a fun ride.

Davina Porter narrates with such a varied voice that one always knows whose viewpoint we are hearing. Every now and then, I get confused with Bree and Clair or Roger and Jamie. But it doesn’t take long before a person can know who they are hearing.

I have already started book five as it has more about the American Revolution through the Frasers’ eyes. I can’t wait to see how they do it on the show. I love all the time travel. I love visiting other countries and hearing histories brought forth by Diana Gabaldon, whose research and knowledge as portrayed in the books and show.
***
The following was from my first reading/listen from March 2020.

Oops! I nearly forgot to review this one. I just moved into the next read (a library book).

I really wish I had read this before the series on television. I liked the rhythm of the story better. I like the viewpoints presented here as Clair’s rather than Bree’s as the television series has it. It is different not having the information about the daughter making the voyage back in time and back to America.

I think we got into Roger’s head a little more, too. It doesn’t take away from the show. Interestingly, the directors and actors took the storyline without losing the story.

No spoilers here. Just glad I read (listened to the Audible) it and can’t wait to get into the next one!

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The Five WoundsThe Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quade
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Libby, the library app, recommended this book as a social read for all. My friends and I all got the notification for it simultaneously. Since we all saw it, we ordered and tried to read it at the same time so we could discuss it later.

It was a challenging read. The writing was okay. But the topic was complex. So how is it I give it four stars?

The book gives five characters a chance to share their point of view. Each has damage to overcome. But, we’ve all seen people that refuse to grow up and accept responsibility. It seems, sometimes, that the pregnant teen is more mature than the rest of the cast. It is through her eyes I could tolerate this story. She gets it and is working hard. Ugh. Until she doesn’t. But she’s human. Right?

The author portrays the story through the LatinX culture in New Mexico. It is also slanted Catholic. Being raised in Southern California, I knew and loved friends of Mexican or Spanish heritage. And though I was raised protestant, many of my friends were Catholic, so I had a bit of an understanding. If you didn’t have a religious background or never participated, this might lose the reader.

If the book doesn’t get you culturally or religiously next, it might generationally. It centers on a family led by the matriarch, soon-to-be great Abuela, two offspring, a granddaughter, and finally, the new baby. I think the author does a good job stepping into each character. They are full of faults and virtues. And each is conflicted due to their past and family.

I must say, some might give up. I almost did several times as it is too real. But stick with it, and you will be rewarded in the end.

Gary Tiedemann (Narrator) did a flawless job. What I mean is that he read females and males with equal grace. I never felt the narrator mocking any of the characters in his voice. Yet, there was a change in characters, so you never feel lost about who is telling their story.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my second reading of the series. I noticed I haven’t changed my star rating. I’m still only giving it three stars. Jim Dale is part of the reason for this rating. His voice is suitable for all the males in the book but is horrid with the females. I do feel the grumpiness of Professor Minerva McGonagall and the hyper-energy of Hermoine. But for the most part, Mister Dale’s females sound demeaning and whiny.

But things I love about the book are the basilisk and the phoenix. These are two very fantastic beasts. Oh, and I love the idea of a diary that talks to you from someone else. I don’t like the Tom Riddle part or Voldemort parts, but I suppose we need the bad guy. I did like getting to know Tom’s back story.

When I read the tome about a decade ago, I thought it was a slower slog. This book was over quickly. And for these stressful days having something I know and enjoy, helps the sleep come faster at night.

I’ve already started book three. And I remember how each book gets darker. Maybe by the end, I won’t use these as bedtime books.

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The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

by Nikole Hannah-Jones (Narrator)

I can’t remember who recommended this book to me first. It might have been my church. Or one of my best friends. In either case, thank you! You see, I have always hated history classes. You had to remember men’s names dates and the wars they started or ended with men’s bigger guns. I did have a fantastic History teacher in college. He included music and arts in his lectures. Even still the history was just that HIStory. And only with this book did I see that it was white men’s HIStory.

 

This audiobook from Libby was all-inclusive. I think I need to add the book blurb.

 

  Duration: 18 hours and 57 minutes <– Just in case you have limited time.

 

“A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, ‘The 1619 PROJECT: A NEW ORIGIN STORY’ offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.

 

In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of 20 to 30 enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States.

 

‘THE 1619 PROJECT: A NEW ORIGIN STORY’ builds on one of the most consequential journalistic events of recent years: The New York Times Magazine’s award-winning “1619 Project,” which reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on the original 1619 Project, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with 36 poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself. This legacy can be seen in the way we tell stories, the way we teach our children, and the way we remember. Together, the elements of the book reveal a new origin story for the United States, one that helps explain not only the persistence of anti-Black racism and inequality in American life today but also the roots of what makes the country unique.

 

The book also features a significant elaboration of the original project’s Pulitzer Prize-winning lead essay, by Nikole Hannah-Jones, on how the struggles of Black Americans have expanded democracy for all Americans, as well as two original pieces from Hannah-Jones, one of which makes a profound case for reparative solutions to this legacy of injustice.

 

This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction – and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.”

 

There are so many contributors and voices throughout. It is poetry and prose of beauty included in the ugliest of actions against people.

 

I found I couldn’t read it as a bedtime book. I would either aim to keep reading or have nightmares/ So I used this as the background as I worked on my Diamond Painting. My hands were busy so my mind could engage.

 

I highly recommend this book. I would love it to be used in schools as inclusive his/herstory.

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