Tag Archive: biography



Ali in WonderlandAli in Wonderland by Ali Wentworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Humor makes the reading difference. I had just read Mean Baby by Selma Blair when I picked this up from Libby. Both were read by the authors. Both covered many of the same types of life situations. But I have to admit I could handle this far easier. I think because Ali had found the humor in the situation, it made it easier not to get triggered by the author’s circumstances. That is not to say one is better than the other—just my ability to handle the essays.

The other reason I think this went down more effortless for me was that I felt more familiar with Ali Wentworth. I like watching her on the talk shows and even listening to her podcasts. So I encourage others to read both books. Just know as you enter that this is humorous, even some laugh-out-loud moments. That could be a bad thing if you aren’t in the mood to laugh. 🙂

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Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing UpMean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up by Selma Blair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Many reviews about this book are high, some are low ratings. It’s her life. I don’t think it is up to me to judge it. Her life is far different than mine. Yet, I found a deep dive into another life, another memoir gave me insight into writing my own.

Until I saw Selma Blair on the View, I think it was, I had only heard the name and couldn’t put a face with the name. Not too uncommon for me with anyone. Her movies weren’t my type of movie. But I have known friends and loved ones that had MS. It is such a horrifying disease. I was curious to see how this person handled it.

If you like autobiographies, memoirs, this is for you. If you don’t, you might move forward to another read. Ms. Blair gets personal and honest about many aspects of her life. I found the writing well done. And her voice is actively involved; honest tears are felt when she reads the parts most vulnerable.

Since her life always included pain and depression, it is spelled out quite often. If that is triggering for you, this might not be the read for you. It does help to see how someone else worked through her own darkness. I think it was worth the read.

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Ali's Well That Ends Well: Tales of Desperation and a Little InspirationAli’s Well That Ends Well: Tales of Desperation and a Little Inspiration by Ali Wentworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even COVID19 has nothing on the humor of this fine lady.

I have enjoyed Ali Wentworth on Kelly and Ryan’s show as she is on there as a co-host or guest often. She speaks her truth humorously and always makes me feel we could be friends. I like her take on everything. When she mentioned she’d written a book, I found and put it on hold on Libby.

Even though it was her experience with the virus and her family’s, as scary as that can be for some of us, Ms. Wentworth found the lighter side and shared it with us.

I enjoyed this so much that I have already picked up another of her books on Libby and have her podcast lined up on Audible.

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Worn StoriesWorn Stories by Emily Spivack
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After watching the Worn Stories on Netflix, I decided to look this up. I found it on Libby as a Kindle version.

I wish I had found it as an Audible version or paper copy. Text-to-Speech doesn’t stop for pictures. I didn’t feel like stopping the stories just to look at the pictures of old clothes that held no meaning for me. It works better as a show as you see the person talking and their story with their memory clothing. The Kindle version makes it a dry story with no personality.

AND I’m not too fond of short stories. Ever. I wanted a lot more depth. I could deal with each story being a book unto itself.

Don’t we all have those favorite bits of clothes that bring us memories and comfort? I sure do.

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Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical ExaminerWorking Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all, don’t read this book before going to sleep. Or you won’t, especially from the part about 9/11 on. Still, it is such an engaging read. And the narrator, Tanya Eby, made the book lively, even though much of it is about death.

If Grey’s Anatomy has taught me anything about the life of a potential surgeon, it is the lack of sleep and how dangerous that lack can be for the doctor and the patient. It is that lack of sleep and trying to be a young mother that the author, Judy Melinek, realized she needed a different path, even though this path was nearly finished for the author. But all that training did lead her to be a Medical Examiner in New York.

We Americans hide from sex and death. We can talk of taxes until the cows come home. But of the two topics, death seems the least discussed. And that is too bad. We need to know about that part of life for ourselves and our loved ones.

If you are a writer, this book can be quite the reference. I can see many ways the book can be used to write a mystery or lend credence to a fatality in the novel.

I highly recommend this book, especially in audio form. I was lucky to pick it up from the library on Libby.

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A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War IIA Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Juliet Stevenson (Narrator) kept this story alive. I felt I was right in the moment with Virginia Hall as she attempted to end the war on her own, seeing that few men could do what this poor, disabled woman could.

This book was written very well. I often find nonfiction biographies boring and stilted. The author was able to write this with the urgency of a fictional spy thriller.

In this day of women losing rights, this will strengthen your determination to keep everyone free. This was a true American who happened to be a woman. Please read it if you have the chance.

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Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still CouldMidnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could by Adam Schiff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Midnight in Washington was not a good book to read before going to sleep. It was a Libby (library) audio in the author’s voice, so I wanted to neither keep myself awake on reliving the horror of January 6th or miss parts of the story by falling asleep as the recording continued. So I settled on listening while busy with my hobbies, keeping my hands busy but my mind engaged in the reading.

I saw the author, Adam Schiff, on several talk shows and knew I wanted to hear his account of what had happened. I was surprised and pleased to see he included an autobiography. Meaning you were seeing what happened from his point of view.

I felt the book was honest and fair to others as it occurred to the author.

It is interesting having read this before the hearings we are listening to today. I feel more engaged and understand more. I highly recommend this book, especially in Adam Schiff’s calming voice.

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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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How To Write a Beloved (and Bestselling) Memoir (Creative Catalyst Series)How To Write a Beloved (and Bestselling) Memoir by Laura Bradbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started this short read when I couldn’t sleep one night and finished before I knew it. It was very informative.

Laura Bradbury, the author, kept the information accessible and alive. Though I read this via Kindle Unlimited on text-to-speech, I am thinking about buying this as a paper book for reference.

If you are writing a memoir or autobiography like I am, this is a great book to help you along. I’m still at the “Messy” part of vomiting the story out. But as I get to the following stages, I want to check in and see what Ms. Bradbury has to say about it. She even covers editing and publishing. I love that she aims to help you write it with a creative bent.

Because it was so inspiring, I picked up her first memoir in her Grape series, My Grape Year. I can’t wait to dive in.

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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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