Thursday, August 30, 2012

Juliane recommends "Let's Pretend this Never Happened"

This was a hilarious memoir from the popular and prolific Jenny Lawson (a.k.a. The Bloggess).  I highly recommend listening to it on audiobook since I think listening to an author read their own work (especially a memoir) makes it ten times funnier.  Side note:  her voice is a little gravelly at first but work past it, it is worth it!  Her anecdotes start with her terribly bizarre upbringing as the daughter of a self-made taxidermist.  For example, she relays how, when walking to school from her family’s farm in rural Texas, she desperately tried to shrug off a brood of turkeys that slowly started to follow her to school one day only to find out that the turkeys made their way *into* the school and chaos ensued.  The book weaves some touching memoirs together with laugh-out-loud moments.  Amidst all her crazy capers, she also reveals much about her tender psyche growing up poor, marrying well, bouts with infertility and anxiety disorders.  This was a great read – and (again, special plug for the audiobook) the sound engineer seemingly lets her riff for about 15 minutes at the end of the last disc for some delightful “outtakes.”  A great read if you enjoy other memoirs like, “Are you There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea” or anything by David Sedaris.

Therese recommends "Wife 22"

Wife 22 is a funny and touching novel.

For adult reading

Marlene recommends "Glamorous Illusions"

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Tawn Bergren is the first book in the Grand Tour series that follows the life of Cora Kensington as she travels Europe in a time when wealthy families often sent their children on grand tours of Europe.  Cora’s life changes when she discovers she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king.  This is a great read and I can’t wait for the next book.  If you’re looking for a good series to jump into, I’d recommend Glamorous Illusions.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kate recommends "Beautiful Ruins"

Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins tells the interwoven stories of many realistic characters across several decades and continents.  First we're introduced to Pasquale, the young and hopeful proprietor of a run-down hotel in a sleepy Italian fishing village.  From there we meet Dee, the beautiful American actress who arrives in the village on a boat, like his dream come true, fresh from the set of the 1963 film Cleopatra.  The stories of these characters spin off into those of their friends, relatives, and foes, exploring the reasons and consequences for the choices they make.  Each chapter has a unique narration to reveal more about the characters' paths in life, sometimes even an unconventional one like a screenplay excerpt or a fictitious manuscript chapter.  When aged Pasquale show up to a Hollywood production company in the present day to try to track Dee down through past acquaintances, we get to ride along with the people and events that led them to where they are today. The cast of characters defining their lives for the past 50 years makes this novel difficult to put down.

Recommended for Young Adults and Adults

Monday, August 27, 2012

Jamie recommends "The Happiness Project"

There are a variety of books out there that follow an author's journey to another country or a exploration of a new way of living.  The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is one of those books, but it also has a level of inspiration to it that I wasn't expecting. It's a practical guide to how the author planned to be become happier.  It has the usual anecdotes about focusing on love, asking for help and expressing gratitude, but the thing that was great about this book was that it made me want to clean!  The chapters are laid out like lists and organization was the focus of one chapter.  She so perfectly described how being organized made her feel that I had to go home and clean out some cupboards, a great feat indeed.  She describes how you can put together your own happiness project, but mostly it was just a nice, quick read to remind you of why you're happy and how the little things in life can help you become even more so.