Friday, May 28, 2021
I was so curious to read Elouise's love story because she is such a fiercely independent woman and I couldn't imagine who she would end up. Her romance is as improbable and unconventional as I anticipated - she becomes pen pals with a man she's never met (she wrote him a condolence letter after the death of his wife who happened to be her cousin) and he proposes marriage. At first she is annoyed and flabbergasted but when her best friend and fellow spinster, Penelope, gets married - she's feeling very alone. She decides to sneak away to meet him and see if he's the marrying sort. What Sir Phillip neglected to tell her was that he had two rambunctious twins who can't manage to stay out of trouble. He's looking for a new mother for them rather than a wife - but maybe they'll find there could be more to the relationship.
Thursday, May 27, 2021
For anyone who has ever been bullied or felt uncomfortable in their own skin - this is the book for you. Ellie has been obsessively bullied about her weight ever since she had an under the sea 5th birthday party and wore a whale swimsuit. It's not just classmates, it's her siblings and her mother too. When your nickname is splash - life is anything but a cakewalk. Everything gets harder when her best friend moves away and her mother starts pushing her for surgery. She doesn't want to be skinny, she wants people to accept her for the way she is. Is she not good enough? Written in verse, this book also has so many great quotes or takeaways that readers will want to write down or commit to memory. Fat shaming is never ok - and so many angles are confronted and dissected by this precocious young teen. This middle grade novel will attract readers of all ages, so many people can relate to her story. Empowering and uplifting. A must read for everybody.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
I've been hankering for something to whet my appetite while I wait for Madeleine Miller to cook up a new Greek re-telling and Ariadne fit the bill. Like Circe I knew hardly anything about the mythology surrounding Ariadne, even though I knew all about her supporting cast of characters (King Minos, the Minotaur, Zeus, Hera, Dionysus, etc). Ariadne is the daughter of Kind Minos and older sister to the Minotaur. She dreams about one day leaving the kingdom, away from her tyrant father and monster brother. She always imagines that her beloved sister, Phaedra, will accompany her. When Theseus is brought from Athens to Crete to be sacrificed to the Minotaur, Ariadne has no idea how much her life is about to change. She is determined to be the master of her own destiny - no matter what the gods cook up for her. Compelling, fascinating, and wonderful. More please!
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
All I knew about Hunter Biden prior to this book was that he was the president's son and was an addict. Everything else I learned from reading this memoir. Beautiful Things isn't an exhaustive memoir - it's a love letter to his brother Beau who tragically died a few years ago and a detailed account of his descent into alcohol and crack. At times defensive, yet mostly contemplative and matter of fact. An accomplished married man with children, money, and a famous father did nothing but ensure that he had more money to spend on crack. He stayed sober for years but after Beau's death he went on a death spiral, no longer caring about anything except the next hit. Ultimately he's been sober since 2019 when he met his current wife and had another child with her (his three other daughters are grown). In this memoir he also details all the rumors about his Ukraine deal, his affair with his brother's widow, the "Where's Hunter?" shirts and more. It was enlightening, if not a little self serving at times. I hope he can stay sober and be more of a presence in his family's lives.
Monday, May 24, 2021
Watching Amanda Gorman perform this at Joe Biden's inauguration made me tear up - reading it now is still just as powerful as hearing it for the first time. I am in awe that a 22 year old wrote such a powerful and transcendent poem that will long be hailed as a masterpiece. It's a dream, a manifesto, a plea, and a prayer. Her poem encapsulates our country's past, present, and future. I can't wait to follow this young poet's career and read more of her works. Awe-inspiring doesn't even begin to give her enough credit. She's a marvel.
McCall Smith, Alexander. Tiny Tales: Stories of Romance, Ambition, Kindness, and Happiness. digital. 2021. Recorded Books.
From the bestselling author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency comes a collection of short tales that will delight readers with their wit, absurdity, and delight. From a pope wanting to visit his native country of Australia to a woman looking to meet people skydiving to four dentists going on vacation together (with disastrous results); the breadth and scope of these stories will amuse and engage listeners. Thirty tiny tales are broken into sections on love, revenge, kindness, strangeness, and other manners of emotion. These brief stories are brought to life in inventive and amusing ways by a trio of narrators. Narrated beautifully by Brian Nishii, Jamie Jackson, and Robert Ian Mackenzie; all of whom voice cleverness, banter, and hilarity with every breath. As Aesop said, "good things come in small packages" and this oddly unique collection is certainly proof of that. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN
I picked up this book solely because of the title and I was even more sold when I saw it was short stories. Once I started reading it I was excited when I realized that all the stories are interconnected in one way or another. Living in a small town can be stifling - it's all you've ever known, it's hard to imagine life elsewhere, and you are forever defined by the worst thing that ever happened to you. From wildfires, to cheating boyfriends, to invisible friends, to basketball, to gum wrappers and suspect priests - this book covers a variety of issues that plague teens in small Colorado towns, in Alaska, and on the coast. Compelling, dark, and yet ultimately uplifting and emotional - I was very impressed with this short story collection.
Prior to reading this book I didn't know anything about the history of NPR or its founding mothers. I don't religiously listen to NPR but I really love the morning edition and other segments that I catch on my days off (I always have an audiobook going in my car so I can't listen there). NPR is educated, professional, and truly unbiased - they show the human element behind the stories and as a result NPR is universally regarded as one of the most trustworthy news sources out there. Lisa Napoli does a great job giving mini biographies of Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie discussing how they all got into journalism and eventually broadcasting. In a male dominated world of the sixties and seventies - these four women had to have more grit and determination than any other journalists, but they all eventually succeeded and made their way to the relatively new radio station, NPR. Not only is this book about these four women, it is also about the founding of NPR and the rocky road it started out on. A compelling look at everyone's favorite radio station and some of the pioneering women behind it!
Friday, May 21, 2021
Wow - how in the world did I wait so long to read this? This book was mind blowing and powerful - as someone who doesn't easily grasp science - I had a firm grip on what I was reading. Written as narrative non-fiction, Rebecca Skloot does an amazing job chronicling the tragically short life of Henrietta Lacks, the ethics of taking her cells, the science and amazing discovery from her cells, and the aftermath when her family finds out more than two decades after her death that pieces of their mother still live on all over the world. Rebecca did a fantastic job not only with the moral dilemmas, but with the racial component too. I learned SOO MUCH out of this. I hate science. but I loved this book. I'm so glad that Henrietta Lacks finally got the recognition as well as her family for all that they went through. Fascinating stuff.
Thursday, May 20, 2021
File this under HOLY HELL! That is one insane memoir, you won't be able to stop shaking your head in disbelief as Tara Westover recounts her childhood and formative years growing up in a survivalist Mormon family in rural Idaho. Tara was "homeschooled," but in reality she had to teach herself everything; her mother let her and her siblings "learn at their own pace" and her father thought that anytime spent sitting around whoring after knowledge was time wasted. There was a junkyard to run after all! Tara was mercilessly abused by one of her older brothers and taught from a young age that the Illuminati were controlling everything which is why she had no birth certificate or any records indicating that she even existed. Her family refused to go to formal schools, to doctors (not even for the severe stuff!), or to anything. They were content hoarding supplies for the end of days. As Tara ages she gradually becomes aware that she should leave to figure things out on her own, but it's hard to cut ties with her family, even when they insist on dragging her down. I couldn't put this book down, you have to read it to believe it. The fact that Tara survived a very unconventional and dangerous upbringing is impressive, as is the fact that she has been so successful in her advanced education. A must read!
I was so ready for this book! Before I read the series - I watched the Netflix show and I ADORED PENELOPE. I wanted to see her snag Colin Bridgerton soo bad. Imagine my delight when I realized that this fourth installment follows the man himself, Colin, and the woman he may or may not be fast friends with, Penelope. In this book we also get a major shocking reveal that impacts the whole Bridgerton universe, we discover the identity of Lady Whistledown (again if you watched the show - they already gave that away). A slow burn and for two of my favorite characters. I love this whole series and I can't wait to read the next one!
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Two large Jewish families get together to spend the summer in the Catskills. Their family has jointly owned and operated The Golden Hotel for generations but that might soon change. The hotel has been losing money for decades. It's rundown, all it's competitors have long since closed down and and they haven't had a full reservation list in over 10 years. There is a casino interested in tearing down the property and using the land - but what kind of legacy would that leave? three generations of two families must put their differences aside and figure out if they want to try and pour money into the resort or take the cash. Hilarious and over the top. I loved all the characters; they were messy and complicated, but love their family and they love their rundown getaway. Definitely for fans of Dirty Dancing and unconventional family drama.
Monday, May 17, 2021
McCarthy, Andrew. Brat: An '80s Story. digital. 2021. Hachette Audio. Iconic '80s actor and teen heartthrob, Andrew McCarthy, reflects on his early career and rise to success in this revealing memoir. Known for classics such as Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo's Fire, and Mannequin; McCarthy talks about his love for New York City, acting strategies, his struggles with alcohol, and has no compunction about dropping tidbits regarding actors and directors he's worked with. Though he was a founding member of the "Brat Pack," he reflects on why he resents the designation and has never fully embraced the nickname for the group of actors and actresses that he is most often is associated with. Brutally honest, this memoir looks back at youthful debauchery, acting ambitions, and naivety. A perfect example of the highs and the lows that come with achieving the Hollywood dream. McCarthy is more than willing to dissect old mistakes and failings with self-deprecating humor and fresh insight. Brat is extremely well written, something too often missing from celebrity memoirs; and highlights just how talented Andrew McCarthy is on multiple fronts. Narrated by the actor himself, this memoir is an easy listen and perfect for those who grew up loving his work and are looking for a trip down memory lane. Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN
I LOVED the fairy tale aspect of this one and I really hope there are similar "themes" in some of the upcoming installments. The third book focuses on Sophie Beckett, the bastard of an earl who was horribly mistreated after his untimely death. Being forced to act as a maidservant to her stepmother and stepsisters is unbearable and one night the other servants convince her to dress up and sneak to masquerade ball where she meets the man of her dreams, Benedict Bridgerton. She doesn't even know who he is but they are both captivated by each other. She flees at midnight and doesn't encounter him until years later. Her circumstances haven't improved much and he doesn't recognize her. But is there a spark of interest. Could a member of the ton have feelings for a lowly servant girl? Fun, witty, and sexy. Give me more please!
Monday, May 10, 2021
Before having picked this book up I had never heard of the Minimalists, listened to their podcast or read any of their books. Having finished this book I'm pretty sure that's about to change. Filled with no-nonsense advice and hard truths; this book was VERY impactful. I found myself re-reading sections and bookmarking pages - I hardly EVER do that. At the heart this book is about minimalism, but in fact it is so much more than that. The sections on relationships, creativity, and money were so powerful that I'm still thinking about them. From 30 day challenges to worksheets to engaging questions - this book wants to change how you view your life and wants you to think critically about everything you own, everything you do, and everyone you associate with. It's a handbook that will make you think more deeply about aspects of your life that you take for granted. I really appreciate that this book wasn't preachy and didn't tell readers how wrong they are living their lives. You could do small approaches and monthly challenges to find what works best for YOUR life - because there is no one size fits all approach. I won't become a minimalist over night but I certainly aim to use lots of different advice that this book had to see what changes I can make to improve my life. An excellent book. #celadonreads #lovepeopleusethingsbook
Ross Gay set out to write an essay-ette every day for a year, chronicling all the small delights that he encounters in his regular and ordinary life. From nicknames to bumble bees to peeing his pants (a weird delight to be sure, more of a confession) to travelling on planes and encountering babies. Ross Gay can find delight in the most mundane or bizarre things. Sometimes the delight stems from a fear or an uncertainty. Lyrical, comical, and profound - this little book of essays is not what I pictured it to be, but still a delight to be sure.
This is my first ever Clive Cussler - he's really popular at the library so I said screw it and decided to give one of his books a chance. Its not great literature but it's entertaining and fast paced. It's like a modern day uber-wealthy Indiana Jones going on adventures with his wife (if he had one). I liked the history aspect of it and it was fast paced - there is never a slow moment. Treasure hunting team Sam and Remy Fargo stumble upon a World War II German U-boat in in the Pocomoke Swamp - the fact that a German vessel made it inland with no one ever knowing is impressive but what is even more impressive is what they find inside - an old French wine bottle. Could it be part of Napoleon's lost cellar? They soon realize they aren't the only ones on the treasure hunt, Hadeon Bondaruk, a half Russian, half Persian millionaire will do whatever it takes to stop the Fargos and seize their research - could it be there is another layer to the mystery? Great listening for the car - I think I'll continue with the series.
Thursday, May 6, 2021
So freaking good!! But that cliffhanger has me!! I need the next book in the trilogy and I need it now! I might almost like this series better than the Illuminae Series by the same authors - but I'm not sure yet. They are both REALLY good! Aurora Burning follows the same squad fresh off the loss of their pilot in book one, Aurora Rising. They now know who the enemy is and that they are the only ones who can stop them and in the process save the galaxy. Not at all a daunting prospect for these young adults. Funny, inventive, and so unique - readers can't help but to fall in love with this quirky cast of oddballs. I won't give more of a summary than that - if you haven't read the first book in the series - DO NOT read this one. Now give me the third book already!
Saturday, May 1, 2021
I liked this even better than the first one! I'm a sucker for quick wit and charm and the characters in The Viscount Who Loved Me have those in spades. Now that Daphne Bridgerton is off and married (to a Duke no less) Anthony Bridgerton has decided that as man of the house it is up to him to get married and produce an heir. He is convinced that he will not live longer than his beloved father (who died young at the age of 38) so he wants to find a nice wife to bed and be friends with but not to love. When the Sheffield sisters come to London for the season, Anthony is assured that the younger sister, Edwina, is the belle of the season so he decides to wed her. The only trouble is he has to deal with her bull-headed older sister before he can woo Edwina. Thoroughly enjoyable. I can't wait to read the next one!