Tag Archives: memoir

A Year of Reading Recap – 2012


What would the New Year be without a look back at the old one? Here’s a recap of my year of reading 2012.

I’ve had the opportunity to read so many wonderful books this year. I surpassed my reading goal of 75 and reached an all time high of 117. 1Q84 was the longest book I read, 945 pages. I think that made the all-time high also. I gave mostly 3 and 4 stars with only 14 making the 5 star distinction, which makes me think I’m a bit too picky and hard to please. I had two books that were so terrible I couldn’t finish them and I’m still cursing about wasting my time on them.

I read more memoirs this year than ever. People are truly interesting and in some cases their stories are stranger than fiction. I cried more this year than ever too. Some of the stories were just so heartbreaking. I’m pretty sure I blubbered through more of The Art of Racing in the Rain than I’m willing to fess up to. Dogs dying in books seemed to be a common theme this year. I seriously cannot take anymore of that!

I had a zombie run and it was a great one. Zombies are the new vampires. Super cool! If I were giving an award for best cover it would go to My Life as a White Trash Zombie. As Steven Martin said in Father of the Bride, “Bitchin!” That cover earns the Bitchin award. (if there were such a thing) Patrick Ness is my favorite author of 2012. Reading his book has inspired both my children and me.

Historical fiction is still my favorite genre. Mixing fiction in with a history lesson makes learning fun even at my age.

Out of the 117 books I’ve read this year, here’s my top 10 favorites:

1. Wilderness: A Novel by Lance Weller
2. Chaos Walking: A Trilogy by Patrick Ness
3. The Wild Girl by Jim Fergus
4. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
5. Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo
6. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
7. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
9. The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon’s Court by by Michelle Moran
10. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

My goals for 2013 are much the same. I’m upping my reading goal to 100. I think I can manage it without feeling too pressured. I’m going to do my best not to purchase books this year. I have probably 75 on my bookshelf waiting to be read and they deserve my love and attention. “Try” is the main word here.

I’m going to give a State Challenge a go and will be book blogging my way through the US. I hope you’ll join me along the way! Every book is an adventure and it’s so much more fun when you’re along!

I wish each of you a New Year filled with joy, happiness and many, many great books!

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!


Book Review: Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox



In Lucky Man, Michael J. Fox gives us a glimpse of his life before and after the diagnosis of Parkinson’s that would forever change his life and give voice to others who have the debilitating disease.

I count myself as one of those who had “grown up” with Michael J. Fox. Lovable, real and down to earth, he’s one of my favorite actors from my childhood. He’s withstood time, forever young, and as popular with my own kids now as he was with my generation then.

Throughout the book, he allows an intimate look at his childhood, his start in show business, his reaction to celebrity and all it brings with it, good and bad, and his battle with Parkinson’s. And the best part, through it all he’s humble and real and grateful.

A true role model for a life well lived, this memoir will make you feel lucky for having the chance to read it! I look forward to watching his new show which will be coming to NBC.

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Michael J. Fox – Today’s Kindle Daily Deal 8/4/12


You can pick up the Kindle edition of this memoir by Michael J. Fox today on Amazon.

I just bought this hard copy since it’s a book club pick this month. Ugh! Hopefully though, you can take advantage of the deal.

Thank You Oprah, Cheryl Strayed and Oprah’s Book Club 2.0!


I was so excited to receive a surprise package today from HarpoStudios! I started following Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 on Twitter when they began and got a DM from them a few weeks ago thanking me for following and letting me know they would be sending me a gift.

I was so excited to open it and find a signed copy of Wild! I absolutely love it!!!


Thank you so much Oprah, Cheryl Strayed and Oprah’s Book Club 2.0! You made my day!

Book Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson



Jenny Lawson is a very funny lady but sadly, for me, this memoir didn’t do her justice or live up to my expectations.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and blame part of my dislike on listening to the audiobook version. Jenny read the book and after a few laughs in chapters 1 and 2 the book became more exhausting than funny. She prattles on and on almost obsessively which would not have been as bad written as it was to listen to. The likes, awesomes and P.S., P.P.S. and P.P.P.S. grated on my nerves at times.

I actually really liked the way she told her stories. Her life is interesting and funny. I’m not sure why she felt she needed to add “stuff” in. It seemed like she was trying too hard.

For me, her stories are best in small blog bits. A whole book was just too much. The best chapter was the bonus one that didn’t get put in the actual book and the outtakes at the end. That’s where Jenny’s true, honest humor really shines.

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Book Review: A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard


A Stolen Life proves that the basic human instinct to survive can get you through just about anything.

I rated this book 3 out of 5 based on the reading experience alone.

It’s an indisputable fact that this was a tragedy beyond what any one person should have to endure and I give Jaycee Dugard all my respect and compassion for allowing all of us insight into the horrible circumstances surrounding her kidnapping and years of confinement.

That being said, the book wasn’t what I expected. I was prepared to be teary eyed and ready to forge through the hate that I was bound to feel toward the people who took years from such a young life. However, I felt like there was a detachment between Jaycee and the words she wrote. Maybe understandably so. How else could someone write about such things. It just didn’t hold the emotion that usually gets to me when reading these kind of memoirs. It may be attributed to the child like writing style trying to convey an adult’s feelings and perspectives.

I think The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls has a better writing style that conveyed more feeling and allowed the reader to enter the writers world. A Stolen Life would have benefited from the same writing style.

I have a feeling this was more of a source of therapy for her.

I wish her and her family peace and hope she can regain at least some of what was lost to her.

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A Stolen Life: A Memoir

Book Review: Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with MarriageCommitted: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After reading Committed, I’m not sure Elizabeth Gilbert has made peace with anything.

If she would have stuck to her and Felipe’s trials, tribulations and travels through their experience of trying to obtain a marriage visa, I would have liked this book much better. Her story telling skills make for a style that flows easily and kept me reading. Ultimately though, it wasn’t enough to drowned out the incessant need for her to justify her feelings and analyse EVERY single thing. I find it so hard to believe that she was able picked out a house without ever seeing it first.

After one marriage and divorce I can’t imagine it would have taken all that research to learn that marriage, or any relationship for that matter, is what you make it. No matter how many opinions you ask for, no matter how many books you read, nothing can prepare you. It’s an ever evolving thing. Yes, you have to give up things. Yes, that includes part of yourself. Did she not realize that she was already doing that?

She should have left the child-rearing opinions out of the book. She can not possibly know anything about this subject. Being an aunt does not make you an expert. I felt like she was trying to justify this life decision, like every decision she makes, to the reader. This book was published in 2010. Have kids or don’t. At this point nobody cares. There’s no need to beg for acceptance. It’s ok. Having children is by no means for everybody.

In the end she did it. She married and settled in. However, I’m not convinced that she made peace with it. I don’t even think she has made peace with her divorce, her ex or even herself. Maybe in another book or two.

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Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls


Book Reviewed: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Medium: Hardcover

The Glass Castle is the childhood memoir of Jeannette Walls. From age 3, the author envelops the reader into the folds of her capricious family and takes a journey that is filled with both deep despair and unconditional love.
It was a fast, easy book to get through due to the excellent style of writing and the authors no non-sense way of telling the story.

As a parent many parts of this book were heartbreaking for me to read. Imagining Jeannette and her siblings put into the situations they were by parents who were, by nature, supposed to protect them. I cant imagine how hard it would have been to revisit those memories and am amazed that I was able to come to the end of the book with the realization that even after all she has been through, she still has love, compassion and humor toward those that made her young life so hard. She was able to come through it strong and determined.

I get the feeling things were even worse then she lets on. Especially, with the dynamic of her parent’s marriage, the extent of her father’s inebriated episodes and her mother’s often, what I would consider, willful neglect.

At times, I did feel a detachment between the author and the story. I think that comes from wanting to tell the story as it really was and not just her young perception of it.

I rated this book 4 stars. It was well written, totally engrossing and was a reminder that even though you may not have been given the lot in life you may have wished for, you can rise above it, shine your own star and beat the odds.

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