Recent Reads Vol. 14
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
I have read just about everything by Jodi Picoult. That usually means a 24-36-hour reading binge in which I sleep little and cry a lot. I love her and her work; I remember reading her tweets and updates while she was researching for and writing this latest book and just knowing it was going to be important. I finally picked it up, and was proven wrong in my expectation that I'd fly through it like I flew through all her others. I was enthralled in the story and desperate to know what happened next, but needed to give myself breaks and read "palate cleansers" before going to sleep. I couldn't close the book for the night after one particular narrator (I love Picoult's trademark style of alternate narrators, and think she does it flawlessly) so I ended up either stopping short or continuing on so his voice wouldn't be the last in my mind. I think people reading know my thoughts on social justice issues and see where I stand on the subject matter this book discusses, but I don't want to go running my mouth right now. I'd just really rather you read this book with your mind wide open and take away the pieces that are right for you to walk with.
Recommend? — To every member of the human race, yes. (And not just because I recommend absolutely anything by this author.)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
I read this back in high school, but that basically doesn't mean anything because I can't remember books after like 45 minutes have passed since I finished. I've been wanting to re-read this for a long time, and my realization that I don't read enough long-form work by people of color plus the surprise of finding the ebook readily available to borrow from my library made this the perfect time to do so. I picked it up at the height of a slump and it took me forever to get through it because I kept hitting the end of the library lending term and having to renew, sometimes after others had queued up to check it out too and I had to wait. It served me well as an intimate look into a life I could never understand on my own, a time in American history that's discussed too little (especially for how recent it actually was). Angelou's writing is beautiful and emotional and the way she weaves details in makes for vivid (and sometimes absolutely gut-wrenching) mental images.
Recommend? — This is hard to say, because tons of people won't like it for the pace or the subject matter, but I think it endures as an important work for a reason. I'd like you to give it a try if you haven't.
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
I don't know if Anna Kendrick has yet gone the way of Jennifer Lawrence to annoying people who say that someone who is actually cool must really be a try-hard with a schtick that's just tiresome or whatever nonsense people say to keep women from ever being able to be themselves in the public eye, but as far as I'm concerned, Anna Kendrick is cool as hell and I want to be her friend. (Exhibit A.) I did the audiobook and it felt like sitting down with someone and talking about our lives. Except she did all the talking, which was fine, because she's had more interesting experiences than I have. She manages to be relatable even after Hollywood happened and funny, humble, honest, and insightful all the while. One of my favorite lines was toward the end, where she says, "I keep feeling like I need to become perfect all at once and I get overwhelmed and put it off." Girl, YES.
Recommend? — I doubt you'd like this if you don't already like Anna Kendrick, but if you do, or if you've ever laughed at her Twitter feed, go ahead and read it! It's short and so sweet.
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
I seriously loved this book. I had heard great things about it and I think it was Kristen's review specifically that made me check it out; she too (if I remember correctly) didn't watch any ShondaLand shows before picking up the book. I've been on a celebrity memoir audiobook kick lately (it's good subway listening) and this was available. I devoured it. I distinctly remember one afternoon just laying on my bed, listening for a good few hours and doing nothing else. I never do that with audiobooks. Shonda's thoughts on motherhood/parenting, womanhood, accomplishments as a woman, and being your own sun reached me deeply where I needed to be reached. And I actually cried listening to her talk about a series I've never watched (Grey's Anatomy). Before I finished I went ahead and added Grey's, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder to my Netflix queue because I just want to be in ShondaLand for a little longer. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book. I liked the audiobook especially because a) I love when people tell their own stories and b) she gave us the recordings of speeches she gave (here and here) and I feel like reading the text would not be the same at all. I cried buckets during the HRC speech. So, yeah, read this book.
Recommend? — I already said yes! Read it! Or listen to it!
Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
Listen, I love (like, love) Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Lorelai has always been my favorite and Sarah was my favorite Braverman as well. This obviously has much, or everything, to do with Lauren Graham as an actor and person. So the times in this book where she took us on a trip through those worlds was delicious and so fun. I recently read her novel and liked it a lot too, so hearing her (yeah, audiobook kick is getting the job done lately) talk about that experience was fun. Overall I liked it a bit less than the other two memoirs I listened to this month, because she added in some recorded phone calls that felt weirdly stiff and just sort of...not like an audiobook, I guess? But it was fun and funny and I LOVED her section on tracking stuff. I feel exactly the same way and have been sitting on this idea that all the tracking I used to do is absolutely pointless (for me; you do you) for a long time and it was nice to hear it echoed back. Also, I cried while she talked about filming AYITL without Ed Hermann and just about AYITL in general, because I cried a lot while watching and I just kind of cry a lot so it's not that surprising.
Recommend? — I do think some people who are really wild over TV might be a bit put off by how she discusses GG and the reboot, just based on some of the reactions I saw people have over the reboot series and scratched my head over. But for people who are just a fan of celeb memoirs and like Lauren Graham, I think it'll be a fun, fast read.
Currently reading: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
Linking up with Steph & Jana!