Wow, No Thank You

Author: Samantha Irby

Published: March 31, 2020

Publisher: Vintage

Where I picked up my book: Purchased from my local Indie (Old Firehouse Books)

Key Words: Non Fiction, Essays, Humor

My Rating: 5 stars

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My Thoughts:

I’m not sure I’ve EVER laughed so hard at a book. I literally laughed so much that at some points, I got cheek cramps and my wife stared at me from across the room (as she was probably reading some non-fiction book about presidents and economics or something equally out of my realm of thinking and definitely NOT hilarious).

This was also one of the most relatable books that I’ve ever read (which is probably another reason I found it so funny). Is it because both Irby and I were born with snark in our bones? Maybe. Is it because we are both 40ish and life is bitch-slapping us in the face now? Quite possibly. Is it because I all of a sudden wake up with neck cramps, knee pain and feel nervous to eat certain foods for fear my stomach will rebel (but it’s perfectly fine if all I’m doing is staying home for the night-which is basically always. Even when Covid isn’t happening)? Yep, I bet. Is it because we both count our pennies and feel like maybe we are the WORST accounting/math people on the Earth? Very likely. But for whatever reason, I felt like I was reading a much more entertaining and well-written version of my own life. The good, the bad and the ugly.

This is a laugh-out-loud, knock you in the gut, nearly pee your pants kind of book that will have you laughing yourself into tears. I highly suggest you grab this collection of essays if you’re in the mood for a laugh. With all the fear and craziness going on in the world right now…this might just be the thing you need!

As always, come chat books with me on Instagram (@booksihfolk), check out my greeting card shop online-PAGEFIFTYFIVE and happy reading!

bookishfolk…read instead.

Three Women

Author: Lisa Taddeo

Published: July 9, 2019

Publisher:    Avis Press (Simon and Schuster)

Where I picked up my book:  Book of the Month choice!

Key Words: nonfiction, sex lives of women, journalistic approach

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My Thoughts:

I was completely, 100% sucked into this book from the very first sentence. To be honest, from the description alone, I was sold! So when Book of the Month chose it as one of their picks, I didn’t hesitate to grab a copy! I went into the book thinking that I was going to get an insiders view into 3 women’s sexual lives and the idea of desire…and I was pumped. I’ve long since realized that there is a barrier when it comes to women and talking about our sex lives. Yes, when we get together with our friends, we might talk about sex a bit, or acknowledge that we are in fact having, or not having, sex, but I wanted some more detail, more insight, just more of ANYTHING from a female perspective. So when I started reading this book and then realized that I wasn’t necessarily getting an insiders view on sex lives, or a feminist, empowered perspective, or any sexual awakening vibes, at first…I was caught off guard. But after I realized exactly what I was reading-I was in. Allow me be a fly on the wall in any situation, and I’m in, 100%, and that’s what this book feels like. You’re a fly on the wall, listening and observing, while these women talk about their lives, intimate details of their day to day and the sex they are, or are not, having. We see what goes on behind closed doors, how men play a huge role in some women’s lives* (*straight women), and how the past affects our present and future. We see their insecurities, what goes on in their heads, how they walk through life and the choices they make and why.  We see things that pain them and things that shouldn’t ever take place, take place. We read about their intimate feelings and the raw hurt that is present in a lot of women’s lives.  After I adjusted my sail, I was not able to put it down. Trust me when I say, it’s not an easy book to read and I often left the pages with a pit in my stomach, but it was truly the most unique book I may have ever read.  Here are a few of my thoughts (I could probably go to 100 and not be finished, but this is the condensed list):

1. Yes, there is definitely sex in this book…but I didn’t see it as the sex positive, feminist, empowering book I thought I was going to read. It doesn’t change that I was completely engrossed, but if you were like me…you’ve been warned. Go into it with correct expectations and I think you’ll enjoy it a lot more.

2. We, as women, carry baggage with us from our past trauma and it shows up, plain and simple, in our present lives. We need to work through our past before we can be good to ourselves in the present and the future.

3. Sometimes, other people (in this case, men) will try to control you, your sexual being and your sex life-don’t let them!

4. This is only a teeeeeny snippet of the population of women. These are 3 straight, white, cis, relatively affluent women that we see represented. It’s called ‘Three Women’ and that’s a really good thing to keep in mind. I would have liked to see more diversity and if I ever get a chance to talk to Taddeo, I’d love to know how these three women came to the front of her research (because I read somewhere her research actually involved a ton of women and eight years). We always need more diversity in literature (and everywhere else), and I would have liked to see that in this one.

5. I am still thinking about all three of these women, but specifically Maggie, on a daily basis. Ugh…her story absolutely broke my heart and I saw myself in her-it scared me a bit and brought up some tough things for me too.

6. You are going to feel every emotion you know how to feel when reading this one…and maybe some others you didn’t even know you knew how to feel. I had to learn to slow down and reflect on all of those emotions as they came up. It was cathartic.

7. This book is raw. It’s not one that will wrap up with a pretty bow. It’s non-fiction…these are real lives we’re dealing with here. Keep that in mind and keep your judgements in check.

8. I’ve truly never read anything like this before.

9. Victim-blaming is never okay. Please don’t blame victims.

10. Ultimately, I don’t think this book dealt with ‘desire.’ I think it was a portrayal of what women feel, think and how they respond when our past affects our present. And when men are jerks. Was that too much? 😉

11. Three Women will make you think and is bound to be a book you talk about with your friends. Ultimately, I think this book might help women feel more open to talk about our sex lives with each other and with professionals, to stand up for ourselves and against jerks in our lives, and to see how our past, and especially past trauma, affects our present. I think that’s a good thing.

12. This book won’t be for everyone, but if you’re a fly on the wall type of person like I am, I think you will dive into this one and pop out when you finish the last sentence.

Have you read Three Women yet? What did you think? Let me know here or over at @bookishfolk. As always, happy reading!

Bookishfolk…read instead.

 

 

 

Ask Again, Yes

Author: Ask Again, Yes

Published: May 28, 2019

Publisher: Scribner

Where I picked up my book:  My Book of the Month Pick

Key Words: family dynamics, tragedy, mental illness, forgiveness

My Rating: 4

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My Thoughts:

I have always loved books that take me on a journey, span a length of time, introduce me to characters that I get to know in-depth and hit all of my emotions. Ask Again, Yes is exactly that.

First, let’s talk about the idea of flawed characters because this book is full of them! I have always thought that there is something really special about a flawed character because we, as humans, are all flawed. It’s in our nature to be flawed, so whenever I’m reading characters that aren’t perfect, don’t say the perfect things, or have some major character flaws, I’m sold.  These characters might think one thing and then do another, or think about someone they love in a negative way. They might actually do something that is hurtful or negative to someone and I’m always like…THANK THE BABY JESUS (not literally, I’m not religious, but you get my point). To me, flawed characters are relatable and I’m always here for them. This book is full of characters that are flawed (or I like to call, human) and I loved every second of it.

Second, the emotional roller coaster that this book takes you on is intense. It was a serious emotional whammy for me that I still might be recovering from, so prepare yourself for that when you pick up this book. You’re bound to laugh, cry, feel happy, feel angry, feel frustrated and at the same time-you’ll forgive, you’ll forget, you’ll love and you’ll hate all in a matter of minutes, or possibly…at the same time. Ultimately, it will make you think about your life and touch you in a way that goes beyond words, at least it did for me. It’s that sort of book-so come prepared.

Third, it had me thinking so much about forgiveness and tragedy, or more specifically, forgiveness within tragedy and this is hard for me. I would say I’m a forgiving person, but I don’t forget. I’m more of a, “you did me wrong and I’ll move on and give you a hug when I see you in person and laugh and hang with you as if it’s old times, but the odds of me calling you to hang out, inviting you to a small party or really thinking of you in a positive way without thinking about the hurt you caused me from here on out are slim to none.” So…I have a lot of work to do with forgiveness as you can see lol. Add tragedy to this and oof. This book walked me through what it takes to be a forgiving person, when forgiveness is necessary to move on with your life and when forgiveness gets in the way. It had me questioning whether it’s better to always forgive and if being a forgiving person always ends up well. I had a lot of feels around this and I’m still struggling a little bit to come up with the right answers to most of these questions. I love a book that does that to me.

All in all, I loved this book. It got me thinking, it gave me one hundred and one emotions and then some, and ultimately…it made me think about my life, forgiveness, how my past affects my present and future and how intense and complicated the idea of family really is. If you like books that span a long length of time, are character driven and full of things that will make you think long after you close the book, this one is for you!

As always, let me know what you thought when you read it and come find me over on Instagram!

bookishfolk…read instead.