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.

Friends of the Library Book Haul

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A town close by to us had their yearly Friends of the Library book sale this weekend and I told myself it was probably best to avoid it this year. I have enough books and not enough time in the day to read them all. As it is, I have piles of TBR books all over the house that aren’t getting any smaller and I should get to those first. The sale went from Friday to Sunday and guess who felt compelled to go on Sunday-this girl. Oof…but I promised myself I would only grab books that I really wanted to read and would only buy women, and/or diverse authors. I found some great ones, followed my rules and only came home with 6 books (all for 5 dollars I might add). Here are the books I grabbed and a little bit about each one.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith: Don’t be fooled by the male author. This is J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym and is the second novel in a series (yes, now I have to get the first…but finding this one was exciting and I’m assuming no one realized it was JK Rowling and that’s why it was still there on the last day). It’s a crime/detective novel.

Mischling by Affinity Konar: It’s been described as one of the most harrowing, powerful, and imaginative books of the year (2016). It’s about twin sisters fighting to survive in WWII. Also-seems completely fitting right now, so I might bump it up to read it next month. It’s been on my TBR list for a while now and I was thrilled to see a copy!

Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman: I love Alice Hoffman (hello Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic), so I always grab her other novels when I see them. This one is about the idea of what lies below a “perfect” marriage.

The Bees by Laline Paull: This was just such a unique story that I had to pick it up. It’s told from the perspective of a bee where battles, survival techniques, competition, sacrifice, and more are explored. It sounds imaginative, SO unique, suspenseful and is bound to change the way I look at the world outside my window. I’m excited for it! Plus, this a debut novel and I’m always here for a good debut.

Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen: Nguyen entwines the Asian American experience with the escapist pleasures of literature, in a dazzling mystery about the origins of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic Little House on the Prairie. What?! Count me in!

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert: I saw this one and almost passed it up, finding myself being somewhat dismissive of Gilbert. I picture her being a self-help writer and I’m not into self-help books (that’s not to say that I don’t need plenty of self-help itself ;)). Then I remembered how it affected me when she came out after years of being married to a man and how I saw similarities between the two of us. And then I remembered that her partner died of cancer and I nearly starting crying in front of the ‘critically acclaimed’ book section at the sale. I flipped it open, read what it was about and saw that it was signed copy. Bonus! and put it into my bag. Plus, she’s coming out with a new book this year that looks great. I’m excited to dig into it and it seems like a perfect winter read.

So there you have it folks! I’m slightly embarrassed to say our local Friends of the Library is having their sale in 2 weeks and I’ll be heading to that one too! I’m volunteering at it one the first day, so I’ll be able to get those first day pickings too. I’ll keep you posted on how well I maintain my self-control there too 🙂

 

 

Banned Book Week Wrap-Up

I’ve always been a huge advocate of reading banned books. As a kid, even before I knew the why, I remember frantically trying to get a hold of any and all books that were deemed banned. There was something in my little head that told me-if people don’t want me to read this book, that just means it’s probably of upmost importance that I read this book as soon as humanly possible. I’ve always been a truth seeker, a learner, an advocate of marginalized people, and ultimately, a firm believer that the best conversations happen within the fray. Freedom of information is one of the most important tenants of any society and without that freedom, what do we have? (start with reading 1984 by George Orwell if this interests you!) Well…we have a dictatorship is what we have. Wow-that’s a terrifying, but ultimately true, thought. So I thought I’d create a list of just a few of my favorite books that have been banned throughout the years. If you haven’t read some of these, I hope you grab a few of these or any from here and get to work! I promise, you’re going to love what they have to offer!

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Beloved by Toni Morrison

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

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The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Happy Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

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Maybe you’ve read a lot of these…and if so, that’s fantastic! Head over to the banned book page that the ALA created and find some other good ones to read! If not, I hope you enjoy this little Banned Books starter kit 🙂

bookishfolk…read instead.

 

 

 

Mother of Invention

Author: Caeli Wolfson Widger

Published: May 22, 2018

Publisher: Little A

Where I picked up my book: Received free via publisher and Net Galley

Key Words: Motherhood, Science Fiction, Pregnancy

My Rating: 4.5 stars

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Synopsis (via Goodreads):

What will a mother sacrifice to have it all?

Meet Silicon Valley executive Tessa Callahan, a woman passionate about the power of technology to transform women’s lives. Her company’s latest invention, the Seahorse Solution, includes a breakthrough procedure that safely accelerates human pregnancy from nine months to nine weeks, along with other major upgrades to a woman’s experience of early maternity.

The inaugural human trial of Seahorse will change the future of motherhood—and it’s Tessa’s job to monitor the first volunteer mothers-to-be. She’ll be their advocate and confidante. She’ll allay their doubts and soothe their anxieties. But when Tessa discovers disturbing truths behind the transformative technology she’s championed, her own fear begins to rock her faith in the Seahorse Solution. With each new secret Tessa uncovers, she realizes that the endgame is too inconceivable to imagine.

Caeli Wolfson Widger’s bold and timely novel examines the fraught sacrifices that women make to succeed in both career and family against a backdrop of technological innovation. It’s a story of friendship, risk, betrayal, and redemption—and an unnerving interrogation of a future in which women can engineer their lives as never before.

My Thoughts:

I LOVED this book. So much, that I found my mind wandering during the workday, while walking around the city, and while trying (and failing) to fall asleep. It was one of those books that I just became so engrossed in and couldn’t let it go until the end. And even now that I’ve finished it, I just keep going back and thinking what if…

And if I’m being very honest, I just keep looking at pregnant people and going down a slightly insane rabbit hole lol. But that’s neither here nor there 😉

One thing that I’ve been thinking about a lot after finishing up this book are the roles women have in society. At times, it seems like a woman is expected to either be successful in their careers and climb that career ladder, or successful at parenting and motherhood, taking care of household duties, making meals, but rarely do we see plots, or real-life scenarios for that matter, where both of these things happen smoothly. I’ve hit an age where this is a constant thought for myself, and a lot of my friends. How can we hold careers, run a household, make a baby, raise children and do it all successfully? And why are there unspoken expectations that we (women) must take on these roles? Do we need to choose between career and family, or can we have both? Are societal expectations making us feel like we have to choose? Is it the patriarchy that is forcing us to choose? Is it our own self-inflicted guilt that is making us to feel this way? Honestly, this is an excellent story, but it’s also a great starting off point for a discussion about expectations versus reality in terms of motherhood, careers and life. Tessa is a really complex character, as are many of the other women in the book, and they epitomize the realities of real life women in general, but with a Sci-Fi twist.

This is a face paced, thought provoking book that takes you through the complexities of motherhood, the throes of Silicon Valley, government cover-ups (don’t even get me started on this because I’ve definitely had plenty of these thoughts and questions about our government) and what it is like to be a woman in society. Mother of Invention is an imaginative read, yet set in some solid reality that I highly recommend!

Thank you Little A for the free review copy.

bookishfolk…read instead.