Monday, May 26, 2014

Simply Soul Food

Everybody's Got SomethingEverybody's Got Something by Robin Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Click link or picture for your copy from BookPeople in Austin, Texas, or Paris Public Library has this in book format (you might want to get your name on the reservation list, it is checked out and I imagine it will stay that way for awhile!).

(Via Audio ) Robin's mother anyways told her that regardless of who or what you are in life, regardless of what you do or don't do, you'll go through hardship, "Everybody's got Something."  She also told her to "Make your Mess your Message."  So Robin proceeds to do just that in this book as she shares her hardship of going through a bone marrow transplant at the same time her elderly mother faces failing health.

I've always just loved Robin Roberts.  She is a breath of fresh air, a ray of sunshine,  a heart of compassion (and a spice of the Southern woman!) in morning news.  I'm so glad she read this book, which is so her voice even though it was co-written.  Whether you are going through hardship or not, there is so much wisdom shared here - I grabbed hold of some new game plans for many different situations in my life.  I was just going to read it as I wanted to, the way I do most nonfiction,  but I couldn't put this one down.

Being a part of #teamRobin on Twitter from the day of her announcement of her new battle, and being a part of my own team for very close friends, this book helped me so much and reminded me how I am a part of a larger community.  Highly Recommend.

P.S.  This book feels personal to me.  Having been through similar situations with close friends of my own, this book demonstrates to me the real need for a world of support while facing cancer.  If you don't have that something going on right now but do have a friend going through it, read this book. You'll get some good ideas. 

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Color Me Ballet - a Novel of Life and Excellence

Astonish MeAstonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
 Click cover art or title to order your copy from BookPeople in Austin, Texas.  Not in Paris Public Library yet, but surely soon!

See it, Astonish Me!
(Via Hardcover from BookPeople, while listening to Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, which is what my very sneaky mom used to play to put me to sleep. Ok so, Swan Lake would have been more appropriate on the surface, but Sleeping Beauty is, understandably, one of my favorite symphonies and the stuff of dreams, and exactly right for this book, especially because we wouldn't have this book without the author's mom, who shared with her the love of ballet).

In a sea of blue covered books which I can't for the life of me keep straight, this one stands out. (I may have to boycott blue covers this year- book world hear my plea - except Jimmy Carter's book, I'll make an exception for that, thank heaven I have already read John Green).  The cover deserves attention.  Simply deceptively perfect.  Look at it, what do you think you will get?  Ballet. Not overly done, not lost in romance, but determined ballet at the cross roads of life, on a crisp white platter,  with a demanding presence - The teacher? The audience? The star? The reader? Life? You? Me? Astonish me. Astonish me.  Astonish me.

Meet Joan who has a secret which perhaps is why she has never danced as well as she danced tonight.  Joan is good enough to dance in the corp, but is not a star.  Yet, the star chose her to help him defect.  And off we go, through a world that I'd long since forgotten and don't know - ballet,  the barre, tutus, and the Cold War (remember White Knights?), and through relationships, which are always changing in predictable and unpredictable ways. This is a world of a much different kind of performance art than I'm used to,  a world the book penetrates with seeming truth.  But even there,  it's a world where determination and love are what matters, in the end.

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A Bookseller, a Book Seller, and a Baby

The Storied Life of A. J. FikryThe Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Click the link or the picture for your copy from BookPeople in Austin, Texas.  Also, the Paris Public Library has this book in many formats.

(Via Audio). First, if you have lived in America for the last twenty years, beware that the cover feel is not what you get. It basically looks like Harry Potter (come on, tell me you agree) but this is not a magic bookseller story.  Instead, it's a magical story - aka well written page turner- about a bookseller and what happens when he finds a baby in his store.  Now don't spin off from there into "Three Men and a Baby," it's not that either.  Rather, the story is about real life situations that are interesting and difficult, and characters that you care about (a bookstore that is going under, a new book sales rep with a favorite little book, a widower faced with the challenge of going on, a surviving sister with difficulties of her own, a cop who starts a bookclub, an abandoned baby who grows into a bright young girl).  It's one of those sneaky books that take literature and life situations and put them in front of you for your consideration, such as is demonstrated by these little quotes:


“You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, "What is your favorite book?” 

"We aren't the things we collect, acquire, read. We are, for as long as we are here, only love. The things we loved. The people we loved. And these, I think these really do live on.”

"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time.”

 “Do you like Moby Dick?" he asks.

"I hate it," she says. "And I don't say that about many things. Teachers assign it, and parents are happy because their kids are reading something of 'quality.' But it's forcing kids to read books like that that make them think they hate reading.”

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Oh Los Alamos! Easy and Essential

The Wives of Los AlamosThe Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Click picture or name to link to BookPeople in Austin, Texas.  The Paris Public Library does not have this book yet. 

(Via Audio) -- Very interesting book.  I used to go to Church Camp in the New Mexico mountains, from which I garnered a pen pal from Los Alamos.  I had NO idea about this place.  I loved the literary style of this book -- in the collective we, which managed to show the many many experiences of the wives, the families, and even the views of the scientists -- the lives of the creators of the atomic bomb during those years.

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Intense Coming of Age WWII Spy Novel

Code Name Verity

by Elizabeth Wein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Click the picture or title for your copy from BookPeople in Austin, Texas, or Paris Public Library has this on CD.

(Via Audio, but now I now want to read it!) Well written unique book about two young English women who become friends despite social class difference because of World War II, which took them to their destinies.  The book is told through their journals, so you get to see the story unfold through different view points.  I was hooked from the first couple of sentences, which, along with the title, tells all:


I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending.  I spent the first twelve years of my life at the Battle of Stirling Bridge with my five big brothers, and even though I am a girl they let me be William Wallace, who is supposed to be one of our ancestors, because I did the most rousing battle speeches."

(Now just try to put that down!) A true spy-coming of age novel, chalk full of historical and literary references.  I cannot for the life of me figure out what book this is like, but I would say that if you liked "The Book Thief" and if you like intrigue, you will like this. 

Get Your Summer Read On!

SO -- I've been busy as my senior approaches the big day.  I haven't had time to write about what I'm reading, but I have still been reading, of course!  I'm finally able to  post a string of book recommendations for you, because summer is coming, and you don't want to be caught without a book!

I've noticed so many people who are as sad as I am that there is no book store in town anymore.  And I've noticed many of the books I want are checked out at the Paris Public Library  (I don't know whether to be happy or sad about this. LOL).  We are all going through book withdrawal.
I don't know . . .

I tend to read in all formats (e, audio, paper and hardcover).  Check out the BookPeople links I'm providing.  If you are going through withdrawal like me, you'll be glad you did! I've got a number of different books to recommend for all types of readers, so be sure and check them out, and make sure and tell me what you've read that I have missed!

A Recent BookPeople Order