Firefly Book Tag

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I thought I’d try my hand at a my own book tag, for the first time. Of course it has to be Firefly-related, to make my nerdy heart happy. So… take me out to the black, tell ’em I ain’t coming back!

Malcolm Reynolds- A Book with a Conflicted Character

“Mercy is the mark of a great man.” (stabs defeated opponent) 
“I guess I’m just a good  man” (stabs opponent again)
“Well…I’m alright.”
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The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman: Tanis is a very conflicted character. He’s often at war with himself, just like Mal. He’s also in a leadership role and feels that weight immensely.

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Zoe- A Book With a Hardcore Female Character:
Mal: “Well, look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?”
Zoe: “Big damn heroes, sir!”
Mal: “Ain’t we just.”

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: Each of the three queens is strong in her own way, although at the moment Katharine (the poisoner queen) comes to mind.

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Wash- A Character or Book With a Good Sense of Humor:

“We’re all doomed! Who’s flying this thing?! Oh right, that would be me. Back to work.”

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Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

This book is so stinking funny, and its sequel is even better. I love clever humor and this book has it in spades.

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Jayne: A Violent Book or Character
“You know what the chain of command is? It’s the chain I go get and beat you with ’til ya understand who’s in ruttin’ command here.”

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown
One of the many things I love about this series is that no character is safe. The body count builds rather quickly. When revenge turns into revolution, things tend to get messy.

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Kaylee- An Optimistic Book or Character:
Mal: “I don’t think there’s a power in the ‘verse that can stop Kaylee from being cheerful. Sometimes you just wanna duct tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month.” 
Kaylee:  “I love my captain.”

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The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky:
Okay, hear me out on this one. This book deals with some incredibly heavy subjects. It makes me cry every time (and I reread this one a lot), but it ends on a feeling of hope. I can’t really explain it. If you read it, you’ll get what I mean.

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Inara: A Book or Character that’s mysterious:
Mal: “How’s business?”
Inara: “None of yours.”

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: One of the many things I love about this book is the air of mystery and impossibility of the Cirque Des Reves, as well as the characters.

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Shepard Book- A Book or Character involving faith
“You don’t fix faith. Faith fixes you.”

Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman: I don’t read a lot of faith-based books, just my Bible. But this book really resonated with me.

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Simon Tam- A Book or Character that’s highly intelligent:
” I don’t care what you’ve done, I don’t know what you’re planning on doing, but I’m trusting you. I think you should do the same. ‘Cause I don’t see this working any other way.”
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The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford-English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

This book is fascinating, and I definitely learned some things while reading it. Who knew the dictionary had such an interesting beginning?

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River Tam: A Book or Character that’s a bit creepy:
“Also, I can kill you with my brain.”

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chobsky:
I’m about two thirds of the way through this book, and I can honestly say it’s given me the wiggins. I am loving it so far.

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Well, that’s it for my first attempt at a book tag. If you want to try it with your choices, please be sure to tag me as the creator. I’d love to see what you come up with!

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Mental Illness Awareness Week 2019: Bookish Opinions

**This post discusses mental illness and might include something upsetting. Please continue at your own discretion.**

Here’s the thing: I live with mental illness. Along with many, many others, I don’t often talk about it. Why? Stigma. It’s hard to talk about something that is often belittled or disbelieved. Over the years, I’ve gotten some seriously odd (and at times, harmful) comments regarding my bipolar. But I’ve realized something: there is absolutely no reason for me to feel ashamed or embarrassed by my mental illness. Yes, sometimes I am fighting a battle with myself. But I’m fighting, which I think I should be proud of.

Being me, I have several books that I’ve read over the years that portray mental illness in a way that helps me. Here are a few of them. And please know this: if you struggle with mental illness, you are not alone. You are not lesser than. You are not a burden. Not ever.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini : inspired by Ned Vizinni’s own mental hospital stay. It discusses suicide, depression, and finding hope.

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“People are screwed up in this world. I’d rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode.”
Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For by Jamie Tworkoski : Written by the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, these emails and poems discuss depression, drug use, faith, and accepting help.

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You are more than just your pain. You are more than wounds, more than drugs, more than death and silence.There is still some time to be surprised. There is still some time to ask for help. There is still some time to start again. There is still some time for love to find you. It’s not too late. You’re not alone. It’s okay –whatever you need and however long it takes- its okay. It’s okay. If you feel too much, there’s still a place for you here. If you feel too much, don’t go. There is still some time.”  -Jamie Tworkowski, If You Feel Too Much

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison : Jamison’s autobiography is incredibly uplifting because, not only did I completely relate, but she is a talented mental health professor despite (because of?) her illness.

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I have seen the breadth and depth and width of my mind and heart and seen how frail they both are, and how ultimately unknowable they both are. – Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chobsky: This beautiful book discusses ptsd, depression, possible unspecified mood disorder, and drug use.

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So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.- Stephen Chobsky, Perks of Being a Wallflower

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher: talks mainly about bipolar disorder.

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“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.
They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.” 
― Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking


Are there any books that you feel portray mental illness well? What are they? I’d love to get a list going!

 

Marvel Avengers Book Tag


I have yet to see Endgame (please no spoilers!), but this tag looked like fun. I saw it over at theorangutanlibrarian’s blog. Check it out! If you know who the original credit goes to, please let me know so that I can add that to this post. Here goes:

Iron Man – a book that made you laugh out loud: I am America and So Can You by Stephen ColbertImage result for iron man  imagesImage result for i am america and so can you

It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but this book made me full-on guffaw.

Captain America- A Book that Sends a Positive Message: Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

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“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.”

Having been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 several years ago, I find this book incredibly empowering. The fact that it’s also often hilarious is an added bonus.

Thor- A Book With a Character Whose Strength You Admire: Oddmire: Changeling by William RitterImage result for thor imagesImage result for oddmire changeling images

I love the twins’ mom in this book! She charges into the Wild Wood after her sons with no thought for herself or her safety, simply because they might be in danger. She’s a hardcore mom and I love seeing that kind of bravery represented in a book. Being a parent is definitely not for the weak.

Black Widow- A Book With a Hardcore Female Protagonist: Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

Image result for infinity war black widow imagesImage result for crown of feathersVeronyka pretty much rocks. I mean, she is willing to disguise herself to join the phoenix riders, fight while on the back of a giant bird, as well as defy her very manipulative and controlling sister (which might be the scariest of all).

Hulk- A Book that Made You Incredibly Angry: Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

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I went into the reasoning behind my absolute disgust with this book at length in its review (which I will link at the end of this post, if anyone is interested). Suffice it to say, it was so bad that it ruined the entire trilogy for me.

Hawkeye- An Underrated Book that You Think More People Should Pay Attention to: The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge

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More people need to read this book. It’s a fast read, with a deliciously eerie feel to it. This is a great one to read on a stormy day.

Loki- A Book With a Twist or Surprise that Tricked You: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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I’m not sure I’d believe anyone who told me that they’d called every twist in this book. It was absolutely wonderful.

Reviews I’ve done:
Oddmire: Changeling by William Ritter
Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge
The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

If you decide to participate, please link back to me. I’d love to see what your answers are!

O.W.Ls Readathon 2019

I admit: like a large part of the population, I’m a Harry Potter fan. Actually, at this point, I’m afraid I’m moving toward being a Harry Potter hipster (“I liked Harry Potter before JK Rowling started in on the constant retconning”). Either way, I’m participating in the O.W.Ls readathon for the first time this year. For those who don’t know what that is, here’s a link to the official video: video.

I’m taking the O.W.Ls required to work toward a career as a librarian. Seriously, it sounds wonderful. Here are the books I’m planning on reading to fulfill each subject requirement. I’m a huge mood reader, though, so these are all subject to change:

Ancient Runes- A Retelling: Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie Mclemore-

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The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.
But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts. (taken from Amazon)

I’m in the middle of reading this one right now. It seems to be a mash-up of Snow White and Rose Red and Swan Lake. Despite loving the tale of Swan Lake, I’m really not enjoying this book so far. It’s told from multiple points of view, but the chapters are so short that there’s really no time to get to know these characters and I’m struggling to connect with the story. Here’s hoping it improves.

Arithmancy- Work Written by Multiple Authors: The Big Book of Classic Fantasy edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer

The Big Book of Classic Fantasy ebook by

From the fairy tales we first heard as children, fantasy stories have always been with us. They illuminate the odd and the uncanny, the wondrous and the fantastic: all the things we know are lurking just out of sight–on the other side of the looking-glass, beyond the music of the impossibly haunting violin, through the dark trees of the forest. Other worlds, talking animals, fairies, goblins, demons, tricksters, and mystics: these are the elements that populate a rich literary tradition that spans the globe.
In this collection, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer explore the stories that shaped our modern idea of “fantasy.” There are the expected pillars of the genre: the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Mary Shelley, Christina Rossetti, Nikolai Gogol, Franz Kafka, L. Frank Baum, Robert E. Howard, and J. R. R. Tolkien. But it’s the unexpected treasures from Asian, Eastern European, Scandinavian, and Native American traditions–including fourteen stories never before available in English–that show that the urge to imagine surreal circumstances, bizarre creatures, and strange new worlds is truly a universal phenomenon. A work composed both of careful scholarship and fantastic fun, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy is essential reading for anyone who’s never forgotten the stories that first inspired feelings of astonishment and wonder. (taken from Amazon)

I’m also currently reading this book, since I tend to read two or three books at the same time. I’m odd that way. My fantasy and fairy tale- loving self is fascinated by this book so far.

Defense Against the Dark Arts- Reducto! A book starting with “R”: The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare

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All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping. (taken from Amazon)

The Shadowhunter books are guilty pleasures for me. I think we can all agree that the writing isn’t necessarily the most incredible ever, but the world is a lot of fun. This book releases on the ninth and I’m really hoping to be able to read it a.s.ap.

History of Magic- Published at Least Ten Years Ago: The Beat Book: Writings from the Beat Generation

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The Beat Book: Writings from the Beat Generation:  This will be a reread for me, and it won’t be the first time I’ve reread this amazing book. It’s National Poetry Month, though, so I figure that gives me the perfect excuse to dive right back into the fearless, creative writing that defined the Beat Generation.

Transfiguration: Sprayed Edges or Red Cover- Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee

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You can’t get much redder than this gorgeous cover. I recently posted a review on this book, which you can check out here. This book was beautiful but very, very sad.

There you have it! Are any of you participating in this year’s O.W.Ls readathon? What career have you chosen? Oh, in case you were wondering: I’m a Ravenclaw.

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid


This book is the engrossing story of the rise- and implosion- of the seventies band Daisy Jones and the Six. It was written so skillfully that I honestly thought it was nonfiction until about two thirds of the way through. I was actually about to look up some of their songs on Youtube when I saw the blurb on the back of the book jacket and realized the band doesn’t really exist.

Told in the band members’ “own words,” it’s written completely in the form of multiple interviews. Each band member (I can’t say “character” because the book feels so much like nonfiction to me) has his or her own separate version of events, the way things would be remembered by actual band members. Each person has their own stuff going on which blends into the band drama during its rise to fame and, ultimately, its ending.

There’s sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, of course, but it’s much more than that. It tells the story of misunderstood love, learning who you are, hitting rock bottom and where to go from there, and choices. I was enthralled by the entire book, hanging on every word. I hoped for them, got angry when they did something stupid, and was filled with pity when life dumped on them.

This is the first book I’ve read by Reid, but I’m determined to read her others. If they’re half as good as this book, I’m in for a treat. Have you read this? What are your thoughts?

I Watched it Before I Read it

Like, most readers I know, I prefer to read a book before I see a movie or TV show adaptation, but every once in a while I see the movie first. Usually, it’s because I didn’t realize that whatever I’d seen was based on a book until afterward. So, coming clean: here are a few that I did backwards:The Shining by Stephen King:Image result for the shining movieImage result for the shining bookI saw the movie long before I read the book. I love the movie: it’s good, over the top fun, and Jack Nicholson gave that role everything he had. The book is very different, and I didn’t like it, to be honest. I might have enjoyed it if I had read it before seeing the movie, but Stephen King is real hit-or-miss for me, so it might not have made a difference.The Disaster Artist:Image result for the disaster artist movieImage result for the disaster artist book
The book was on my to be read list for so long that I just kind of forgot about it. I saw the movie, starring James and Dave Franco, and was fascinated. The book is even more engrossing. The biggest difference for me is that Dave Franco portrayed his character as being a very likable, boy-next-door kind of guy. That character, Greg, comes across as a selfish freeloader in the book, which is interesting to me, since Greg helped write it. I recommend both the book and the movie. They’re both fantastic.Whip It:Image result for whip it book Image result for whip it movieThe movie is a blast to watch, full of fun, sassy women. I didn’t realize that it was based on a book until after watching it. I didn’t like the book at all. The main character, Bliss, is such a jerk! I couldn’t connect to her character at all. The movie is much better, in my opinion.Killing Eve:Image result for killing eve bookImage result for killing eveThis show is phenomenal. About a female MI5 officer who realizes the trained assassin everyone is looking for is female long before anyone else does. She enters into a game of cat and mouse with the assassin: but who’s the cat and who’s the mouse? Sandra Oh acted it brilliantly (I believe she won an award for it) and I”m dying to read the books the show is based on. I haven’t gotten to them yet, but I’m hoping to soon.Cirque Du Freak:Image result for cirque du freak movie Image result for cirque du freak  bookI have no idea what about the movie made me want to read the book. It was just sort of “meh” for me. Unfortunately, I felt the same about the book. You win some, you lose some.Catch Me if You Can:Image result for catch me if you can movie Image result for catch me if you can bookI’ve seen this movie so many times! I love how it showcases Leonardo D’Carprio’s ability to portray so many different characters so flawlessly, and Christopher Walken just flat-out rocks. The book is similar to the movie in many ways, with the notable exception of the relationship between Frank and his dad. That was very different in the movie. One thing I do wish they’d put in the movie that they didn’t is that Frank managed to teach at BYU in Utah for a while. I think that’s hilarious since I grew up in Utah. I like both the book and the movie and I suggest you check them both out.And the entire reason I got thinking about the movies I’ve seen first is…The Dirt:Image result for the dirt bookRelated imageI just saw this (sort of: I looked away from a lot of it because. It was incredibly interesting and I’m curious about the book, which I have yet to read. I’m honestly amazed that all the band members are still living, considering the things they did to themselves. Anyway, full disclosure: the movie is pretty harsh and abrasive. Fascinating, but harsh.What are some books that you’ve read after seeing their cinematic adaptations? Thoughts?

For the Love of Books: Stories of Literary Lives,Banned Books, Author Feuds,Extraordinary Characters, and More by Graham Tarrant- ARC Review

Image result for for the love of books by graham tarrant       Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be available to purchase on June 18th, 2019.

The word “incredible” does not do this book justice: I love, love, love it! Containing a wealth of information, this book is for anyone who loves to read. It’s both entertaining and incredibly informative at the same time. The history of books is just as fascinating as the books themselves. And some authors’ lives are even more sensational than many works of fiction!

Containing everything from the history of different genres to the genesis of popular terms; author feuds (there are a few authors who seem to only be happy if they’re mad at someone) to bizarre deaths; this book has it all. I learned so much that I almost wish I was a social person so that I could quote some of my new knowledge at parties.

I will most definitely be reading it again. This is a book that I want to own in hardback. Not only is it absolutely fascinating, but it will make an excellent addition to my homeschool. The information in the chapters is easily accessible and very well organized.

This book sucked me in and reminded me why I love to read in the first place. I can’t recommend this one enough.

Read it.

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

My quest to read outside my comfort zone in 2019 continues with The Monk of Mokha. I don’t read many biographies, although I’ve read many more over the past year or so, and this one looked interesting.

This is the story of Mokhtar Alkahanshali, a Yemeni American who grew up in an impoverished area of San Francisco. One of many children, Mokhtar had a propensity to get in trouble as a kid, was rather directionless , and working as a doorman when he came across a statue of a Yemeni man drinking coffee. Mokhtar was intrigued, and did a little digging. He discovered that coffee brewing originated in Yemen and, so to speak, a star was born.

Mokhtar became driven to become a coffee exporter, improve working conditions of farmers in Yemen, and hopefully build a profitable business for himself. The first half of the book was about his aspirations, and the plans he put into motion. While interesting, it wasn’t fast-moving.

The second half of the book felt like an action novel. In 2015, a civil war broke out in Yemen, trapping Mokhtar there with no way to get out. The U.S. wasn’t working to evacuate its citizens from the country, and Mokhtar was one of many who were trapped in a very dangerous place. How he made it back to the U.S was nail-biting, even more so because it actually happened.

Interspersed throughout were Mokhtar’s viewpoints on money, what it means to be a Muslim in America, and life in general. I really liked reading about another person’s perspective. I’m so glad I read this book!

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Non-boring Nonfiction

I’m not a nonfiction fan. At least, I haven’t read much nonfiction. I’m trying to branch out into more genres, and I’ve discovered something interesting: I like nonfiction. Not all of it, but I’ve read enough to say that, maybe, the genre deserves more of a chance. With that in mind, here are a few that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed:

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

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The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary — and literary history. The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane. (taken from Amazon)

This was absolutely engrossing. Prior to reading it, I had no idea how weird the genesis of the Oxford English Dictionary was.

A Gathering of Saints: A True Story of Money, Murder, and Deceit by Robert Lindsey

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The yellowed manuscripts threatened the foundations of the Mormon Church, and the elders were willing to pay millions of dollars to suppress them. But the documents were fakes, and their brilliant forger committed double murder to hide his crime. The sensational case of the 1985 Salt Lake City bombings exposed a master plot to topple the powerful Mormon empire. (taken from Amazon)

Having grown up in Salt Lake City, I naturally found this engrossing, although the events in the book happened when I was too young to remember. I devoured this book.

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

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The bestselling author of Postcards from the Edge comes clean (well, sort of) in her first-ever memoir, adapted from her one-woman Broadway hit show. Fisher reveals what it was really like to grow up a product of “Hollywood in-breeding,” come of age on the set of a little movie called Star Wars, and become a cultural icon and bestselling action figure at the age of nineteen. (taken from Amazon)

This book is brilliant. Equally hilarious and inspiring, this meant even more to me because I was diagnosed with bipolar when I was in high school. She handled her mental illness with grace and more than a bit of humor.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

Brain on Fire 0 9781451621389 1451621388

An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.

When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?

In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen. “A fascinating look at the disease that . . . could have cost this vibrant, vital young woman her life” (People), Brain on Fire is an unforgettable exploration of memory and identity, faith and love, and a profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.

I found this utterly engrossing. Due to her symptoms, at times the author relied on others to tell what happened simply because she didn’t remember. It was a very interesting read.

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell

Nineteen-year-old Greg Sestero met Tommy Wiseau at an acting school in San Francisco. Wiseau’s scenes were rivetingly wrong, yet Sestero, hypnotized by such uninhibited acting, thought, “I have to do a scene with this guy.” That impulse changed both of their lives. Wiseau seemed never to have read the rule book on interpersonal relationships (or the instruc­tions on a bottle of black hair dye), yet he generously offered to put the aspiring actor up in his LA apart­ment. Sestero’s nascent acting career first sizzled, then fizzled, resulting in Wiseau’s last-second offer to Sestero of costarring with him in The Room, a movie Wiseau wrote and planned to finance, produce, and direct—in the parking lot of a Hollywood equipment-rental shop.

Wiseau spent $6 million of his own money on his film, but despite the efforts of the disbelieving (and frequently fired) crew and embarrassed (and fre­quently fired) actors, the movie made no sense. Nevertheless Wiseau rented a Hollywood billboard featuring his alarming headshot and staged a red carpet premiere. The Room made $1800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. One reviewer said that watching The Room was like “getting stabbed in the head.”

The Disaster Artist is Greg Sestero’s laugh-out-loud funny account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and friendship to make “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon, with Wiseau himself beloved as an oddball celebrity. Written with award-winning journalist Tom Bissell, The Disaster Artist is an inspiring tour de force that reads like a page-turning novel, an open-hearted portrait of an enigmatic man who will improbably capture your heart. (taken from Amazon)

Tommy Wiseau is the most fascinating, mysterious person I’ve ever had the extreme pleasure to read about. This book is fantastic! After you read the book, look him up on YouTube and watch some clips of him acting. Just…Oh, man.

There you have it. If, like me, you don’t read much nonfiction, I suggest you give it a go!

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography by Eric Idle

I have a feeling that I’m going to contradict myself several times during this post. For those who don’t know, Eric Idle is one of the writers and members of Monty Python, so maybe being odd and contradictory is the best way to review this book. Sure, let’s go with that.

I found myself laughing uproariously several times during this book, of course. Eric Idle has the gift of stating the saddest things in a way that neither diminishes what happened, or dwells on it. Kind of a like a “Yeah, that sucked, but it’s life” attitude (you’ll see what I mean when you read about what happened to his dad). He’s well aware of his talents, but equally well aware of his faults and finds humor in them.

This book both needed to be longer, but could have been condensed. See what I mean about being contradictory? At less than three hundred pages, there’s really not much to the book length-wise, so being longer wouldn’t have been bad IF there was more that could be said. Of course, I also found myself thinking that parts dragged. Some of it read like sitting with someone who suddenly switches from telling you a story to muttering to themselves about it.

Eric Idle would be the perfect person to hang out with at Thanksgiving, or during a family reunion: he has the most interesting reminiscences. However, some of that was lost in the writing.  I really liked his stories of the random weirdness he got into. Because of that, I wish there was also a book with memories written in collaboration with all the members of Monty Python. That would be epic. Of course, Graham Chapman would have to come back from the dead for that, and who would cheat death just to argue with editors?

All in all, the funny parts were hilarious, the little-known tidbits were fascinating, and the rest was just there. Would I recommend it? Ummmm…maybe? It wasn’t a bad way to ring in a new year of reading, but it wasn’t incredible.

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