Sanibel Flats – Randy Wayne White

Rating: DNF

Cliff Notes: Ugh. I cant even with this guy. I threw this book.

Full Summary: First of all, I NEVER want to read a book that takes 3 (super small font super single spaced) pages of a dude dissecting a shark. Then to have to read about him playing two women to sleep with them both in the same night. Almost as gross as the fish guts. I tried for about 2 weeks or so to power through this book because my parents have a condo near Sanibel and I thought it would be fun to connect to those places.

It was not.

Sanibel Flats Randy Wayne White
By |2019-12-12T19:21:46-05:00August 9th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Night Road – Kristin Hannah

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: It was a good distraction, but I did not really connect with it.

Full Summary: I don’t know if this book did not land with me because of my feelings about motherhood or what. I like it because I had just visited Seattle and lots of places talked about in the book were those we had visited. However in general – just a good distraction from a really hectic work week – which is ALWAYS a good thing!

Night Road Kristin Hannah
By |2019-12-12T19:22:01-05:00August 7th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Ask Again, Yes – Mary Beth Keane

Rating: 4 stars

Cliff Notes: I just love a book that is a family saga.

Full Summary: This one moved between generations really well – always forward in general, but the flashbacks were seamless. I really hope this is made into movie.

This book even distracted me from a root canal! Then when the hygienist was walking me out she asked me how I was enjoying it because she had seen Jimmy Fallon gushing about it being the book of the summer and the book his viewers voted on to be his book club read. Who knew I was in such good company!? And seriously – you just cannot swing a dead cat without hitting a celebrity who is starting up a book club. I wonder how many of these celebrities 1) read books before their publicist told them to start a book club and 2) actually read the books they pick fo the club,

Ask Again, Yes  Mary Beth Keane
By |2019-12-12T19:22:22-05:00August 6th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

A House in the Sky – Amanda Lindhout, Sara Corbett

Rating: 4 stars

Cliff Notes: Holy shit. Need to deep dive this.

Full Summary: Listened to this audiobook in 1 sitting on my way back from vacation. I was actually glad I had unpacking and chores to do when I got home so I could finish this up. Then I ran out of chores and literally just sat on the porch and listened to the last 2 hours.

Wow. As with my fascination with concentration camps, I love these types of memoirs. I wonder how I would respond in a dire situation like this. I want to think I would be resilient, smart, and brave like this author, or even Elie Wiesel. Or would I just give up and blow away with a strong wind?

A House in the Sky Amanda Lindhout  Sara Corbett
By |2019-12-12T19:22:37-05:00August 5th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

City of Girls – Elizabeth Gilbert

Rating: 5 stars

Cliff Notes: When I finished this book I was devastated because I can never read it for the first time again.


“Of course, nobody is required to stand in the field of honor,” Olive continued. “If you find it too challenging, you may always exit, and then you can remain a child. But if you wish to be a person of character, I’m afraid this is the only way. But it may be painful.”

“The field of honor is a painful field,” Olive went on at last, as though Peg had not spoken. “That’s what my father taught me when I was young. He taught me that the fired of honor is not a place where children can play. Children don’t have any honor, you see, and they aren’t expected to, because it’s too difficult for them. It’s too painful. But to become an adult, one must step into the field of honor. Everything will be expected of you now. You will need to be vigilant in your principles. Sacrifices will be demanded. You will be judged. If you make mistakes, you must account for them.”

Eventually all of us will be called upon to do the thing that cannot be done. This is the painful field, Angela.”

Note: The bolding in the passages above are my own, not the author’s.
City of Girls Elizabeth Gilbert

I knew I was going to like this book because I like pretty much all of the words that Elizabeth Gilbert writes. Then as reviews came out, EVERYONE loved this book. But what I did not expect was to be blown away. I plan to buy this book even after I read it just so I can have it.

Let me tell you what this book is NOT – it is not about NYC during WW2 when all the men went away. I have heard that review a lot and that is not it. Just trust me and go read it. Buy it. Read it again. You will not be sorry.

By |2019-12-12T19:22:56-05:00August 4th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” – Zora Neale Hurston

Rating: 3 stars*

Cliff Notes: *Full disclosure on my rating – I did not read any of the appendices.

Full Summary: I originally put this book on my TBR because Flea announced it to be the inaugural choice for his book club. I so badly want to be cool, like Red Hot Chili Peppers super fan cool, but honestly – I am more of an Air Supply block party kind of a girl. So my dreams of Flea seeing my review and rocketing me to fame (or my husband not thinking I am a total music dork) were quickly dashed because I was disappointed by this book. Here’s why.

The introduction of the book tells the story. And not from Cudjo Kewis/Oluale Kossula’s point of view – it is more of a 3rd person telling of it. The last third of the book is appendices. Then the middle of the book is Cudjo / Oluale telling it in his own words. That middle section would have been more powerful if it would have let the reader unfold his story. My understanding is that some readers balked at the difficulty they had reading in Cudjo / Oluale’s vernacular. But that is what made it land for me. I felt like the introduction almost spoiled the story for me.

All of that aside, this is a book everyone needs to read. Especially white people. ESPECIALLY white people who say racism is in the past. This was demonstrated for me recently when I was at a community meeting where participants run the spectrum. There were whites, blacks, Native Americans, Samoans, and more. There were homeless people, tech company founders; men and women; teens and retirees.

Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo Zora Neale Hurston

About a third of the way into the meeting the police came in. The tension in the room changed. Some participants tried to listen to the speaker while some looked nervously between the police and their friends. What I noticed was the difference on the faces of the white people vs the black people. The white people in the room were curious: I wonder what brings the officers in here? The black people had a mix of emotions.

One black man in his 70s looked at the ground and did not look up or look at anyone else until the officers had left. He was unusually quiet the rest of the meeting.

One young black man in his early 20s kept his eyes forward until the police officers approached his table, then he lifted his chin and met the officers with a steely gaze of defiance barely covering fear. His chin was set and I could see his clenched jaw from hallway across the room. Then the officer removed the white homeless guy sitting behind him and you could see him visibly relax into his chair. Later in the meeting he commented on his fear and how rattled he was.

That is why first person accounts of slavery are so important. We cannot pretend it did not happen or that former slaves and their families need to “get over it.” As a white woman I felt – and really could almost smell and touch – the fear in that room. Why are there people who fear another human being like that? That is not ok. Sweeping the experience under the rug actually perpetuates the idea that the problem does not exist. That is not ok.

We need for conversations to take place. Hard conversations. We need to read books that are hard to read – for writing and for content. If you think it is hard to read about slavery, imagine being the slave. How can we not witness that. To hide it to condone.

By |2019-12-12T19:23:23-05:00July 30th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life’s Biggest Questions – Knox McCoy

Rating: 4 stars

Cliff Notes: I laughed out loud several times, which is always a huge endorsement, but I wish I knew this book was going to come at me with church as much as it did. I also did not follow all of the foot notes because they are a total pain in the ass on a Kindle.

Full Summary: Full disclosure – I am a HUGE fan of the author’s podcast, “The Podcast with Knox and Jamie.” I listen each week to the episode on the MORNING it drops into my feed. Not the DAY – the MORNING. I have been to the live show twice and even made my husband attend once. I bought merchandise from their store for myself and my sister. While the merch I have is not a purple cape and black Velcro sneakers, I have drunk the Podcast Kool-Aid. I say all this to let you know that I was going to make this a positive review no matter what.

But you guys – I really loved this book! I highlighted sections, I texted my sister in the middle of reading it, I rode the stationary bike longer than intended so I could read more of this book! Probably because I think I am so much like Knox. I relate more to Knox than his probably-more-fun, super extroverted, cohost, Jamie Golden.

I want to “seize control over as much as I can. It’s the most charming of attributes, I know, and it makes me an extreme joy to work with, for, or under.”

…”someone who is bilingual in snark and cynicism…”

Just a few ways I am like Knox McCoy, author of this gem.
The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life’s Biggest Questions Knox McCoy

I also agree with what Knox says about how introverts perceive the people in their lives: We don’t dislike you guys, but man, is it a bummer sometimes when we have to talk to you.

In conclusion (there is a super funny chapter about conclusions in this book as well), I want to fully endorse this book – a Green Light, if I am to completely plagiarize the popular Popcast segment. Know that it has church and pop culture woven together with Knox’s biggest life questions, but you will not alight on fire if you are not super into the religious stuff. I also strongly encourage you to listen to the Popcast each week!

By |2019-12-12T19:23:36-05:00July 28th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

When We Left Cuba – Chanel Cleeton

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: Audiobook – EXCELLENT narrator in Kyla Garcia.

Full Summary: This book would make a FANTASTIC movie. I got frustrstrated at the constant message of “I don’t need a man, I want to save Cuba!….. oh, I cannot give this man up.” Blarrghhhhh

This reminded me a little of The Americans TV show with a strong woman spy kind of character that I just wanted to ditch the man and move on.

When We Left Cuba Chanel Cleeton
By |2019-12-12T19:24:26-05:00July 22nd, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments


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