Spinster (Kate Bolick)

I’m so happy I finally got my hands on this book! My one criticism is that, at times, the pace slowed down just a bit too much. Otherwise, I found this to be a fascinating examination of several interesting literary women and a balm to my happily-single heart.

Title/Year – Spinster: Making a life of one’s own (2015)

Author – Kate Bolick

Page count – 297

Rating – Buy/Borrow/Bypass + Goodreads 4/5 (Really Liked It)

This book is technically a memoir because Bolick weaves in her own relationship experiences as a single woman. But she focuses heavily on the histories of five literary pioneers she holds as role models for her own life – the essayist Maeve Brennan, the columnist Neith Boyce, the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, the novelist Edith Wharton, and the social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Continue reading “Spinster (Kate Bolick)”

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A Million Little Pieces (James Frey)

It’s hard to place this book in one particular category. Is it a memoir? Is it fiction or non-fiction? It’s marketed as a true account of Frey’s time in rehab, but there is some dispute about whether all events are completely accurate. While I do think there should be some sort of disclaimer about “artistic liberties” or exaggeration, I also think that anyone who reads a memoir and believes that everything is 100% real with no stretching the truth to make the story more interesting from a marketing perspective…is fooling themselves.

I also believe that stories don’t have to be true to teach us something. Fiction has just as much power to take us to another world and empathize with people/characters whose experiences differ from our own. And that’s what this book did for me.

Title – A Million Little Pieces

Author – James Frey

Page count – 430

Rating – Borrow (I put this at a 4/5 “Really Liked It” on Goodreads, and I would recommend it…but I don’t know that I can read it again.)

(Big ol’ CW/TW on this story for: addiction, alcohol, drugs, rape, abuse) Continue reading “A Million Little Pieces (James Frey)”

Shrill (Lindy West)

Please read this book. Especially if you’ve ever been someone who thinks that women are just “too sensitive” about online harassment, or if you think that fat people are “gross” or make comments about fat people’s bodies out of “concern for their health.” I think people believe those things because they’ve never really taken the time to truly listen to the voices of people actually living out those realities. Lindy West speaks about her experiences with humor and unapologetic grit – but also with far more grace and understanding than any of her tormentors deserve.

Title – Shrill: Notes from a loud woman

Author – Lindy West

Page count – 258

Rating – Borrow (Not one that I necessarily need to read again but would definitely recommend) Continue reading “Shrill (Lindy West)”

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou)

If I hadn’t read the back cover, I wouldn’t have realized this book is autobiographical. She writes with such humor and feeling that you forget these things really happened to her. You want to root for her, even – or maybe especially – when life makes it seem like she’s a bird trapped in a cage with no way to escape.

Title – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Author – Maya Angelou

Page count – 290

Rating – Borrow, although I bought mine at a used book store and will probably keep it because I need to read it at least one more time.

CW: rape/sexual assault. If reading a rape scene could trigger flashbacks for you, make sure you’re in the right mental space before reading this book. Continue reading “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou)”

12 Years A Slave (#39/50)

For those who don’t know, this book is based on a true story, and as one might expect from the title, it is devastating. It’s clear early on that Solomon will eventually regain his freedom, and that hope was what kept me reading to the end.

Title – 12 Years A Slave

Author – Solomon Northup

Page count – 217

Goodreads rating – 5 stars (This is something new I’m going to include. The ratings are as follows: one star=didn’t like it, two=it was ok, three=liked it, four=really liked it, five=it was awesome! Or, in cases like this where “awesome” doesn’t feel quite appropriate, I think of it as “would highly recommend.”)

As stated before, this book is based on a true story. And keep in mind I haven’t seen the movie, so my commentary/opinion is based solely on the book. Solomon was born a free man in New York State. Continue reading “12 Years A Slave (#39/50)”

Reading Lolita in Tehran (#19/50)

Well, friends, we are officially halfway through the year. As far as my Book Challenge numbers go, I should be at 25, and I’ve actually read 19…so not where I need to be, but it’s still do-able. Even if I don’t actually get to the Magic Number 50, this challenge has kept me focused on finishing books at a decent pace, and it’s definitely pushed me to read new genres and authors I might not have otherwise. Speaking of which…

Title – Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

Author – Azar Nafisi

Page count – 343

Although this book is technically a memoir, it often reads almost in the realm of fiction (Perhaps because I’m an American, and this book is set in Iran, it seems like an unreal world). Nafisi divides her story into four sections. Each is based on an author or book she teaches in her English Literature classes Continue reading “Reading Lolita in Tehran (#19/50)”