#GIRLBOSS

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#GIRLBOSS

by Sophia Amoruso

September 2017

I can’t remember where I first heard of #GIRLBOSS, but I think it was probably just hearing about it “around.” Regardless, this book was phenomenal. Amoruso is a gifted writer, coming across relatable and humorous. This book was very engaging and easy to read. I didn’t want to put it down. Most of all, #GIRLBOSS was inspiring and motivational. I came away feeling empowered and encouraged and ready to take on the world. Amoruso chronicles her life and discusses her failures and her successes. She intersperses her story with advice and tips for being a #GIRLBOSS. She also includes little stories from other successful people sharing their story and advice. The book was well laid out and designed. I took so much away from it!

Summing it up: I can’t recommend this book enough (to both women and men) and I will likely be adding it to my library! Enjoy and get inspired!

All the best, Abbey

Some inspiring quotes:

“When you approach everything as if it’s a big, fun experiment, then it’s not that big of a deal if things don’t work out. If the plan changes, that can be even better. There are secret opportunities hidden inside every failure.”

“When your time spent making money is significantly greater than your time spent spending money, you will be amazed at how much you can save without even really thinking about it.”

“But there’s also the everyday kind of magic that we make for ourselves . . . .It’s just recognizing the fact that we control our thoughts and our thoughts control our lives.”

“Your challenge as a #GIRLBOSS is to dive headfirst into things without being too attached to the results. When your goal is to gain experience, perspective, and knowledge, failure is no longer a possibility. Failure is your invention. I believe that there is a sliver lining in everything, and once you begin to see it, you’ll need sunglasses to combat the glare. It is she who listens to the rest of the world who fails, and it is she who has enough confidence to define success and failure for herself who succeeds.”

“I also think you age a lot quicker if you can’t keep yourself busy and under the right, healthy dose of stress. Too much of anything obviously isn’t good, but as my dad always said: Overwhelmingly busy is a much better state to be in than overwhelmingly bored . . . .It sounds incredibly platitudinal, but no one will ever be able to love you if you don’t love yourself. What’s beautiful about it is that if you love yourself enough, you don’t need the validation from anyone else.” – Leandra Medine

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Dragon Was Terrible

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Dragon Was Terrible

by Kelly DiPucchio

Illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

September 2017

Ok. This book is hysterical in the best way possible. I loved every second! The fun thing about this book is that I didn’t pick it out. My son brought it home from his school on library day. At first I was like, “a terrible dragon? Oh boy!” But then I started reading and I could barely keep a straight face. I mean, this dragon is adorable and seriously terrible!

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My son’s favorite part was the burping in church. He laughed so hard and told me to take a picture of that page. The list goes on and on for how terrible this dragon is. There’s even a reward for anyone who can tame the dragon. Many people try and fail.

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But then a resourceful little boy writes a story and starts reading it, capturing the attention of the dragon. This goes on for a bit, the dragon getting more and more intrigued.

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The dragon learns to be kind and is officially tamed. Of course, everyone is happy! 🙂

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Seriously, this book is wonderful. I love how the dragon is tamed and the creativity of the little boy. This book combines humor and kindness and so much creativity!

Summing it up: I highly recommend Dragon Was Terrible and I hope you enjoy it as much as my boys and I did!

All the best, Abbey

Mosquitoland

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Mosquitoland

by David Arnold

September 2017

Mosquitoland was one of those books I heard great things about and put on my TBR list for reading at some point. Sometimes I see a book like this on the shelf and decide that now is as good a time as any to read it and I go for it! That’s just what happened with Mosquitoland. Well, I started reading it and it was weird. The flow was a little odd and I did not really get the main character or the plot at first. That being said, it was odd in a good way. In a way that kept me intrigued and reading. As the story unfolded, I got more and more swept up in the story and by the end I was loving every second. This story was a late bloomer for me, but I’m so happy I read it.

Mim is the narrator of this story. She is going through a hard time: her parents have divorced, her dad remarried and moved her to a whole new state, and her mom has stopped writing/calling her. Mim is a little “not alright” about all of this and decides to run away from home and find her mom. She encounters many detours along the way that help her grow and change. Spoilers: Mim meets a kind old lady named Arlene on the bus she takes to get to her mom. Arlene is taking a mysterious box to her gay nephew. The bus gets into a horrible accident and Arlene dies. Mim finds the box and decides to try and find the nephew. But she has another detour when she meets a homeless boy with special needs named Walt. They bond and become friends who together set off to deliver the box. They do and then they encounter another detour when they bump into Beck, a college student who was on the bus and has his own mission to find his foster sister. They set out together and find her, but it is a disappointment. Their next stop is Mim’s old house. While she is taking it all in, SURPRISE, Mim’s stepmother, Kathy arrives, having tracked them down. Finally, the pieces start falling into place. Kathy takes Mim to her mother. It is crushing. Mim’s mother is very ill and is fading away. Mim realizes then that Kathy and her father are doing their best and really love her. Her mother has been the one distancing herself to protect Mim. Mim returns home while Beck sets out with Walt to find Walt’s mother. Mim and Beck have a strong connection and they part with a hope to reunite the next year with Walt. All through the book Mim has been writing Isabel, the name of her aunt who was mentally ill and killed herself when Mim was young (Mim actually was the one who found her hanging in the basement). But you find out that her dad and Kathy are pregnant with a little girl and have named her Isabel . . . Mim has been writing to her the whole time.

Summing it up: Give this book a chance in the beginning because I highly recommend it!

All the best, Abbey

P. S. One of the main themes of the book is mental health. Mim’s aunt had depression and anxiety, Mim’s mother has some form of it, and Mim likely does herself. Part of Mim’s journey is accepting that and figuring out the best way to get help (therapy/meds/etc). It is a powerful message and one that is very relevant today. This message was woven throughout in a strong, meaningful way.

 

Some memorable quotes:

“Writing sort of . . . rounds off the sharp edges of my brain . . . . Either way, you should write. It’s better than succumbing to the madness of the world.” -Aunt Iz

“I call it Mim’s Theorem of Monkey See Monkey Don’t, and what it boils down to is this: it is my belief that there are some people whose sole purpose of existence is to show the rest of us how not to act.” -Mim

“Beck is teaching me how to be a better person, and when you find someone who inspires you like that, you hold on for dear life.” -Mim

“DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE VALUE OF FRIENDS.” -Mim

A Man Called Ove

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A Man Called Ove

by Fredrik Backman

August 2017

Every summer my Book Club watches a movie and does a pot luck. It’s amazing. We usually choose a movie based on a book we have read or could choose to read on our own. So this summer we chose, A Man Called Ove. We hadn’t read it for our club, but it had been on my TBR list for a while. Generally speaking, it’s really important to me to read the book before watching the movie, so I was determined to read the book before our meeting. I’m so happy I did. The book was phenomenal and the movie made a lot more sense because I read the book first. Side note: I enjoyed the movie as well! I loved the tone of the whole book. It was lighthearted, especially for the serious subject matter. The book made me feel the whole gamut of emotions. I laughed and cried and truly enjoyed the whole story.

A Man Called Ove is the story of an older Swedish man named, Ove. He has had a hard life, filled with loss. His one love was his wife and she has recently passed away. In addition he just lost his job of several decades. He is lonely and depressed and decides to kill himself because there is nothing left to live for. He takes care of his unfinished business and goes to hang himself, but the rope breaks. Ove is a bit of an odd man and likes things in his neighborhood to be a certain way, like no driving through the residential area. New neighbors move in and do their best to befriend Ove, but he wants nothing to do with them, especially since they do things differently than he does. Spoilers: He tries again and again to kill himself, but every attempt is interrupted for one reason or another. Ever so slowly, Ove opens up to his neighbors and begins to change and see hope. He begins to have reasons to stick around. From helping his new neighbors, to a boy from town, to a wayward cat, to a nemesis (who now has Alzheimer’s). People need him and he begins to realize that he wants to be there for them and not kill himself. It is beautiful watching Ove move from tragedy (losing his dad when he was a teenager, losing his only unborn child when he and his wife were in a bus accident, and seeing his wife lose her mobility in the same accident) to love (like when he gives his new neighbor’s daughter an iPad for her drawing). He has a beautiful story and continues to develop his friendships with his neighbors, living a fulfilled, happy life. In the end he dies in peace and happiness, with the cat by his side.

Summing it up: the story was so heartwarming. I really loved it and I highly recommend it.

All the best, Abbey

P.S. How do you pronounce, “Ove?” In the movie it was, “o – veah.” But I’ve heard it “ooov” and “of” too. Thoughts?!

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

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Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

by Robert C. O’Brien

Summer 2017

I’ve heard about Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH here and there over the years. I didn’t know anything about it except that it was well-known and had won an award (a Newberry Medal). I ended up sitting down and reading it this summer and I loved it! I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, writing, and characters. It was a simple story with endearing values. I loved all the things that Mrs. Frisby did for her children. She really went to lengths to help her children. There was a bit of a puzzle at the beginning of the book involving Mrs. Frisby’s husband, and I really enjoyed seeing all the pieces fall into place about his backstory as the story went on. It was very creative and unexpected. The ending was a little vague, which was sad and a little frustrating. But the rest of the book was so good that I’m overlooking that. I enjoyed the process of reading this book and I really look forward to reading it to my boys.

Mrs. Frisby is a widowed mouse left to take care of her young mice children. Spring is on the way and she needs to move her family to their summer home. However, one of her sons is sick and cannot be moved. This puts the whole family at risk of death because their home is in the field of a farmer who will be ploughing soon. In an act of desperation, Mrs. Frisby goes to visit the wise owl in the woods. He tells her to ask the Rats of NIHM (who live nearby the farmhouse). Mrs. Frisby is terrified, but as a mother is willing to do whatever she needs to for her children. She then embarks on a journey full of terror and suspense. Spoilers: her adventure is fraught with intrigue and discovery, from meeting the rats, to learning that they were great friends with her late husband, to working with them to move her house around a rock to be protected from the plough. She also learns about her husband’s past and how he became friends with the rats. He and other mice, along with a group of rats, were captured and brought to a science lab where they were experimented on. The great experiment? To see if rats and mice could learn to read. The answer? Yes. Soon the rats and mice outsmarted the scientists and escaped, however only two mice survived, including Mrs. Frisby’s husband. They founded a society of sorts and settled by the farm house where they established a high tech home with running water and electricity. The rats are very smart and hope to build a new home where they will not be stealing resources from the farmer. By the end of the book, the rats successfully help Mrs. Frisby and she in turn helps them by discovering that the scientists suspect the rats’ location and warning the rats. They are able to move in time, but loose a few of their people. The vague ending is that you’re not totally sure which rats don’t make it, and it might be one that is very likable. That being said, it is a mostly happy ending.

Summing it up: I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it!

All the best, Abbey