Tales from the Crib

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Tales from the Crib: Adventures of an Over-Sharing, Stressed-Out, Modern-Day Mom

by DeeDee Filiatreault

July 2017

I had a feeling I’d like this book from the moment I read it’s title. Filiatreault has an incredible gift to describe the realities (both the good and the bad) of being a mom. As a mom of a 5 and 3 year old, I related to so much of what she had to say!  I laughed out loud (a lot), I cried a little, and I completely enjoyed myself from start to finish. It’s always a relief to know you’re not alone (or going crazy) as a mom, and Filiatreault makes sure you know she’s in the same boat. The concept of this book is that it’s a compilation of  Filiatreault’s Tales from the Crib column. The entries are not chronological, but they flow from subject to subject easily. This a quick, fun book to read and I loved every second. I highly recommend this book to all moms (both new and seasoned). I hope you love it as much as I did!

All the best, Abbey

It Runs In The Family

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It Runs In The Family

by Richard Manning

March 2017

In an attempt to broaden my reading scope, I decided to add some biographies to my reading list. It Runs In The Family intrigued me and it turned out to be a fascinating book. I was most captivated by Manning’s writing. It was enchanting and drew me in throughout the entire book. I did find his style a bit choppy as he jumped from topic to topic a bit haphazardly. Because of that, I found myself putting it down, but then drawn to pick it back up nonetheless. Manning covers a huge range of topics from politics to global warming to religion to family. His memoir covers his journey growing up in a fundamentalist family with a detached father and abusive mother. Manning becomes a journalist, breaking away from his religious upbringing. He draws on his past to learn why he is the way he is: for instance, he suffers from depression and he realizes it’s because feelings of loneliness run on both sides of his family (just manifesting itself differently). I found Manning’s memoir interesting with its broad range of topics, and fascinating with its conclusions.

Summing it up: I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir and recommend it!

All the best, Abbey

The Things They Carried

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The Things They Carried

by Tim O’Brien

December 2016

I read The Things They Carried for my MOMS club book club. I have mixed feelings about it. I enjoyed it because it taught me new things and opened my eyes to other experiences and realities. I disliked it because I found the flow hard to follow at points (though it read easily) and the fact that the content was gruesome and difficult to read. I’d say that even though it’s a challenging read, it’s definitely worth reading.

Tim O’Brien is a Vietnam vet who writes in order to cope with his past. His book is filled with both true and fictional stories that are blended together into a memoir of sorts. He recounts his time in Vietnam fighting as well as some of his experiences before and after the war. It truly was heartbreaking, fascinating, and a book I couldn’t help but finish (though it took several sittings because it was hard to read too much at once). That blur between truth and fiction, Tim explains thus, “By telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. You make up others. You start sometimes with an incident that truly happened, like the night in the shit field, and you carry it forward by inventing incidents that did not in fact occur but that nonetheless help to clarify and explain.”

Summing it up: I recommend with the caution that it is a war story.

All the best, Abbey

Paris Letters

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Paris Letters

by Janice Macleod

March 2016

Paris Letters was a beautiful, quick little read and I loved every second of it! I don’t remember how this got on my list, but presumably it was because I’m drawn to anything French! I also love anything on the topic of decluttering and following your dreams . . .both of which were a part of Macleod’s story. Janice is a copywriter at an ad agency where she is unhappy. She begins to journal for a year as a New Year’s resolution, but finds that writing helps her see clearly and make decisions. Through this she determines that it’s time to leave her job, so she begins decluttering and selling her possessions and saving money so she can live for a year without working. Before long, she has sold all but the absolute necessities and travels to Europe, beginning and ending in Paris. It’s through this trip that she finds herself, as well as love and a vocation. I find her story moving in part because she is simply inspiring and also because she is so down to earth. It’s inspiring to read about someone who is unhappy, but decides to do something about it, rather than just accept being unhappy. It’s courageous. I also love how real Janice is – she is very relatable and is also realistic and responsible (like when she saves her money initially or when she needs to start earning money again) – it makes you think that you could do it to. And that is what I most loved about reading Janice’s story of her life so far: she welcomes you into her life and makes you believe that you can find yourself, and therefore happiness too!

Summing it up: I absolutely recommend this book! It was a delight to read.

All the best, Abbey

Into Thin Air

 

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Into Thin Air

by Jon Krakauer

February 2016

Into Thin Air was a gripping narrative of “the Mt. Everest Disaster.” This book is my town book club’s pick, so you all know what that means by now! It means that I went into this book ignorant of both hiking and Mt. Everest — embarrassingly ignorant. Consequently, I was amazed (not in a good way) at how anyone would want to attempt to “conquer” Mt. Everest! I learned a lot: from the length of time to get acclimated, to how many times they went up and down and then up again in order to acclimate, to the number of deaths in the groups on the mountain that day being a “small” percentage. That anyone would be drawn to Mt. Everest is incredible to me. But, I’m not that type of an adventurous person. 😉 The shock of all this new knowledge aside, I really enjoyed reading the book. I was totally engaged in Krakauer’s writing style and finished the book in a few days. He wrote in an unattached way, which was good for someone as emotional as me — I did not feel super attached to people, so it felt as though I was more of a cold observer. Though ironically, I felt as if I was there every step of the way. That dichotomy has been my lasting impression of the book and I can’t sort out what I think of it. I thoroughly enjoyed Into Thin Air, but should I have? It’s truly a “disaster,” but it’s compelling and fascinating. It’s left me in a bit of a quandary, funnily enough! So . . .

Summing it up: I would recommend it. Krakauer is a gifted author and the subject matter, while tragic, is also fascinating.

All the best, Abbey

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and Why Not Me?

   

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and Why Not Me?

by Mindy Kaling

December 2015

*Crying I’m laughing so hard* (me reading both of Mindy Kaling’s books)

I read Mindy Kaling’s first book over the summer and then I just finished her second book. They are both hilarious and well worth reading! I finished both books in about a day and a half each. They are witty, down-to-earth, and impossible to put down. I definitely laughed more during the first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?  That book had a lot of Kaling’s opinions and thoughts about life. She is hilarious in her content and also the way she puts pen to paper. I literally died laughing! 😉 I found the second book, Why Not Me? to be more serious, as Kaling put more of a vulnerable side forward. It was more of a memoir with funny stories sprinkled throughout. I loved reading a more serious side, but I was happy she kept her humor too. I felt like I read two very different books with the same hilarious writing style (love that they weren’t redundant in any way!). I basically think Mindy Kaling is brilliant. period.

Summing it up: I absolutely recommend both books, without hesitation! Go block out two-three days and give yourself a good laugh and walk away feeling so much better!

All the best, Abbey

Comfort Me with Apples

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Comfort Me with Apples

by Ruth Reichl

November 2015

I couldn’t wait any longer. Seriously. We moved and about a week later, my husband treated me to a night alone at the library (yes, this was a treat and a stress reliever and a breath of fresh air)! I came away with a handful of books and Reichl’s second memoir was at the top of the stack. I loved it just as much as the two other books I’ve read of hers (Tender at the Bone, which I reviewed previously, and Delicious). She writes her story like a novel and you just can’t put it down. I came away once again with a deeper desire to cook and try new foods. Reichl quotes Wolfgang: “With good ingredients you can cook it more simply.” This is lovely! I really enjoy cooking and baking and honestly, I don’t like it when recipes are crazy complicated. I keep hearing that when you cook with “clean, whole” foods that aren’t processed the results are delightful, and I am finding that out. It’s incredibly enjoyable to cook simply and to know that you’re cooking with food that will not only be delicious, but it will be good for you and an enjoyable experience to eat. Reichl talks about her idol, M. F. K. Fisher, saying, “She can make you taste things just by writing about them, but that’s not the point. She actually makes you pay attention to your next meal, feel more alive because you’re doing that. When you read her you understand that you need to respect yourself enough to focus on the little things of life.” This is Reichl to me and how I feel reading her books. Afterwards, I really think about what I cook and how I’m cooking and it’s exhilarating! It becomes more of an experience instead of a chore . . . and I just love that. I was also touched by Reichl’s honesty in this book as she talks about the difficult things she’s been through – affairs, divorce, and an unfulfilled adoption. It was moving, heartbreaking, and also inspiring. One quote at the end of the book has stayed with me: “I didn’t really know why I was coming [to Barcelona]. But I do now. I needed to find out that sometimes even your best is not good enough. And that in those times you have to give it everything you’ve got. And then move on.” Sometimes I think that you really do try your best, but it doesn’t work out and that fact is extremely difficult to deal with. It was helpful and encouraging to read Reichl’s story and how she learned to cope with her loss. I know I’ll remember this and come back to it. I actually think that I will come back to Reichl’s books again and again . . . I will likely add them to my library. And I’ve decided that I’m going to work through the rest of her books and then reread “Delicious,” and then blog about it. So, you’ll have to wait for my thoughts and in the meantime read her novel for yourself! 😉 Anyone else feel this way about Ruth Reichl’s books? I’d love to hear about it!

Summing it up: Hands down, any of Reichl’s books are well worth the read!

All the best, Abbey