Three Must Read Memoirs

This is a post I originally shared at The Nectar Collective. Today I’m linking it up to Book Chat over at the Tangerine.

Today, I’m super excited to share with y’all some of my favorite nonfiction books. Now, don’t get scared! These aren’t textbooks you struggled through in school or anything of the sort. These are just memoirs, biographies and stories. I like reading nonfiction because true books remind me of reading blogs. I get a little peek into someone’s life that is way different from mine and sometimes that can really be entertaining or thought-provoking. Most nonfiction books that I like fall into three categories: slightly nerdy, moving or funny. Today I’m going to introduce you to one of each.

The Slightly Nerdy: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Henrietta Lacks was a poor black woman in the South in the mid-1900s when she developed cancer and underwent treatment at John Hopkins Medical Center. She passed away but unknown to her–or her struggling family–her cells were being grown and sold around the world. The book follows the family more than the science aspect as Skloot introduces us to Henrietta’s family and their lives. This true story touches on themes of crime and racism as Henrietta’s daughter comes to terms with deceit and injustice since Henrietta’s cells change the world but her own daughter can’t even afford healthcare.

Quote: “She’s the most important person in the world and her family living in poverty. If our mother is so important to science, why can’t we get health insurance?” –Deborah, Henrietta’s daughter

Why You’ll Love It: It’s just enough science that you feel like you’re learning a little, but enough crime and drama that you won’t want to put it down. Rebecca Skloot makes her characters so real that you’ll really feel like you know them by the end of the book.


The Moving Memoir: Beautiful Boy by David Sheff

Called a “fiercely candid memoir,” Beautiful Boy traces Sheff’s journey dealing with his son Nic’s transformation from a joyful, athletic, good-natured, and kind Honors Student to an out-of-control delinquent addicted to crystal meth.

Quote: “I’m not sure if I know any ‘functional’ families, if functional means a family without difficult times and members who don’t have a full range of problems.”

Why You’ll Love It: This book is sad, but I also couldn’t stop reading. He balances out the heart-breaking moments with stories that make you love Nic. In the first few pages, Sheff shows you just how great his son is and how he was devastated by addiction. I will never read this book again but I truly believe everyone should read it. Definite trigger warning though, if you couldn’t gather that.


The Witty Tale: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

If you like humor, you have got to read David Sedaris’ books (I’ve heard Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls is hilarious as well). In this book, Sedaris tells a series of short stories from his life on all sorts of topics ranging from bull fights and learning French to family bands. It will make you laugh all along the way.

Quote: “I find it ridiculous to assign a gender to an inanimate object incapable of disrobing and making an occasional fool of itself. Why refer to lady crack pipe or good sir dishrag when these things could never live up to all that their sex implied?” –On Learning French.

Why You’ll Love It: It’s hilarious. What more reason do you need? Plus every chapter’s a different story so you can flip open to a random chapter, read for fifteen minutes, get yourself a good laugh and be on your merry way. If you can, find the audiobook at your library–it’s hilarious in his voice!

What about you? Have you read any of these books? Do you like reading memoirs?

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Someone please send me here.

Guys, I love whale sharks. Literally, I could just look at one for hours. When I visited them in Georgia back in December, that’s literally all I did. I sat in front of their tank and just watched. Something about them makes me feel so wonderful and yet so small that I could cry. Have you ever felt that? I just watch this video over and over.

P.S. Go fullscreen.


P.S. Would you make me very very happy and take my survey? I promise, it’s super short, 9 questions. And most of the questions are multiple choice, a few you have to fill in a word. I will love you forever! 

Marie Curie, karate chopping stereotypes (+sponsor love)


Marie Curie. She is undoubtedly one of the greatest scientists ever. And she is a woman.

Only one in seven engineers is a woman. Less than 20% of computer science majors are women. The number of women working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields is the same as it was in 2000. That is pathetic. Unfortunately, most women don’t even think of science or math fields as an option. Women should be in journalism or English, right? Wrong! Women have been revolutionizing science for centuriesI think learning about other females in STEM fields is essential–to prove to women that we do great things, in the past and in the future.

Take Marie Curie for example. She won two Nobel Prizes, in two different fields (Physics and Chemistry) and she was the first female to do so. She discovered two new elements, polonium and radium, which was used to first study ways of curing cancer. She taught as the first female professor at the University of Paris.

Basically, she’s my hero. But we can learn some stuff from her.

Take risks! I mean, I don’t really think we should carry test tubes of radioactive chemicals in our pockets, but look what she did when she wasn’t worrying about the risks!

Don’t be afraid to do what no one else does. In that period of time, women in science were even rarer than they are today (duh). Marie was the first female to win a Nobel Prize and the first female professor at the University of Paris. But because she wasn’t afraid of being alone in what she did, she made great steps for women and science.

Lastly, stay away from radioactive stuff. Apparently it can kill you. (But really).


Speaking of awesome, I’m so excited to introduce my newest sponsor to you, Kayte of Floradrenaline. Kayte is basically my bolder/more outspoken/more badass alter ego and I’m so excited to share her with all of you! By the way, she lives in ALASKA! When she told me that I was like ummm can I be youUnfortunately, I can’t be her. She’s got it covered. Anyways, Kayte blogs about fashion, health (especially mental), her life and she participates in Weekly Wishes! She also has some of the coolest Pinterest boards (link below) I’ve ever seen.

kayte of floradrenaline

Three Awesome Posts from Floradrenaline: Tips and Tricks for Small Apartments / How to: Three Edgy-Chic Outfits for Summertime / Coping Skills for Depression and Anxiety

Hang out with Kayte: Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

What do you think of Marie Curie and other women in science? Awesome, right? And how about Kayte?! Go give her some blog love!

Where’d You Go, Bernadette [book review]

So this is a book review. I’ve stayed away from book reviews from a long time because I thought I’d have to use phrases like “a novel that subverts conventions” and “affecting characters” and all sorts of phrases that actually tell you nothing about the book and why you should wanna read it. But this is my version of a book review.

The book is called Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Here’s the cover.

Here’s the basics: Fifteen-year-old Bee got good grades in eighth-grade. And what did her parents promise her? A trip to Antarctica. Yep, that’s right. The only smallish problem is that Bee’s mom (Bernadette) is agoraphobic and pretty much hates people and socializing and being in public. To her, spending time on a cruise ship is just too much to handle. So Bernadette disappears and Bee has to go halfway around the world. To some, Bernadette is crazy, but to Bee, her mom is her best friend.

Why you’ll love this book: It’s so funny–but intentionally. It’s like it’s smart funny and it makes me feel smart that I think it’s funny. There’s a lot of dry humor and sarcasm and that’s just splendid. This book is very creatively written too. The book is made up of all of Bernadette’s emails, receipts, journals and instructions to her virtual assistant in India (who turns out to be in the Russian mafia) and more that Bee “compiles” to make the book.

My favorite quote: “This is why you must love life: one day you’re offering up your social security number to the Russian Mafia; two weeks later you’re using the word calve as a verb.” –Bernadette

Basically: this book is funny, involves Antarctica, the Russian mafia and drama. Please, just read it. It was a great book.

Awkward book review done.

Over and out.

Because I need music to read because people are loud.

Okay, it might be weird, but I have playlists for reading. I don’t know about you but when I’m reading, I want everyone in the whole entire world to seriously-shut-up-right-now-because-I’m-concentrating. Unfortunately, the whole entire world doesn’t really do what I tell them to. Frustrating, I know. So the next best option is to put headphones in and play some music to block out their unnecessary noise.

And because I know that some of you share my lack of ability to control the world, I’m sharing my favorites with you.

You’re welcome.

P.S. I’m also linking up with Sweet Green Tangerine for The Book Chat.
P.P.S. Don’t forget about my ad sale! Let’s conquer the blog-world together.
P.P.P.S. And my giveaway! Adventure themed :)

Do you listen to music while you read? Do loud people annoy you too when you read??? 

(Maybe I’m overreacting about the loud people…but probably not)

4 Genius TEDTalks

For those of you who have been following along the blog and have seen my goal in the last Weekly Wishes post, you know I watched lots of TED Talks this week. In short, TED Talks are short lectures (5-30 minutes, generally) on anything that’s an “idea worth spreading”. I love watching TED Talks, but just don’t get around to watching them often for whatever reason. So, I made it my goal this week to watch one or two every night and I succeeded, for the most part! Here were my favorites this week:

1. David Gallo: Underwater Astonishments. David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and a Times Square’s worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean.

2. Marc Koska: 1.3m reasons to re-invent the syringe. Reuse of syringes, all too common in under-funded clinics, kills 1.3 million each year. Marc Koska clues us in to this devastating global problem with facts, photos and hidden-camera footage. He shares his solution: a low-cost syringe that can’t be used twice.

3. Gary Lauder’s new traffic sign: Take Turns. Fifty percent of traffic accidents happen at intersections. Gary Lauder shares a brilliant and cheap idea for helping drivers move along smoothly: a new traffic sign that combines the properties of “Stop” and “Yield” — and asks drivers to be polite.

4. Jake Woods: A new mission for veterans–disaster relief. After months or years fighting overseas, 92 percent of American veterans say they want to continue their service; meanwhile, one after another, natural disasters continue to wreak havoc worldwide. What do these two challenges have in common? Team Rubicon co-founder Jake Wood gives a moving talk on how veterans can effectively contribute to disaster relief responses — and in the process, regain purpose, community and self-worth.

Do any of you watch TEDTalks? Which one is your favorite, of these or otherwise?

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