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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July in Favorites


Things I love about me + why that’s not arrogant
5 more things I’m not ashamed of (but probably should be)
Three Must-Read Memoirs
Where’d You Go, Bernadette [book review]
Marie Curie, karate chopping stereotypes.
Funky Mood? Not for Long.
The Good and Bad of Living in Alaska [guest post]

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Beautiful Boy by David Sheff.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye. Not done with this one, so that might be cheating but it’s great so far!

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Amanda makes super cute geometric jean shorts with a bleach pen and raspberry-rosemary sorbet. FancyHands shows a really doable way to live richly and avoid regret. Melyssa shares the experience of getting and dealing with her first negative commenter. Sarah introduces me to Jes the Militant Baker. I found Emily’s pretty and natural blog, Growing Wild Ginger. Mary shares her thoughts on the Trayvon Martin case. Kelsey shares some super duper cute patterned things! Crystal works out at home.

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I Want You to Want Me / Cheap Trick
Somartider / Gyllentider
Thrift Shop [electro-swing cover] / Postmodern Jukebox/Macklemore
I Would Walk 500 Miles / The Proclaimers
Jackie Wilson Said / Van Morrison
Hey Willy / Shannon and the Clams
Guaranteed / Eddie Vedder

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What were your favorite things this month?

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.

June in Favorites

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6 Things I’m Not Ashamed Of (But Probably Should Be)
Free iPhone Backgrounds 
Dreaming of Iceland
ReverbNation Gems
Why I Like Jerry Springer

book reads

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. I’m not done, so this might be cheating, but it’s fantastic so far!
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.
Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner.

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How to Grow Your Blog (Like A Boss) / The Nectar Collective
Weekly Wishes Link-Up / The Nectar Collective
What To Do When People Disappoint You / Yes and Yes
I’m Trying Really Hard to Like Yoga / The Rheel Daze

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Birmingham / Shovels & Rope
Lemonade / Fly Moon Royalty
Copperline / James Taylor
Chasing After Things (We Don’t Know the Names) / Fierce Bad Rabbit
Body of Work / The Mynabirds
Never Played the Bass / Nabiha

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What were your favorite things this month?

June Book Challenge Update

Ten days into June, after I had made my reading goal to read ten books in June, I started panicking. Why? Well, I had only read one book. One third of the way through June. However, after I made my weekly wish last week to read an hour every day, I’m catching up! I’m super proud to say that I have now read seven books out of my goal of ten–and June isn’t over yet! Some of them are school books, which, while I feel great that they’re done, I’m not quite recommending them as the most riveting reads.

The Forest Unseen  by David George Haskell
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization by Anthony Esolen
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.
Wool 1 by Hugh Howey
Anthem by Ayn Rand
Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner.

Up Next: (probably–my literary moods change quickly)

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

What have you read lately?


Catching My Eye 02.

This week:My sister got home from Italy♥I cooked cheesecake, all by myself! Usually, the toaster presents enough of a challenge, but not today…♥Went on a frozen yogurt date with the boy♥finished my first book of the summer♥ran many miles.

Now, for the best of the interwebs.

♥This album by Common Labor is so great. It’s like rap and folk and awesomeness. Even better? Name your price.

Portraits of zoo animals in clothing make me smile. I’d love some postcards of these prints!

♥Skittles burgers? Oddly themed weddings? Sometime Pinterest seems to be drunk.

♥Is this real life? A vending machine that prints books.

♥Try out this recipe for salted caramel cheesecake. If I can make it, you can.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Cupcakes | Cooking Classy

♥This lovely offbeat bouquet.

♥This post from Of Corgis & Cocktails with all things popsicles for summer.

♥Lastly, here are ten yoga poses to do in bed. At the end of the day, I love relaxing with a couple of these poses and find that they help me fall asleep faster and relax more. My favorite? Definitely happy baby.

YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: ReverbNation GemsJune Book ChallengeOne for the RoadThe Forest Unseen [book]