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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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.

Catching My Eye 07.

The best of the interwebs:

♥How to make your t-shirts look semi-ladylike.

♥This super duper cute elephant and hot air balloon throw pillow. Literally, anytime you see anything with an elephant (or rhino or whale or dinosaur) on it, please just buy it for me. I’ll love you forever.

♥This writer made me laugh by rejecting his rejection letter.

♥This jelly.

♥Is there any land in America at all? This map makes it look like all rivers.

Here’s that permission you’ve been waiting for.

McDonald’s suggested budget for employees shows just how hard it is to get by on minimum wage.

♥Your sneezes sound like choruses of angels giggling. —Emergency Compliments.

♥You might have missed: Three Must-Read Memoirs ♥ Things I love about me +why that’s not arrogant ♥ A reading playlist ♥ Sponsor CMS in July/August.

Catching My Eye 06.

opstinatus:000025 by 魏三米ya on Flickr.

The best of the interwebs:

♥I know this is super old stuff, but this video of Jimmy Kimmel getting Coachella attendees to lie about their music knowledge cracks me up. Probably something I’d do though–I hate admitting when I haven’t heard of a band. Anyways, I was cracking up.

♥We all know we should go to bed early and get up early, but how often does that really happen? Here’s 7 ways to get in bed earlier tonight.

♥Clearly, I still can’t stop thinking about Iceland. Take me there!

Photo: Hot springs at the Blue Lagoon.

This Spanish restaurant allows unemployed patrons to work for an hour in exchange for a meal.

♥This awesomely education infographic shows ten top destinations in the world that may be disappearing and why you should visit them while you still can.

Beautiful faceted, geometric tattoos on The Uniqueness of Being’s feature called Tattoosday.

♥You might have missed: Let’s Make Things Pretty: Free Fonts ♥ 4 Genius TEDTalks ♥ In Which I Try To Make You Like Something Weird

Don’t forget these two super important things!!

I’m holding an awesome Adventure Lovin’ Giveaway AND Call Me Sassafras has ad spaces on SALE for super cheap!

Catching My Eye 03.

[Abbey, St. Joseph’s Chapel, Glastonbury, England]  (LOC)

This week: I moved to Michigan for the summer, leaving my friends and the boy behind. ♥ Started work assistant managing an ice cream shop ♥ read lots ♥ enjoyed the first few beautiful Lake Michigan beach days of many to come ♥ played endless games of Taboo with friends ♥ made multiple late night McDonald’s, Target and Dollar Store runs with friends ♥

Now for the best of the interwebs:

♥Is summer keeping you from actually getting stuff done? Here are 16 ways to get motivated. You can also check out my Weekly Wishes and see what kind of stuff I’m trying to get done. My favorite way is #11: Start small. Really small. If you want to start a habit of exercising for half an hour a day, exercise for five minutes a day, and only that. Make that a habit, then move to ten, then fifteen, then twenty, then thirty. Easy peasy.

♥This gorgeous peach statement necklace. Or, this supercute trio of seaside themed earrings from The Northern Sea for $12.

♥The Minimum Wage Machine gives a brilliant social commentary on the minimum wage. By turning a crank, the machine releases a penny every 4.97 seconds…the exact same as minimum wage, which many people earn for much harder work than turning a crank.

♥If you consider yourself intelligent but still “normal”, check out TED’s list of 180+ books any human being should consider reading.

♥Because sometimes nature is just too weird, this website [WTF, Evolution] chronicles weird animals & plants and captions them with witty remarks, like this.

“Check out this awesome dance move I invented.”
“Oh god, evolution, please stop doing that.”
“What? It’s called ‘pronking.’ All the springbok are into it.”
“I can’t take you anywhere.”

♥If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, you will crack up at this (or even if you haven’t). On this site, the staff chronicle the antics of crazy restaurant customers.”

♥You might have missed: Wake Up, Allie [a playlist] ♥ Weekly Wishes #2 ♥ A Packing Playlist