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From My Shelf To Yours: March 2017 Book Recommendations
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Books are a vital part of my life, of who I am. I have been a reader since I was under 4 years old and I am proud to call myself a bookworm.
Last month I shared my first (of many, hopefully) list of books I had read during the previous month (February), along with a very brief summary. I also provided links to make it easier to find and purchase the books, if you’re interested.
This month I read even less than last. This is mostly due to the fact that I have been brutally busy. Keeping this blog running and volunteering my time and vehicle to drive the biggest orchestra instruments for their many engagements made March very busy. My head spins just thinking about it.
Anyway, here is the promised list. And remember, if you find anything that sparks your curiosity, get that book and read it! Nothing is better for your heart, mind and soul than loosing yourself between the pages of a wonderfully written story.
Let’s do this!
Never Never by James Patterson & Candice Fox
Patterson first introduced readers to Detective Harriet “Harry” Blue in his Bookshot Black & Blue. In case you’re not familiar with them, Bookshots are bite-size novellas so I was really glad to see Detective Blue in a full size book. I am hoping this turns into one of Patterson’s long standing series, like The Women’s Murder Club, the Alex Cross series and the Michael Bennett series, among others.
In Never Never, Blue is assigned investigate a disappearance in a mine, located in a desolate part of Australia. Her boss’ idea is to keep her away from the city, where there is an ongoing murder case against her brother. But this seemingly isolated disappearance, turns out to be a much more sinister case.
As with Black & Blue, I couldn’t help but be drawn to Harry’s character. She is not without flaws. She is often impulsive, violent and reckless but she is also very smart, intuitive and doesn’t take crap from anyone. Of course, being smart and intuitive doesn’t spare her misjudging the wrong people or being blindsided.
And while she is out there in the middle of nowhere trying to solve these series of “disappearances”, her mind and heart have an ongoing battle: should she just concentrate on her current job? Or should she go back to the city and try to get to the bottom of her brother’s case?
I’d recommend you read Never Never. But first, dive into Black & Blue. It is always better and less confusing to get the whole picture and follow the story line. It makes connecting the dots much simpler.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Mary Kondo
I got this book mainly out of curiosity. Ruth Soukup mentions it a couple times in her books and of course, I got curious about this “magical” solution.
After reading it, I can say that I understand many of the reviews I read beforehand. Many people praised Mary Kondo for her attention to detail and her simple but brutal method of tidying up. But I found that many people thought the author to be weird, hilarious, and even crazy.
And I can totally see their point. While I enjoyed the book and will implement a lot of her recommendations, I sort of laughed out loud at the notion of me speaking to a sock. Or thanking my shoes for their service. I mean, my family already thinks I’m kind of crazy… I wouldn’t want them to confirm their suspicions and have me committed 😀
But the book, and moreover, her method has great value. Basically, she goes about decluttering and organizing a home like you would rip a Band Aid: quick and without mercy. I certainly plan on following some of her most important tips. That is, when I (hopefully soon!) purge my home of clutter. Amazing how much crap gets piled up, huh?
Joy: The Unofficial Biography of Miracle Mop Inventor, Joy Mangano by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
In case you didn’t know, Joy Mangano is responsible for the invention of the Miracle Mop, among other things. What might seem like such a mundane object, was in fact, made amazing by her incredible vision and her unwillingness to give up.
I originally got very curious about Joy Mangano’s story after watching the movie Joy over and over on HBO. HBO keeps a very predictable schedule of movies every month haha. I searched for the official biography and came up empty handed. The only option I could find was the unofficial biography.
While it offered some insights on her life and her story, I feel like it was sort of incomplete. Also, whomever was in charge of the editing and printing process, didn’t do a very thorough job. I am hoping that an authorized biography gets published soon.
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
I have to admit I was a huge fan of the original Star Wars Trilogy movies. You know, the ones that were later labeled as Episode IV, V, VI. I went to see them in theaters when they first came out (DO NOT do the math… I know I’m old haha) and I was hooked! It didn’t help that my Mom was a huge fan of the series as well.
However, I later lost a bit of interest and found the prequels (or Episodes I, II and III) to be rather dull. I don’t know why. My boy loves them! Anyway, what I didn’t know at the time, and only just learned right after Carrie Fisher’s passing, was that she was also an author! Who knew?
Well, maybe tons of people knew. But I wasn’t one of them. After she passed a few months ago, I watched with sadness as the life of one of my very early childhood heroines was reported over and over on the news and other TV shows. So, what did I do, you might ask?
I searched for her books, of course!
Wishful Drinking gave me an excellent first row view of Carrie Fisher’s witty character. She had an amazing self-deprecating humor that I found endearing and that I could identify with. She had absolutely no problem sharing her lowest moments and her biggest triumphs in equal measure. And with tons of enthusiasm.
In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher talks openly about her struggles with drugs, fame (hers and her parents’), and life in general. The book made me laugh a lot and made me wish I’d known her personally before her untimely passing. I’d recommend this book to anyone.
Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher
Shockaholic is another great work by Carrie Fisher, where she talks openly about what is commonly known as “shock therapy”. She endured this treatment, which she was very much opposed to for a while. However, when her depression started to get the best of her, she knew she had to do something.
I believe Fisher gives the reader an excellent idea of the reality of “shock therapy” vs what the movies have taught us the treatment is about. And while the author admits there are downfalls to it, she believed it was her best chance at a better life.
The author also dives into her relationship (or lack thereof) with her father, which completely changed during his last few years of life. Shockaholic is yet another funny, witty and insightful work, totally worth your time!
Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy (still reading it)
I started to read this book. Then, half way thru, I realized one of the library books I had, was due back soon, so I paused this one. I did enjoy the read and will happily continue and finish it as soon as I get a chance.
Eat That Frog! gives excellent tips and examples of how to get more things done, and even better, how to get the important things done first. I will update my review as soon as I finish it.
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher recently came across the journals she had kept during her time filming the Star Wars trilogy. As I’ve become more and more fond of her as a person, I found this book to be a gem.
The Princess Diarist not only contains some (if not all) of the long-lost journal entries, but also reveals quite a bit about her relationship with Harrison Ford. While this hardly matters anymore, since she is now deceased, he was married at the time and Fisher was barely an adult. And she was 14 years his junior. In The Princess Diarist Carrie Fisher is once again very open about her life, her choices and her struggles.
And if I deciphered her words and emotions correctly, she might’ve been a little bit in love with him her whole life. But of course, I could be mistaken 😉
Humans, Bow Down by James Patterson & Emily Raymond
I always like to read at least a few of the reviews people write about a book. For this, I either go to my Goodreads account or check the reviews section on Amazon. When I picked Humans, Bow Down as my next book, some of those reviews were less than promising but I still decided to read it; after all, James Patterson has only disappointed me once and that was like 20 years ago 😉
This book is a YA dystopian novel and I am a big sucker for those (think The Hunger Games Trilogy , The Divergent Series , The Giver Quartet, The Maze Runner Series , etc). For those who don’t know, a dystopian novel is one where the setting of the story takes place in a less than perfect world. Actually, more like, the world or society where the story develops is essentially bad and unpleasant, a disaster if you must.
Oxford Dictionary defines dystopian ~adjective~ as: Relating to or denoting an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.
For me, the real pull of dystopian novels is the distinct possibility of it becoming a reality. I mean, one has only to watch the real news, read articles from reliable sources and look around to realize the scary truth: those stories might be just that, stories. But I can see them becoming a reality. Yes, it is scary. But it is also entertaining and often thought engaging.
Okay, moving on.
In Humans, Bow Down the authors present a society in the future that is completely controlled by robots and hu-bots (more of an upgrade from robots, showing some similarities to humans, “without” the imperfections). Those bots not only control the world they all live in, they have also made humans-their creators- their personal slaves. And in some cases, their victims.
Humans, Bow Down turned out to be pretty awesome, fun and intense. A real page-turner. Lesson learned: Read all the reviews you want, but only make up your mind about a book after YOU have read it.
This book is a must read. But then again, if you are a James Patterson fan, you already know that 😉
From my Shelf to Yours: March 2017 Book Recommendations
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From My Shelf to Yours: February 2017 Book Recommendations
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What have you been reading recently? Please, do share in the comments section below!