Tag Archives: Memoir

Quick Take: Binge

Binge by Tyler Oakley

bingeI always have a hard time writing personal memoir’s with anything other than 5-stars, anyone else have the same issue? :’) That being said, I really did love this memoir. I got the audiobook version which was narrated by the author, which definitely added quite a bit to my overall reading experience.

I’ve watched Tyler Oakley on YouTube for a number of years and I’ve always appreciated his overall positivity, his willingness to be vulnerable and his activism to bring better support for the LGBTQ+ community. This book was a microscopic view of his upbringing and the various personal experiences (both good & not so good) that led him to who he is today.

I think it’s so important for stories like this to be shared, especially in today’s social and political climate. I appreciate Tyler for trailblazing the way for other young LGBTQ+ community members to, hopefully, continue to share their stories and to be open with who they are knowing that they most certainly have a place in this world. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have read this book and I thank Tyler for putting his story out into the world 🙂 ❤


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Quick Takes: Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

27161156Let me start by saying that the largest reason for my rating is because, for the most part, I’m just not a fan of memoirs. I wasn’t particularly engaged and thought that topic could be better presented. I think that’s what my problem usually is with memoirs–you’re telling me what happened instead of painting me a picture like novels usually do.

I also slightly resent the fact that his story was used to push certain notions and philosophies upon the reader. Providing research to back up what you experience is one thing, concluding that “therefore, this should happen,” is something else entirely. Trust that you have presented the information well and that I am competent enough to come to my own conclusion because the truth of the matter is, I may see the solution residing somewhere completely different.

I do think it’s an important story, and I think it brings up very important issues that we as a nation need to address. I just wish it would have done so in a different manner.

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In Defense of the Foolish(Romantic)

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauerfive-star-rating-black-clip-art-hi

My high school students don’t typically read even when they’re required to, so when one makes a point to recommend a book she’s read multiple times, I stand up and take notice. She brought it up to me so often that I became moved by her love for Into the Wild. I decided to pick it up this summer when I took my solo trip to the Pacific Northwest–a perfect opportunity for this tale of travel and survival.

“As for me, I’ve decided that I’m going to live this life for some time to come. The freedom and simple beauty of it is just too good to pass up.”

I could not have read it at a better time. I was in the right mindset to completely understand and empathize with the characters in this book–not just Chris McCandless, but also Krakauer and the numerous other examples of adventurous travelers he gives. Because this seems to be the key to falling in love with what appears to be a very polarizing book: understanding the mind of the Romantic.

“At long last he was unencumbered, emancipated from the stifling world of his parents and peers, a world of abstraction and security and material excess, a world in which he felt previously cut off from the raw throb of existence.”

Chris was a Romantic, simply put. People quickly paint him into many other things he’s not. He’s not much of an Idealist: he prepares too much for that, though his practicality will fall short. He’s also not a Hero. He made mistakes, we can all agree on that. But he’s not a Villain either, as so many of these mistakes were understandable, especially when we stop trying to be curmudgeonly, self-righteous adults and remember the romanticism of our youth. This leads me to a quick aside, because I have some beef with the people who don’t like this book.

Continue reading

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Quick Take: Born A Crime

Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

This was absolutely delightful! I find Trevor Noah incredibly funny and so, I had to born a crimelisten to this via audiobook on a road trip that my boyfriend and I took this past weekend.

This was a very different memoir in that this focused on his childhood in South Africa, which was a huge part of why I loved this book so much! It was so interesting to hear about his experiences growing up as a bi-racial child in South Africa after the apartheid. It was both heartbreaking and really empowering. My biggest take away from this book was definitely that his mother is an actual BADASS!! She is fierce and doesn’t put up with anyone’s nonsense, which you can tell is where he gets his drive from.

This was a poignant memoir that confronts racism and classism in some real ways. It was empowering to read, as a person of color myself, and it is a much needed statement during this time of too much hate in the world. I highly recommend this book and I actually recommend listening to the audiobook version.

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Quick Take: Wild

Wild by Cheryl Strayd

Whew! I have been in quite the reading and blogging slump, my friends -_- Le sigh… I wildfinished “Wild” by Cheryl Strayd at the beginning of April and totally put off my review and even picking up another book. But…I’m back! 🙂 I am posting a “quick take” review of this AND you’ll be seeing another review from me in the next few days here of another book I just finished. Your girl’s got her reading/blogging groove back! 😉

Like I said, I read “Wild” towards the beginning of April. A colleague/friend of mine lent it to me and it was one of my 2017 Pop-Sugar Reading Challenge reads. I was excited to pick this one up! I had heard quite a bit about it and had heard some great reviews. Overall, I did enjoy it. I think Cheryls’ writing style is captivating and incredibly expressive. Her writing somehow evokes the same feelings in you, as you read her words on the page. Her story is heartbreaking and empowering, all at the same time…and I fully appreciate Cheryl putting herself out there for the world to see. Continue reading

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Quick Take: Stitches

Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair by Anne Lamott

518ddif1ddl-_sx280_bo1204203200_Years ago, I saw Anne Lamott speak at a conference and it felt like a breath of fresh air. Her explanations of writing and love and grace were unlike anything I had experienced up to that point. I then read Bird by Bird, and got about 300 pages of the same thing. I loved it.

I recently saw Anne Lamott speak again last week at church, and felt more of the same. Afterwards, I got to snag two books and get them signed–this one, and a free copy of her new one, Hallelujah Anyway. Just like a few years back, Stitches was just what I needed.

“Some people have a thick skin and you don’t. Your heart is really open and that is going to cause pain, but that is an appropriate response to this world.”

This is a good book when you’re tired of how f–ked up the world is, which feels like a daily occurrence nowadays (or is that just me?). She makes some great, poetic points interwoven into her beautifully told stories. It’s a super quick read, so you can set aside an afternoon to knock it out. I knocked off a star because the narrative felt a little disorganized at parts.

Side note: I really liked the design of this book, especially the dark green ink for the print. Hallelujah Anyway is printed in dark purple, which I am all about! Why don’t more books do this?!

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Quick Takes: Blue Highways

Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon

51rupujsryl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Quick Takes: In an effort to finally review some books I’ve read in the past year, I’m gonna throw these posts up on the blog in a shorter form. 

Blue Highways is what I wanted On the Road to be, but didn’t even know it. Heat-Moon travels around the continental US, choosing to only use the small highways, avoiding major cities and coming across unique characters in all these small towns. It’ll make you dream of the 80s, complete with your own beat up van to live out of for the next year or so.

Although his writing is quite different than Kerouac’s it was still wonderful–both simple and lyrical. There was a sense of the spiritual throughout, but without being too pushy or critical of any faith. I think the tone of this narration is exactly what the story needed, and was the perfect embodiment of Americana, or what Americana should be. If you long to dive into a (not ideal, but) true picture of what once was, maybe still is, give this a go.


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