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text 2017-06-25 00:41
Master List - 2017 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge (June Progress)
Not My Father's Son: A Memoir - Alan Cumming
  • Items in bold were completed this month. I'm going to put this challenge on hold until after COYER.


  • Recommend by Librarian                                   
  • On TBR Long Time - Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky                             
  • Book of Letters - With Every Letter (Wings of the Nightingale #1) by Sarah Sundin                                 
  • Audiobook - Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan                               
  • POC Author - The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) by D.F. Mello                                  
  • 1 of 4 Seasons in Title - A Wedding in Springtime (Marriage Mart #1) by Amanda Forester                             
  • Story within a Story                               
  • Multiple Authors  - Weddings Under a Western Sky (Anthology)                             
  • Espionage Thriller - Dangerous Allies (WWII Book 1) by Renee Ryan                          
  • Cat on the Cover - Cat Trick (A Magical Cats Mystery #4) by Sofie Kelly                                  
  • Author Pen Name - Apprentice in Death (..In Death #43) by J.D. Robb                           
  • Genre Not Normally Read - Antidote for Night by Marsha De La O                     
  • By/About a Person with a disability

Involving Travel - Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves

  1. Subtitle
  2. Published in 2017 - Echoes in Death (...In Death #44) by J.D. Robb
  3. Mythical Creature
  4. Re-read a shelf keeper - Vision Volume 1: Little Worse Than a Man by Tom King
  5. Food - Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
  6. Career Advice
  7. Non-human Perspective - Vision Volume 2: Little Better Than a Beast by Tom King
  8. Steampunk
  9. Red Spine
  10. Set in Wilderness
  11. Loved as a Child - Double Love (Sweet Valley High #1) by Francine Pascal
  12. Author from a country you’ve never visited - Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
  13. Title with a character name - A Suitor for Jenny (Rocky Creek #2) by Margaret Brownley
  14. War time setting - Battlefield Angels: Saving Lives Under Enemy Fire from Valley Forge to Afghanistan by Scott McGaugh
  15. Unreliable Narrator - A Paris Affair by Tatiana de Rosnay
  16. Book with Pictures - March: Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
  17. MC is different ethnicity than you - Craving Temptation (Just Desserts #2) by D.F. Mello
  18. Interesting Woman
  19. Book with setting in 2 different time periods
  20. Month/Day in title
  21. Set in a hotel - Sleigh Bells in the Snow (O'Neil Brothers #1) by Sarah Morgan
  22. By someone you admire - The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
  23. 2017 movie adaptions
  24. Holiday other than Christmas - Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell
  25. First Book in Series - Enchanted, Inc (Enchanted, Inc #1) by Shanna Swendson
  26. Bought on a trip - The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
  27. Recommended by an author you like
  28. 2016 Best Seller - The Obsession by Nora Roberts
  29. Family member term in title - Not My Father's Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming
  30. Takes place over a character’s lifetime - If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  31. Genre never heard of - Cyberpunk Tales, Book One: Looking Death in the Eye by A.L. Hunt
  32. More than 800 pages - London: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd
  33. UBS find
  34. Book mentioned in another book
  35. Difficult topic - The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade by Ann Fessler

Based on Mythology

About an immigrant or refugee

Book with eccentric character - Alibi in High Heels (High Heels #4) by Gemma Halliday

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url 2017-06-23 22:20
This Child Will Be Great
This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa's First Woman President - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

President Sirleaf is one of the Nobel Prize winning women that I challenged myself to read last October. I had first heard her name in the memoir of one of her co-winners, Leymah Gbowee, that I had reviewed here for the blog I had before this one. Because of that, I was a little familiar with the civil wars that tore Liberia apart for 14 years and the name Charles Taylor.

What I wasn't familiar with was the overall political history of Liberia, which President Sirleaf discusses throughout her memoir. Her family had been involved in politics there long before the civil wars which gave her a more overarching view of what was happening than I had listened to in Gbowee's book. A part of me wishes I had read them in the opposite order. Gbowee's book is a lot more of the every woman experience of the wars and President Sirleaf shows the reader the "bigger picture", if you will.

President Sirleaf's story starts long before the wars, though. She begins with some history, such as the relationship the US had with the founding of Liberia before moving on to more personal history. I loved the story about the man who gave the memoir it's title by looking at her as a baby and saying those words, "This child will be great." I love the doubt that follows. President Sirleaf's rise to power was slow and winding, given the political climate of her country throughout her life, but it appeared to have progressed at a relatively steady pace with what seemed like short segues into other areas. There was a lot of heartache and a lot of experience involved in that climb to power, but she persevered.

This memoir was narrated by Robin Miles, who is an amazing narrator. The link will take you to an interview she did with BookRiot. The pacing of both the book and the narration was great, it was one of the few audiobooks that I haven't felt the need to tweak the playback speed on my app. Overall, it's an important memoir to read for those of us interested in the lives of women, particularly those who have had political success or been awarded the Nobel Prize.

This was also one of those rare books that I could fit into all three of my reading challenges this year because it is by a Nobel Laureate, it satisfies Task 11 for my Read Harder challenge, and is my Letter T for Litsy A to Z.

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review 2017-06-22 21:41
Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir - Liz Prince

So, what is a Tomboy? Liz’s dictionary describes it as a noun, a girl of boyish behavior but Liz believes it goes way beyond that. Being a tomboy herself, thirteen-year-old Liz feels it goes beyond clothing, hair, and sports because being a tomboy is a lifestyle that she has chosen on her own. From a young age, she has struggled with being a tomboy and inside this graphic novel, she addresses being a tomboy and what it was like. This is Liz Prince’s graphic novel memoir. I really enjoyed this book and I wish I would throw it into the hands of every teen I come in contact with because I feel it has some great messages inside it and the author’s tone and language is direct, engaging and entertaining. The drawback I see with this novel is throughout the novel, there are instances where swear words are used and the author also touches on some issues of puberty that some readers might not feel comfortable reading. For mature YA readers though, this material shouldn’t be an issue.


I found myself relating to Liz a lot while I read this novel. At a young age, she began to feel she was a tomboy. She preferred hanging out with the boys, she liked playing with guy toys, she like play-fighting with the boys and wearing boy’s clothing over anything to do with the girls. It seemed that the girls had only one mode, they liked to look pretty and stay clean. As a child, I remember playing with the neighbor boys, we’d play cowboys and Indians, I used to buy the Johnny West action figures (oh, I loved that Cherokee Indian doll and the horse!) and we’d load them up in the Barbie van and send them down the crashing down the street. I hated dresses (only wearing them to church) and I’d ditch them to wear culottes, shorts or even jeans. Such a rebel.


Liz is bullied repeatedly for such trivial things being a tomboy and it really surprised me. Even as she moves to different states and schools, the taunting continues and becomes harsh. Liz wants to belong to both worlds, male and female yet her peers have such a closed view of the world, they cannot let her in. Throughout her school years, she finally finds a few individuals who are accepting of who she is, just when I was beginning to lose hope. I knew these friendships might not last as friendships come and friendships go, as she makes her way through school. Thankfully with Liz’s sarcasm, I found myself laughing numerous times as I read this novel too. Her dry humor, the way she finds herself in different situations and how she desperately doesn’t want to become a girl, had me laughing over and over again. Liz acted like a girl yet she wanted to do boy things too but no one would accept her like this. I thought this novel had great flow and I thought the black and white illustrations were great. Again, this novel has great messages throughout its pages dealing with friendships, tolerance and acceptance just to name a few. I highly recommend it.


I need to quote this, it’s perfect and it’s Liz, “…..I was mortified by how this new burden of womanhood further set me back from my goal of being “one of the boys.” 1. Boys don’t have to carry around embarrassing feminine hygiene products. 2. Boys don’t have to buy embarrassing feminine hygiene products (Liz is staring at Super Long, Heavy Flow, Banana Boats, Fresh Ones, Plug It! with Tampons,) 3. Boys don’t have to worry about changing embarrassing feminine hygiene products in public restroom. 4. Boys don’t have to worry about bleeding through their pants.” Just one of the stages of womanhood that Liz embarks upon. (sorry it was so long)

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review 2017-06-19 03:38
Hidden Figures - The Movie


Our number came up on the hold list for the movie Hidden Figures. I don't watch a lot of movies (since I'm too busy reading instead) but I'd been curious how they were going to condense 20+ years into a movie that wasn’t a documentary.  There were quite a number of changes because of the limitations of creating a reasonable length movie.  Primarily, the movie only covering a few years in the early 1960's, years which occur in the middle of the story told by the book, and by creating several composite characters.


I generally think the movie was well done. I liked how the coffee pot in Katherine Goble/Johnson's lab stood in for the repeated tensions about the sign on the colored tables in the lunchroom. While a bit overdramatic, I think the bathroom “runs” to the other side of the campus – work in hand – were a nice touch to show both inconvenience and dedication. I liked the visual of how the "girls" in their brightly colored dresses popped out of the sea of caucasian engineers in white shirts.  And while a stock Hollywood trope, I liked the march of the former West Computers to their new lives in the IBM mainframe lab.


I didn't like how the movie turned Katherine's checking the numbers for John Glenn's Freedom 7 trajectory into a last minute nail-biter. While the time shifting of the true request to have a human check the numbers generated by the IBM computer, for the sake of the movie they felt the need to raise the stakes and add a false crisis. 


In the book, the focus was clearly on the women and their accomplishments and while the sexism and racism of the day was ever present, I felt like it wasn't the focus of the story.  In the movie format, with the need to center the composite characters played by big stars Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons, I almost felt like the movie was too much about racism and sexism and not enough about how the women developed and what they accomplished.  But some of that may just be the time limitations of a movie.


In closing, I'm glad I took the time to watch Hidden Figures soon after I read the book, but I'm also glad that I waited to watch it at home for the cost of a trip to the library to pick up the DVD rather than paying theater prices. 

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review 2017-06-18 23:34
Book 32/100: Some Assemby Required - A Journal of My Son's First Son
Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son - 'Anne Lamott', 'Sam Lamott'

It's been over a decade since I read Operating Instructions, so I can't really weigh in on the comparison. I remember OI really blowing me away, which this one did not, but I also think I was somewhat easier to impress with books back then. At any rate, this was a good book to read as I prepare for a new baby in my own life, especially because it gave me some good insight into the "grandmother" and "mother-in-law" perspective. I think Lamott presumed WAY too much control over her son and his girlfriend's choices when it came to their child, and I hope she didn't come across quite so controlling in real life as she does in the "privacy" of her journal (that she knew would be published.) Grandparents in the delivery room, her thinking she had any say over where the baby would be baptized, etc., all went way too far in my opinion. Although her son was young when his child was born, in some ways that might be all the more reason to back off and make sure he and his partner could find their own way.

At the same time, one can hardly hold someone's feelings against them, and I try not to judge memoir by the foibles or personality of the author unless she is super immoral or obnoxious, and Lamott does not rise to that level -- she is just letting her weakness and her humanity show. I love reading published journals, and this one may have been slightly self-conscious because she had a contract for it as she was writing it, but it held my interest nonetheless and also reminded me to try to be a better journaler myself.

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