Book 471: Ray and Joan – Lisa Napoli

napoli-lisa-ray-joanWhat a fascinating story. I figured it would be, I mean it’s about the guy who made McDonald’s what it is today and his wife who gave away billions of dollars, but I was still surprised at just how fascinating it was.

When Dutton reached out to me about a copy of the book* I jumped at the chance because not only do I find philanthropy personally fascinating, but I also work in fundraising, so it was a win-win either way for me.

I mean the subtitle “The man who made the McDonald’s fortune and the woman who gave it all away,” caught my attention pretty quick because I knew nothing about the founding of McDonald’s or the people behind it. I had no idea about most of it.

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Book 461: A Pirate Looks at Fifty – Jimmy Buffett

buffett-jimmy-a-pirate-looks-at-fiftyThe first and only book I didn’t finish in time for this year’s autobiography book group. I did finish it, but only about a week late. I wasn’t the one that picked it, and honestly was probably the one who enjoyed this most out of the group.

I grew up listening to Jimmy Buffett thanks to an aunt who has been to many of his concerts. I’m not going to lie though, when I re-listened to Songs You Know by Heart (Amazon link) right after finishing the book I did have to question why I was given that album couldn’t have Jagged Little Pill (Amazon link) until another aunt bought me a copy and said don’t tell your mother. Some of the lyrics are down right questionable! Without reading the book I never would’ve connected Cheeseburgers in Paradise with Buffett’s party days and he ACTUALLY talks about staying skinny doing speed. If you’ve never listened, I’ve dropped the video in at the end of this post.

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Book 457: One of These Things First – Steven Gaines

Gaines, Steven - One of These Things FirstI had no idea who Steven Gaines was and after reading this, I don’t have that much more of an idea. I’d love to say I’ve done more research but I haven’t, but I may try to read Philistines at the Hedgerow later this fall as we’re going to a wedding in the Hamptons and it’s about property there.

All of this being said, my thoughts are not a bad thing, especially as I enjoyed his writing, but an observation of my usual lack of background knowledge going in to a book.

The lovely people at Open Road Media reached out to me with a copy of One of These Things First* as I had previously read In Youth Is Pleasure and I can see the similarities in story, style and experience even though they’re set in different countries and quite a bit apart temporally.

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Book 435: 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy – Luminita D. Saviuc

Saviuc, Luminita D. - 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be HappyAt some point over the past two years as I’ve read more and more mental/self health, professional/personal development books something must have struck a chord as I feel a lot calmer and more put-together than I have in a long time. I’ve noticed that a lot of these books suggest things I am already doing or have utilized in the past and it’s nice to receive the affirmation. It’s also nice to occasionally be reminded of the things that I need to continue working on in order to maintain the calmness.

When the publicist reached out to me with a copy* of this book I wasn’t sure I would have the time, or the desire to read it. However, I set the book on my to-be-read/determined shelf and it stayed there on top for a little over a month. And then when I was having a really rough week and didn’t want to start another book I picked it up to see what it had to offer.

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Book 322: New Moon (Twilight Saga #2) – Stephenie Meyer

Meyer, Stephenie - Twilight Saga 2 - New MoonOne good thing of driving home for the holidays (17ish hours) is that I’ve got plenty of time to read. After reading Twilight in a rush to get ready to record Episode 3 of “Come Read With Me,” I immediately went into reading New Moon and am typing this response as we finish the drive to the NC mountains in which I hope to finish reading Eclipse and at least a large portion of, if not all of, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Yes, I’ve fallen into the hole.

I think having finished this novel I’m firmly entrenched in Team Jacob. I mean I can completely understand the whole Edward thing and I know how it ends, so I’m not holding my breath, but less face it. Jacob is kinder, warmer and I think an easier character to relate to because he is half-human. Edward has this almost holier than though, which is of course from Meyer’s constant angelic and deity like references. I also think Jacob’s enthusiasm for Bella, and life in general, carries through from the first novel even after he discovers his tribe’s secret.

“Like an earthbound sun, whenever someone was within his gravitational pull, Jacob warmed them. It was natural, a part of who he was. No wonder I was so eager to see him.” (145)

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Book 156: Get Shorty – Elmore Leonard

This book was great! I mean I would totally read it again and I’m actually looking forward to watching the film tonight or tomorrow. And the reason this is interesting is this book is for our Books into Movies book group and I’m usually wary of the books and haven’t really fell for one yet, but this one was just so humorous and deceptively convoluted that one can’t help but enjoy it.

This story is great because it weaves real life and hollywood movies together (in a book!) and many of the characters aren’t quite sure what is real and what isn’t. As an outsider, we do know what’s real so we’re kind of laughing at the characters, but simultaneously wondering if maybe we’re wrong and the characters are right. It’s also great because even though it has a lot of stereotypes, Leonard throws many of them out the window or wrenches them around in another direction creating a different sort of story.

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Book 68: Waiting for Snow in Havana – Carlos Eire

This book was both brilliant and boring. There were times when I couldn’t stop reading and times when all I wanted to do was abandon the book for another. Mostly I’m glad I finished it and hopefully it is one of those books that in a few weeks/months I’ll appreciate having read it.

I was excited about seeing Eire speak at the upcoming Boston Book Festival and I still plan on going to the panel, but I’m not as excited as I was. This isn’t the first book I’ve read that let me down. Leaving it on my list for so long without reading it, removed a lot of the luster and excitement from when I first found it and wanted to read it. Either way I can’t get my copy signed as Tom accidentally spilled water all over it and I had to check out a new version from the library to finish reading it (the main impetus in actually finishing it).

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