Books

Book 576: Boy Erased – Garrard Conley

This was harder to read than I thought it would be. Not because of anything I’ve personally experienced, but because it kept hitting me over and over that what was happening in this book was not happening in the 60s, 70s, 80s or even 1990s.

It was happening in the mid-2000s, the same time I was coming to terms with my sexuality and learning about the wider LGBTQ+ world. It was also incredibly eerie how many of the thoughts Conley had mirrored thoughts I had myself and I did not grow up religious, just southern!

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Books

Book 572: Tip of the Iceberg – Mark Adams

I REALLY want to go back to Alaska. Like really really want to go back and reading this book is almost enough to make me want to LIVE there. And that’s just crazy for me who has a love/hate relationship with cities. I received a copy Tip of the Iceberg: My 3,000-Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, The Last Great American Frontier from the publisher* and I really wish I would’ve read it earlier.

Adams has a way with words and really putting you into the place he’s visiting. I remember when I tried to recap our Alaskan cruise I struggled (and still struggle) to talk about the beauty and the sheer immensity of everything you see when you’re there. We only visited the panhandle (the furthest north we went was Skagway) and I cannot even imagine visiting some of the places Adams visited during his trek.

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Books

Book 563: You Are Not Alone – Debbie Augenthaler

When the publicist reached out to me about this book I said yes.* I didn’t know if I wanted to say yes, because my mother had passed only weeks before, but I knew at some point I would want/need to read this.

In many ways, I wish I would’ve read it sooner or at the very least before I read Grief Works. What I was looking for in Grief Works, an in-depth “this was my experience of grief” story and this is how I survived, struggled, thrived, etc.

I teared up a few times reading this one, not so much because of my experience (although that did happen at least once), but because of how heartfelt and how beautifully written Augenthaler’s work is. She goes in-depth into what feel like the four stages of grief and even talks about them at some point, but on the whole she stays pretty far away from psychotherapy babble and writes about her personal experience.

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Books

Book 536: The Self-Love Experiment – Shannon Kaiser

I received an unsolicited copy of this from the publisher and aside from the title making me giggle continuously (seriously it took about 200 pages before I stopped giggling), I figured everyone needs to be more “kind, compassionate, and accepting of [ourselves] so I thought I’d give it a go.* Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me.

It’s not even that the book was poorly written or that the subject matter is a bit too hokey for me it’s not. I’ve ready hokier things. I think for me it was the repetitive monotony of Kaiser’s vague references to things that she chose not to discuss (i.e. her former drug problems?). Why allude to them constantly and then not talk about them? Maybe she discusses it in another book, but for the number of times she mentioned it I kept waiting for that story and it never materialized.

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Books, Professional Development

Book 507: If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? – Alan Alda

Only two ARC/Galleys left and I am all caught up! The same publicist who sent me Finally Out reached out about this book and the title had enough humor in it I figured it was worth a shot.* I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would!

What Alan Alda—I didn’t even recognize him from M*A*S*H (IMDb link), I just recognized his caricature—is doing is what the Plain English Campaign (website) has been trying to do since the late 70s, just through a different venue: improv. Both are trying to get things translated from the indecipherable jargon of science or government into easily relatable language. Alda, has basically made a side career out of this with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, where the observations he made from his many years on Scientific American Frontiers are put into practice to teach scientists how to talk to non-scientists.

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Books

Book 464: You Will Not Have My Hate – Antoine Leiris (Trans. Sam Taylor)

leiris-antoine-you-will-not-have-my-hateI don’t want to generalize things, but we’ve all seen the headlines about someone’s world being shattered in an instant. We’ve all seen, heard about or experienced some after-effects of terrorism at this point. We hear about the people who commit these acts, we hear about those that die and those that survive, but what we rarely hear about are those that are left.

It’s those people whose world isn’t shattered in an instant, but over a grueling length of hours where they know nothing about their loved one’s fate, that this book’s story shares with the world.

I don’t go out of my way to read books associated with grief or with current political issues, but when the publisher reached out to me about a copy* of this book I thought I would give it a chance. The title is what drew me to it, the fact that Leiris, was not going to allow the attackers to have his hate, that he was going to raise his now-motherless little boy without that hate that spoke to me.

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Books

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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