ARC, Books

Book 511: The Path to Personal Power – Napoleon Hill

Once you start reading self-help novels, you open the floodgates to anything and everything. From journals and experiential books like How to be Happy (Or at Least Less Sad) to the more spiritual books like The Power of Forgiveness the broadness of the genre is breathtaking. Just check out my nonfiction page, most of those are self-help with a few biographies/history book sprinkled throughout.

When the publisher reached out to me about this and I saw on Goodreads (of all places – it’s also on the back cover) that Napoleon Hill is the “grandfather of self-help” how could I turn it down?* It looks like TarcherPerigee might be turning these into a series, The Mental Dynamite Series, but I’m not sure I would the next one. Even before they’d reached out to me I added Hill’s Think and Grow Rich book to my list as it’s one of the personal finance books to read.

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Books

Book 397: The Beans of Egypt, Maine – Carolyn Chute

Chute, Carolyn - The Beans of Egypt, MaineMy friend Carlie (Hi Carlie!), recommended this book way back when I started this blog not long after she recommended The Hunger Games and I picked up a copy back in December 2012. I don’t know why it took so long for me to get around to it, but it did. I should’ve known better based on how much I enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, another of her discoveries.

This book really should be mentioned in the same breath of books like The Color Purple and Bastard Out of Carolina. Maybe it is and I’m not aware of it, but if it isn’t I’m not sure why. It was published in 1985 right in between the Color and Carolina and it’s just as harrowing, real and disturbing as either of those. (It’s also compared to Faulkner, but I can’t speak to that as I’ve never read him.)

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Books

Book 338: Tender as Hellfire – Joe Meno

Meno, Joe - Tender as HellfireI first encountered Joe Meno way back in 2011 when I read The Boy Detective Fails, which was a wonderfully quirky story. That following October at the 2011 Boston Book Festival I picked up this novel and it’s taken me almost four years to get to it. I’d love to say it was worth the wait, but I’m not really sure and that had very little to do with Meno’s writing or storytelling (Amazon Affiliate link).

This was by far one of the worst copy edited books I’ve ever read. I found a mistake about halfway through (see photo at the end) and then I found them on every two-to-three pages after that. They weren’t even minor comma mistakes, which I’d miss, they were WHOLE WORDS MISSING FROM SENTENCES!

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Books, The Classics Club

Book 299: The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of WrathI did it. I completed a John Steinbeck novel!

Honestly, I think even in high school I only partially read The Red Pony and The Pearl (or maybe I did actually read them, because they’re both novellas and pretty short), but the point is I finished a BIG one! In addition to it being a “full” Steinbeck novel, it counts toward both my Classic Club list (32/100) and as part of my 30 x 30 list!

I’ve always felt a little guilty at the lack of American authors on my read list and not having Steinbeck seems like a big omission. I’ve read many American authors, mostly before I started this blog, but Steinbeck is one of those which really is synonymous with America. He is America, a very specific swath and very specific time period of America, but he is America none-the-less.

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2013 Challenges, Books, The Classics Club

Book 194: Down and Out in Paris and London – George Orwell

Orwell, George - Down and Out in Paris and LondonI chose this novel because it has an awesome name. I had a vague idea of what the book was about, but didn’t have any particular views going into the book and didn’t realize it was nonfiction (or mostly so apparently) until after I finished reading and verified it because I wasn’t quite sure. I knew it was an ‘adventure’ of sorts and thus I stuck it into my Back to the Classics challenge as a Classic Adventure and it conveniently qualifies also for my Mount TBR and my longer term The Classics Club Challenge.

It only took about two days to read the book and what I primarily noticed was that people are really interested in Orwell. I had multiple people ask me what I was reading on the T. I assume this is because Orwell’s name is in pretty large letters across the cover and that portion stuck out of my back pocket. It was a bit strange, but it was nice to talk to strangers. I feel like most people have only read Animal Farm or 1984 like me, but those who have read most (or all) of Orwell say that this one is his best work and it’s interesting as it’s his first ‘full length’ work.

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2012 Challenges, Books, Quotes, The Classics Club

Book 114: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith

Let’s start this review on a high note. It is rare that a book makes me fall in love with a character, and Francie is one of those few characters. The character was perfectly written and there was something about her that just made me fall in love. From her book obsession to her fierce pride and quick wit – Francie captured my heart and imagination. Even at the end when she started into her teen years and came across as somewhat hostile she kept her innocence and I just wanted to give her a hug.

There is a quote by the Federico Fellini that I believe Francie embodies, “Put yourself into life and never lose your openness, your childish enthusiasm throughout the journey that life is and things will come your way.” (Full disclosure – I found this quote via the film Under the Tuscan Sun.) Definitely check out the quotes at the end to get an idea of her character.

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Books

Book 50: Bastard Out of Carolina – Dorothy Allison

Bastard Out of Carolina - Dorothy AllisonBastard Out of Carolina is the story of Ruth Anne “Bone” Cartwright. It’s a story about survival and about perseverance. Although I thought it was sad, it was empowering. I can understand why it wasn’t required reading in High School, but with everything we hear and read on the news these days, may as well have been.

The novel starts off with Bone recounting the story of her birth and her mom’s struggles to get a birth certificate for her that doesn’t have ‘ILLEGITIMATE’ stamped across the bottom third in bright red letters. And the struggles keep coming for Bone and her mom. Her mom, after marrying a loving man who dies within a few years, finally has met a man ‘Daddy Glen’ who treats her right, however as the book progresses we learn how he treats Bone.

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