Sierra's View: BOOKS IN MAY/JUNE 2017

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Saturday, July 15, 2017


I'm fully aware that it's already halfway through July, guys. Believe me. I walked into Target the other day and I saw back to school stuff. Let's just say it gave me a little bit of anxiety. So, I am sorry that I am just posting about my May and June reads. I don't have any excuses besides the fact that I'm spending time actually reading, rather than posting about the reading. ;)
Summer time for me=books! Yay! I am excited to share with you some of the books that I've read over the past couple of months. Most of these were read in June because let's be honest, May is a teacher's hell with busy work to do. (Don't remind me).

What Alice Forgot// Liane Moriarty 
Genre: Realistic Fiction 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.
So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.

My thoughts:  I am such a Liane Moriarty fan! She is the perfect summer read. I have wanted to read this book forever. I loved this one. Not as much as Big Little Lies simply due to being enthralled right in the beginning. With that being said, I found the story interesting. I rooted for the main characters wholeheartedly. I loved the realistic tone that it incorporated and the truth that it held. An important, great theme. I would recommend this book.

Favorite Quote from the book: “Each memory, good and bad, was another invisible thread that bound them together...It was as simple and complicated as that. Love after children, after you've hurt each other and forgiven each other, bored each other and surprised each other, after you've seen the worst and the best...-well, that sort of love is ineffable. It deserves its own word.” 

Mom & Me and Mom// Maya Angelou 
Genre: Nonfiction/Biography  
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.

My thoughts:  I love Maya Angelou. Her life was just as fascinating and interesting as she was as a person. I wanted to read this as close to the passing of her death as possible so I could get a glimpse into her life. There were times that I got a little bored, but overall, I really enjoyed it. I love biographies about fascinating people, in general, and Maya's was no different. As usual, her writing in this was intriguing and easy to connect to.

Favorite Quote from the book: “Love heals. Heals and liberates. I use the word love, not meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins.” 

Americana// Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
Genre: Fiction  
Rating: 3/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland. 

My thoughts:  I'm not sure where to begin on this book. I have so many thoughts! First of all, I hate the ending. The last 100 pages were very difficult for me to get through. Second, I found so much of this book incredibly interesting. Her thoughts on race and prejudice in America are fascinating and were very interesting to read. With that being said, I will be the first to admit that I have white privilege, but I felt like she was trying to shove the race information down my throat. I couldn't stand Obinze and I felt like I wanted to skip most of his narrative. Her and Obinze's relationship is so unhealthy that it actually ended up making me quite mad. There were way too many side-characters, most of whom we don't need to know at all (and she goes into unnecessary exquisite detail on them!). Overall, a very interesting book regarding race and culture, but the plot was very weak.

I love my friend, Dylan's thoughts on this novel as well: 

What a ride. This book is long and has at least one hundred characters, 5 or 6 of which are important. It reads in parts: Ifemwlu in Nigeria, Ifemelu in America (newly, with boyfriend 1, with boyfriend 2), Obinze in England, and then Ifemelu back in Nigeria. Things went seriously downhill once Ifemelu left America. I struggled hard through the last bit of the book, and if that were the book I would have rated it 1.5 stars. Ifemelu and Obinze make horrible decisions and seem not to care about anyone else. So annoying. Someone said that overall she felt conned into reading this book thinking it was a complicated me, it definitely is not. It's a race novel.
The author made Ifemelu a race blogger, and randomly inserts her blog posts into the book. It's almost like the author really just wishes she was a race blogger, but knew she'd get more readers if she wrote a novel. Just know that the author has an agenda, and pushes race issues the entire book. It made me uncomfortable, but mostly in a good way, and it was helping me look for things to change about myself to be better toward immigrants. 
Negative things said: The first part of the book was good, and the Ifemelu in America sections were OUTSTANDING. I learned so much. I wish everyone could read and learn from these sections, which were engaging and beautiful. I really can't complain about anything in those sections. Would recommend...but those sections only. I really can't recommend anything else.

Favorite Quote from the book:  “If you don't understand, ask questions. If you're uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It's easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here's to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.” 

Imagine Me Gone// Adam Haslett 
Genre: Realistic Fiction 
Rating: 3/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: When Margaret's fiancĂ©, John, is hospitalized for depression in 1960s London, she faces a choice: carry on with their plans despite what she now knows of his condition, or back away from the suffering it may bring her. She decides to marry him. Imagine Me Gone is the unforgettable story of what unfolds from this act of love and faith. At the heart of it is their eldest son, Michael, a brilliant, anxious music fanatic who makes sense of the world through parody. Over the span of decades, his younger siblings--the savvy and responsible Celia and the ambitious and tightly controlled Alec--struggle along with their mother to care for Michael's increasingly troubled and precarious existence.

My thoughts: Wow, okay. First of all, it this book is incredibly heavy. Which, actually, I don't mind, so I was fine with it, but just be warned. Second, I have so many mixed emotions regarding this novel. I think it is one of those books that is helpful to others for understanding mental and emotional health issues. But I also think that it was trying too hard to make a statement regarding medications and other social "politically correct" arguments right now (also included quite explicit scenes that were a little much for me). The characters were very fascinating, with intriguing thoughts and stories. Overall, though, the plot was weak. It read more like nonfiction. An interesting read, but definitely rated R for those interested. Along with that, it was incredibly relatable to anyone with mental health issues or lost anyone to suicide. Definitely a relatable book, but not written how I was expecting. It was a little boring at times, as well. I will say that it was written quite beautifully at some points. 

Favorite Quote from the book: “What I have always found most comforting about these forms is the trace of hope I get as I'm filling them out. How they break your life down into such tidy realms, making each seem tractable, because discrete, in a way they never are beyond the white noise of the waiting room. You get that fleeting sense that you're on the verge of being understood, truly and fully, and for the first time, if you could just get it all down in black and white before the receptionist calls your name.” 

Talking As Fast As I Can// Lauren Graham 
Genre: Nonfiction/Biography 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

My thoughts:  I literally read this book in two days. I am a huge Lauren Graham fan because of Parenthood and Gilmore Girls. Because of that, I felt like I could relate to her novel in many ways. I loved reading about her experiences filming on those shows and all that encompassed it. She is witty, funny and entertaining. A good, quick read.

Favorite Quote from the book: “I guess what I’m saying is, let’s keep lifting each other up. It’s not lost on me that two of the biggest opportunities I’ve had to break into the next level were given to me by successful women in positions of power. If I’m ever in that position and you ask me, “Who?” I’ll do my best to say, “You” too. But in order to get there, you may have to break down the walls of whatever it is that’s holding you back first. Ignore the doubt—it’s not your friend—and just keep going, keep going, keep going.”

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