Whooo. It has been hard to make reading a priority lately. But ultimately I know I feel happier/calmer/more balanced when I make it a priority. Do you ever feel like this, too?
The books I read this month helped me especially to feel the happy/calm/balanced trifecta, as they all were a little slower paced, focused on provoking thought and changing perspectives. Here are my very honest reviews of what's been on my night stand lately: Sick in the Head, Go Set a Watchman, and You Are a Badass.
Sick in the Head | Judd Apatow
The scoop: Apatow, creator/writer/director/producer behind movies such as Knocked Up and tv shows such as Freaks and Geeks, shares his interviews with major comedians and entertainers. Some, like his first meeting with Jerry Seinfeld, go as far back as his 15-year-old high school radio days. New York Times Bestseller.
The (unofficial) rating: ♥♥♥♥ (4/5) It's a hefty collection, so I would definitely recommend it if you are a comedy buff. If you are more of just an entertainment dabbler, gems like the Freaks and Geeks Oral History and a random interview with Eddie Vedder help break up the in-depth joke/audience analysis. Plus, Apatow is so connected with major Hollywood players that it reads a lot like a string of People magazine articles (not life-changing but pretty entertaining). Bottom line: Smart, insightful, and entertaining.
Pairs well with: Cherry soda. Laffy Taffy. Nostalgia for the awkward angst of your teen years.
Go Set a Watchman | Harper Lee
The scoop: I'm assuming you all know this now, but this is not To Kill a Mockingbird II. It's the first story Lee handed to her editor in the 50s, and then was told to put it aside to instead focus on the story's main character, Scout, and the childhood that led up to this story. Thus, To Kill a Mockingbird, in all it's perfect glory was written. Go Set a Watchman centers around Jean Louise Finch, "Scout," as a 26-year-old woman visiting her hometown from New York City. I think this is important to note, because it's very hard to separate the two in terms of critique.
The (unofficial) rating: ♥♥♥ (3/5) I truly didn't know how to rate this book. I was so torn between whether it was wonderful or whether I absolutely hated it, and that, I think, says something powerful in and of itself. I was certainly emotionally affected by it. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of, if not my absolute favorite, book and in a lot of ways, reading this tainted that for me. In some ways I wish I had kept the story and characters in their precious, perfect box in my mind. In other ways, I loved coming back to the familiarity of Maycomb and reading Lee's humorous and beautiful writing style. Bottom line: I didn't enjoy this book as much as I had hoped, though, admittedly, my expectations may have been an impossible order to fill.
Pairs well with: Fresh-squeezed lemonade. Homemade biscuits. Disillusionment.
You are a Badass | Jen Sincero
The scoop: A very blunt guide to achieving a successful life.
The (unofficial) rating: ♥♥♥♥ (4/5) When I picked this up from the library, I realized I had accidentally reserved the audio version, which I was not excited about. But I ended up really enjoying listening to it while walking, cleaning, etc. It made me feel doubly like I was making great strides in my life, even if I wasn't. This book got very polarized reviews on Amazon, but I personally really liked it. Some of it should be taken with a major grain of salt (i.e. her thoughts on manifestation as money management), but Sincero doesn't tiptoe over anything and the language is much more straight forward than most self-help books. Bottom line: If you are feeling stuck in life but self-help makes you queasy, this is the perfect book for you. Just maybe skip over the money part.
Pairs well with: Shots of whiskey and forming an all-girl garage punk band.