FWS Book Report | Comedy, Old Friends, and Being a Badass

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 HeadGo 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.



Have you read any of these books? What did you think?


FWS Book Report | August 2015

Do you all love reading as much as I do? This monthly series is quickly becoming one of my favorites because it has really put the pressure on me (the good kind of pressure) to reignite one of my favorite past-times. I tried to pick a variety this month: one "think piece," if you will, one total guilty pleasure, and one non-fiction for work/life progress. Overall, it was a great mix and for the most part my expectations were completely surpassed. I really love it when that happens. :)


Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

I felt like a read a lot this month but in reality I just read this book very slowly. Not because it was boring or hard to get through, but because I was just really savoring it. I hadn't read anything by Ishiguro before (like his award-winning novel, The Remains of the Day), but I'm now a devoted fan. I loved his use of imagery, every scene felt atmospheric, and thought he portrayed the complications of lifelong friendship really beautifully. The story centers around Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy, students at an exclusive (and very mysterious) English boarding school, as they try to uncover the intricacies of their fates. Overall, I found it hauntingly beautiful and can't wait to read more from Ishiguro.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

You've likely already seen or read this New York Times Bestseller, which has floated around the blogosphere a lot in the past year. The cynic in me really didn't want to love a book that was found in the "Teen Romance" section of the library, but the truth is, I really did love it. I couldn't help it. It's a story of two misfit teenagers in the 80s (bonus points) who bond over reading The Watchmen (bonus) and listening to bands like the Smiths (bonus). So I admit I was pretty much sold from the get go, but what really got me was the way they spoke to each other and their many memorable lines as they tried to describe their overflowing teenage emotions. Just check out this Pinterest search and you'll see what I mean. Like I said, I went into it skeptical, but I read it in three days so what that says about my tastes, well I'll let you decide that. Overall, I thought it was just a very endearing and incredibly entertaining read.

The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One by Margaret Lobenstine

This book is almost a decade old, but I had seen it on some "must read" list for creatives, so I decided to check it out. It some ways I was disappointed, but I think that's just because I'd already gone through all of the soul-searching, purpose-finding angst for way longer than is typically recommended and finally feel that I'm mostly through that tunnel. Now, had I read this book back when I was on my 7th major at my 3rd college and could not for the life of me settle on one path, I think it would have been life-changing. While reading, I really took the time to go through the exercises and did find that they provided a little more clarity on my passions and life path. It kind of shed some new light on how to think about things, particularly in how to explain "what you do" when you're a little bit scattered (totally related to that). Overall, although this book wasn't life-changing for me now, I think it really could be for someone at the right time in their life.

Have you read any of these books? I'm dying to hear your thoughts on these and any books you've been loving lately!