Category Archives: Book Reviews

Books I loved in 2017

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about books I’ve read this year for the longest time.  For many years, between raising kids, working full time, and other obligations, I didn’t do much reading beyond the magazines Hubs and I subscribed to.

When we moved to Colorado in the summer of 2016, knowing that I, at least for a time, would not be employed and therefore would have ample time to get back to regular reading, I totally went for it.

I read a fairly eclectic variety of books, from self-help to fiction to biographies. Whatever tripped my trigger as I perused the local library or bookstore.

Here’s some of the ones I read, all of which I highly recommend you check out:

Girl with the Lower Back Tatoo by Amy Schumer: an honest, self-deprecating, mostly humorous read. Amy includes stories of her coming up in the world of stand-up comedy, sprinkled with funny anecdotes about her family during her formative years. She is frank, personable, and fierce in her convictions.

Left, Neglected by Lisa Genova: This is a story told very convincingly from the perspective of a high-powered career woman, married with kids, who has a strained relationship with her mother. She is involved in a major car accident due to distracted driving on her way to a work meeting. Her entire world changes, as the accident left her with a brain injury that rendered the left side of her body invisible to her. This forces her to re-learn how to complete basic tasks, and it forces her to take a long, hard look at the drawbacks of how she lived her life prior to the accident. She finds herself having to rely on others for help, which for a take-charge, type-A personality, is incredibly challenging and humbling. Thankfully, it does have a happy ending.

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal: I had never heard of this writer until she died in 2016. What drew me to her most was her open heart, her creativity, and her optimism. This is not a typical book by any stretch. It is very random and feels as if she is writing down her thoughts as they come to her. She includes funny little stories about experiences she had in her life. She gives great advice on how to live a joyful life. It is playful, heartfelt, and unique. And it is a very quick, light read.

The Nest: This book weaves a tale about a wealthy-ish  family from New England whose siblings have been counting on a large inheritance upon their father’s passing. What three of the four of them don’t know is that much of this inheritance was spent by their aloof mother on legal fees for the charismatic, alcoholic, “black sheep” of the family, who was sued by a young woman he dallied with in a car, which resulted in a major car accident which left her with a missing foot. The characters are drawn beautifully, to the point where I couldn’t help but visualize specific actors playing each part. I’ve heard that it is supposed to be made into a movie, and I sure hope that comes to pass.

Giant of the Senate by Al Franken: Hubs and I started listening to this one on audio book probably 2 months ago. I found Al to be a terrific storyteller and appreciated hearing about how he started in comedy, his time on SNL, and his hard fought battle to get elected to the senate. Then came those sexual harassment allegations on the news. This development reminded me of the time I awkwardly introduced myself to Al during a campaign event in Minnesota, which I chronicled here. For the record, Al did not sexually harass me. In case you were wondering. These allegations also brought up one anecdotal story Al told of in this book, where he talked of a time he made a joke about 60 Minutes anchor Andy Rooney raping Leslie Stahl. That really gave me pause. He realized upon making this joke that it was highly inappropriate so he didn’t include it in whatever book he was writing at the time. But the fact that even for a nanosecond, the man thought that was a funny joke…well, that put me off. It remains to be seen whether Hubs and I are going to pick up wherever it was we left off on this audio book. That said, I think it is a damn shame Al ended up resigning from the Senate. But I fully understand why he did it and why people thought he should.

The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain by Barbara Strauch: Okay, it’s been some months since I read this one but I do recall learning quite a bit about the middle aged mind. From what I can recollect, please take this with a big grain of salt as I am approaching 51, the reason why those of us in the throes of middle age sometimes have trouble coming up with a word or recalling a certain memory is because there is so much knowledge we have accumulated through the years, that the stuff that is non-essential gets buried deep within. In middle age, the book tells us, our brains are better at recognizing patterns and coming up with creative solutions to problems. So, there’s still hope.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho: A gorgeous, spiritual book. The story is about a shepherd boy and his journey to seek a great treasure. It has an uplifting message about not giving up on your dreams, which is referred to as your Personal Legend. The story emphasizes the importance of the people you meet along the journey of life. It is such a special book that I sent it to one of my very best friends for her to read and pass along to her tween daughters.

Please tell me, my fellow bookworm readers, what books might you recommend for me in 2018?