Thursday, September 12, 2019

Amazing Memoirs that Captivate & Inspire


"When you put down the good things you ought to have done, and leave out the bad ones you did do — well, that’s Memoirs."

Will Rogers was known for being quick with a quip like the one above, but I beg to differ on this point — the best memoirs tell everything, messy mistakes and all!

Recently I mentally roamed over the list of memoirs I've read and loved, which ones I need to read again, which I haven't read yet but want to. Some of these are life stories, some focus mainly on a particular experience or career, some are even a memoir of a vocation, like writing.

I'm sharing my personal list of riveting memoirs here, including links to Goodreads so you can explore the titles yourself and add any you find compelling to your "Want to Read" lists. I'm sure I've left a few out unintentionally, but these are the ones that sprang to mind as I thought back on my reading life.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People by Sally Rooney
I greatly enjoyed this story of two young lovers falling in and out of each other's orbits in high school and college, set in Ireland. In Normal People by Sally Rooney, Connell is a popular, yet poor, kid in high school. Marianne is the rich kid snubbed as an oddball.

Marianne has a low sense of her own self and lets others treat her as they will, so she puts up with Connell's demand that their relationship be secret. He's constantly worried what people will think. They drift apart due to one of many instances of miscommunication and misunderstanding each other that they'll have over the years.

But at college, Marianne is reborn, socially, at least. She fits in with the wealthy kids, she becomes popular, she changes her look and her beauty doesn't go unnoticed now. Connell's experience is the opposite, where here he feels out of place, not fitting in with the confidence and lifestyle of his more affluent peers.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

What to Watch September 2019

What to Watch September 2019

Hello all, time to look ahead to what to watch in September! I've made a list for my household so we don't forgot to watch anything across our array of streaming options, premium channels and even broadcast TV. We seriously lose track of the shows we meant to watch otherwise.

Here are my picks for shows and movies to catch, as well as links to everything new coming to various streaming outlets so you can add your own picks to the list.

And away we go!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Cool Podcasts & Shows I'm Loving

Time to check in again with links to things I've been loving lately! I've found some good episodes on my favorite podcasts and several amazing shows to watch on streaming to boot. By the by, I find and listen to my podcasts via the PlayerFM app, though you can also play them in a web browser or find them wherever you listen to podcasts.

So, if you're on the hunt for a good listen or watch, keep reading!


Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
The Great Believers richly deserves every award and recognition it's received, every bit of buzz and inclusion on most "must read" lists. On a scale of 1 to 5, I'd give it 10 stars if I could.

Set primarily in 1985 in Chicago and 2015 in Paris, it weaves a story of love, friendship, loss and hope against a backdrop of the AIDS crisis. We see this through Fiona, a caretaker and keeper of memories to many friends who died, including her brother, Nico. We also experience the period through the eyes of Yale, a friend of Nico's, who loses so many through the devastation of AIDS that eventually the closest person left in his life is Fiona herself.

This novel manages to recreate the loss, fear, paranoia and even denial that enveloped the gay community in Chicago in the early years of the disease when details about AIDS were foggy for many and better drugs to fight it didn't yet exist.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Drunkard's Chicken: How Maya Angelou taught me to cook (one thing, at least)

The late Maya Angelou was an amazing, caring, talented woman. Not only was she a deeply gifted writer and poet, she was also a brilliant dancer and singer. Most people probably know all of that. But, did you know that on top of all her other gifts, she was a fabulous chef as well?

Hallelujah! The Welcome Table by Maya Angelou
I can't cook much of anything, and I'm not particularly bothered by that fact. But I did give it a try for awhile, about a decade or so ago when my marriage was new enough that I still tried to feed my husband once in a blue moon. He didn't expect it, but it was a nice treat for him when it happened. I mostly went in for the simplest of recipes with the least prep and bother. Or I'd just buy frozen meals and make rice as a side. We lived in England at the time, and there were some marvelous frozen Indian meals as well as a very tasty chicken cordon bleu I could get at the grocery store.

Around this time I found an inexpensive used copy of Angelou's book "Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes." It's as much a memoir as it is a recipe book, so it's a good read even if you're not interested in tackling the cooking.