Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of The One You Want to Marry (And Other Identities I’ve Had): A Memoir by Sophie Santos – tattle telling on myself too

Here is my GoodReads Review: Rolling joints. Seriously? OK talk to text you’re a mess. I really enjoyed this book. When it’s something so personal, who am I to review or critique? Instead I recommend you read and decide for yourself. Me? I’m always up for an entertaining story. This memoir is full of them.

So, …. there was no mention of rolling joints in the book but I said something that talk-to-text converted to that. I left ‘as is’ since I am easily amused. This book was a free Kindle selection of the month which means I got highlights. Being a little out of practice, I couldn’t use all of them. I’m much better with pen to paper in my common place book as a read a physical book, with pages to turn, that I can hold. Lemme just say that the acknowledgements at the end were off the chart with really good stuff. Sophie is very lucky to have good people in her life.

Here I’ll share a few (okay nine) quotes that really resonated with me, then I’ll let you go.

  1. If you’re riding in an RV with your grandparents who have kindly taken you on a trip to see the Four Corners, don’t make your seventy-one-year-old grandpa sleep on the floor—unless he grabs your knee and jokes, “This is how a horse bites an apple.” Then it’s fair game.
  2. If you look past the homophobia, bigotry, snakes, pushy moms, and Joel Osteen–style, veneer-capped smiles, Baptist churches are the best.
  3. Mass was somber, and the reverends spent a lot of time swinging scented, …
  4. It was a perfect illustration of my relationship with my mom . . . close—way too close—and codependent as hell.
  5. What I really wanted to say was, Let your freak flag fly, weirdos!
  6. I trusted my mom yet again, who was the Old Mill grits of the South. (That means queen bee.)
  7. You can’t text someone an insane number of times to get them to talk back to you. That would mean a restraining order.
  8. Her mom – “You were so frenzied. I wanted to help, but at times I felt helpless.” Sophie – “I’m happy I went through everything. I think it all timed out exactly as it should’ve,” I assured her.
  9. “Think of the thing that you don’t want us to know about you and then tell us all about it.”

The bolded quote – lucky #7, when I needed to see it, boom there it was in print!! Some of you may remember my angst ridden, worry posts of late where I mention I was afraid of getting in trouble? Well persistence paid off. Kinda, sorta, maybe? I re-read some of the texts (and emails) I sent in search of … whoa buddy, I want a do-over. Oops sorry. I was losing it. All is better now, kinda, sorta, maybe?

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: The Betrayal of Anne Frank – A Cold Case Investigation by Rosemary Sullivan ~ 6/3/22

This book is about a topic I am nowhere near qualified to review. I learned alot about a lot of things and ultimately I took away the atrocities that occurred during the war and specifically what happened on August 4, 1944 when the Annex where Anne Frank’s family and fellow humans in hiding were betrayed.

I have a newfound respect for the term helper. I’d like to think I would have been a helper, part of the resistance. Ultimately, the list of suspects is long and theories are magnified to confirm or deny. Little by little the cold case team narrowed down to four possibilities with one rising to the top. No quotes this time around for my common place book, instead I hung on every word as I read.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty ~ 5/27/22

After a hiatus, I’m back to reading just because again. Feels fabulous! Alrighty without further ado, this is my Goodreads review. No spoilers.

I probably overrated this book. But it’s the first piece of fiction I read in quite some time. I think I was starved for something good and this fit the bill. Puns intended, served with a delicious apple crumb. A quick easy read. I didn’t expect to like it because I dislike tennis. Good thing the story really wasn’t about tennis but instead it was about relationships. Liane Moriarty is a master storyteller. Told in alternating then and now chapters just when the story was at its apex the chapters became shorter. One or two pages. Bam bam bam. Staccato really. I most relate to Amy and wish I had a sibling relationship like the ones these fictional characters enjoyed. The ending was awful but I forgive that. Had to land the plane somehow so why not with revenge?

Take a read. You’ll be glad you did. 

J-Dub’s Goodreads Review

The character development was on point. I could visualize Joy and Stan, their kids, the grandmas, the tennis community, and neighborhood. Boisterous, loud, fun, but far from perfect. I added quotes to my commonplace book and here are a few of the better ones I picked out for you.

  • ” … the silence howled …”
  • “Never spoil a good story with the facts”
  • “Joy let the self pitying train of thought unravel only so far before she snipped it short”
  • Talking about grief of losing one’s mom …, Joy spun and she spun until one day her grief caught her”
  • “Talented kids turned into ordinary grownups”
  • The past could look very different depending on where you stood to look at it”
  • “Unimaginable things happened every single day and there wasn’t always a good reason”

See what’d I tell ya?!? Good stuff. If you happen to read this book, drop me a comment for an incongruous virtual book club. Doesn’t that sound FUN??!!

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dubs Review of All’s Well by Mona Awad

First things first, happy birthday little red and happy heavenly birthday Jimbo Pete. Pretty cool that my niece was born on her uncle’s birthday 🥳

My reading rate has slowed down. I’m not through with the book yet. For one thing the way the chapters are set up is a little bit overwhelming. Formatting is everything.

This is a story about a woman, Miranda Fitch who is in chronic pain and isn’t believed. It is extremely relatable to me as I have been trying to find help for my pain since 2010. I’ve posted about my experiences. I’m pretty sure my Doctor doesn’t believe me either. There’s a difference between life and art this time. I don’t take pills for pain besides ibuprofen. Miranda pop pills like candy but they don’t work. She also drinks too much. I’m not far along to know how her story ends. I imagine it’ll be similar to Valley of the Dolls.

Here’s a quote or two …

Tests, let’s do tests! I used to cry. That was back then when I thought tests led to something.

… Nerve Women. Women of invisible pain. Women alight with blinking red webs. No spider in sight. But the web is there.

Miranda Fitch

As always more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption by Gabrielle Glaser

Before I get into the review, I’m considering changing this weekly feature. I have set my reading at 12 books again (one per month) and as of this moment, unless I change weekend plans and throw caution to the wind, I will not have another book completed by next Friday. What allowed me to post a book a week in 2021 was the fact that I started when I already had a cache of read books. Now I’ve caught up for lack of a better explanation. But now, I’ll move on with the main event.

This book brings the feels. So much sorrow and loss. Unbelievable what the institutions were able to get away with back in the day. And things are not all that much better now. Due to the personal nature of this story, I’ll end this review. Words fall short and I’m no expert.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of If It Bleeds by Stephen King ~ 12/31/21

Today I would’ve written something for #WATWB but if I read the twitter feed correctly, they ended in November 2021. Truth be told, the #WATWB challenge ended before that with a few folks hanging on through FB and twitter to rotate hosting duties. No complaints from me, a lot of work goes into hosting. If they start up again in 2022, I’ll join back in.

And without a regular month end feature, I am restorting to the tried and true Friday Book Club. I finished up If It Bleeds by Stephen King on 12/28/21 and promptly picked up a new book to continue the streak into 2022. But for today, let’s stick to the book at hand. If It Bleeds is a compilation of four novellas (long stories). I did a little googling to learn the differences between short stories and novellas; they are subtle. I won’t attempt to explain but instead, here’s my no spoiler pre-google search Goodreads review:

Not sure what is the difference between short stories and novellas. Any way you slice it though, all four stories pulled me in. The words vividly set the scenes and created believable characters. I enjoyed every minute. Especially Holly’s return. I’m glad to see she’s still not smoking and she’s still taking her Lexapro. I’m also glad Jerome and Barbara survived. Definitely a recommended read.

Here are the quotes I grabbed from the first two stories. I got too involved to capture anything from the final two. Something’s better than nothing I guess.

What that song says about motherless children is true: They have a hard time.

My grandmother used to say a person shouldn’t call out unless they want an answer.

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone

The human brain in finite, no more than a sponge of tissue inside a cage of bone – but the mind within the brain is infinite.

The Life of Chuck

Life and art intersected. Kinda of funny that Wednesday, I mailed off a defective phone that kept going off every 8 minutes and the first novella was about calling a phone that had been buried with someone and the voice mail continued to work for years afterwards. If he listened real closely, he could hear the phone ringing deep down in the grave. Cell phones are fodder for all kinds of good storytelling. Oh and yesterday I got a bargain with a capital B to replace my iPhone7 with an iPhone12 – 99 cents plus tax or the low, low price of $1.07. Yeah buddy, now we’re cooking with gas. And that’s all she wrote/read. Until next time.

As always, more to come.

Sunday Reflections Part Two: The Post Christmas Edition ~ 12/26/21

Aaaahh. I’m sitting here enjoying a cuppa even though the weather is too warm for hot tea. I have this thing, hot tea only when it’s cold outside. Otherwise I left my tea steep until it’s room temperature. But the day is a gray humid drizzle so in honor of that, hot tea is called for to break the spell of the hum drums. I used my electric kettle for which I’m eternally grateful.

The kettle actually belongs to Pony for his coffee but after last year’s February Snowmageddon, he’s discontinued using it so I claimed it for myself. Hard to believe that just a little less than a year ago we were without running water for several days. Something during that time flipped a switch in his brain. The habit was broken. Good thing my addiction lives on.

Due to medical conditions, I limited coffee to one cup a week. Then last week seeing as it was the holidays, I leapt off the wagon, and drank coffee daily. I’m paying for it now and have begun my detox with this fantastic green tea elixir. Amazing what small life changes can do. I’ll stay on the wagon. I’ve done it before and will do it again.

I’m replaying our Christmas Eve in my mind. While it wasn’t a repeat of “what the hell was that?” from 2020, it was different. We jokingly called it low key hot ass Christmas. Oh joy! And yesterday Lulu and I spent the day alone. B and Pony went deer hunting.

Alrighty. Enough blathering about. I’ve caught up on #SoCS though I’ll go back later to see if anything new comes in. And I’ve got angry music to listen to as well. And with all the time in the world, I’m going to keep reading If It Bleeds by Stephen King. The title comes from the old newspaper expression, if it bleeds, it leads. Yep yesterday and ripped from today’s headlines all rolled into one. I think his short stories are the best! I know he’s not everyone’s cuppa but I’m able to separate. His words paint vivid pictures in my head and characters who come to life. Yep just what the doctor ordered.

As always more to come.

Friday Book Club: Where the Grass is Green and the Girls are Pretty by Lauren Weisberger

My no spoilers Goodreads review follows: The story was entertaining and keep my attention for the most part. Short little chapters all uniquely titled and thematic much like the title of the book itself. Ripped from the headlines stories that were sort of made light of. I wanted to like Peyton but I couldn’t. No sympathy from me.

I so wanted to love this book because you know… the author wrote The Devil Wears Prada. But alas, just okay. I only wrote one quote for my common place book.

“Didn’t matter if you liked it, or needed it, or if it was a genuinely good or useful product, so long as everyone thought you were cool for having it”

This ends my 2021 reading list. I read 37 books after having committed to reading 12. I’m going with 12 again in 2022 since given the zaniness of my life, one book a month is more realistic. I’ve lost my mojo again anyway and the pace has slowed way down. I’m also not retaining much. Very scattered and distracted which probably means I should commit to reading more. To escape! Aahhh now that’s the stuff.

As always more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of The Big Hurt: A Memoir by Erika Schickel

My quick Goodreads review is short and sweet … Imperfectly perfect humans. To me, this memoir shows we all come with baggage.

No commonplace notes either despite having the hard back. Speaking of, need to get to the library to stock up on my time off reading. Looking forward to a little break. Since no one else in my immediate bubble has off, I’m working some too. Funny how this post is turning into anything but a book club post.

I don’t like to give my two cents on memoirs. Too judgy. So with that I will say to me, this is a recommended read.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dubs Review of The Push by Ashley Audrain ~ 12/10/21

My Goodreads review:

I have to disagree with the review that says the book is starkly original. I have heard the story before. Many times. I do agree though that the book was compulsively readable though. I finished in a day.

The nature versus nurture debate, the what it means to be a mother, tales as old as time. Was she born evil? The heartache goes straight to my core.

Recommended read.