milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

milk and honeymilk and honey by Rupi Kaur

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't know a lot about poetry and can't comment on whether or not this is good poetry. I can say that many of the pieces elicited strong feelings from me. I found them powerful and sad and hopeful, and relatable.

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Eh. I'm between a 2.5 and a 3 on this. I enjoyed the audio version which was done with a large cast including Alan Cumming and Tim Curry--Alan Cumming's reading of Dr. Seward's journals were the best, most of the stars are for his performance. There's actually not a lot of Dracula in this book, it's more about the people who set out to hunt him down, and I found that disappointing. Van Helsing's portions droned on and on and the book really dragged during his portions. The ending was anticlimactic and I was ultimately let down. I encourage you to read Sarah Actually's review, she sums it up perfectly!

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Fall 2016 TV - Meh

Last year, I was rather unenthusiastic about the new Fall TV schedule. This year is a little better, but it's not all that great.  The shows I'm most looking forward to are:  This Is Us, Insecure, and Divorce. 
Atlanta has already started and I'm liking that one.  I read a quote from Donald Glover, the star and writer, that said "Anytime we would get to a point where it's like, 'That feels like a sitcom,' we would try not to do it."  This is why I like the show so much.  There's nothing formulaic about it at all, and the humor is often subtle and just cracks me up.

Here's my plan for the fall:

I decided to drop Madame Secretary and Elementary on Sunday nights.  They got a little dull last season, and I decided not to go 'there' again.  As a result, CBS is getting no love from me this year.

Last year, I added four new shows.  Grandfathered and The Grinder were canceled (Grandfathered deservedly so, The Grinder should have had a second season) and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin are still on.  I enjoyed the first few episodes of Jane the Virgin, via streaming, but I decided not to dedicate a lot of time to it.  Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was good at first, but I became exhausted by the main character's stupid decisions, so I let it go. 

This year, I'm adding 12 new shows (11 are shown in bold italics in the chart...the 12th, Impastor, is in its second season, but I'm adding it based on my friend Kerri's recommendation).  I'm watching the first season on Hulu as we "speak" - it is pretty funny.  I'll give them all a fair shot and then decide.

The Washington Post gave Notorious a grade of F.  It's the only new show that received an F.  I'm curious to see what an F-rated show looks like, but since I tend to agree with Hank Steuver's reviews, I'm sure it won't last.  That's a shame because I do really like Piper Perabo.

So, off we go.  Here's to a new TV season.  At a later date I'll get into the streaming shows--looking forward to the new season of Transparent and there are some new shows that look promising.


The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

The Girl with the Lower Back TattooThe Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I listened to the audio version and overall enjoyed it. There were a few chapters (usually those about her celebrity) that amounted to a lot of humble bragging, but there were also a lot of chapters where her self-deprecation and humor was more personal and reflective--I liked those chapters the most. I haven't picked up the hard copy, but in other reviews I read that the writing seems choppy. That didn't come across in the audio version--perhaps it's the best way to enjoy this book.

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The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

The NestThe Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I usually try not to read reviews before I read a book, but did catch several reviews where people didn't like any of the characters in this book and therefore they gave it a low rating. As a result, I went in with low expectations, but that wasn't my experience at all and I ended up pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the characters and the relationships between the siblings. I think this was a good debut and I look forward to whatever the author comes out with next. I alternated between the physical book and enjoyed both the writing and the narration.

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A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I adored this story about Ove, a grumpy man, and the people that invaded his life. It's so charming and funny and sweet. I laughed out loud many times, and also had a few tears. There's such beautiful and thoughtful language:

One of the most painful moments in a person's life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead. And when time no longer lies ahead of one, other things have to be lived for. Memories perhaps. Afternoons in the sun with someone's hand clutched in one's own. The fragrance of flowerbeds in fresh bloom. Sundays in a café. Grandchildren perhaps. One finds a way of living for the sake of someone else's future.

This was my favorite quote:

People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.

I simply loved this book.

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Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, WitchGood Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book made me laugh. A lot. I went back and forth between reading the book on my Kindle, and listening to the Audible version. One day, I'll have to go back and listen to the whole thing because as read--almost acted--by Martin Jarvis, it's even funnier.  The story is about end of the world.  Because the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale have come to enjoy life on earth as it is, they decide to try to stop it.  I really enjoyed the friendship between Crowley and Aziraphale, and Crowley was my favorite character, actually. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because I was a bit disappointed with the ending. Still, I enjoyed every bit along the way.

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Almost Interesting by David Spade

Almost InterestingAlmost Interesting by David Spade

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars

I've never been huge fan of David Spade's. I liked him on SNL well enough, but I haven't seen many of his movies, and didn't know much about him. At the recommendation of a good friend, I went ahead and listened to his audiobook, which he narrates. It's pretty crude and raunchy at parts, but through his story, his self deprecation, and the way that he chuckles at what he's reading, he endeared himself to me. I really enjoyed the chapters about SNL and movie making. I had never seen Tommy Boy, but after listening to that chapter, I watched it on Netflix, and was pleasantly surprised by what a sweet movie it actually is. I had no idea. The audio book with David's narration is quite funny and I'm glad I listened.

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Jennifer's Way: My Jouney with Celiac Disease.... by Jennifer Esposito

Jennifer's Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Doctors Don't Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live AgainJennifer's Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Doctors Don't Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again by Jennifer Esposito

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was diagnosed with celiac disease in October 2015 and found it interesting to read about someone else's diagnosis and recovery. My symptoms are different than Jennifer's and thankfully, I haven't (yet) come across any doctors, employers, friends, or family who questioned me or treated me poorly when I'm not feeling well. I thought the book could use some editing--there was a lot of repetition, so I did find myself skimming quite a bit. Still, it was interesting to read another perspective. I also think it would be a good read for non-celiacs so they can get a better understanding of the disease and learn the differences between this auto-immune disease versus a fad diet. Those points really resonated with me.

I do look forward to trying some of the recipes at the end of the book.

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Not my thing, but...

The other day, four separate friends were posting on Facebook that they were at the Cure concert.  They were reminiscing about the old days and saying the band sounded as good as ever.  I started thinking...do I even know any songs by the Cure??  When I was in high school, there was an alternative rock radio station that I only listened to occasionally.  I know they played The Cure, and Depeche Mode, and, and and....  Stuff I never got into.  It just wasn't my scene.  (Though, I know they played the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I somehow got into them in college.)

ANYWAY.  I went to iTunes and pulled up The Cure's Greatest Hits album.  Out of 18 songs, I recognized two:  "Just Like Heaven" and "Friday I'm in Love."  And that was it.  And the only reason I recognized those two songs is because they were in movies I enjoyed.  (Of course, I can't remember what movies those were.) 

I started thinking about how I have pretty diverse musical tastes, but there are still things I don't care for.  Like The Cure, I realize now.  And as I've mentioned plenty of times, I'm not a real fan of country music.

HOWEVER.  There are exceptions.  There's an album my dad had called "Rhythm Country & Blues" which was a collaboration of country singers and R&B or Blues singers.  I love that album.  (I'll have to write another post about this at another time--someone remind me about "Patches.")  I love the Zac Brown Band's "Free."  I have Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" and Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" on my iPod.  I eventually got the Rhythm Country & Blues album for myself.  I even downloaded a few songs from the TV show, Nashville.  So, every once in  while, a country song will slip through.

This morning I texted my dad and sister to announce that another country song is being added to my country collection.  Steven Tyler was on the Today Show this morning.  He has a new country album coming out and he debuted the title song, "We're All Somebody from Somewhere."

Well.  I LOVED that song!  I rewound and watched the performance about five times this morning.  Here's the kicker for me:  It's a FUNKY country song with a horn section and everything.  I can get down with that.  I just loved it.  I'll definitely be adding it to my iPod and I'm actually looking forward to hearing what else Steven has to offer in the country genre.

Actually, that bass line that starts at about the one-minute mark reminds me of one of the Chili Peppers songs.  Can you hear it?