Talking As Fast As I Can

I don’t think there is any better book that I could have followed Born a Crime with than an equally as stunning and refreshing memoir by Lauren Graham– actress, writer, producer and all around effortless talent. Talking as Fast as I Can was witty, quirky and full of laughs. I often find it difficult separating the person: Lauren Graham from her roles as Lorelai Gilmore and Sarah Braverman, two of my favorite television characters. I had to stop myself, at times, and remember she is not the roles she has played, they have impacted her to some extent but she continues where their stories end.

It was truly interesting to learn more about Lauren Graham. I never knew about her struggle to stardom. Apart from learning that she was in a relationship with her former cast brother, Peter Krause (Adam Braverman), I didn’t know much about her. I think my favorite part of the story was the firsthand details that Graham recounted from previous seasons of Gilmore Girl. She also included her personal journal entries during Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I think knowing how close of a relationship she built with her co-stars and crewmembers, returning for the final season was extremely emotional. It was incredible hearing about old memories and everyone being taken back into the nostalgia of the show the same way that audience members felt when they sat down to watch the long anticipated, A Year in the Life.

I remember growing up with Gilmore Girls and watching it constantly. At one point, when I realized that the last episode had aired, I refused to finish out the last season. I decided to wait until the inevitable tv movie aired to finally watch it all…only to learn that those months would turn to years. I binge-watched all the seasons on Netflix before the new season came on and had absolutely no regrets about it. The show honestly changed my life and made me aspire to have the Lorelai-Rory relationship with my future daughter. Their bond was unbreakable no matter what hiccups came along the way. I also agree 1000% with Lauren Graham about the final four words of the show being a cliffhanger! Is there going to be a Gilmore Girls Reloaded?! Or was this just a reminder that even if the show ends the Gilmore Girls live on in Stars Hollow!? Inquiring minds want to know.

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Born a Crime

Being humorous and intelligent are rare characteristics to display in a perfect balance. Trevor Noah not only has mastered that balance but turned it into an unforgettable and captivating memoir.

First impression? I thought Trevor Noah, a mixed kid who was funny and found his claim to fame on The Daily Show. Here’s his memoir about growing up in South Africa and there’s more than likely a ghostwriter who has actually written this.

I want to start off by saying that I was completely off.

After reading his memoir, I realize there is so much more to people than meets the eye even when it comes to celebrities. The story of his life would’ve been interesting if it merely covered being a mixed child in South Africa but, that is merely the background in this story. So much happened to Trevor in his youth.

I really enjoyed reading, “Born A Crime.” There were moments when I laughed out loud and times that I was genuinely surprised by what Trevor had lived through yet could recount with such a light-hearted and comedic tone. Trevor gave us a glimpse into his little bit of perspective in the world and I’m grateful. His intelligence is apparent in his writing and he uses incredible metaphors and anecdotes to explain why he is the way he is.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers who may not immediately gravitate towards non-fiction or memoirs. I think there’s a stigma (at least in my opinion) that all memoirs are filled with research and are boring. Boredom was the farthest thing from my mind while reading this, so I can’t recommend it enough.

~ The Valley of the Dolls ~

First, let’s start out with an R.I.P to Jacqueline Susann whom I had never heard of before a couple of months ago. I can confidently say that she is the author to one of my *new* favorite books, The Valley of the Dolls. This novel, originally published in 1966 was the biggest selling novel that year with over 31 million copies. Despite the novel being about 51 years old, the characters and storylines are still exceptionally relevant to modern day.

The novel follows three young women, Anne Welles, Jennifer North and Neely O’Hara who eventually become friends while pursuing their dreams of love, money and fame. Anne is a New England socialite desperate to leave behind her small town and find that all-consuming love and when she finally does, it threatens to crush her to pieces. She’s forced to make some life-altering decisions that beg her to question whether or not this is what she has truly wanted all along. Jennifer has only ever wanted to be loved for who she is, not her body. Finally, when happiness is within her grasp, she receives some devastating news that threatens to destroy everything she has. Lastly, Neely, young and eager for the chance at fame and fortune becomes an incredible talent and finds herself slipping down the rabbit hole of fame and forcing her to become someone she swore she wouldn’t. What I truly admire about Susann’s debut novel is that instead of each character’s life coming together and concluding in a perfect bow, things are still left open and unresolved. Not to give too much away but each character seems to ascertain what they spent their whole lives waiting for but not without a fair share of sacrifices and negative consequences.

The Valley of the Dolls is a timeless classic that I would definitely recommend to women’s fiction readers. I also think that readers in their mid-20s who were also fans of Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and those stories will find interest in this 1960s tale of New York City fame. It’s glamorous and real and Susann really hit the mark on an lasting novel that I will proudly display on my shelf.

Looking for Alaska

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Before reading “Looking for Alaska,” I had always seen quotes from the pages and never truly understood the context. For example, quotes about seeking the Great Perhaps or the quote “we are as indestructable as we believe ourselves to be.”

I’m honestly surprised that it took me this long to read this book. It was absolutely amazing, I think that John Green does a phenomenal job with the main character, Pudge. We can all relate to yearning for more at his age, yearning for adventure. In his case – that sense of adventure was Alaska. She opened his eyes to a whole new world and challenged him in a way that he had never been before. I really like how Alaska’s character is this flawed, impulsive and witty character. I wish there were more female characters like her in books and films, willing to take life by the horns and live their fullest life.

John Green is legendary within the YA community with bestsellers like The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns, and An Abundance of Katherines. I’ve recently added some of his books to my library and look forward to reading them. John Green did not disappoint and was able to write a memorable piece of fiction that has managed to impact his readers years later.

Milk and Honey

When scanning through the lists of bestsellers to find something to read next, milk and honey by Rupi Kaur immediately caught my attention.

Rupi Kaur has changed my life and I am eternally grateful. Kaur has been given a gift, that gift is the power of words, art and expression. She wields that power like a magician wields magic – effortlessly and with authority. Milk and honey is concisely refreshing, poignant and even intimidatingly raw at times. I’ve always known and believed in the strength of the written word and that is why it is my hope to devote my life to it – by pursuing a career in publishing. Words can do unbelievable things – move mountains, incite riots, and bring people to their knees. With 208 short pages, Kaur shares her insight of the world with her readers.

It’s such an invaluable work that I’m surprised that her agent and the publishing house, Andrews McMeel Publishing, were able to agree on a suitable price of $14.99. Page after page led me to question my own thoughts about family, love, femininity, and life in general. In a dream world, Kaur would become my mentor or guru and teach me the way of expressing myself in the beautiful manner that she has mastered. You can tell that she sees beauty in everything and finds inspiration everywhere. I wish that I could be more like that and after reading her book, I think we can all appreciate the world around us a little bit more. Too often we take advantage of all the beautiful things that surround us – kind strangers, sunrises, the serenity of waves crashing on the shore – that can be appreciated and seen every day. I think that for those who may not necessarily love poetry, this is the perfect book to be introduced to you. The tone is noticeably feminine but I think that anyone could stumble upon this book and appreciate the text. The topics are relatively universal and there’s an obvious sincerity to it. It is such a thought-provoking and intensely relatable book of poetry that I can’t recommend it enough.

 

Here is an excerpt from the book that still gives me goosebumps whenever I re-read it:

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Sweetbitter

After reading Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter, I think that I am a different person than I was before I started it. That’s the power of books, you know. You live a whole other life within them and whether there are any physical differences or not, you are forever changed.Sweetbitter was better than I could have ever imagined. I was captivated and honestly could have finished the book in 24 hours if I didn’t have other responsibilities.

From the deckled edge to the narrative voice, the book is young, rough, raw and full of emotion. Danler manages colorful descriptions from the biting cold of winter to the feel of sunlight peaking over the horizon as you stumble home from a night out. In 352 pages, you see New York City with the wide eyed innocence of 20-something year old Tess. You understand her desire to escape her small town life, become free and experience life for the wild ride that it truly is. Danler intentionally uses the changing seasons, various platters and flavors and the people in her life to set the stage for all the life experiences that Tess will go through. She will be changed forever and you know it from the beginning and eagerly hang on for the ride.

Danler has set the bar pretty high for her debut novel and I cannot wait to read what she comes up with next. I would recommend this for anyone looking for a good, captivating read but more specifically for 20-something-year-olds with an insatiable sense of adventure.