Book Seven

I decided to add Yes Please by Amy Poehler to my to be read list a while ago and I am not really sure why. I am not a huge fan of celebrity autobiographies or Amy Poehler. I like her in Parks and Recreation but apart from that I thought I hadn’t actually seen her in much (I was wrong. Turns out I have seen loads of her stuff but just hadn’t actually known it was her!) Anyway I think I decided to read this book after coming across a Buzzfeed “20 books to read in your 20s” list and you know what, I am glad I read that list because otherwise I would not have picked up this book. This book brought me so much pleasure. I laughed, I got angry, I felt thankful and I, on a few occasions I shouted out “On yursel hen” whilst driving through rush hour traffic. I listened to the audiobook for this book and I can not imagine any better way to have consumed this book. This book is an example of how audiobooks should be done!

I am not to sure what to call this book. Autobiography doesn’t really work. While I learned a great deal about Amy Poehler’s early career you don’t really get to hear a lot of the nitty details of her life. I cant retell you many stories from her childhood or a large number of stories linked to her experience as a mother. An element of distance remains between the reader and Poehler and I liked this. Instead what the reader is given is a selection of lessons Poehler has learned throughout her life. Naturally these lessons are accompanied by a life experience that help to give the lesson context, but the story is not why your invested, her life lesson is what draws you in. This book is split in to a series of essays each with a different theme. I found this a wonderful way to absorb this book. Each essay is short and packed full of information. Its hard to draft away. Although this book isn’t about comedy, this book is funny and heart warming. Every day when I got into my car and turned Audible on I felt like I was sitting on the couch having a cup of tea and a catch up with a friend. This book is so approachable and welcoming and I think a large amount of this is down to the humour that emanates from every page.

Yes Please makes for an absolutely fantastic listen and there are a few reasons for this. Amy Poehler herself reads the audiobook and a lot of work has gone into making sure she is able to engage with the listener. This feels a lot more like a podcast rather than an audio book. The last chapter is read live, which is nice. Elements of the book have defiantly been rewritten for the audio recording. Poehler repeatedly refers to her “home made Audio studio” and interacts with the listener in a way I just cant imagine working in print. There are also a number of guest stars that appear in the book these include Patrick Stewart, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Kathleen Turner, and most importantly Poehler’s parents. This, somewhat short audio book, definitely packs a lot in. This audio book is more than just a reading, it is a performance. (I hope at some point to write about the performativity of audio books, I just need to find time to sit down and do it!)

I am so glad I added this book to my woman’s month. It brought a wonderful spark of life into my daily commutes and I will defiantly re listen to this book time and time again. In fact I would go as far to say, after The King Killer Chronicles this may be one of my all time favourite audio books. I have also finished Caitlin Moran’s How to Build a Gril more about that in the next few days.

Happy Reading!

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Book Six

January is woman’s month!

I don’t think I have ever consciously read a book because it was written by a women and so this month is Woman’s month! It is greatly pleasing the feminist within me. I have decided that every other month I will set a theme in an attempt to expand the kind of books that I read. So anyway onto book number six.

I have been looking forward to reading this book for some time. It was one of those books that sprung up everywhere in 2016. I went into this book not really knowing what it was about. I have also never read anything by Zadie Smith so this book really was a first for me. I had high hopes for this book and in someways it followed through on those hopes. Unfortunately it was sometimes a little boring. The book tells the story of our narrator and her childhood friend Tracy. Both girls dream of being dancers. Unfortunately only one has the talent to pursue this. This book follows the narrator from the age of 7 until her early 30s. The author manages to take the reader across the years with ease and at no point was I confused as to what era of the narrators life we were in. This really is a testament to Zadie Smith’s writing, especially when you consider the fact that throughout the book the story jumps from between modern day and the past continuously throughout the book.

Although the writing was fantastic the story was just alright. Some parts were fantastic. When I first started listening to this book I thought that I was going to be hooked however this feeling quickly disappeared. The story veers away from the central themes and this can just be frustrating. The author also starts certain themes and then just sorts of forgets about them. I found this frustrating however I am not completely convinced that this isn’t some kind of comment on life itself. Things start, they don’t always come to a satiating end. You just need to deal with it. If this is the case then it is purely executed and it just made me feel sort of disjointed. I often found myself drifting off when listening to this book, which is never good, but then again I never seemed to miss anything that was important so the story clearly wasn’t moving along that quickly. The characters in this book are fantastic. Their relationships with one another are totally believable and on occasions very tragic. I drew similarity throughout the story between myself and the various childhood friends that I had growing up. Tracy and the narrators friendship is timeless.

This book explores lots and lots of different themes. Gender, race and class are probably the 3 biggest themes but in no way are they all the themes this book explores. Although I read this book this month mainly because it is written by a women this book showed me a life experience quite removed from my own. I am a white, middle class woman who grew up on the west coast of Scotland. The narrator of this story is a black, working class woman who grew up in the East End of London. This book made it startlingly clear to me that I defiantly have not read enough books written by BME writers, more to follow on this in March.

I listened to the audio book of Swing Time and I have to say Pippa Bennett-Warner’s reading of this book was fantastic. I cant fault it. In general I enjoyed this book, I don’t think I will read this particular book again but I defiantly will read some more Zadie Smith.

Happy Reading!

Book 5

I am not sure what I just read. How have I never read  The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry before? This book is just, its just great. I have had this book on my to be read list for some time now. I cant even remember how it got there but, when i saw it was a children’s book with only 83 pages and that I needed to read 5 books in the month of December to stay on track I thought why not. I also had this strange, and I am not quite sure where it came from, feeling that this book would make me feel all warm and festive. I wouldn’t say that it did that but this book took me on an adventure that spanned a lot more than 83 pages.

The Little Price tells the story of, funnily enough, a little prince and his journey from his little asteroid planet to earth. Although this book is technically a children’s book it is so much more than that. This book is filled with moral life lessons. It forces you to think about the world and all of the beautiful things in it. On every other page I found myself thinking about how stupid grown ups are for always rushing around and not using their imagination. The inner child in you will defiantly appreciate this book. I read this book on kindle and the illustrations that were in the kindle version added so much to the story. If you get the chance to read this book on paper defiantly do it. I am now on the hunt for a beautiful copy of this book. I know for a fact that I will read this book over and over again, it just has so much to give. I don’t really want to say much more about this book. With only 83 pages it could be easily spoiled. Instead I am going to add 5 of my favourite quotes that have made it into my little quotes notebook below. If you haven’t read this book already, go and read. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Happy Reading!

 

“People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.”

“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”

“I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.”

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“I showed the grown ups my masterpiece, and I asked them if my drawing scared them. They answered why be scared of a hat? My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant.”