I found “Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter” to be full of helpful, practical, non-judgmental information, presented in a fun style, and not so prescriptive or rigid that it made me chafe at the idea of it. And the author definitely understands that people are busy and not (probably) interested in taking tons of time to get rid of clutter and organize.
Each part of the house has its own section, and suggestions for things you can do if you have 30 seconds, one minute, five minutes, or 15 minutes, plus longer weekend project ideas. There are a few fun quizzes throughout, to determine things like your suggested closet organizing style (mine is “visual,” even though my actual closet is closer to the “super-organized” description). Though I don’t agree with everything (I’m NOT getting rid of my physical books/media/photo albums in favor of digital versions, though I may weed them), there are a LOT of things in this book I’m going to try. In the intro, the author says to take what you like and leave what you don’t, so I feel like I’m totally in line with that!
Three words that describe this book: practical clutter control
You might want to pick this book up if: You could use some fun tips on keeping your house clean and uncluttered in whatever kind of time you have.
“Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered” is a dual-memoir from the hosts of popular podcast “My Favorite Murder.” They tell stories that have been touched on in episodes of the podcast, as well as other topics that have never been discussed. Each chapter is under a certain theme or inside joke often referenced in the podcast, such as “Stay Out of the Forest” or “Sweet Baby Angel,” and it was interesting to see how they incorporated stories from their pasts to jokes on the show. I loved it because it was like hearing words of wisdom from two older friends who swear a lot and have experienced very relatable lives, all while through a lens of humor.
Three words that describe this book: Irreverent. Hilarious. Nostalgic.
You might want to pick this book up if: You love true crime and comedy and swearing.
“Giraffes on Horseback Salad” is a graphic novel depicting a movie written by Salvador Dali, meant to star the Marx Brothers, which was pitched to MGM in 1937, but was never made. The author of the graphic novel, Josh Frank, calls himself a forgotten pop culture archaeologist and used source documents from the Dali and Marx estates to re-create Dali’s vision in graphic novel format, but as if it were the movie. Manuela Pertega’s artwork is fantastical — you may forget that Dali himself did not illustrate this book. While the artwork steals the show, it does feature the Marx Brothers, so there is humor, song, romance and drama. It pits “normal” society versus dreamers, asking at one point, “Reality is the nightmare of the dreamer, isn’t it just?”
Three words that describe this book: Surreal, Funny, Unique
You might want to pick this book up if: you like surreal art — even if the humor or the story doesn’t appeal, the artwork is worth checking the book out!
I really enjoyed “The Rescue Artist,” which I read for the 2019 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge book of non-violent true crime. The story of the theft of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” from Norway’s National Gallery in Oslo in 1994 (the same morning the Olympics started in Lillehammer) is the through-line of the story, as well as profiling Scotland Yard Art Squad detective Charley Hill, who eventually recovered the painting. The story meanders into major art thefts and art thieves in history, how those cases were often worked (or not), Munch and his works, museum security and more. I actually liked how it wandered around topics, always coming back to “The Scream” and Charley Hill. It’s how my brain works, but might be annoying to some who like a straight-line story.
However, in a classic case of judging a book by its cover, I first saw the paperback version of this title at a bookstore, which drew my eye with its brightness and the dynamic illustration on the cover, plus the pull-out quote about it being fast-paced, rollicking and beautifully written. Then I realized it would work for one of the Read Harder challenges, so I requested it from the library, which only had the hardback with a much less interesting cover! So even though I was enjoying it when I read, and it was pretty fast-paced and well-written, etc., I found myself loath to pick it up because the cover turned me off so much! So, it took longer than it should have, but I’m glad I finished it.
Three words that describe this book: art theft investigation
You might want to pick this book up if: You enjoy art, true crime written with some humor, detective work, or mysteries.
Hurston’s 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is a classic work, and it contributed to the Harlem Renaissance. The novel follows the romantic life of Janie, who searches for a lasting love throughout her life. Janie marries three times and each of her relationships is unique, with none of her three husbands meeting her expectations or needs, but all in different ways. Janie is stubborn and determined, but faces expectations from her husbands and society in general to be more subservient to her men, something she wrestles with and even rebels against. The novel also explores African American life and culture in the early to mid-twentieth century. The setting of Eatonville, Florida, is based on Hurston’s own upbringing in this African American town. Eatonville was — and is — unique because it was a haven for African Americans in an era of segregation and white supremacy. Hurston also uses heavy dialect throughout the novel, which can be hard to read, but reflects her desire to highlight African American language and culture. The Harlem Renaissance is still often remembered as a time in which African American men flourished artistically, but Hurston’s work reminds us that African American women contributed to the arts as well.
Three words that describe this book: Historic, romance, African American culture
You might want to pick this book up if: You enjoy classic literature, especially from African American and/or women writers
“Introverted Mom” was not only informational, on the topic of motherhood and introversion, but was also inspirational. Not only was it humorous and insightful, it opened my eyes to my own particular challenges and how to view them as gifts instead of burdens. Her encouragement and tips have given me fuel to embrace my introversion and taught me how to better meet my own needs so I can meet the needs of those who need me. I also enjoyed her look into the lives of some of my favorite women authors (Austen, Montgomery, Alcott) who were also purportedly introverted as well, and how they navigated their social and familial worlds with their special gifts. This is a book I will read and reread with pleasure, likely garnering new tidbits each time.
Three words that describe this book: Encouraging, humorous, insightful.
You might want to pick this book up if: You are a mom, a homeschooler, an introvert, or any combination of the the above, or know someone who is. In fact, I would suggest this would be a good read for husbands, whether introverted or extroverted, in understanding their introverted spouses better. Very easy to read and enjoyable!
Following around 12 different characters through past and present, “There There” introduces dynamic and complex characters as they come from different lives, experiences and histories to arrive at the Big Oakland Pow Wow. Although difficult to follow at times with the wide range of characters, I loved this book as it is so necessary to make Native stories known and to seek out and amplify their voices and perspectives. It explores historical trauma and reveals how these characters grapple with their identity as urban Natives all while confronting erasure of that identity.
Three words that describe this book: shattering, poignant, important
You might want to pick this book up if: you would like to further understand and recognize urban Native identity and challenge your own perceptions by listening to Native voices
“The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” follows Yeine, the young leader of a small, matriarchal nation, who is unexpectedly becomes a contender to take over as head of the family that controls the Hundred Thousand kingdoms — in other words, the whole mortal world. N.K. Jemisin uses all the best parts of fantasy while also deliberately challenging the failings of the genre — namely, the sexism, the lack of nuance, and the dearth of characters of color — creating something new and vital, and extremely readable.
Three words that describe this book: Groundbreaking, unflinching, engrossing
You might want to pick this book up if: You’re a fan of mythology. Lots of great lore and incredible world-building to be found here.
“The Four Seasons of Marriage” explores the idea that a marriage is always going through a season; Summer being the warmest and happiest and winter being the coldest and saddest. Gary gives real-life examples of couples he has worked with and tips for how to improve your marriage, or at least try to get it back into either Spring or Summer. I really liked it. I have loved all of his books that I have read so far. He encourages us to be honest, caring, thoughtful, and lets us know it is okay to screw up as long as you are taking the steps to repair the damage that has been done in the past.
Three words that describe this book: Love, Communication, Relationships
You might want to pick this book up if: You want to learn ways to brighten your partner’s day, week, month or season.
Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2018 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.
“All the Gallant Men” is written by Donald Stratton, one of the few survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He was a navy seaman on the U.S.S. Arizona when it was a attacked by Japanese airplanes. He chronicles what it was like to grow up in the Great Depression in rural Nebraska as the son of a sharecropper before joining the Navy to experience adventure. He also liked that the Navy paid him a weekly wage that he could send back to his family. Stratton goes through step-by-step what it was like in basic training, to serve on a battleship in the Pacific Ocean and ultimately survive the attack on Pearl Harbor that left him with burns across his body as well emotional scars. The way the author described everything felt like I was sitting next to him as he told this story. I learned many facts about Pearl Harbor that I did not know and I am glad I had chance to read this book. I would highly recommend that everyone reads it so we can remember the sacrifice of those who died at Pearl Harbor defending our country and our freedom.
Three words that describe this book: Informative, Shocked, and Inspired
You might want to pick this book up if: You like stories about Pearl Harbor, survivors, history (1940s), and memoirs.