Unqualified by Anna Faris
First line: I’m not qualified to write a book.
Summary: Anna Faris, actress and the host of a podcast, is writing her first book. She details her life, career and advice she has for her podcast listeners. Written in an informal style, as if she is talking to the reader. Her wit and sense of humor comes through in her writing.
Highlights: I have been a fan of Anna Faris for many years. I have seen most of her movies and always make time to watch her TV show, Mom. She is funny and heartfelt. However, she is very truthful about the struggles of life in Hollywood and in the public view. I like her even more after reading this. She may be unqualified but she does a great job!
Lowlights: It was a little hard to read after the recent announcement of her separation with her husband, Chris Pratt. I also felt like some of the conversations from the podcast seemed a little out of place. I understand that it makes it easier to fill some pages and cover topics that she has already covered on the show.
FYI: Good for a chuckle. Very honest.
Everything is Awful by Matt Bellassai
First line: I was six years old when I last peed my pants.
Summary: Matt Bellassai is an internet star! He has his weekly show where he gets drunk and tells you have to live your life. He started his career at Buzzfeed and won a People’s Choice Award for his online videos. In this book he talks about the embarrassing and real parts of his life from his childhood to coming out to living in New York City.
Highlights: Hilarious stories! I love to watch his weekly videos on Facebook. Coworkers laugh at me while I am busting up in the breakroom. I cringed during the braces story, felt embarrassed during the closet scenario, and laughed through the rest of it. He has a way with words and while I was reading, I could hear him speaking which made it even better.
Lowlights: I wanted pictures! Several of the stories were a little slow moving but not enough to hinder the telling and laughs associated with it.
FYI: If you watch his Facebook series, “To Be Honest”, then this is a must read!
Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks
First line: Anna said there was only one place to find a meaningful gift for MDash—the Antique Warehouse, not so much a place for old treasures as a permanent swap meet in what used to be the Lux Theater.
Summary: A collection of short stories written by Tom Hanks. Each story has its own feel and flow to it but in each he incorporates a typewriter. The stories span from time travel to a struggling actress to a bowler with a perfect score.
Highlights: I liked each and every story. They are all unique. I was excited to read this book because I am a big fan of Tom Hanks. He is very talented and once again proved it with this collection. The depth of the stories and the variety captured me. It was nice to have something I could pick up and put down without losing track of the storyline. I think my favorite was the story of the time traveling billionaire. The ending was sad but I completely enjoyed it.
Lowlights: I wanted more! I have never been drawn to short stories but I think this will be a gateway into trying more. I was always disappointed when the story ended.
FYI: Must read for all Tom Hanks fans!
The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide by Joy Neighbors
First line: Cemeteries are usually viewed with reservation.
Summary: Filled with helpful tips on how to plan, research and preserve information that can be found at cemeteries. This book describes different symbols, types and information about gravestones and their meanings. It also walks the reader through websites and online tools that can help a novice or experienced genealogist on their journey of discovering their family history.
Highlights: I loved seeing the different types of stones and the symbols with their meanings. I never considered that the type could tell you about the finances or social status of my ancestor. All the hints and tips about ways to search for information were helpful. As I was reading, I would open a browser and try them out on my tree. I have a few illusive ancestors and I tried using the tips to discover more about them. I still have not found their death dates but I have learned other little tidbits about their lives. I hope to continue to find more with time.
Lowlights: There was a lot of information that I was familiar with so it was a little slow going through that but at no fault of the author. I like that they walk the reader through the process of signing up and searching.
FYI: Perfect for any genealogist.
The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang
First line: From the day that she was born, she was taught that she was Hmong by the adults around her.
Summary: A memoir by Kao Kalia Yang, an author, activist, and public speaker. She was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. Her family are Hmong. They spent many years running and hiding from Vietnamese soldiers who were hunting the Hmong people. She spent her first years in the camp. When the chance to travel to America became available, her family took it. The first years in Minnesota were hard. They had to learn English, live off welfare checks, and try to feed their expanding family. Over years, her parents got jobs, learned to drive and encouraged their children to better themselves. As a young woman, she now looks back at her life and the strength of her family.
Highlights: I had never heard of the Hmong people. While reading this I was earning a history lesson as well as a social one. Refugees have to be strong to leave their homes and try to start over in a new country. Yang has a great way with words. I was scared for her family. I was happy when they were happy. It surprises me that something this terrible was happening in such modern times. Most of the events happened during my lifetime. This book can open the reader’s eyes to troubles of refugees. It is easy to overlook these people. But many of us are here because of “refugees” even though we call them immigrants. We need to have more sympathy and help for people who have lost everything and are trying to begin again.
Lowlights: I have no complaints about the book. I am just sad I could not go see Yang speak when she was in Wichita.
FYI: Big Read Wichita 2017 book.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
First line: You do not enter a race to lose.
Summary: Diana was born on an island of immortal women called the Amazons. Her mother is the queen of the Amazons. She has never been off the island or even met a man. When Diana sees a shipwreck off the coast of the island, she breaks the laws of her people and rescues a young girl from the wreckage. However, once Alia, a young student, is brought onto the island mysterious things begin to happen. In order to save her home and her fellow Amazons Diana has to take Alia off the island and break the curse associated to her lineage and blood.
Highlights: I loved the Wonder Woman movie so I had to read this! I have never read anything by Leigh Bardugo but I will have to now. I liked the adventure and action. It was fast paced and fun. This was a good reimagining of one of the best female superheroes. Diana is strong willed and brave. She is a role model for young girls.
Lowlights: I was thrown off at the beginning because the story takes place in modern times. Diana is a teenager that is still training to be an Amazon. This is a different spin and completely different from the movie. It took me a while to get used to the idea but it worked well.
FYI: This is the first in the DC Icons series. Next is Batman by Marie Lu, Catwoman by Sarah J. Maas and Superman by Matt de la Pena.
Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart
First line: On the morning of her arrest, Edna Heustis awoke early and put her room in order.
Summary: In the third book of the Kopp Sisters series, Constance, the first lady deputy, strives to find justice for the women that are brought to the jailhouse. These women were arrested on morality charges but Constance is out to prove that these women are just trying to provide for themselves and have a little freedom. At the same time she has to find her sister, Fleurette, who runs away to join the stage show of May Ward and her Dresden Dolls.
Highlights: I love that this is based on true stories. As I was skimming through the historical notes at the end of the book, I saw that the news articles about Constance Kopp appeared in the Wichita Beacon. As the first woman deputy, she had to fight the constant backlash from the people that believed a woman should not and could not be a deputy. She proves them wrong. Norma makes me laugh with her straightforward speech and tough demeanor.
Lowlights: I feel that the story is slow moving with multiple storylines intertwined. The story could have been condensed and made a little shorter.
FYI: Check out the libraries database, Newspapers.com, and search for Constance Kopp. It is very interesting to see the real life woman and her stories.