Mini Book Review! You’re Making Me Hate You by Corey Taylor

Hi everyone!
Hope you’re all doing well! As you can see by the title, this is not a Sunday Book Club Review. This book is not from my BOOK LIST, it was recommended by my boyfriend, hence, does not get the full Sunday Book Club treatment. I’m generally a very quick reader – when I actually have time to read – but the process of taking notes to create a review slows me down, so I keep some books set aside to breeze through just for fun – & this is one of them! I really enjoyed this book & thought it was worth sharing with you šŸ™‚ Keep reading for some quick thoughts!

As the lead singer of not one, but two famous bands, Slipknot & Stone Sour – Corey Taylor has found success. Additionally, his other books are New York Times bestsellers, so this dude is clearly doing something right. I’m not familiar with his music, but my boyfriend is a fan & was excited to have me get a glimpse into Taylor’s mindset. He knew I’d agree with most everything & see the humor overall – and he was right.

Warning – this book is not for the overly sensitive, the clutch-my-pearls type, the posh, the uptight, the prude, the Instagram Influencer that cares what everyone thinks. Corey Taylor gives not one fuck what you think. He roasts everyone & everything that has ever irritated him while also giving some background on his early years and current life. His quick quips and witty cynicism made me laugh out loud while reading. To some, Taylor may come off as “preachy” or a hypocrite, but he never hesitates to be self-deprecating & admit he’s part of the problem too.

The main issue I had with this book, the structure, was similar to my issues with Bossypants by Tina Fey, & is really no fault of either author. These celebrity memoir type books don’t quite hold my attention because there’s no plot. Each chapter tells a little story & ends. What’s making me want to read the next chapter other than curiosity to see what else they have to say? If I’m enjoying their outlook, why would I speed through it? This book took me almost ONE YEAR to finish reading because I kept stopping & starting. It sounds mean to say I lost interest because I really did find it entertaining and enjoyable, but there was no PULL to keep reading it – I hope that makes sense.

Definitely pick this book up if you’re constantly fed up with the state of the world, are looking for a good laugh, don’t mind the foul language, and can stomach some criticism. Ultimately, Taylor is just asking for us all to be a little kinder to each other & use some logic when we go about our daily lives. Not the message you think would be coming from the lead singer of Slipknot, right? I’ll leave you with this excerpt…

“So what’s the fucking moral of this goddamn book? ‘Everything sucks, so fuck it’?…The cold fact is that we are a global, multicultural, rainbow-hued tribe of fucking dicks…Someday maybe we’ll right this ship of fools and seek out smoother waters, cooler breezes, and better climes…Life doesn’t have to be rocket science, and being able to think & act like better human beings isn’t too much to hope for.”


Sunday Book Club! Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

Hey everyone!
Today’s Sunday Book Club Review is “Damned” by Chuck Palahniuk.

Initial Thoughts:
I was excited to read this book because I’d heard really good things about Palahniuk’s writing – he’s the author of the book, which later became the wildly popular film, “Fight Club”. However, his writing is known to be extremely honest & descriptive in terms of violence, sex, death, substance abuse, etc, topics I usually don’t enjoy reading about. I was introduced to “Damned” as sort of a beginner’s guide to PalahniukĀ as it’s more “reader friendly”, justĀ a simple dark comedy. Danny is also interested in reading this book, had purchased it,Ā & kindlyĀ lent it to me for this review šŸ™‚ *Insert shameless plug* Subscribe to the Savage Squad YouTube channel!

“Damned” is the story of 13 year old Madison Spencer’s journey though the afterlife. Well, part of her journey. Semi-Spoiler, the book ends with a “To Be Continued” cliffhanger, so the reader doesn’t get total closure on the story. Madison comes from an extremely wealthy family with multiple mansions in countries around the world & goes to a Swiss boarding school, all the makings of a stuck up, spoiled brat. However, she’s more of an introvert, preferring the company of books to her peers, making her a target for childish teasing & gossip. After her death, Madison finds herself in Hell & slowly makes friends with a “Breakfast Club” inspired group of prisoners. They have many adventures but eventually Madison wants to know WHY she ended up in Hell & begins a journey to confront Satan & get some answers. Along the way she encounters all the dangers of Hell, some interesting historical figures, & ends up finding her inner strength.

-Madison:Ā As always, my fear when reading a story about a teenage protagonist is that I will hate them, simply because I have no patience for children. Some stories like Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple & Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer have excellent young protagonists that I enjoyed reading about & identified with. To Palahniuk’s credit, it’s because of the high quality of his writing that I hated Madison. He delivered an incredibly on point description of the mind set of an average insecure 13 year old girl. Oh my gosh, she’s the worst. She’sĀ your typical “poor little rich girl”, really annoying, & thinks she knows everything. It sounds strange, but Palaniuk did too good of a job creating her. She’s so realistic I felt like I was interacting with a teenager, which is something I generally never want to do.

ā€“Ā Pg 6: ā€œNo it’s not fair, but what makes earth feel like Hell is our expectation that it should feel like Heaven. Earth is earth.”
DAMN. Is that a pun in this context? Anyway, wow, this really spoke to me & made me think about my perspective on life. I think this is true, we expect to be showered with gifts (love, friendship, money, intelligence, etc) & then we become bitter & angry when those things aren’t given to us. Earth is earth, it’s what we make it. Heaven & Hell come afterĀ – if that’s what you believe in.

Overall/Rating: C+
“Damned” is probably the most…unique coming of age story I’ve ever read. Palaniuk hasĀ an amazing way with words. His descriptions are detailed & make you feel like you’re really in the moment, which in a book about Hell, was often uncomfortable. I think that’s his goal though, to make you think/feel, even if you’re out of your comfort zone. I admire his style of writing, but my original fears were correct & this novel just wasn’t for me. While there were some occasional moments of enlightenment, I didn’t really connect with the story or characters. I most likely will not bother to read the continuation of Madison’s story unless Danny enjoys “Damned”, buys the sequel, & lends it to me.

Have you read or heard of “Damned” or any other Chuck Palahniuk novels? If so, what are your thoughts? Please feel free to share your thoughts & book suggestions with me inĀ the comments below!

The next Sunday Book Club is ā€œHarry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, & Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon” by Melissa Anelli.

Sunday Book Club! Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Today’s Sunday Book Club Review is “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Initial Thoughts:
I was a bit hesitant to review this particular book once I saw the date it would be posted, the 15 year anniversary of 9/11. ELIC centers around the aftermathĀ of 9/11 from the fictional perspective of 9 year old Oskar Schell, who lost his father in the WTC attack. I didn’t want this post to come off as attention seeking, I didn’t intentionally choose to review a book about 9/11 on 9/11, but I think there’s something a bit…poetic, in that it just happened to occur this way. One of the themes of this book & a message I’ve been seeing passed around a lot today, is that life must go on. We must continue to find joy, entertainment, & happiness, despite the horrific tragedy of 9/11. With that, I proudly present my review on this amazingly well written & thought provoking story in the hopes that literature like this continues to be created so that we truly never forget this day.

Oskar Schell is not your average 9 year old. He doesn’t have much time for kids his own age, preferring to learn French orĀ take photographs on his grandfather’s old camera. Many of these photographs can be seen throughout the book, almost like illustrations, an interesting addition inĀ a Fiction novel. Oskar carries many heavy emotions as he struggles to cope with his father’s death in the World Trade Center on 9/11. One day while looking through his father’s things he finds a key in an envelope labeled “Black” & thus begins a quest to figure out his father’s final mystery. Along the way Oskar connects with many people struggling with the aftermath ofĀ Ā 9/11 or their own personal tragedies, learns a lot about his family, & life in general. There is another plot line & narrator, but it’s hard to say too much without spoiling the twist. The other storyline centers around WWII Germany & not only explains some character’s backstories but shows a time where people experiencedĀ similar tragedy & terror like 9/11 & how history repeats itself. The use of this other storyline speaks to what I was saying above, the world will always know chaos. It’s up to the survivors to take that tragedy & create something beautiful from it that will make the world a better place.

Oskar Schell – I’m always anxious to read novels where the main character is a child because, to be frank, I don’t really enjoy children. However, I felt a kinship with Oskar in that, we both didn’t really connect with kids our own age, preferring relationships with our family or other adult mentors. Oskar is written in a clever but often naive way. There are a few plot lines, such as his mother’s “love life” after his father’s passing, where Oskar definitely shows a more standard child like attitude. However, at the end of the novel, the reader sees how Oskar has grown & his eyes are opened to another perspective he didn’t see clearly before. Again, not your typical child character, which I appreciated & was able to connect with.

Overall/Rating: B+
Without giving too much away, I was a bit disappointed in the ending. Oskar’s journey to find something about his dad really led him on a journey to find himself & some peace, which is ultimately more important. However, as a person who lost their dad at a young age too, I understand Oskar’s frustration at that abstract concept. I can sympathize because I too wondered for many years, why was there not one last “I love you”, “goodbye”, or bit of grown up advice? The truth of that unfortunately, is that there is always one last something, we just never know it’s the last until it’s too late. I highly recommend this story, especially if you’ve ever struggled with grief or loss of any kind. ELIC made me laugh, cry, think – it made me feel! Obviously I wasn’t in NY on 9/11, but from my point of view this novel has its heart in the right place. I honestly believe Foer didn’t write this storyĀ for attention or to make money on a hot button topic. This is not a political story, the focus is on the people that lived & died on that day & how theĀ survivorsĀ still struggled. It’s a noble effort to take an event that hit so close to home & explore it with a child-like sense of curiosity & naivetĆ© & create something that can speak to a variety of people.

Have you read or heard of “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”? What about the film? I’m interestedĀ to watch the film based on the book & see how it compares.Ā Please feel free to share your thoughts & book suggestions with me inĀ the comments below!

The next Sunday Book Club is September 25th & the book is ā€œDamned” by Chuck Palahniuk.

Sunday Book Club! The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Happy Sunday!
Today’s Sunday Book Club Review is “The Other Typist” by Suzanne Rindell.

Initial Thoughts:
One of the biggest benefits of making my way through my Books to Read ListĀ is, I’m starting to get a much better sense of what I really enjoy reading as far as genre, time periods, & types of characters. I was excited to start “TOT” because it seemed to be right up my alley, a mystery centered around a strong female character taking place during 1920’s America. My excitement waned a little as the story moves pretty slowly, but once the drama starts – WOW!

“TOT” is about Rose Baker, a reserved, plain, young woman that works as a Typist for the NYPD. Growing up an orphanĀ raised by nuns, Rose never knew much about friendship, luxury, or adventure, but that all changes when another young woman named Odalie starts work at the precinct as, of course, a typist. Odalie is Rose’s exact opposite, she’s alluring, gorgeous, & rich. Eventually the two women form a friendship based on, it seems, Odalie’s desire to help Rose break out of her shell. She invites Rose to move in with her at her posh, expensive hotel penthouse apartment, she dresses her in fabulous clothing & jewelry, & takes her on wild adventures that usually involve finding their way to a speakeasy. Rose is very quickly out of her element & realizes that Odalie’s lifestyle is not the pure, virtuous, law abiding life she had. Unfortunately, she’s in too deep, Odalie has bigger plans for Rose than just helping her break out of her shell & the friendship becomes obsessive & controlling on both sides. I won’t get into the actual mystery because I don’t want to spoil anything, but there are some dark twists & turns that really surprised me, although, if you’re really paying attention, there are scattered clues as to how the story will end.

Rose is an extremely complex character. Rindell did an excellent job of revealing details about Rose through small doses. At first you think they’re inconsistencies in the writing, but upon closer examination, you see Rose is changing, losing hold of her convictions & the way she presents herself. At first I felt like she was a relatively modern woman, enjoying her lifestyle, secure & proud of the choices she’d made. I found her attitude relatableĀ & refreshing for a story set in 1920’s Prohibition Era. Later, however, she reveals herself to be terribly insecure & prudish, desperately seeking approval from Odalie & willing to do anything to strengthen their bond. She becomes very stalker-ish & it’s almost amusing to see how she rationalizes her crazy actions.

Overall/Rating: B
“The Other Typist” was a little slow & dry at parts, but for the most part, was a quick & easy read. I don’t want to compare this story to “Gone Girl” because I think that gives away the nature of the big twist. However, the front of the book offers the comparison so it’s not like I’m really spoiling anything. “TOT” is the result of “The Great Gatsby” & “Gone Girl” having a literary baby. When this book was published Rindell was in the dissertation phase of her Ph.D program, concentrating on 20th century American modernism. The influence of her education is clear in a few monologues where Rose contemplatesĀ innocence, youth, & the effects WWI had on her generation.If you’re at all a fan of 1920’s AmericaĀ you’ll at least enjoy the imagery & thoseĀ monologues, even if you’re not a fan of the actual mystery within. In regards to the mystery, I still had unanswered questions which frustrate meĀ because I’m not sure if I’M missing something or if Rindell left it vague on purpose. Please read “The Other Typist” & let me know what you think!

Have you read or heard of “The Other Typist”?Ā If so, what are your thoughts? What’s your favorite genre or time period in history to read about? Please feel free to share your thoughts & book suggestions with me inĀ the comments below!

Sunday Book Club! Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

Happy Sunday!
Today’s Sunday Book Club Review is “Turn of Mind” by Alice LaPlante.

Initial Thoughts:
As I usually say each Sunday, I don’t remember why I added this book to my list. This is an especially painful irony given the subject matter of “Turn of Mind”. TheĀ fact that the main character hasĀ dementiaĀ hit close to home for me, but my interest was also piqued because of the overall mystery. Keep reading to see if this is a book you might be interested in as well!

“Turn of Mind” is a fictional story that focuses on the life of Dr. Jennifer White, a successful hand surgeon who suffers from dementia. Her husband James has passed away & her children, Mark & Fiona, now have control over various aspects of her life. The story shifts back and forth between past & present as Jennifer struggles with dementia – plus that fact that her best friend Amanda was murdered & she’s the prime suspect! While Jennifer mourns the loss of her friend, when she actually remembers she’s been murdered, sheĀ also can’t help butĀ wonder if she DID murder her. While extremely close, the women shared a tumultuous past with many secrets & when her mind is right, Jennifer fearsĀ one of those secrets was Amanda’s undoing.

– Dr. Jennifer White: Jennifer’s dementia & the way LaPlante formats her story make for a unique relationship with the main character. The reader gets their information through Jennifer’s eyes, so we’re just as in the dark asĀ sheĀ is.Ā SheĀ can’t rememberĀ if she killed Amanda, so you aren’t sure either which leaves you with mixedĀ feelings towards her. You feel sympathy because of how dementia is ravaging her brilliant mind, but on the other hand, if she’s a psychopathic murderer, you want nothing to do with her! Normally in a story like this the main character triesĀ to prove their innocence, but Jennifer isn’t sure she’s innocent, most days she can’t even remember she’s a suspect.Ā All of this adds up to an extremely complex character that provokes a lot of thought & discussion.

Overall/Rating: B+
The depiction of dementia is SPOT ON with what I’ve witnessed from my grandparents. It was so accurate that I wonder if LaPlante knows someone with dementia or if she did a lot of intense research. If it’s the latter, it really paid off! This is great insight to the fragmented mindset of someone with dementia & how they become increasingly confused, frustrated, agitated, & even dangerous. Some may find the disjointed nature of the narrative confusing, but that goes with the territory of the disease, so I felt that was an authentic choice for LaPlante to make for a character with dementia. I rated down a bit because I felt likeĀ once the mystery was solved, I wouldn’t want to revisit this story again. I also rated down because the pace was prettyĀ slow, barely movingĀ enough to keep my interest. You don’t get an answer to the big whodunit until literally the last few pages of the book, & I was a little disappointed because I still had some unanswered questions!

Have you read or heard of “Turn of Mind” or Alice LaPlante? If so, what are your thoughts? Please feel free to share your thoughts & book suggestions with me inĀ the comments below!

The next Sunday Book Club is August 28thĀ & the book is ā€œThe Other Typist” by Suzanne Rindell.

Sunday Book Club – Postponed!Ā 

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the late notice but this week’s SBC, “Turn Of Mind” by Alice LaPlante, will be postponed until next week! I’ve been on many adventures this weekend that you will see recapped soon & unfortunately don’t have time to put the post up. Many apologies! Lo siento! I’m sorry!

Mom, me, Danny, & Aunt Millie at the West Edge Opera in Oakland


Sunday Book Club! Bossypants by Tina Fey

Hello again!
Today’s Sunday Book Club Review is “Bossypants” by Tina Fey.

Initial Thoughts:
For a long time, I had no idea who Tina Fey was because I didn’t watch too much TV. Eventually, even I couldn’t miss the impact she was having on pop culture with her skits onĀ Saturday Night Live, especially her impression of Sarah Palin.Ā Still, I neverĀ formed too much of an opinion on her.Ā As I became more interested in working in the Entertainment industry, her name popped up more & more as a Feminist alley. She was different from other female celebrities. She was intelligent, funny, hard working, a writer! She was a woman in power in a male dominated industry! She has remained relatively scandal free which has helped me remain neutral, yet curious to dig deeper, hence my interest in her autobiography, “Bossypants”. Thank you to my friend Marcela for buying me this book for my birthday! Keep reading to see if I’ve been converted to a Tina Fey super fan!

“Bossypants” doesn’t necessarily have a plot.Ā The book tellsĀ anecdotal stories ranging from Fey’s youth to her time before SNL to her marriage & eventual journey into parenthood, among other topics.

ā€“Ā Pg 53: “I only hope that one day I can frighten my daughter…Right now, she’s not scared of my husband or me at all…How can I give her what [my dad] gave me? The fear of getting in trouble. The knowledge that while you are loved, you are not above the law. The World-wide Parental Anxiety System is failing if this many of us have made sex tapes.”
YES! I have been saying something similar to this since I was a teenager. I would watch my friends get into shenanigans & ask them, “Aren’t you afraid your parents will kill you!?!” The answer was always a laugh & a shrug, or a straight up no. I’ve never experienced that carefree feeling. Even when I do something relatively small but “bad”, I think, “Better not tell Mom I stayed up all night, ate a carton of ice cream, & drank half a bottle of wine!” because I live in fear of her judgement & disappointment. My mom is by no means harsh or strict, she just has high expectations. Perhaps Fey & I experienced this Parental Anxiety System because we have older parents that didn’t feel like they needed to be our friend. Whatever the reason, I was happy to find finally this connection with someone!
– Pg 225: “If Darrell [Hammond] is da Vinci, Will [Ferrell] is Monet, & I am me, in a wig.”
I found Fey to be a bit TOO self deprecating. Of course if she was full of herself, I wouldn’t like that either, so there’s no winning. I just feel bad for her – how silly is that! Seriously though, she fights this battle that females are just as funny as males & does a great job praising her friends, but often talks about how she’s not funny. It’s meant to be tongue in cheek butĀ it was a bit off putting like, why am I reading your book if you don’t even believe in yourself?

Overall: B+
I gave “Bossypants” a B+ because Fey’s stories are well written, funny, & easy for me to connect with. However, I found that without a solid storyline to follow, no drama, no climax, I occasionally lost interest. The most interesting stories centered around Fey’s career before SNL & behind the scenes stories of SNL & 30 Rock. However, I might be biased because that’s where my current interest lies. If I was a new parent, I might find Fey’s tales of parenthood way more entertaining, I guess it just depends on the reader. Definitely a good choice for those interested in the Entertainment industry with a Feminist edge to it & of course, fans of Tina Fey.

Have you read “Bossypants” or another Autobiography of someone in the Entertainment industry? If so, what are your thoughts? Please feel free to share your thoughts & book suggestions with me inĀ the comments below!

The next Sunday Book Club is August 7th & the book is ā€œTurn of Mind” by Alice LaPlante.