Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) In Song – Sara Bareilles

51g9wft-nxl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Sounds Like Me is a collection of 8 personal essays by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. Each essay shares a title with one of her songs and explores an aspect of her life that relates to the development of the song itself.

Prior to snatching this book off the New Arrivals section of my library, I was only familiar with three of Sara’s biggest hits (most notably, “Love Song“). Before starting each chapter, I would listen to the song it was named for, and I found this really enhanced the experience. Though it would help, you certainly don’t have to be a fan of Sara to appreciate her book. Her story will likely interest anyone who is curious about the development of an artist and her journey into mainstream success. Sara has a very authentic writing style, her tone consistent with that of a friend speaking to you over coffee. By the end of the book, I got a great sense of who she is and a new appreciation for her music.

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Mandy – Julie Andrews Edwards

 

0064402967-01-lzzzzzzzI think this might be my most favorite children’s book so far. Mandy is about a 10-year-old orphan girl who has a vibrant inner life and dreams of having a place of her own. One day, she secretly climbs over the back wall behind the orphanage to go exploring. To her surprise, she discovers a run-down abandoned cottage and decides to fix it up herself. Without telling anyone, she uses her pocket money for various items (plant seeds, soap flakes, etc.) and borrows what she can’t afford from the orphanage. She cleans the entire place spotless and plants a colorful garden, rushing home every day right after school to delight in her handiwork. With this cottage, Mandy finally has a place all to herself that can distract her from her loneliness and longing for a family.

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Matilda – Roald Dahl

matilda-by-roald-dahlIn this classic, Matilda is a child prodigy who starts reading novels at age 4. You would think her parents would be thrilled with such accomplishment, but unfortunately they couldn’t care less about their genius daughter. Her father is a dishonest used car salesman and her mother is consumed with playing bingo; they strongly discourage educational betterment of any kind, and the family spends every night eating TV dinners in front of the television. When 5-year-old Matilda goes to school, her advanced skills are noted by her lovely teacher, Miss Honey. But while she finally gets the encouragement she needs, she must also avoid the wrath of the headmistress, the terrifying Miss Trunchbull. Continue reading

Nimona – Noelle Stevenson

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I tried to summarize this book but can’t do it justice. I’m going to let the bookjacket do the talking:

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are. Explosions will be involved. Science and sharks will be, too. But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit. Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson, based on her award-winning web comic.

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The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

o-little-prince-anniversary-edition-facebookA pilot recounts his experience stranded in the African desert, where he meets a little prince who hails from Asteroid B-612. Before coming to Earth, the prince traveled to several other asteroids, where he encountered silly adults occupied with silly adult matters. The little prince is always full of questions; though this initially irritates the pilot, he soon accepts this side of the prince and surrenders himself to his mysteries.

The Little Prince is a very peculiar book, unlike any other children’s book I’ve read before. In fact, I feel as though it is truly intended for adults who may be forgetting they were children once. This was my first time reading it, and though I can grasp how special this book is, I feel I will need a few more readings to uncover its true depth. Continue reading

Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling

41er04s8kol-_sx329_bo1204203200_Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Mindy Kaling. Aside from my general admiration of a fellow South Indian-American woman finding success in Hollywood, I have loved her unique writing style and sense of humor since her days on The Office. After being a bit underwhelmed by Mindy’s first book (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?), I found myself hooked to Why Not Me? from the get go. The first book was kind of shapeless in structure; the essays were humorous but didn’t elicit more than an occasional laugh out of me. This book on the other hand made me laugh out loud several times. And most importantly, it managed to find that difficult balance of funny and thoughtful. Continue reading

The 2016 Bardathon Challenge

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I really enjoyed reading Shakespeare in college but now without the guide of a professor and class discussion, I find it difficult to get through his plays on my own. So I’ve signed up for my fourth and final challenge of 2016, The Bardathon Challenge, to push myself to make progress on that elusive goal of reading his complete works. I signed up for the level of “All-rounder Shakespearean,” and will attempt to read at least 3 plays from each of the tragedies, comedies, and histories. Here is my list of books for this challenge:

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