Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in CrisisHillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I keep seeing everyone reading this & giving amazing reviews.... & the whole time I'm reading this, i'm like, "I dont get it". To me, it was boring & ordinary & nothing groundbreaking or earth shattering. Maybe because it just felt like reading a lot of my own family history? Mamaw & Papaw in this book sounded exactly like my own grandparents, some of the relatives in the book sounds just like my own family & the situations that I read in reviews that people are in shock about, just sounds like ordinary life. I mean, I do live in Kentucky but never considered our family "Hillbilly"... maybe I need to rethink that.

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From a former Marine and Yale Law School Graduate, a poignant account of growing up in a poor Appalachian town, that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is a fascinating consideration of class, culture, and the American dream.

Vance’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love.” They got married and moved north from Kentucky to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. Their grandchild (the author) graduated from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving upward mobility for their family. But Vance cautions that is only the short version. The slightly longer version is that his grandparents, aunt, uncle, and mother struggled to varying degrees with the demands of their new middle class life and they, and Vance himself, still carry around the demons of their chaotic family history.

Delving into his own personal story and drawing on a wide array of sociological studies, Vance takes us deep into working class life in the Appalachian region. This demographic of our country has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, and Vance provides a searching and clear-eyed attempt to understand when and how “hillbillies” lost faith in any hope of upward mobility, and in opportunities to come.

At times funny, disturbing, and deeply moving, this is a family history that is also a troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large portion of this country.

Still Me

Still Me (Me Before You, #3)Still Me by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After the 2nd book, I was afraid for this one. I really didnt like the 2nd book much at all... but couldnt pass a chance to catch up with Louisa. This one didn't falter at all. I loved it just as much as the first one. I wouldnt even mind another one to continue following Louisa & all the people in her life. I loved all the new characters in this book & just loved imaging Louisa in the Big Apple with her bee tights. & I love we still get snippets of Will in this book. #WilLTraynorForever!!!! I really was sad to see this one end

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Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life.

As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

Funny, romantic, and poignant, Still Me follows Lou as she navigates how to stay true to herself, while pushing to live boldly in her brave new world.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What She Knew

What She Knew (Jim Clemo #1)What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I've heard a lot of great things about this one & I'm just like Meh... ok then.
I was anxious to find out 'whodunit?' since it was after all a mystery - but it sort of got on my nerves. I felt like a part of the story just drug on & even caught myself just skimming pages towards the end because it was getting too long in areas.
It wasn't awful, it wasn't finger gripping suspense - it was just 'meh' to me.

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Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion. 

As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

Where is Ben? The clock is ticking...

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. FikryThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was not prepared for how much I loved this book.
Everything about it.
I'm not even sure I knew what the story was going to be about but kind of liked that it unfolded in such a beautiful tale of the life of A.J. Fikry & his bookstore & the people that came into his life because of the shop.
This so far is my favorite read of the year & am sad to see it go, but so glad I got to spend some time in Island Books.

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As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

We are not quite novels.

We are not quite short stories.

In the end, we are collected works.

A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming.