Weekly Favorites 6

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I only have one favorite to share this week, but it was a fantastic book!

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Educated by Tara Westover was the only book I read this month that I gave 5 stars to on Goodreads. Those ratings are too vague, and don’t mean much, but I don’t give a lot of books that rating.

This memoir follows Tara Westover, who grew up waiting for the End of Days. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping for her family to live on when the rest of the world ceased to exist. I almost couldn’t believe this was a true story.

She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate.

She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a school, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals.

According to the state and federal government, she didn’t exist.

As she grew older, her father became more radical, and her brother, more violent. At sixteen she decided to take her education into her own hands. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains-to Harvard and to Cambridge.

Even through years and years of struggle to get the education she wanted, she also has to decide how to live with the family she has been given.

I was absolutely enamored by Tara’s story. It was so inspiring to see a woman with absolutely no formal education at all, on top of years of abuse and brainwashing, strive to pass her ACT, and then go on to get a PhD from Cambridge.

I won’t lie, parts of this book are extremely difficult to get through. There are scenes of extreme abuse, and graphic injuries as well. The most astounding part of this book for me was the fact that her family doesn’t believe in doctors. When someone in the family gets ill, Tara’s mother gives them herbs and essential oils to heal them. They can’t even take Tylenol. When Tara’s father is burned to the point of near death, they don’t go to the hospital. They let him ‘heal’ at home. Absolutely horrifying.

The writing is lovely, honest, and brutal. I listened to this as an audiobook the first time, and wished I hadn’t. I didn’t really enjoy the narrator’s voice. However, I was so in love with her resolve and passion I finished listening to it and promptly bought the hardcover copy.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who loves memoirs or a great story of resilience.

 

Also, update- I won’t be sharing my YouTube videos as blog posts anymore. I feel like they clog up too much of the feed on my blog, so there will be a widget on the side showcasing them.

 

Thanks for reading! What were your favorites books this week?

This Week’s Favorites! #2

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I had a lot more time this week to get in some reading, so here’s my second favorites post!

Most of what I’ve read over the past two weeks are classics. I read Life of Pi by Yann Martel, after having it on my TBR list for about ten years. I am only sorry to have waited so long.

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“It is true that those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, even unto our names.”

This story follows Pi Patel as he is travelling to Canada with his family and some of their zoo animals. The ship wrecks, and Pi is left stranded on a lifeboat with a 450 pound Bengal tiger. Over the next 200 or so days, they brave the elements together, and come to have a special bond. 

Pi’s personality was something I really enjoyed. He isn’t satisfied with one religion, so he proclaims himself as Hindu, Muslim, and Christian. To him, he is loving the same god no matter what, he just loves to worship in different ways. He is kind, even to an enormous cat that could potentially kill him. He is always thinking of the pain that the animals around him suffer, even when he has to eat fish while stranded on the boat. 

The writing was lovely and surreal, the development of characters (especially Richard Parker the tiger) was amazing, and the story was hard to put down. I would highly recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

Here’s my Goodreads review of the book:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2044659720?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

 

My second favorite this week is a book that’s also been on my TBR list forever- We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. I had watched the movie years ago, and the book has been on my list ever since.

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“I thought at the time that I couldn’t be horrified anymore, or wounded. I suppose that’s a common conceit, that you’ve already been so damaged that damage itself, in its totality, makes you safe.” 

For those of you who don’t know the story, it’s incredibly disturbing. The story is told from the point of view of Eva, who is the mother to Kevin- an emotionless child who ends up becoming a mass murderer. The story follows them as Kevin grows up, hating his mom from a very young age. The book starts before Eva has him, and climaxes into the moment he ruins the rest of her life. The writing is amazing, the story is horrifying but incredibly interesting to read, and the character development left me almost confused on who to root for by the end of the book. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but I’d personally recommend it to anyone who can handle disturbing subject matter.

Here’s my Goodread’s review of the book:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2273389050?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

What are the best things you read/watched this week? 

Weekly Favorites: 1

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I love getting suggestions for new books/ magazines/ movies/ articles/ shows to try out! There is a lot of great content that’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it, so I figured I’d share my favorites every week as well. It will be books most of the time, but as other things come up  I will share them too.

 

This week I wanted to talk especially about this book:

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I don’t read a lot of YA fiction anymore, but I couldn’t pass this one up. This story is about the Black Lives Matter movement, and more specifically a young girl who watches her friend get shot by a cop and how she deals with the aftermath. The story was heartbreaking but very hopeful, the characters were wonderful and developed, and it was from a point of view that I personally did not know much about. I listened to the audiobook version of this book, and I’m really glad I did. Bahni Turpin narrated the book, and she had the perfect voice for the story and for all the different characters. I think it’s great that there are young adult books like this are coming out to provide younger readers with important topics.

Here’s my Goodreads review of the book (click the link):

The Hate U Give Review

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” 

The second book I read last week that I wanted to talk about is:

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I really enjoy memoirs-especially ones that include horrible childhoods that are then recovered from. Running With Scissors was one of the most horrifying yet hilarious memoirs I have ever read of this sort. I would feel myself gasping out of disgust and then immediately laughing minutes later. This story of the author follows him as he watches his mother spiral into serious mental illness, and then as he is placed in the care of his mother’s equally insane therapist. This book definitely highlights some of the ugliest parts of mental illness and manipulation, and it’s probably not for the faint of heart.

My Goodreads review of it (click the link):

Running With Scissors Review

“It’s a wonder I’m even alive. Sometimes I think that. I think that I can’t believe I haven’t killed myself. But there’s something in me that just keeps going on. I think it has something to do with tomorrow, that there is always one, and that everything can change when it comes.” 

 

What did you read/watch this week that you loved? Please feel free to share in the comments!