Friday, August 4, 2017

Stef's "So Good You Can't Put It Down" Book Reviews Summer 2017 Reading Challenges! - Fourth Update

You know that part in "Hamilton" in "Nonstop" when the lyrics go "Why/How do you write like you're running out of time?"?

Well, I kinda feel this way now, only I am reading like I am running out of time. I'm at the point where I am juggling three books at once and wondering if this is the right way to go about it and if I should just focus on one at a time.

We are now in August, which is technically the final month of my Summer 2017 Reading Challenge, so now I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do.

Here are my pages numbers now:

Beach Blondes by Katherine Applegate - 445 out of 721

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer - 99 out of 323

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware - 34 out of 340

Since I have completed Mindy Kaling's book, I have been doing some catching up with Beach Blondes. I am not in the August part yet, but the transition between June and July in the book didn't matter much for me to time it this way. There is no indication that months change between parts (even reading ahead between July and August proves such), so it doesn't make much of a difference. Also, I'm pretty sure that I will be reading the August part in August eventually anyway.

I still consider it a light read, but once I read the progress in Diana's storyline, I find myself in need of a break from it. The things that she endures are so heartbreaking that it infuriates me, so I need to break away and read some comedienne memoirs.

I hadn't been reading much of Amy Schumer's book, although I wished to continue it. However, in fact, I was also considering returning it to the library earlier due to my lack of interest in it.

I started reading The Woman in Cabin 10 and so far I am glad that I have not purchased this book or returned Schumer's in lieu of it. The action is kinda slow and because of something that happens in the first chapter, the main character Lo loses sleep and most of Ware's descriptions is explaining how tired she is, making the story an actual sleeper. I'm hoping it picks up better. I am currently a chapter away from Part 2, actually. It is due back at the library on August 14, so I have time with it.

I finally did manage to read more of Schumer's The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, but I think I might be done with this book for the summer. I returned it to Sprague Library on August 2, its due date, and was actually looking forward to doing so. Throughout these blog posts I have been kinda "meh" about it, so I guess this was the best time for us to finally part.

If you plan on reading this book thinking that it is going to be her being funny, you are highly mistaken. This was my surprise.

I mean, she's somewhat funny at certain times. But for the most part, she isn't.

What's interesting is that when I first picked up this book, I was initially more excited to read it than Kaling's (before I actually started reading Kaling's). I felt more of a connection to Schumer and so I was looking forward to reading about what we had in common and maybe learn some things from her. Don't get me wrong, there are some similarities that she and I do share and I found that I have more in common with her than I thought. I appreciate learning this kind of stuff because I originally saw her one way, but because this book allows her to be truthful about herself, it made it a partial interesting read and easier for me to relate to her.

However, this ultimately lead to my biggest issue with the book: it's morbidity. Instead of talking about her career and the many humorous things that have happened to her, which was what I was anticipating and she does briefly, she mainly discusses family problems, sexual assault, relationship abuse, gun violence, etc. Every time I went to read another chapter thinking it was going to be any less heavy, it turned out to be yet another story that made me even sadder about life. They read more like PSA announcements. She provides a personal example and then ends with her testimony.

When I read a book or watch a movie or play, I understand that these art forms are used to take a stand and can brilliantly achieve this, but I also do so to get inspired or explore another domain for a bit. If I wanted to read about or see how horrible the world is, I'd just go on social media or read any news article. I read books and watch films to get away from this.

Basically put, this book is a collection of Amy Schumer's serious side, or as what I like to call, "Serious Schumer."

However, this being said, I now see her in a new light and respect her more for this too. Each chapter focuses on a certain topic that she talks about for a reason and she is completely honest. Though each one comes across morbid at first, she uses them as opportunities to offer lessons or epiphanies from her life. She clearly wants to make several statements with this book and I really admire that she wants you to learn from her experiences. She sincerely cares about her readers. As much as I want to stop reading, I also want to press on. She provides nice insight. She also has a chapter dedicated to her stuffed animals. Other readers don't seem to like this, but I'm okay with it.

As a side note, she talks about sex and needlessly references her vagina way too much. Not that that's BAD, but it is just a little too overboard. It's one thing for her to talk about sex life, which she does enough of, but it's another thing for her to randomly bring up her vagina when discussing a carnival ride. Even this isn't totally awful, but just seems a bit unwarranted, as if she must mention her genitals for the sake of mentioning her genitals.

I recommend that if you do read this book, choose certain chapters that seem of interest to you and read sporadically. Upon realizing that I would be returning the book the following day without much eagerness to check it out again, I chose to read chapters sporadically from the Table of Contents to get as much out of the book as I could. This was when I noticed that whatever chapter I chose, I kept receiving desolate material. Because of these intense chapters, I noticed that she follows up with comic relief sections as reprieves, so perhaps my suggestion is pointless because it is formatted in this specific way.

Schumer has every right to discuss what she wants to in her own book, no matter how dark. There's nothing wrong with that. It just wasn't what I was expecting or looking for at the moment regarding my summer reading. Even though it may not be for me, I appreciate her writing it. I hope to return to it because I don't totally despise it.

I'll end my review of Schumer's book with my favorite passage from it, from actually one of my favorite chapters. In "Officially a Woman," she talks about making people laugh for the first time at her Bat Mitzvah, which helped her recognize that she wanted to become a comedienne. I thought that was nice.

She ends the chapter by saying that afterward she and her friends went to Medieval Times in New Jersey!!! :D

I LOVE that place and I love that she went to the one that I go to! What made this even cooler was that I had just recently been there about a week before first reading this! :D

This was one of the few parts of the book that made me happy.

So, because of my overall unfortunate disappointment in Schumer's book, I decided to change up my Summer 2017 Reading Challenge YET AGAIN.

I've heard a lot good about the following two books. I often see them available at Barnes and Noble and think that they will provide the reading enjoyment that I am looking for, so now I am officially adding them to my list.

Two female professional best friends and writers. Perfect.

I had originally seen Amy Poehler's Yes Please on the Sprague Library Pop Picks shelves awhile back, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that Tina Fey's book Bossypants is also available at Sprague. I found Bossypants right away, but for some reason the available copy of Yes Please is missing, so the librarian is keeping a lookout for me. I checked out Bossypants the night I returned Schumer's book. It has the same light physical feel as Kaling's book does, so I have a good feeling about this one. :)     

I also found another book on the Pop Picks shelf that I haven't seen in a long time, so I decided to check this one out as well. I think I might have written about this one on this blog before.

I started reading Nicholas Sparks's novel The Wedding on DECEMBER 20, 2014. I entered my latest Goodreads entry for it on SEPTEMBER 5, 2015! So basically I had given up on this book TWO YEARS AGO, but yet it is still under my "Currently Reading" list.

To be fair, I hadn't seen the book again until now on the shelves. I didn't realize that the book was still in the library.

The book is a cute enough love story about a man who is trying to re-romance his wife (the daughter of Nick and Allie Calhoun from The Notebook) while planning their own daughter's wedding. The only thing is it is tedious and bland. It's not the most riveting book, but yet I kept returning and checking out again throughout that year because I wanted to see what finally happens with their relationship.

I am on page 184 out of 263, meaning that I am actually more than halfway done with it and I still haven't been able to finish it! Considering that it is still under my "Currently Reading" list, I have always wanted to. I've gotten this far!

I'm taking being reunited with this book as a sign that I must finish this copy. I have also found paperback editions at Barnes and Noble and considered buying it, but have not.

So will I finally finish reading this book by August 30, which is when this one and Bossypants are due back at the library?? We shall soon see!

Also, Basement Bookshelf has now reached 353 books! I'm proud of this because most of the recent contributions have been my own books, particularly my The New Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley collection, a series about the Olsen twins having their own detective agency and solving mysteries. I've had a pile of these books (20), some of which that I have considered donating, but I'm too attached to them because these were the first books that got me excited about reading. They also sparked my interest in the mystery genre, which is one of my favorites to read. I would rip through them so quickly as a kid and I even reread them again now as an adult. They kept taking up space in my room and bookshelves, so I'm happy to have finally found a home for them. :)