The Nook of Uncommon Books: “Sing You Home” by Jodi Picoult

If you are a lover of unique love stories and music, please treat yourself to Jodi Picoult’s audiobook “Sing You Home”. Firstly to start off, in this small blogger’s humble opinion, Mrs. Picoult is a fabulous writer. I should also take the time to mention that I also love love love love music like it’s my own abstract form of a child. So you can probably tell that I was a little more than excited to pick up a Jodi novel called “Sing You Home” in audiobook form. A story of love, change, family and acceptance, I knew from the summary itself that I was going to appreciate the story right from the beginning. What I was not prepared for was the magic that occurred even before the start of the first chapter. You see, Mrs. Picoult has an written original song for each chapter of this book in tribute with the main character of the story, Zoe, who is a musical therapist as she goes through life’s trials and tributes. Between Zoe’s infertility with eventual sexual awakening and her ex-husband’s religious wakening from his alcoholic stupor, there is a fight for the rights to an unborn child. The story tests humanity to its brink before finally settling revealing the true power of love and knowing what is right. This story in itself is incredible, and the songs are above and beyond. Or at least I think so because writing songs is not easy and I can relate to that very clearly from failed memory suppression attempts of my middle school days when I tried to form an all girl combination rock/country/rap band. (Sidenote: We were all in the concert band together and needless today nothing moved forward because 1) we didn’t actually put in the effort and 2) None of us actually played the necessary instruments…because we met in concert band). From what I have been told, the lyrics are written out in the physical book, however! In the audiobook, Jodi collaborated with her friend Ellen Wilber and brought these songs into reality. And, at least in my personal opinion, they are actually amazing songs. As in, if this was an album, I would buy the CD. The combination musician/bookworm inside appreciated the connection Picoult makes between the songs are the storyline. It’s a beautiful transition. It’s a beautiful book in general. I implore any and all to check it out.

Sometimes 1+1=3,

~C

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The Nook of Uncommon Books: “Going Bovine” by Libba Bray

I have already talked about my favorite book of all time in a previous post about the books that have changed my life, but my appreciated of the existence of this book is too much that I felt it deserved in own post. Going Bovine by Libba Bray is everything I want in a book. A dark comedy filled with adventure and wonder about learning the true value of life, friendship and acceptance. When Cameron Smith starts to experience strange occurrences all around him, she just assumes he got some bad pot. It’s not until he is diagnosed with Mad Cow disease that he realizes he is in much bigger trouble. Thank goodness there is a guardian punk angel named Dulcie to tell him that despite everything the doctor’s said about him being untreatable, there is a Doctor X out there in the world that will cure Cameron once and for all. With his forced upon sidekick Gonzo, the hypochondriac dwarf obsessed with video games, Cameron goes on the most insane, incredible and story worthy adventure that most people never gets to experience and this is where he truly learns the value of life and the difference between just living and actually living.

This is probably where I should also mention that Libba Bray is my favorite of all time. Her writing flows as smoothly and silky as soft tofu and her story telling skill will easily rival those of  Aesop, the Grimm Brother and Lin-Manuel Miranda. In this modern book world, where it is easy to fall into the world of “trendy” books, Bray stand out of the crowd, proudly wearing a neon colored fedora and a glittery boa. Her books are in there own genre and I am officially addicted to the point that if there was a support group of people who are addicted to books and reading to the point of not functioning, I would need to commit myself. (Oh wait! Those do exist! We just call them book clubs). I cannot talk about this book enough, ask my parents who are so sick of hear about this book that they actually will leave a room if they hear the words “Bovine”, “Mad-Cow”, “Punk Angel” or “Star Fighter” come out of my mouth. There are only a few books in my life that have been able to join the “Was Read in One Sitting” club and Going Bovine is not just a member, it is the freaking president. This is the book that changed me and in many way, it also saved me. The person that I am now, actually has been greatly influenced by what I took from Going Bovine and in many ways, it rescued me from myself. To me, it’s actually perfect (cue “Love Actually” music), and I will forever and ever recommend it.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!:
To anyone who has already has the pleasure of reading Cameron’s story, it is the Wizard of Reckoning’s question of “Did you live?” that gets me every time. On the days where I feel down, or on the days that are just too much for me, I tell myself “You can free the snow globes, You can save the universe.” And those words have given me the incredible strength and willpower to keep going in ways I would have never thought a book could. Because here’s the thing, even in his own mind, as Cameron was essentially making all of his travels up, this imagined escapade was still full of mistakes and problems along the way. Because life isn’t perfect, and it’s all of these imperfections that is what makes this life worth living. Take in all the moments, making all the simple things that much sweet. It’s my favorite part, and I hope you can see why.

Enjoy the Ride,

C

The Most Shameful Thing I did in Atlantic City

I went to my first bachelorette party a few weekends ago and I did something that I feel like I will regret very much so in the future. So to start at the beginning, we went to Atlantic City as one does and I guess I was blindsided by all the fun colors and pretty cocktail waitresses walking by but all I can really say for sure was that I was just not in the right state of mind that entire weekend. I was of course happy for my friend who is getting married which is why we were celebrating…which is also why I had to drink all that tequila. I’ll paint a quick picture for you: pre-gaming a little too hard because we started too late, somehow ending up at a strip club, getting fries at one in the morning and stumbling back to our hotel room somewhere between 3am and sunrise. We found our hallway and we were gradually making our way back I saw something silver catch my eye. It was the top of a serving platter, you know the ones that they have when you get room service. There was this tray sitting outside the room two doors down from us, and I stared at it because, 1) not gonna lie the food looks delicious even half eaten and 2) there were two uneaten dinner rolls and one practically uneaten chocolate cake. Me and my roommate stared at the tray as if it was the freaking Mona Lisa (if the Mona Lisa were made out of carbs, which would make it approximately a million times better). And we both were thinking the same thing, we wanted someone else’s discarded leftovers… and we wanted them bad. We silently contemplated this for a little bit before finally deciding to walking back to our room, not taking someone else’s food that they did not want and again silently agreeing that it was all probably touched and sneezed on.

But then out of nowhere at the last second, my friend whipped around, ran back, grab the dinner rolls and was sprinting back to our room. And in that moment of panic and also slightly impressed by her courage, I grab the plate of partially eaten chocolate cake, ran back only to stop halfway to go put the actual plate back down and grab the chocolate cake with my bare hands running into the door as she try to close it Indiana Jones style. After enjoying our rolls and half a piece of cake each, we were pleasantly happy with ourselves and not regretful at all. Until that terrible moment that I remembered this vital fact that somehow slipped my mind (I blame Mr. Tequila) about how hotel rooms tend video  everything going on in their rooms for me legal reasons because Americans sue for everything nowadays. But they also record to catch weird shit like this. Our wonderful bride to be was walking down the hallway just in time to see me crawling on my hands and knees looking up lamp posts and into the carpet trying to find hidden cameras everywhere. She took a second to digest what she was seeing before commenting “You look like the Grudge.” To which I responded “No I don’t! Now stop being crazy and help me find the secret cameras!” In her defense…I saw the footage of myself crawling all over the place that she lovingly took to time to Snapchat, and I must admit I did look pretty demented. She actually showed the video to my roommate who was lying down on the bed and it scared her so much that she jumped up and hit her head really hard on the headboard and ended up with a hug headache. It was that bad When I finally came back to my room not finding any cameras I realize my second mistake now not only does this hotel have video footage of me stealing chocolate cake with my bare hands or, I should specify, already eaten chocolate cake with my bare hands, they also have a decent amount of footage of me crawling on my hands and knees she looking under a little bit of wallpaper in the carpets and anywhere else poking for the cameras which I obviously did not find. So I am watching the news religiously nowadays being wary of the fact that I might appear in one of those weird segment that will eventually become a viral video. So when I went to Atlantic City I did not gamble at all but I left the city feeling that I loss something very valuable at the hotel. My dignity.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

~C

Reevaluation of Priorities: Books

My emotional connection to books has reached an all time high which has caused an all time low to my standards of living. These are three things that have happen in the past 2 weeks alone to prove this:

1. I have spent over $150 on books or book related events/merchandise and yet, I do not own a single pair of socks that does not have at least 1 fairly large hole between them and refuse to get more socks…because I spent all my money on books.

2. I will travel 1 and a half hours, round trip, with combination of driving and metros to meet an author for an event that last less than an hour and yet, I will continue to put off driving less than 5 minute down the street to get more milk and just eat cereal dry with my bare hands.

3. I have decided that instead of prioritizing my time between work, school and basic adult things so that I can read all the books I actually want to, I am just going to sleep less. My coffee intake (which is already pretty high) has almost doubled so far and I’ve averaging about 4 hours a night. And yet, I have no regrets.

For the love of books and all things book related forever and ever and ever,

~C