What I read: I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy
Why I picked it up: I heard it was a terrible story written very well, and I appreciate an insight into the lives of actors.
How I read it: On audio at 1.5x speed while planting.
What it’s about: Jeanette tells the story of “before” her mom died and “after” through a series of short chapters that could all be considered short essays. It was awful to listen to, meaning the things she was put through were just things no kid should ever have to endure. Her mom made her act so she could live vicariously through her daughter, she taught her how to have an eating disorder, and she was abusive. She showered her until she was at least 16 giving her regular “exams” in the shower – for what purpose, the author still doesn’t know.
What I liked: I appreciated the insight into her life told in such a raw way.
What I disliked: It was horrifying to listen to – her mother wasn’t the only abuser in her life – and she experienced things no child or adult should ever have to endure.
Genre: Celebrity memoir, abuse.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely. Unless abuse or eating disorders are a trigger for you, then stay far away.
What I read: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Why I picked it up: I heard about a new memoir that was called “for the front of the house like Anthony Bourdain did for the back of the house” and I thought, I should read his too.
How I read it: On audio over a week, it was a lot.
What it’s about: Anthony writes about his experience as a chef, what it’s like, what he loves, how he operated the back of the house.
What I liked: I loved the inside look into a world I have zero experience with.
What I disliked: I’m a little afraid of going to a restaurant now, will I order the best thing or get left over, almost ready to throw away fish during brunch?
Genre: Celebrity memoir, food.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, and hearing him read it was good!
What I read: Managing Expectations by Minnie Driver
Why I picked it up: I think Anne Bogel put this on a list of celebrity memoirs read by the author a few weeks ago.
How I read it: On audio at 1.5x.
What it’s about: It’s a series of 10 essays about her life, family, and acting. All read by her, which is why I picked up the audio book.
What I liked: I found her perspective to be delightful. I knew not much about Minnie before reading this, and it was interesting to learn more.
What I disliked: It wasn’t chronological and there were some parts where I wanted just more to the story about what happened next.
Genre: Celebrity memoir.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and if you like celebrity memoir, sure.
What I read: Kill the Spider by Carlos Whittaker
Why I picked it up: I’ve been thinking of using this analogy in an upcoming presentation, and I wanted the full explanation from the person who I heard it from.
How I read it: On audio in just a few hours. It’s short.
What it’s about: Attacking the root of an issue. Instead of sweeping cobwebs every day, kill the thing making the cobwebs. This is Carlos’ account of learning this from his father and applying it to his life.
What I liked: I appreciated the teaching and his openness in sharing about applying it to his life. I follow Carlos on Instagram and know some of his story, but this was much deeper than any of that and I appreciated that.
What I disliked: I might have liked to know some time frames for things. I know he didn’t conquer this all in a 5 day therapy retreat, but sometimes it felt like he did.
Genre: Self-Help, Christian
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think it’s worth a listen.
What I read: One More Thing by B.J. Novak
Why I picked it up: It was an instant borrow and I like B.J. Novak.
How I read it: On audio.
What it’s about: I don’t know. Not one single thing, more like over a hundred short stories. Were some of them real? Maybe…
What I liked: Many stories were thought provoking, most were quite short, in general it was a delightful listen.
What I disliked: I don’t really know the purpose of the book if there was one beyond entertainment. If that was the whole purpose, then it was a smashing success.
Genre: Celebrity memoir, short stories.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and maybe, if you’re into that kind of thing. Something about nothing.
What I read: The Office BFFs by Jenna Fischer & Angela Kinsey
Why I picked it up: I love Office Ladies and The Office so how could I not?
How I read it: On hardcover the day I received it in the mail. I think Harry Potter is the last book I devoured in this way.
What it’s about: It’s about Jenna and Angela’s experience acting on The Office and what’s come since then. There are tons of new stories and additional content. This is not the book form of their podcast (I felt like that’s what Brian’s book was), but, instead, it’s full of personal stories, delightful tales, and the story of friendship.
What I liked: I loved the back and forth storytelling they do. It works for this book and feels so conversational.
What I disliked: I want the audiobook extras without having to listen to the whole audiobook. Maybe in a few years I’ll do a reread via audio to get them!
Genre: Celebrity memoir.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and if you like The Office and Office Ladies, definitely. If you don’t, I’d skip this one.
What I read: Taste by Stanley Tucci
Why I picked it up: Anne and Annie both recommended it on paper and audio but said the audio is a delight. So I put it on hold, ages ago! I think it took me 9 months to get on Libby!
How I read it: On audio, but upon finishing I purchased the hardcover so I can have the recipes to make!!
What it’s about: Stanley Tucci’s life has revolves around food since he was a small boy. This is a chronicle of his life through food (hence the subtitle). There are so many great recipes included too!
What I liked: Everything. I’ve had a small crush on Stanley Tucci for some time, but I’m now in love. He’s such a delight! An amazing cook, fantastic father, and talented actor.
What I disliked: Not having the recipes in front of me, but I’m fixing that! The book will be here in a few days.
Genre: Food memoir, celebrity memoir, cookbook.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes!! On audio!!
What I read: Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First. by Laura Tremaine
Why I picked it up: Jenna Fischer recommended this over a year ago because she’s Laura’s IRL friend and wrote the forward. I was intrigued enough that I pre-ordered it – and then let it sit on my shelf for a year before I read it!
How I read it: The hardcover, one chapter each evening followed by journaling my stuff based on her prompt.
What it’s about: It’s about friendship and how to share who we are with others. I appreciated that she shared first, got vulnerable with us, and then encouraged us to think through the questions ourselves before sharing with someone else. There were some really deep, thought-provoking prompts that I would love to dive deep into with a friend.
What I liked: I liked the way she broke it down, and I appreciated the interludes between the chapters with different fun lists of ten things.
What I disliked: I appreciated that she shared about how her faith has changed over the course of her life; however, I didn’t love how she seemed to imply that the older, more mature, and more experienced she got the less she needed a faith community. I think this is a failing on our faith communities and the way we share about this fundamental belief we have.
Genre: Self-Help, Celebrity Memoir, Friendship.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes. I think it was a really great exercise in thinking through my own life, what’s been most impactful for me and if I’ve shared that with others. I also think it’s good to consider what I’m sharing with who and if they’ve earned the right to hear that part of my story, if they’ll be there to help me pick up the pieces afterward.
What I read: How to be Perfect by Michael Shur
Why I picked it up: I’m a big Mike Shur fan and also The Good Place fan so when I hear about his new book on the Office Ladies podcast, I couldn’t resist picking it up.
How I read it: On kindle via my phone over some days.
What it’s about: Moral Philosophy, what we should do, what we owe to one another, and how to act according to a lot of different philosophers.
What I liked: The summary/primer on moral philosophy that I never got. I also loved the humor throughout!! Mike’s a great writer who is also quite funny. It was a delight.
What I disliked: Three things: 1. He didn’t include any religious or spiritual philosophers which kind of creates a story without a creator (but he’s an atheist so it makes sense). 2. I think he used shame wrongly. Definitely not in the Brené Brown way I prefer. 3. He presumes his thoughts on subjects are the TRUTH and anyone who disagrees with him is on the wrong side of truth.
Genre: Moral Philosophy and Humor.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, especially if you liked The Good Place.
What I read: Act Like A Lady by Becca Tobin, Jac Vanek,& Keltie Knight
Why I picked it up: A good friend recommended it for our monthly book club and since it was immediately available from the library I downloaded it out of curiosity.
How I read it: Via Kindle over a couple weeks.
What it’s about: Jac, Becca, and Keltie have a podcast and show called LadyGang where they talk all things ladies, support for women, normalizing things normally not spoken about, and creating community. The book dives into Love, Self, Career, and Friends. Each section includes their own personal stories as well as advice.
What I liked: I appreciate anything to helps you normalize the life of being a woman. All of the little oddities that seem to happen to us all but no one ever talks about because it’s not “lady-like” and therefore leads us all to believe we’re the only ones.
What I disliked: Most of the stories. I couldn’t help but think “do you see how your actions are the cause of your own unhappiness?” I thought this many times. My own life looks nothing like theirs and some of their advice, in my opinion, is quite harmful if you want a good relationship with a partner, work, friend, or even yourself.
Genre: Self-Help with a big side of celebrity worship.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️ and no. I’ll chat about it with the friend I’m buddy reading with, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re already really into their podcast. I won’t be exploring more from them.