What's Going On Here?

There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mary Mary

The Girl in the Locked Room is Mary Downing Hahn for sure.  I always warn kids that this is not one of those authors who tricks you, where the ghost is just Uncle Bill in a sheet, like a Scooby Doo episode.  This stuff is for real scary.  And that is what makes MDH so awesome.  I have to say I couldn't get into this one as quickly as I have been sucked in to her books before but it was probably just where I was at the time.  Good stuff. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Even though

I will never be a mother or a grandmother, and even though I was hesitant to read Some Assembly Required:  A Journal of My Son's First Son, I soon realized that one doesn't have to be a mother or grandmother or son, first or otherwise, or father to appreciate this beautiful and honest and heart-breaking book. 
If I had already fallen in love with Sam Lamott just from what his mother has written about him in her other books, I would have fallen in love after reading this. 


I had to acknowledge my bias before I read The Diary of a Hounslow Girl.  As I have stated many times, I am NOT a fan of off-putting Briticisms or what I perceive to be arrogance on the part of the British in general.  But this was worth reading despite of all of that, so I am glad that I gave it a chance.  I am so glad that I did.  Ambreen Razia has written a one-woman drama and wow, this is really, really good.  Very insightful and eye-opening and compelling.  No matter where it is set!  Haha!  I mean, I know it's setting is important, it's just that I was able to learn from it and enjoy it even though I am NOT a fan of the UK!  But I am working on it.

NOTHING against Mike Lupica

I just don't like Sunny Randall.  Blood Feud is the first Sunny Randall to be written after the death of Robert B. Parker.  So now all of his popular series are being continued.  I had wondered by Sunny wasn't among them from the beginning.  At times I did wish that she was, but now that I have reacquainted myself with her snarky ways, I think it might have been okay to leave Sunny where she was.  I never even liked it when she and Jesse got together. 
Mike Lupica was previously known to me as a YA writer, with a focus on sports so I was excited to see what he might do with Sunny.  And he did a great job of making Sunny Sunny.  So this is NOTHING against him.  I think he is a great writer.  I just don't like her!
Which makes me wonder...am I just like someone who judges a woman politician in a different way from the way in which I judge a man?  Do I not like Sunny for the same reasons why I love Spenser
Ashamedly, I THINK SO!  So I will continue to read the Sunny Randall books.  Because Lupica is a great writer and because RBP was, and always will be the Great RBP and I need to figure out why a man can be snarky and arrogant and annoying and I can LOVE him but when a woman is, I can hardly listen through the whole book!

Bottom line:  If you like Sunny, you will like this.  Lupica has done a great job of bringing her back to life.  If you didn't like Sunny, you will have the same issues and if you think you are having those issues because she is a woman, you might want to think about that a little more. 

Monday, December 10, 2018


That I read New Family Values by Andrew Solomon.  I had tried him before but couldn't get into the book, but man, this was just so good.  So good.  It was an audible original and he talks about it being a series.  Will it be a podcast?  Will it be one of those channels on audible?  I just really thought that this was an important, powerful and well done look into the American family and how family is defined.  There are SO many different kinds of families.  And when will we ALL understand that God is far more concerned THAT we love than WHOM we love and that families come in all shapes and sizes.  A great, great book. 

I still can't spell

Hallelujah.  Which is too bad because as a pastor it's a word that I might use more than some.  I also can't spell bulletin, which again, given my vocation, makes it tough!  Hallelujah Anyway:  Reflections on Mercy by Anne Lamott was wonderful.  Yes, I am reading everything I can by her.  In this one she mentions a tweet that she wrote about "the only transgender person she can't stand" and it was easy for me to google that whole debacle.  I was so touched and impressed by her honesty and admission of wrong in this incident.  And her openness regarding the impact that her son had on her dealing with the situation. 
What google couldn't do was tell me which author she is talking about when she writes about an author who said nasty things about her and humiliated her.  Doesn't she know that I need to know so I can hate this author?!?  Doesn't she know that I need to know who did this to her so that I can hope that this author will get bad reviews forever?!?
Oh wait, maybe I am supposed to be merciful.
Live and learn.
And grow.  Excellent book.

It's Been Awhile

since I have read something like Dry.  The whole dystopian, natural disaster book.  Wait!  That makes it seem like I am putting this book down, just saying it is "one of THOSE books." But it really isn't.  It is quite good.  And realistic.  And it really could happen.  Maybe this whole country is dystopian.  Since we don't have a president anymore.  This is very much worth the read.  Good, good stuff.  Scary. 

No Fault

There seems to be a new trend in book descriptions as provided by the publisher.  Have you seen this:  "for fans of Gone Girl" or "in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars" or for those who loved "The Color Purple"  that kind of thing?  And I get why.  I mean, when I am helping someone find a book I start with, "What was the last book you loved?" and try to figure out their tastes from that.  But that's just a starting point because sometimes people want to branch out.  And either way is fine!  But when I personally read a blurb that says right away, "in the tradition of" or "for fans of" I worry that it means the book is just a cheap knock off of another book.  Which is bad for a bunch of reasons.  It doesn't give full credit to the author of the new book.  I don't know...I see both sides. I have to say I figured that Five Feet Apart was going to be a TFIOS knock off, albeit a bit late.  And it was actually the lateness of it that made me read it because I figured well, maybe not because this whole trend is kinda over.
Well, that was a tangent.  And Five Feet Apart was very good and not a knock off of TFIOS and I would recommend it!  So sorry for the tangent!  But if you were thinking about not reading FFA because you thought it was, don't be afraid!  Read it, it's good!