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.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I didn't know that Whatever Happened to Baby Jane was a book before it was a movie.  And what a movie it was!  Very creepy.  One of the best and most creepy movies I have ever seen.  I saw it later in my life; I had to be at least 35 when I saw it and Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, based on the short story by Baby Jane author, Henry Farrell.   Charlotte promoted by disdain for Olivia de Havilland and put me solidly on Joan Fontaine's side of the sister feud.
It was a creepy treat to read both Baby Jane and Charlotte and another Farrell story, First the Egg, which I found to be very funny. I don't know what it would be like to have just read Hush and Baby without having seen the movies. Crawford and Davis just burn themselves into your brain.  But I wouldn't trade having done so!  Do the stories hold up on their own?  I think so.  I would be interested to hear from someone who read the books/stories first.  But I really enjoyed these!

Not What I Expected

I have heard good things about Andrew Solomon.  And I did enjoy Far and Away:  Places on the Brink of Change:  Seven Continents, 25 Years.   a lot.  And I think he is an interesting dude.  But I didn't realize that this was a collection of essays.  I guess I should have read what the book was about before just saying, "HEY!  ANDREW SOLOMON!  I will read that!  But still, it was decent.  I think I will try a single-topic book from him next time.  I would like to go back and listen to some of the essays, maybe.  The ones that really stood out for me.  He does use a lot of words.  And not being an intellectual, that can be hard for me!  I am more a Paulsen-to-the-point-reader, as you know.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A great find

Dan Gemeinhart was an author I found in 2016, with Some Kind of Courage.  I loved that book!  At the time I thought he was a new author, but no, I had just foolishly missed him!  Like my other amazing find of 2016, Jewel Parker Rhodes!  Scar Island was really, really fantastic!  The only sad thing about it, is that I think this might be his book for 2017 and I already read it!  I need to go back and read The Honest Truth!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Long Time

The Gift of Being Yourself:  the Sacred Call to Self-Discovery by David G. Benner was our Sunday School class's fall semester book and so I have been reading it and listening to it and talking about it (though I did miss a lot of classes this fall- gonna do better this winter!) since September.
It a really good, short but challenging book and I have recommended it to others.  I love how honest the author is, saying that "knowing yourself" can sound like psychobabble.  He even references the cartoon I have posted here. And so with honesty, the book begins.  And it goes into some very helpful and important places.  And the thing is, there IS a sacred call to know oneself.  It's just hard to do.


More politics than I usually like in Stuart Woods' fortieth Stone Barrington book, Below the Belt.  But hey, it's Stone, and he has yet another new house! And yes, you have to love (however guiltily) Stone!  Not sure why it is called Below the Belt, other than there is the usual activity from Stone- though, really, less in this one than in some!


Unfriended grabbed me with the cover and I am glad it did!  Rachel Vail is the author of the Avery Sister Trilogy and I really enjoyed them and had forgotten to check to see what she had written lately!  So this was a very good discovery!  This book gives a really good lesson, but  not preachy or overtly, about bullying, in particular, cyberbullying.  It also just shows how there are really no "all good" or "all bad" people.  I loved the reasons shown behind the actions of Natasha, the "bad, but not all bad" one, that kind of thing.  And of course, Hazel, who probably did things that were more heinous, but yet, it was easy to see how people make bad choices from a place of pain.  Good stuff.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Talking Politics

It's said that it is never good to talk politics or religion in mixed company.  But those are the most interesting topics, aren't they?  And the most important topics, aren't they?  Last year's American Presidential election was an emotional one.  There are many of my friends and co-workers who are depressed by and disillusioned by the outcome.  I myself was very sad and disappointed, but I maintain that since human nature is the same, we are no worse than the worst of times and no better than the best of times.  The Worst President: The Story of James Buchanan was interesting to me because I didn't know anything about him at all!  And after reading this book, I can see why.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Non-Preachy Way to Share a Message

The Upside Down Magic series has some wonderful messages.  Acceptance, diversity, radical hospitality are just a few.  And all of these messages are subtle and packed into a these funny, magical books.  This is a great addition to the series.  Even as the UDM class gets better at controlling their "wonkiness" they are learning that their "wonkiness" isn't a bad thing at all.   Great series.  Showing Off really handled the dad issue in a very realistic way, I thought.  And I was so thankful for that.  Just really, really good.  Plus I LOVE the dritten covers!!!!!!!!