Tuesday, May 9, 2017

SYUB: April 2017

Life According to Steph
2 super long audiobooks this month and I was over 50% of the way through one of my library books when it expired.. oops.  I put myself on the hold list (#2 on 1 copy), so I'm hoping to finish that one next month.

My goal this month is to actually read the hard copy books I have waiting on me.  Do you think people would notice if I started carrying a book with me to the bathroom at work?  Wait.. let me rephrase that.  Do I care if people notice me carrying a book to the bathroom at work?  Hrm.. I'll research this and get back to you.  Carrying my phone is way less obvious which is why I gravitate towards ebooks so that way I always have something to read when I'm needing quiet entertainment.

Anyways, on to the books!

Rating scale*:

1/5 - Hated it, didn't finish.
2/5 - Tolerated it on principle to finish, didn't like it.
3/5 - Eh, didn't love it, didn't hate it. Had some good parts/kept me interested/finished it on principle.
3.5/5 - I liked parts of it.
4/5 - I liked the whole thing.
4.5/5 - I liked it a lot, but not sure I'd read it again.
5/5 - I LURVED it and I'd read it again.

*Subject to change based on my mood, the phase of the moon, or other unpredictable variables.

Skimmers, stick with the bold text (TL;DR** parts).
PS. Possible spoilers included in reviews.

Black Cross by Greg Iles   4/5 (audiobook)
WW2 book about an American and a German Jewish man who are recruited for a special operation to sneak into a concentration camp and steal Soman (sp?) (a lethal nerve gas) and then disable/destroy the camp.  Along the way both men realize they have been deceived by the special operations commander.  

Some parts of the book felt tedious, yet I just wanted to know what would happen.  That said, the indecision in crucial moments made me want to shake all the characters.  There was more than once that I started yelling, "STFU already and just make a fucking decision!  It's not that difficult, you moral purist!"

The love story line felt unnecessary, but added to the plot complications.  I felt like the only reason for the present day characters was to be able to give an epilogue, which was moderately annoying.  I think I would have been ok with just the past story line.

TL;DR: Obviously, I was into the book if I was yelling at it.  WW2 themed and I had to keep reminding myself that it was fiction.  It read as if it was non-fiction.

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon  5/5 (library ebook)
A black girl and an asian boy meet by chance in NYC.  He's kinda creepy in an endearing (Megan-like) way.  She's standoffish because she doesn't want him to fall for her since she's being deported, but she won't tell him and it's awkward.

The entire story takes place over a day, which made it felt like the book progressed really fast.  I was able to read this one very quickly.  The epilogue gave the book a sweet ending, but it would have been ok without it.

TL;DR:  Boy meets girl and they fall in love in a day.  Cute YA novel without too much teenage angst.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult   5/5 (audiobook)
In true Picoult style, this book pulled at my heart.  SGT (not to be confused with sargent) made me realize that skin color does still very much matter, almost 50 years after the civil rights movement.  SGT made me almost embarrassed to be a white person, maybe embarrassed is the wrong word, but rather uncomfortable?  It made me realize that people of color struggle in ways I'll never completely understand or know because it's not applicable to me. 

I hate, hate, hateeeeeddd Turk Bower, but without him, there would have been no story.  It blows my mind that people actually believe in white supremacy and Turk's chapters often left me feeling sick to my stomach and hating people even more than normal.

I very much identified with Kennedy as a person and her closing argument felt like I was a part of the jury.  She pointed out truths that I know about myself, which is uncomfortable.

Oh yeah, the story.  Ruth, a black nurse, is on trial for murdering Davis Bower (the white supremacist's baby). I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of black readers to see if they agree with Picoult's representation.

TL;DR: This book will show you that comfortable racism is totally a thing.  If you're white it may open your eyes to the realities of being a person of (any) color. 

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don't Have with People You Don't Like Doing Things You Don't Want to Do by Sarah Knight   2.5/5 (library ebook)
Honestly, I wanted to take something from this book, but I quickly realized that I already do most of the things that Knight discussed.  Maybe this book was validation for the fact that I've long since stopped giving fucks about what people think (for the most part). 

There was a point about 50 pages in that I was feeling over "fucked".  As in, I was tired of reading the word fuck.  It's like when you say a word over and over and over and over and it starts to sound weird and you question how to spell it, even though you know it's correct.  I was just fucking over it.

I did appreciate the entertaining writing style that Knight used, even if there was no way I'd ever sit on the floor and make a list of all the items in my mental barn.

Another title for the book could have been "Just Say No."  Really though, stop feeling guilty for not doing things out of obligation (just hurt the feelings of those who are trying to make you feel obligated a few times and eventually they will back off/stop because they realize you're not going to stand for their shit) and you do you.  It's that simple. 

It's uncomfortable at first (she didn't lie about that), but I don't stress nearly as much anymore after embracing the power of no.  It doesn't make me a bitch or even a Nasty Woman or even empowered, it is just setting my boundaries which some people (men and women) struggle to do.  It's the reason I don't accept meetings after 3pm Mon-Thurs or after lunch on Friday.  I don't want to.  I know I'm not going to be engaged, which makes my attendance pointless.  It also impedes my personal time and my time is valuable.  Just say no.. or stop giving fucks and say no anyways.

TL;DR: Be honest, but don't be an asshole, and stop trying to make people feel good because you feel obligated/guilted.  There, I just saved you 206 pages.

In Progress:

On Deck:

  • The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood  */5 (paperback)  
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon */5 (paperback) 
    • Thanks to Jenn for loaning me her copy!  She was awesome and mailed it to me and I'll be mailing it back to her after I'm done.  When you're number 1356621576732144623 (approximately) on your library's copy, book sharers are especially awesome.  AND an extra shout out to Erin since Jenn and I were connected via the Challenge.
  • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier */5 (library ebook) 
    • I'm pumped to read a German book.  It's been translated into English and my goal for one day is to read it in German.  One day.

YAY for books!
**TL;DR = too long, don't read


  1. Loved Small Great Things. I heard so many mixed reviews about Giving a Fuck that I am pretty sure I am skipping it all together. Adding The Sun is Also a Star to my TBR.

  2. I need to read Small Great Things - I hear mostly praise. I also need to read something by Yoon at some point. I'm sure I'll end up seeing Everything, Everything before reading it though since it comes out so soon.

  3. We're reading Small Great Things for my book club and I won't lie - I've been procrastinating (and I'm the one who selected the book!). Racism is a really hard topic for me and I know that it is going to destroy me. But hopefully build me up too.

  4. I love LOVE LOVED Small Great Things!!! I can't wait for the movie version!

  5. I have that hate for turk-like people right now, in a burning way, so I've been putting off SGT which I've had since October.

  6. I enjoyed The Life Changing Magic more for the writing than the content but the concept of the fuck budget was awesome and I still use it.

    SGT. OMG. That book.

  7. The Sun Is Also a Star is on my list!
    I totally agree about SGT, it opened my eyes and made me look at myself in a way I hadn't before, and it made me so uncomfortable and embarrassed. i was embarrassed because i thought i was okay, you know? like there's a bit where she says something about not noticing race and i know i've said that and i truly felt like i didn't and it was the right way to feel, but what ruth said made me realise that wasn't okay, if that makes sense. anyway. love a book that opens my eyes. turk was an asshole.
    yay hope you like ruby red! i know we've talked about it already.
    The Sun Is Also a Star is on my list!
    I loved Ready Player One! I think I rated it 3 stars, which in hindsight was stupid of me. Definitely a 4 star book. Like you, the 80s (not to mention American) references were lost on me, but the story as a whole, I loved.

  8. Yesss, SGT was so good and so powerful to make us feel uncomfortable. I think I'm finally going to add The Sun is Also a Star to my list!

  9. Small Great Things is on my list. I've heard a lot recently about The Sun is Also a Star and now I want to read that one too!

  10. Small Great Things is so powerful. I really liked it too! I liked The Sun Is Also a Star, but I liked Everything, Everything better.

  11. I have really mixed feelings on Everything, Everything...but still want to try The Sun Is Also A Star.

  12. Black Cross sounds like a really interesting read, especially since I love WWII books! I've heard great things about The Sun Is Also A Star, so maybe this means that I really need to pick it up sooner rather than later!

  13. I have both The Sun is Also a Star and Small Great Things on my TBR List for Summer. I really like Everything, Everything and haven't read a Picoult book in a long time. I really enjoyed Ready Player One, but I'm an old fart, lol Pam ;)

  14. My brother bought the Stop Giving a F*ck book on our audibl account so I will probably check it out at some point but I think that Just Start saying No should be my new life motto.


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