We’re Going to Need More Wine – Gabrielle Union

34884359We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: October 2017
Publisher: Day Street Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Memoir, Essays, Race, Growing Up, Abuse, Celebrity Life, Beauty Standards,  Relationships


BLURB:

In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support. Continue reading

Advertisements

The Last Black Unicorn – Tiffany Haddish

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: December 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Recommended Age: 16+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Humor, Nonfiction, Abuse, Coming of Age, Celebrity Life, Life Experiences


BLURB:

Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend. None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy. Tiffany can’t avoid being funny—it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others. Continue reading

When Breath Becomes Air

25899336When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: January 19th, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Recommended Age: 16+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, Nonfiction, Memoir, Medicine, Philosophy, Life


BLURB:

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. Continue reading

Fierce – Aly Raisman

35523654Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything by Aly Raisman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: November 14th, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Nonfiction, Memoir, Gymnastics, Coming of Age


BLURB:

Aly Raisman first stepped onto a gymnastics mat as a toddler in a “mommy & me” gymnastics class. No one could have predicted then that sixteen years later, she’d be standing on an Olympic podium, having achieved her dreams. Aly’s road to success was full of hard work, perseverance, and victories, but not without its hardships. Aly faced many obstacles, from naysayers who said she’d never make it in gymnastics to classmates who shamed her for her athletic body to a devastating betrayal of trust. Through it all, Aly surrounded herself with supportive family, friends, and teammates and found the inner strength to remain positive and believe in herself. Now, in her own words, Aly shows what it takes to be a champion on and off the floor, and takes readers on a behind-the-scenes journey before, during, and after her remarkable achievements in two Olympic Games–through her highest highs, lowest lows, and all the moments in between. Continue reading

Living with a SEAL – Jesse Itzler

26849614Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet by Jesse Itzler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: November 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Center Street
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Memoir, Fitness, Self Help, Family Life, Modern Life


BLURB:

Living with a SEAL is like a buddy movie if it starred the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air… and Rambo. Jesse is about as easy-going as you can get. SEAL is…not. He even shows up at Jesse’s apartment with an inflatable raft just in case the Itzler family ever has to escape Manhattan by crossing the Hudson River. Jesse and SEAL’s escapades soon produce a great friendship, and by the time SEAL leaves, Jesse is in the best shape of his life, but he gains much more than muscle. At turns hilarious and inspiring, Living with a SEAL ultimately shows you the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone.

Continue reading

El Deafo – Cece Bell

20701984El Deafo by Cece Bell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
First Published: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Memoir, Friendship, School, Deafness


BLURB:

Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school–in the hallway…in the teacher’s lounge…in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

Continue reading

A Year Without Mom

24694116A Year Without Mom by Dasha Tolstikova

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: October 1st, 2015
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Memoir, Family, Growing Up


BLURB:

It is the early 1990s in Moscow, and political change is in the air. But Dasha is more worried about her own challenges as she negotiates family, friendships and school without her mother. Just as she begins to find her own feet, she gets word that she is to join her mother in America — a place that seems impossibly far from everything and everyone she loves. Continue reading