This book is raunchy. I guess this has been a popular genre for a while, the VERY personal memoirs by bloggers? I only discovered this genre for myself this year when I finally read Jenny Lawson’s, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Let’s just say Lawson “turned me on” (pun intended) to a whole new type of book.
The audio of, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, had me laughing in the first minute. I stepped outside to take my morning walk, when the author described herself as “35ish, but I could pass for forty-seven to fifty-two, easily; sixty something if I stay up all night”. This had me. I was barely containing my insane laughter as my neighbor resisted the urge to ask me if I was okay.
This memoir is full of self-deprecating humor, which is of course hilarious. However, if I’m being honest, the author is too hard on herself. The author continuously comes down on herself for being lazy, but all evidence suggests she is anything but… She works 50 hours a week, writes a blog, dates, and goes out clubbing. The thought of her lifestyle is absolutely exhausting.
I found this book to be entertaining, but I would be hesitant to recommend it to almost anybody. This book should come with a warning label: may cause uncontrollable laughing, flinching, and moments of disgust. May not be suitable for people who are allergic to cats, heterophobic, homophobic, racist, people with bad backs, heart disorders or bad credit scores.
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Lake Tahoe is one of my favorite places. I love adventuring. I am “outdoorsy” so a place that is in the mountains with a giant, pristine lake, and countless opportunities for activities, is my kind of place. I have been to Tahoe three times, but I have never been able to stay for more than a few days at a time. Even with our time restrictions, I feel like we get a lot done, we have hiked, went on a Tahoe Lake Cruise, did a treetop obstacle course and went to the library. I hope to be able to go back someday and spend more time, there is just so much to do and it is so beautiful.
Tahoe City Library is located within sight of the lake and a nice walking and biking trail. I imagine staff members might enjoy taking their lunch breaks at the lake and getting some exercise on good weather days. The library itself is on the bottom floor of a shared building and is only slightly bigger than your neighborhood Little Free Library. That being said, the library is very efficiently run and makes great use of its limited space.
The librarian that runs the branch, has been there for over a decade, and seems to be a collection development master. When she took over the branch, the library shelves were overflowing and books were stacked and stored wherever they would fit, but you would never know that now. The library is very neat and books have plenty of shelf space. Running a small branch is hard for a lot of librarians because of the constant weeding that is required to maintain the collection. When I complimented her on her collection development practices, she just shrugged it off, so it must come naturally to her.
This tiny library offers so much for its community. This is a place where locals and tourists can come and get a library card, access computers and check out books, dvds and audiobooks. They offer Storytimes and a Summer Reading Club program. They have adorable pins and stickers for patrons, like the llama pin that I pawed so much, the librarian kindly asked if I might want it. I did, I really did want it. Tahoe City Library might be small, but the location and services are perfect for this mountain town.
NO SPOILER REVIEW
The Dalai Lama is one of the most admired people in the world. I certainly find his story and his life to be both interesting and inspiring. He has participated in the creation of several books that could undoubtedly be categorized as “self-help”, including his newest collaboration, The Book of Joy. I read this book in two sittings, not because I didn’t like it or didn’t find it to be interesting, but because I really wanted to be able to get the most out of this book. I felt like reading it all at once would not have allowed me enough time to process the Dalai Lama’s wisdom. This book is very rich in content.
The book was edited by Douglas Carlton Abrams and features a week long interview between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu of South Africa. The book covers three broad topics, the nature of true joy, obstacles of joy and the eight pillars of joy. Each section is narrated by Abrams, he fills in missing back story and creates a sense of place for the book, but the teachings of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop are basically in interview format. You might be tempted to skim this book because of that, but you should plan to read this slowly, allowing time to reflect on the messages.
This is one of those books that you could read again and again and always come away with a new insight. The main philosophy that I gathered from the teachings was that joy comes through service to others. There is a lot more to this book, but the Dalai Lama and Archbishop warn against focusing on yourself and encourage everyone to turn outward not inward. Imagine the world, if we all lived to serve each other. There is definitely wisdom in that philosophy.
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Name and title: Mary George, Director of Library Services
Library name: Placer County Library
How many libraries are in your system? Nine and a Mobile Library (AKA Bookmobile)
Staff size: 50+/- (mainly minus 😊)
How Many MLS: 12
Community size: 200,000/ 1,500 square miles
Collection size: 250,000 items
How do you think being located at Lake Tahoe affects the operations of the library?
Tahoe City is a community with a year-round population and a very busy tourist destination especially in the summer and winter months. People visit the shores of Lake Tahoe from all over the world and a great many visitors stay and are employed in the service industries in the busy seasons. This makes Tahoe City Library one of the places for travelers and seasonal workers to get their entertainment and information.
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no spoiler review
I judged this book hard when it came out. I just couldn’t understand how a book about abandoning your life to go on vacation for a year could possibly be helpful to anyone. Why did this book resonate with so many people? I just couldn’t figure it out, it didn’t seem like it offered helpful solutions for everyday people. Then again, this book was so popular, it had to have some value, right?
I was inspired to read this book, while I was reading the Book of Joy, I became interested in researching other perspectives on the subject of finding lasting happiness. This became kind of a compare and contrast investigation. Eat, Pray, Love was the most popular book on the subject of happiness that I could think of, so I decided to have an open mind and read this book.
Eat, Pray, Love follows the author on a year long trip to Italy, India and Bali after suffering a devastating divorce. In Italy the author pursues pleasure and basically does whatever she wants for three months, heavy emphasis on eating. In India she moves into an Ashram to pray and meditate, basically full time. In Bali she looks for balance with a medicine man, but this part of the book becomes a little unstructured. She does spend time with a medicine man and a healer, but she also just hangs around with locals and starts dating. I guess real life doesn’t always fall into neat categories.
I think the journey was restorative for the author, but I’m doubtful that it is the path to lasting happiness. I fear that taking a year off to focus on yourself would make it very hard to come back to the incompetent bosses and irate patrons of the real world. I get pouty when I come back from a one-week vacation, what would a year off do to me?
I don’t agree with a lot of this book, but I do respect the author for publishing this work. This is a very personal book and the author is very brave to have written it, knowing that the world is full of unhappy critics. I thoroughly enjoyed the parts that read like a travel guide, there is some very interesting information about the Balinese culture. There is also a lot of information about Yoga and meditation, that I didn’t know or understand. This book does not match my personal philosophy, but I can see how it would appeal to a lot of people.
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Librarians like to joke that if we moved all the banned and challenged books to the “restricted section”, it would be the most popular room in the library. In the spirit of this idea, I have created a list of my favorite banned books and the reasons they were challenged. Please comment below, with your favorites!
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson - Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - Insensitivity, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon - Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood - Profanity, sexually explicit, religious view point
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - Occult/Satanism
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman - Political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, violence
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Anti-ethnic, anti-family, insensitivity, offensive language, occult/satanic, violence
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
Looking for Alaska by John Green - Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - Violence, religious view point, dubious morals
Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner - Challenged for depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson - Sexual content and offensive language
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - Glorification of drinking, cursing, and premarital sex
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Offensive language, racism
Let's Collaborate! What is your favorite banned book? Comment below:
no spoiler book review
I found this book after I decided to divide The Book of Joy into two readings. The Book of Joy is an interview between the Archbishop Tutu of South Africa and the Dalai Lama and how they think humans can find lasting happiness. The Archbishop talks a lot about Apartheid and South Africa, subjects that I know very little about. So, when I was scrolling Overdrive looking at available ebooks and I saw Born a Crime, I figured it was a happy coincidence and an opportunity for me to learn more about South African history.
Each chapter of this book presents a prologue about South African history or Apartheid coupled with Trevor Noah’s experiences growing up there. A lot of the stories are about how his life was impacted by the laws and society at the time. This book definitely falls into the category of non-fiction that reads like fiction, I learned a lot about a culture that I knew very little about, in a way that kept me turning pages. I knew that Trevor Noah was from South Africa, but I always thought there was an asterisk there, like he moved to the US when he was three or was one of the “rich kids”. The truth is he graduated High School there and was so poor at one point he was living in a mechanic’s garage and sleeping in cars.
I used to think of Trevor Noah as a mischievous elf or trickster, he’s just so effing cute and funny, but I need to give him much more credit than that. The fact that he made it out of such a terrible situation and has always been able to see the humor in life, makes me respect him as a storyteller and social advocate. I know some people won’t read this because they don’t agree with his politics, but everyone could benefit from the cultural and historical knowledge provided in this book.
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In honor of Banned Books Week, I have put together a list of books that illustrate what it is like to live under censorship and oppression. Sometimes it is hard for patrons and parents to understand why librarians are so hesitant to remove “offensive” books from the collection. These books demonstrate the importance of intellectual freedom and what life can be like when you lose it. Some of these books, like Fahrenheit 451, are blatantly about censorship. Others like, The Handmaid's Tale, are about oppression in general with censorship being one of the tools used by the oppressors.
1984 by George Orwell – Dystopian book about the power of propaganda and government-controlled access to information.
Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Stealing and sharing books in Nazi Germany.
Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – Hiding in an attic as the book burning Nazis hunt for her and her family.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – Dystopian novel where books are outlawed and burned, reading is considered to be dangerous.
Giver by Lois Lowry – Utopian society where people are only allowed access to “good” information and kept from the hard, ugly truths of reality.
Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood – Fertile women are enslaved to produce children, reading is prohibited.
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai – Malala was 15 years old when she was shot in the head by the Taliban for demanding education for girls and women.
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi – An illegal secret book club, reading banned books like, Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby.
Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon – Biography of Mary Shelly and her mother Mary Wollstonecraft and their struggle for equal rights and education for women.
Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – Two women trapped with an abusive husband by the oppressive laws of the Taliban. Women are specifically banned from education.
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore – Graphic Novel about life under a totalitarian government.
Let’s Collaborate! What other titles belong on this list? Comment below: