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Happy New Year!

It's been awhile since I've written a post, and there are a million good reasons why that is. In a few more weeks, my time will be freed up significantly, and I'm really looking forward to it. Although I can't share everything I'm reading, I will share a quick rundown of books I've read since my last post. After January's about to get all the way real on this blog.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera - I was completely drawn into this story about 16 year old Aaron who struggles with his sexual identity and embarks on a psychological journey about memory, loss, love, family, and friendship. Excellent read.

Soul of the Band: Making the Cut by K. L. Brady - I really enjoyed this book. 16 year old Brandy finds solace in music as she copes with her mother's schizophrenic episodes. After her mother is hospitalized, Brandy goes to live in the suburbs, and is encouraged to use her love for music as a gateway to the school's marching band. This is a small novel with a big heart.

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon - This book was the shiz-nit! I walked away with a profound respect and appreciation for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her contributions to this country. Excellent writing, thoroughly researched, and the cover and title is so bad ass...well done.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King - Gut punching and thought provoking....King delivers in this Printz Honor winner. Vera is steeped in a culture of brutality and silence...she stays silent when she hears her best friend's mother being beaten, or when the neighborhood skin head Nazis terrorize the neighborhood, and even when she finds herself the victim of physical and sexual abuse. A very powerful and intriguing novel.

We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman - This was a quirky story that really surprised me. I enjoyed it....I mean...this isn't a book I'd recommend for everyone, but the writing was clever, even though the story was a bit recycled. Andy has to be the most depressed sob on the planet. When he loses his job and his granddad turns ill, he stays with his parents' in Omaha to spend time with his family, and reflect mainly on how his ex-wife cheated on him and left him, and how his entire life seemed to unravel...that is until he meets a cute manic-pixie-dream-girl who makes him feel like he's not so alone.

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor - Hand of the best books I've read all year, and that's saying a lot as I read well over 100 books this year. Superb writing coupled with the fascinating rise of the Bronx born Boricua from the projects to the Supreme Court. This is probably one of the most inspiring books that I've ever read. Honesty, heart, and hope are the ingredients that make this lush memoir an instant classic, and a must read for every American.

Settle For More by Megyn Kelly - I listened to the audiobook written and read by the controversial television personality. This isn't the best memoir you'll ever read, but it's certainly an interesting read - especially her description of her experiences with PEOTUS. I respect her drive and her ability to recreate herself. This is a solid read, but it's just okay.

Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family by Condoleezza Rice - Regardless of how you feel about former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, she is an extremely fascinating person. I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir of her family and life. You won't find much scandal here, but Ms. Rice's journey is definitely a road less traveled, and this book is a worthy listen.

Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Clinton by Jeff Gerth - Gerth basically regurgitated Clinton's biography, and reframed her words into what he read into them. Despite his trying to beef up Clinton's life to make it appear as if Hillary was a ruthless mastermind, this book was okay. I don't think I learned anything new that I couldn't have read in any of the other biographies already written about the history making politician.

The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore - I've been wanting to read this book for a long time and found it a bit disappointing. Mr. Moore wrote this book about how he came into success for a fairly disadvantaged background, and compared it to a similarly named young man, also disadvantaged, who's life of crime lead him to the penitentiary. Something seems a bit exploitative and braggadocious about this book. It stained my impression of the story.

The Kids Don't Stand a Chance: Growing Up in Teach for America by Harris Sockel - Sockel describes the dismal state of the machine "Teach for America". He takes you through his journey through the belly of the beast, and paints a portrait of disadvantaged neighborhoods, bleek schools, naive newbies, and the disengaged veterans of the program. Though started with the best of intentions, Sockel describes a system detached from the realities and needs of the students and communities TFA is supposed to help. Interesting read, but take it with a grain of salt.

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: And Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at Home by Laura Vanderkam - I'm just going to save you a lot of time and energy by giving you the best synopsis possible: They get up early.

It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership by Colin Powell - I liked this wasn't as personal as I was anticipating, but if I ever had hopes of working for General Powell, I have the precise blue book! Filled with conventional wisdom, anecdotes, and the general's detailed preferences, it was overall a fair book. My best take away is advice: Allow yourself 1 hour to be mad as hell, and when the hour is up, get over it.

Mommies Who Drink: Sex, Drugs, and Other Distant Memories of an Ordinary Mom by Brett Paesel - Ok...I wanted to judge her so damn bad.... Brett Paesel is an actress and mom of 2 boys, and she describes motherhood, pregnancy, depression, anxiety, and rabid fear in a way that is always clever, at times mortifying, and always brutally honest. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you crave cocaine and sex with strangers in bathrooms, and that motherhood runs a distant second to that...As a mom who is routinely judged, I try not to judge other moms....but I think I reached my threshold here... Though I couldn't relate to everything the author writes about, I can appreciate her honesty and there is a rich quality to her writing, that though lush, doesn't sacrifice humor.

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