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Title: The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hourse, Four Patients' Lives
Author: Theresa Brown
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 4/5
# pages: Audiobook ~9hours
Date read: July, 2017

n the span of 12 hours, lives can be lost, life-altering medical treatment decisions made, and dreams fulfilled or irrevocably stolen.

Every day Theresa Brown holds patients' lives in her hands. On this day there are four: Mr. Hampton, a patient with lymphoma to whom Brown is charged with administering a powerful drug that could cure him - or kill him; Sheila, who may have been dangerously misdiagnosed; Candace, a returning patient who arrives (perhaps advisedly) with her own disinfectant wipes, cleansing rituals, and demands; and Dorothy, who, after six weeks in the hospital, may finally go home. Prioritizing and ministering to their needs takes the kind of skill, sensitivity, and, yes, humor that enable a nurse to be a patient's most ardent advocate in a medical system marked by heartbreaking dysfunction as well as miraculous success.

From Sue Barton to Scrubs, I've always been fascinated by life at a hospital, so when I heard of this book, I knew that I had to read it. And fortunately it didn't disappoint. After having watched so many episodes of Scrubs, it was interesting to follow a real nurse during a shift (and actually also served to explain some things I'd been wondering about), and though I was slightly sad that I got to know all these patients, but was never told what happened to them, I still think following a day in the life of a nurse was a really good way to write the book, as it gave the reader insight into not just the highlights of a nurse's job, but also all the small extra tasks they have to do, in order to keep the ward running smoothly.
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Title: 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
Author: Sarah Knight
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 179 pages
Date read: June, 2017

The surprising art of caring less and getting more

Are you stressed out, overbooked, and underwhelmed by life? Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself?

It's time to stop giving a f*ck.

This brilliant, hilarious, and practical parody of Marie Kondo's bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt--and give your f*cks instead to people and things that make you happy.

The easy-to-use, two-step NotSorry Method for mental decluttering will help you unleash the power of not giving a f*ck about:
Family drama Having a "bikini body" Iceland Co-workers' opinions, pets, and children And other bullsh*t! And it will free you to spend your time, energy, and money on the things that really matter. So what are you waiting for? Stop giving a f*ck and start living your best life today!

I decided to pick this up after watching a TED-talk with Sarah Knight and really liking the way she presented herself and her ideas.

Unfortunately the book itself couldn't quite live up to my expectations. While Sarah's theories were very interesting, I found it hard to relate to the things/concepts Sarah herself decided to no longer give a f*ck about, and therefore couldn't quite figure out how to apply it to my own life.... or perhaps I'm just fortunate enough that I don't give many unwarranted f*cks when it comes to things, friends and family :-D

Either way, I'm glad I read it, as it did provide some useful tactics (e.g. the NotSorry method), but it probably won't have as large an impact on my life as I'd hoped after watching the TED-talk (which can be found at
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Title: If Your Dream Doesn't Scare You It Isn't Big Enough
Author: Kristine K. Stevens
Genre: Travel
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 302
Date read: April, 2017

In honor of her 40th birthday, Kristine K. Stevens sold her house, quit her job and traveled solo around the world.

Carrying a backpack and the naïve belief that the trip was nothing more than a six-month-long vacation, she hit the road. As her journey moved on and off the beaten tourist path, she braved a monsoon in Zanzibar, a safari in Kenya, trekking in Nepal, kayaking in Thailand, caves in Laos, red plaid fish and lava in Hawaii, and grizzly bears in Alaska.

Little did Kristine know that she was completing a pilgrimage that would change her life forever. She gained self-confidence with every mile and relearned how to trust her instincts.

One of the best travelogues I've read in quite awhile. Kristine's way of writing really appealed to me, and I was fascinated by her adventures all over Africa, Asia, Hawaii and Alaska. Some of the places she visited (e.g. Alaska) have been on my bucket list for ages, and she just reaffirmed my desire to go there.

There's no doubt that Kristine was a very privileged traveler, in that she could stay with friends many places, and didn't really have to worry about money until the very end, so few people would be able to follow in her footsteps, but personally I loved living vicariously through her and can't remember when I've last been this immersed in a book.

I really appreciated that the book didn't just end with her returning home, but also included her struggles with going back to "every day life" again, and how she handled those challenges.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Hamilton: The Revolution
Author: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 288
Date read: April, 2017

Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country's origins for a diverse new generation.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages--"since before this was even a show," according to Miranda--traces its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.

Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer, Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sond­heim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by Presi­dent Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don't throw away their shot.

A true 5-star read. It made me laugh, it made me tear up, and it made me (even more than I did already) wish I could get to see the play with the original cast.

I know I said earlier that I didn't think it was a book I needed to own... I may have to rethink that decision, because it really was awesome! I put it down and didn't want to pick up anything afterwards... I needed to just let it percolate.

Highly recommendable to any Hamilton-fan.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Dare to Do
Author: Sarah Outen
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 288 pages
Date read: January, 2017

On 1 April 2011, rower and adventurer Sarah Outen set off in her kayak from Tower Bridge for France. her aim was simple: to circle the globe entirely under her own steam - cycling, kayaking and rowing across Europe, Asia, the Pacific, North America, the Atlantic and eventually home. A year later, Sarah was plucked from the Pacific ocean after tropical storm Mawar, her boat broken, her spirit even more so.

But that wasn't the end. Despite ill health and depression, giving up was not an option. So Sarah set off once more to finish what she had started, becoming the first woman to row solo from Japan to Alaska, as well as the first woman to row the mid-Pacific from West to East. She kayaked the treacherous Aleutian chain and cycled North America, before setting out on the Atlantic, despite the risk of another row-ending storm...

I've been wanting to read this book pretty much ever since I first heard of it... which was while Sarah was still on her London2London expedition, so it's been awhile :)

Sarah Outen's first book, "A Dip in the Ocean" was a clear 5-star book, and this came very close to being the same, but unfortunately it suffered somewhat from the expedition being so much longer, and the book (by necessity) therefore couldn't go into as much detail.

I still loved reading it though. Granted, I knew much of it in advance from following Sarah Outen's blog and youtube channel, but it was still great to have it all wrapped up here, and I enjoyed living vicariously through her experiences... well knowing that there's no WAY I could follow in her footsteps in reality. Didn't make it any less fascinating to read about - probably quite the contrary.

My one complaint is that there wasn't nearly enough photos for my liking - only 8 pages worth - but fortunately the rest are easily found online.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Breaking Free
Author: Beth Moore
Genre: Christian non-fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 289
Date read: December, 2016

Do you want to know God and really believe Him? Do you want to find satisfaction in God, experience His peace, and enjoy His presence? Do you want to make the freedom Christ promised a reality in your daily life?

In Breaking Free, Beth Moore embarks on a study of selected passages from the book of Isaiah, drawing several parallels between the captive Israelites and today's Christians, in order to show how to make freedom in Christ a daily reality. Moore teaches readers to remove obstacles that hinder freedom by identifying spiritual strongholds in their lives and overcoming them through the truth of God's Word - truth that will set us free.

I've only ever heard good things about Beth Moore's books, so it was with high expectations that I approached this book. Unfortunately it couldn't live up to my expectations. I found her main points interesting and relevant, but unfortunately her examples and anecdotes were much too vague for me to be able to draw any sorts of parallels to my own life. Her reasoning was not to lock the reader into thinking those were the only situations relevant, but unfortunately it didn't work for me.

At the end of the day, I remember her main focuspoint (escape satan's strongholds in your life, by seeing his lies for what they are, and focusing on Christ's truths instead) - which is the important thing, of course, though nothing I didn't already know - but nothing else... and I have no better understanding of how to apply that to my life than I did before reading this book.

So I guess I'd recommend the book to a new Christian - but "experienced" Christians (for want of better word) probably won't get much new out of it.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Spark Joy
Author: Marie Kondo
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 256
Date read: April, 2016

Marie Kondo's unique KonMari Method of tidying up is nothing short of life-changing - and her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has become a worldwide sensation. In Spark Joy, Kondo presents an in-depth, illustrated manual on how to declutter and organize specific items throughout the house, from kitchen and bathroom items to work-related papers and hobby collections. User-friendly line drawings illustrate Kondo's patented folding method as it applies to shirts, pants, socks, and jackets, as well as images of properly organized drawers, closets, and cabinets. This book is perfect for anyone who wants a home - and life - that sparks joy.

Not as good as her first book, but a decent follow-up/companion novel. There were some things she'd glossed over somewhat in her first book, and it was nice to have those elaborated on.

I still roll my eyes at some of her ideas, but think that's probably cultural more than anything else, and she does have some good points on how to simplify and keep things organized, that I'm going to try to implement.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Undaunted
Author: Christine Caine
Genre: Christian non-fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 203
Date read: February, 2016

Using her own dramatic life story, Caine shows how God rescued her from a life where she was unnamed, unwanted, and unqualified. She tells how she overcame abuse, abandonment, fears, and other challenges to go on a mission of adventure, fueled by faith and filled with love and courage. Her personal stories inspire readers to hear their name called, just as Christine heard her own—“You are beloved. You are the hope. You are chosen”—to go into a dark and troubled world, knowing each of us possess all it takes to bring hope, create change, and live completely for Christ.

Christine Caine is an incredibly talented, passionate and inspiring speaker, and unlike in some of her earlier books, this comes across very strongly in her writing as well. Part of that might be that this book is a mix of a memoir and an inspirational book, and it's therefore easier to see how somebody might apply the lessons Christine tries to teaches in their everyday life, because she is very open about how she applied them. It all still boils down to how to actually hear what God has to say to you. Until you know how to listen, it doesn't matter how 'undaunted' you are with regards to following his plans for you.

I don't know if I'd say the book has taught me anything I didn't already know, but it certainly gave me a new appreciation and respect for Ms. Caine.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Overcoming Stress
Author: Tim Cantopher
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 128
Date read: February 2016

Stress can lead to extensive psychological and physical suffering, but there are choices you can make that will reduce your stress and improve your ability to cope. This book offers not just the facts but a message of hope. "Overcoming Stress" looks not only at the causes of stress but also at the manifestations and psychological conditions, such as physical illness, anxiety, panic disorder, OCD, phobic states, and depression. It offers information on both acute treatments and longer term management in avoiding stress and its ill effects. "Stress will always be with us, and we will continue to suffer--unless we choose to change," says Dr. Cantopher. "The good news is that this is possible--stress-related illness is avoidable, and if you change, you will attain happiness."

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. I requested it because I've suffered from stress myself, and as it is an affliction some people never recover from 100%, I wanted to see if Tim Cantopher offered any useful hints on how to prevent it.

Unfortunately I found the book lacking. He made some good points along the way, but as a whole, I didn't really find anything I could use, and his main premise (stress doesn't make you ill, you make yourself ill) - while true - could be damaging to some people suffering from stress. Stress is already a "mind over matter" issue to many people, and this is just another voice telling them that they're doing this to themselves so (reading between the lines) they should be able to get over it. I understand the very valid point Tim is getting at (lazy people seldom get stressed, as they care less about expectations), but thought the wording in that section problematic as this wasn't made sufficiently clear.

His admonition to STOP is spot on though - there's no way to get better while still being on the treadmill. Slowing down might be sufficient for some, but the vast majority need to get off completely.

So take a flip through it, there may be aspects of it you can use. But I'd take everything with a huge grain of salt, and as many people suffering from stress have no salt left to take things with, I might suggest giving this one a miss.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Better than Before
Author: Gretchen Rubin
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 320
Date read: January, 2016

Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.

So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits?

Better than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits - and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin's compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Before explains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation.

Along the way, Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers reader questions.

Whether readers want to get more sleep, stop checking their devices, maintain a healthy weight, or finish an important project, habits make change possible. Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Before will make readers eager to start work on their own habits - even before they’ve finished the book.

Gretchen Rubin writes ridiculously readable books, and this newest one is no exception. While it didn't blow me away quite as much as her two Happiness Project books did, I still found it extremely engaging, relateable and useful.

From reading the book, I have realized I am a moderator, a lark, a marathoner with procrastinator tendencies and an underbuyer. I have no clue which of the four tendencies I belong to though, as I can relate to aspects of three of them! So all I know is that I'm definitely not a rebel, but whether I'm an upholder, a questioner or an obliger seems to depend on the situation.

But regardless of my tendency, the book contained a number of good pointers to use in the future when I find myself wanting to cultivate good habits (or get rid of bad ones).
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: So You've Been Publicly Shamed
Author: Jon Ronson
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 306
Date read: December 2015

For the past three years, Jon Ronson has been immersing himself in the world of modern-day public shaming - meeting famous shamees, shamers, and bystanders who have been impacted. This is the perfect time for a modern-day Scarlet Letter - a radically empathetic book about public shaming, and about shaming as a form of social control. It has become such a big part of our lives it has begun to feel weird and empty when there isn't anyone to be furious about. Whole careers are being ruined by one mistake. A transgression is revealed. Our collective outrage at it has the force of a hurricane. Then we all quickly forget about it and move on to the next one, and it doesn't cross our minds to wonder if the shamed person is okay or in ruins. What's it doing to them? What's it doing to us?

Ronson's book is a powerful, funny, unique, and very humane dispatch from the frontline, in the escalating war on human nature and its flaws.

I read this in two sittings. It's ridiculously readable and impossible to put down. Jon Ronson focuses on a fascinating and troubling subject: the lynch-happy mob mentality that's so prevalant online. Fortunately I've never had it pointed towards me, but I've seen it often enough, and it's terrifying how evil some of the people calling others out for their mistakes can be.

I'm pretty sure that most of the people who make up the mob aren't usually trolls, nor do they really think much about the consequences of their actions - they're just caught up in a righteous thrill, and forget that even though their shaming/attacking is "just" online, there's still a very real person on the other side.

It's a book to make you lose just a bit of faith in humanity, and to remind you that the internet is forever.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Bad Girls of the Bible
Author: Liz Curtis Higgs
Genre: Christian non-fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 256
Date read: October, 2015

Women everywhere marvel at those good girls in Scripture-Sarah, Mary, Esther-but on most days, that's not who they see when they look in the mirror. Most women (if they're honest) see the selfishness of Sapphira or the deception of Delilah. They catch of glimpse of Jezebel's take-charge pride or Eve's disastrous disobedience. Like Bathsheba, Herodias, and the rest, today's modern woman is surrounded by temptations, exhausted by the demands of daily living, and burdened by her own desires.

Whether they were Bad to the Bone, Bad for a Season, but Not Forever or only Bad for a Moment, these infamous sisters show women how not to handle the challenges of life.

Unfortunately I wasn't terribly impressed by this book. It wasn't bad, just only okay. However, that was mostly because I a) didn't care much for Liz Higgs' writing style. b) already knew most of the points she made. I think for people who don't mind her writing style, and especially for new Christians who might not be familiar with all these bad girls of the Bible, it'll be a lot more appealing.

One thing I did like was the modern day retellings at the start of each chapter. I'd originally worried that they'd come off too cutsey, but with one or two exceptions, that wasn't the case at all. I especially loved the very last one about the woman with the alabaster jar. Very sweet and poignant.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Rising Strong
Author: Brené Brown
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 288
Date read: August, 2015

This is the first book I've ever read by Brené Brown, but I've already gotten hold of "Daring Greatly" as I definitely want to read more of what she has to say.

"Rising Strong" is all about getting back up again, after life has brought us to our knees (or face down in the arena). It's about realizing that the stories we tell ourselves aren't necessarily based on truth, but are usually based on fear and shame instead; and that we need to reckon (identify our feelings after a fall), rumble (find the truth of what caused the fall) and use these to inspire a revolution (using these findings to move forward and get back up again).

The concept of "telling ourselves stories" really resonated with me, as I find myself doing this far too often. Hopefully realizing it for what it is, is a good first step for me, and I can use Brené Brown's inspirating of "not skipping the second act", but instead rumble with my story to find the truth in it, and use it to move onwards in a constructive manner.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Sacred Marriage
Author: Gary Thomas
Genre: Christian non-fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 304
Date read: August, 2015

Your marriage is more than a sacred covenant with another person. It is a spiritual discipline designed to help you know God better, trust him more fully, and love him more deeply. Scores of books have been written that offer guidance for building the marriage of your dreams. But what if God s primary intent for your marriage isn t to make you happy... but holy? And what if your relationship isn t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?

Everything about your marriage--everything--is filled with prophetic potential, with the capacity for discovering and revealing Christ s character. The respect you accord your partner; the forgiveness you humbly seek and graciously extend; the ecstasy, awe, and sheer fun of lovemaking; the history you and your spouse build with one another--in these and other facets of your marriage, Sacred Marriage uncovers the mystery of God s overarching purpose.

Very obviously written by a male for a male audience. He does try to make it generally relevant, but only succeeds about half the time.

He makes several good points, but gives very little practical advice. It's all put in general terms with very little - if any - time spent on how to put the advice into everyday use.

At the end of the book I had a very hard time remembering any specifics about what I'd read. Obviously not a book that spoke to me on any significant level. That's not to say I didn't find it applicable - I just missed insight into how to apply it.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Who the Hell is Pansy O'Hara?
Author: Jenny Bond
Genre: Essay, non-fiction
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 336
Date read: June, 2015

A work sure to captivate all lovers of language and literature, it reveals in short, pithy chapters, the lives, loves, motivations, and quirky, fascinating details involving fifty of the best-loved books of the Western world.
-- When stacked up, the original manuscript of Gone With the Wind stood taller than Margaret Mitchell, its 4' 9 1/2" author
-- Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, was part of the Allied team that cracked the Nazi's Enigma code
-- Leo Tolstoy's wife copied War and Peace by hand... seven times

From The Great Gatsby to Harper Lee, from Jaws to J.K. Rowling, "Who the Hell Is Pansy O'Hara?" offers an entertaining and informative journey through the minds of writers and the life experiences that took these amazing works from notion to novel.

50 short essays about the life of the authors up to and including the time where they wrote either their first book or their most popular book. I skipped the chapters about books and authors I knew and/or cared nothing about, but had fun reading the others. Probably not a book I'll reread, but it gave me a lot of interesting information.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Green Gables Letters
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Genre: Non-fiction, epistolary
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 94
Date read: March, 2015

Letters from L. M. Montgomery to Ephraim Weber, 1905-1909.

I bought this at a time where I wanted to read everything and anything concerning L.M. Montgomery - especially as Ephraim Weber got mentioned quite a bit in her journals. However, having read the journals, there was very little new in this book, although it was interesting to see how she described her reactions to the publishing of the two first Anne books to somebody else (and that Mark Twain wrote her a review!). Also, I had forgotten how quickly she was pushed to write more - "Anne of Green Gables" was initially supposed to be a stand-alone novel!
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Author: Marie Kondo
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 224
Date read: December, 2014

Japanese organizational consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly declutter your home once, you'll never have to do it again. Whereas most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, the KonMari Method's category-by-category, all-at-once prescription leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo's clients have been repeat customers (and she still has a three-month waiting list of new customers!). With detailed guidance for every type of item in the household, this quirky little manual from Japan's newest lifestyle phenomenon will help readers clear their clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home--and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

Not a book I would usually pick up, but it was recommended on the "Books on the Night-Stand" podcast, and actually sounded interesting, so I read the sample, and then bought the book.

It had a lot of good points and definitely gave me some advice I will try to incorporate to my daily life, but there were also some elements that had me rolling my eyes at the author. No, I am not going to anthropomorize my items by "thanking my shoes for a job well done" when I take them off after work, or "revitalize my off-season clothing, by running my hands through them and sending energy into them" a couple of times a year.

However, doing a serious declutter and keeping only what is necessary and brings me joy is a useful tactic, and something I have been neglecting for years.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Harry Potter: Page to Screen
Author: Bob McCabe
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 529
Date read: November, 2014

"Harry Potter: Page to Screen" opens the doors to Hogwarts castle and the wizarding world of Harry Potter to reveal the complete behind-the-scenes secrets, techniques, and over-the-top artistry that brought J.K. Rowling's acclaimed novels to cinematic life. Developed in collaboration with the creative team behind the celebrated movie series, this deluxe, 500-plus page compendium features exclusive stories from the cast and crew, hundreds of never-before-seen photographs and concept illustrations sourced from the closed film sets, and rare memorabilia. As the definitive look at the magic that made cinematic history, "Page to Screen" is the ultimate collectible, perfect for Muggles everywhere.

This book is filled with interesting tidbits about the making of the movies. The first part describes the making of the 8 movies, with a chapter dedicated to each movie. The second part describes the characters, the sets and the costumes.

I was really pleased to get my hands on this book, and though it is a MAMMOTH of a book, it was easily read and only heavy in the physical sense.

But if you've spent a lot of time online during the making of the movies, there actually isn't all that much new information to be gained from this book. And - more importantly - many of the anecdotes about the various characters that I'd found online and been looking forward to seeing in the book, had actually been left out. Of course I can understand that they couldn't include everything, so it is just a shame that I would have preferred that part of "behind the scenes" than descriptions of what went into making the costumes and sets.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: MWF Seeking BFF
Author: Rachel Bertsche
Genre: Memoir, Non-fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 349
Date read: April 2014

When Rachel Bertsche first moves to Chicago, she's thrilled to finally share a zip code with her boyfriend. But shortly after getting married, she realizes that her new life is missing one thing: friends. Sure, she has plenty of BFFs - in New York and San Francisco and Boston and Washington, D.C. Still, in her adopted hometown, there's no one to call at the last minute for girl talk over brunch or a reality-TV marathon over a bottle of wine. Taking matters into her own hands, Bertsche develops a plan: Meeting people everywhere from improv class to friend rental websites, she'll go on fifty-two friend-dates, one per week for a year, in hopes of meeting her new Best Friend Forever.

One of the most inspirational books I've read since Gretchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project". I didn't really have any idea what to expect when I started reading it, but I ended up LOVING it, and finished it in just two days.

Rachel Bertsche sounds like an awesome person, and one I'd enjoy getting together with IRL, so I really enjoyed reading about her search for friends, feeling like I could live vicariously through her.

At the end of the book, Rachel Bertsche has a section on "Recommended Reading", and while I'll definitely have to check out some of her recommendations (it would seem like our taste in books mesh quite well - and she recommended The Baby-Sitter's Club!!! That's friend-material right there! ;) ), what I loved most was her section on "Books whose authors I'd like to have as friends" (from memory). What a cute idea :) One of the authors listed was Gretchen Rubin, who'd definitely also be on my list.

And after reading this book, I think I would have to add Rachel Bertsche herself to that list as well.

Lovely, happy-making book :)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Casts Off
Author: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Genre: Non-fiction, Craft
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 218
Date read: November, 2013

Using a travel guide format as her launching pad, Pearl-McPhee acts as tour guide extraordinaire, displaying her trademark razor-sharp wit as she describes and critiques every aspect of this land she knows so well -- its people, native language, familiar phrases, strange beliefs, etiquette, and cultural customs. Readers will love her timeline of notable dates in knitting history and rarely celebrated knitting heroes, from the samurai warriors of Japan to the "Ter-rible Knitters of Dent." And, while the land of knitting is a peaceful place, it does have its political arguments, such as the acrylic versus natural fi bers and circular versus straight needles debates.

Knitting as seen through a traveler's guide. I thought the concept was very amusing and worked well. Besides, I was very pleased to see that I'm definitely not alone in bringing waaaaay too much knitting with me on vacation. It's always nice to have company in your madness.

I found out that I'm slightly more a product knitter than a progress knitter - but only very slightly - and that I'm definitely not a perfectionist... but the latter I could have told you already.

Amusing and fast read.


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