Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

BornACrime

I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in a long time people. Granted, I haven’t read nearly as much as I used too, but I still firmly believe that statement would still be true. Trevor Noah has a story to tell, and my god can he tell a story. This one just happens to be about his life, up until the days following his mother being shot in the head.

You might know Trevor Noah from his stand up, and currently as host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. What you might not know is that Trevor was born into a world in which he was considered the product of a crime. Literally. His mother, a black South African woman, and his father, a white Swiss man, were forbidden to engage in sexual relations under the Immorality Act under apartheid in South Africa. His lineage was then kept a secret from everyone other than his immediate family, and his exposure to the general population was minimal until apartheid ended. Even then, the repercussions from apartheid he would continue to deal with for the rest of his life in South Africa, until he moved to the United States in 2011. The most recent years of his life aren’t chronicled in this book, but I am very much hoping he writes those stories in a new book.

Trevor’s book is filled with so much.

Honesty, comedy, love, parenting, feminism, fear, abuse, courage. After finishing this book, it is astounding to me that this man can not only still see the world in a positive light, but to keep pushing the boundaries and seeking the truth in a world in which the truth is seldom positive.

I am grateful that he decided to share his story in this book, and I am grateful that he is here.

Below are a couple quotes that I loved, and I really hope that everyone reads this book.

PS- His mom is #momgoals. Seriously, that woman is everything.

“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to. “What if…” “If only…” “I wonder what would have…” You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.”

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

“I was blessed with another trait I inherited from my mother, her ability to forget the pain in life. I remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don’t hold onto the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. If you think too much about the ass kicking your mom gave you or the ass kicking that life gave you, you’ll stop pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules. It’s better to take it, spend some time crying, then wake up the next day and move on. You’ll have a few bruises and they’ll remind you of what happened and that’s ok. But after a while, the bruises fade and they fade for a reason. Because now, it’s time to get up to some shit again.”

“Trevor, remember a man is not determined by how much he earns. You can still be a man of the house and earn less than your woman. Being a man is not what you have, it’s who you are. Being more of a man doesn’t mean your woman has to be less than you.”

 “The name Hitler does not offend a black South African because Hitler is not the worst thing a black South African can imagine. Every country thinks their history is the most important, and that’s especially true in the West. But if black South Africans could go back in time and kill one person, Cecil Rhodes would come up before Hitler. If people in the Congo could go back in time and kill one person, Belgium’s King Leopold would come way before Hitler. If Native Americans could go back in time and kill one person, it would probably be Christopher Columbus or Andrew Jackson. “
“The world doesn’t love you. If the police get you, the police don’t love you. When I beat you, I’m trying to save you. When they beat you, they’re trying to kill you.”

 

 

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Rebecca

Guys, if you’ve been around for a minute you know I tend to have a hard time with classics. By hard time I mean I hate them. I try, I really do, but more often than not they leave me with a bad time-wasted taste in my mouth. So when my book club decided on Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier I was slightly hesitant. I hate being the person who doesn’t read the book club book. I had bailed on a couple in the past few months because we have been remodeling our kitchen and I legitimately had no extra time. However, the remodel is [mainly] done, so I knew I just had to buckle down and do it.

That is one thing that I love about book clubs. Without mine, I never would have read this book. If by the off chance that I had picked it up on my own, I wouldn’t have made it past the first three chapters.

The beginning is very dry. A lot of explanation of things that don’t exactly matter, so I did a fair bit of skimming for the first quarter. If you are a fan of pretty sentences that are there just for the sake of being pretty sentences, you will probably really enjoy this part. If you are like me and need some meat and bones to a story before you get really hooked, hang in there. I promise it is worth it.

What is this meat you are speaking of, you ask? I give to you, the worlds most confusing and surprising love triangle in novel form. Love triangles are played out you say? What if I told you a member of this love triangle was dead? Yeah. Thought so.

Also, what if I told you that Daphne Du Maurier has succeeded in doing something to my brain that only that great and powerful Gaiman has ever done before? An entire book in which we never learn the narrators name and I didn’t even notice.

Let me set the scene for you. This story takes place in I am going to assume 1940-50ish? Dates are never given, but given context I think that is a fitting time frame. Our narrator marries the widower of a famous estate known as Manderley, Mr. De Winter. His first wife perished at sea. The house keeping staff, as well as the majority of the townspeople in the surrounding area, adored the first Mrs. De Winter, Rebecca. Most notably, the head house keeper Mrs. Danvers. Without giving too much away, that bitch be crazy.

Essentially, our narrator, who comes from a very modest upbringing and is very young, is thrust quickly into the life of a stranger, in an extravagant estate that she is expected to run. Which was ran previously by a woman whom everyone adored and did everything perfectly. She is married to a man around 25 years older than her, who can’t seem to figure out if he should treat her like a child or his wife, but mainly is just an ass most of the time.

Everywhere she turns, Rebecca is lurking. Rebecca was a better wife. Rebecca was adored by the estate. Rebecca was prettier. Rebecca, was more. 

How is she supposed to compete with someone who isn’t even there anymore?

The twists and turns in the last quarter of this story are phenomenal. It absolutely makes up for the first quarter. They come out of nowhere and then they just unfold in the most brilliant way.

If you love a thriller, you will love this. Look past the 1940’s English countryside facade and see it for what it really is, a ghost story.

 

Book Review: My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni

mysistersgrave

An ex-sharp shooting chemistry teacher turned homicide detective investigates the death of her sister after remains are discovered that force her to question the innocence of the man who was convicted of the murder twenty years ago.

Sounds a little ridiculous, yeah? Well, for the most part it isn’t. Tracy Crosswhite is an intriguing character on her own, but I could have done without the wild west cowboy shooting history. It didn’t add much to the depth of her character, and seemed a bit silly. I think Dugoni was searching for a way to delve into the relationship between Tracy and her sister, Sarah, and needed a setting for the flashbacks. I get that. But I found the whole premise a bit ridiculous. The western shooting that is, not the actual plot. The plot was amazing!

With thrillers, it is always hard to do justice to the story in a review without giving away a bit too much. What I can say is, give it a chance past the first two chapters. Seriously, the western thing kind of calms down and it gets more intriguing. Like, exceptionally more intriguing.

The romance is not overdone. It’s believable and doesn’t detract from the story.

However, the best part of this story is obviously the mystery. The suspense that innately comes with a who-done-it kind of criminal thriller. It keeps you guessing while constantly making you question yourself. It has just enough twists to keep you hooked, while not becoming exhausting.

The last quarter of this novel was some of the best suspense I’ve ever read. It gives you that heart pumping, slightly claustrophobic, feeling in your chest. The pacing is so well done, that you should just plan to read at least the last quarter in one sitting. Seriously, carve out the time or else you will burn dinner and maybe lose a child somewhere. I clearly am not talking from experience. Probably.

There is a sequel to My Sister’s Grave called Her Last Breath, which is less of a sequel and more of a continuation of Tracy’s character, not of the first story arc. I’m only about 15% in, but I would already recommend reading My Sister’s Grave first, unless you want some spoilers. In which case I question your reading habits. But, to each their own.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Hey guys! I just posted my review of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie over on the Appraising Pages blog! I will be contributing over there every now and then, you guys should go give it a follow! Plus the Appraising Pages shop is full over bookish tshirts and jewlery, Justine is amazing and I am so happy to be a part of her blog! You can find it here! I am on the tail end of listening to The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and also about halfway through reading The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon, so be on the lookout for those posts soon!

The Martian by Andy Weir

The_Martian_2014

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

This is one of those books that I would have never, ever, from the summary picked up. Luckily, my husband’s dad and stepmom were adamant that we would enjoy this and lent us their audible of it. Now, you guys are the lucky ones because you have me to tell you GO READ THIS BOOK. Folks, I mean like now.

The setup of the book follows Watney through logs that he records of his day to day activity. So you never get a first-hand account of his activities, just his retelling of them. Then you eventually get chapters thrown in that are in first person, of things going on on Earth.

Not only is there so much suspense in this book it is ridiculous, but it is so smart. Andy Weir seriously knows his space shit. He goes into so much detail about the tech there on Mars, and explains how Watney comes up with innovation after innovation to struggle to keep himself alive, and it is all true to tech that actually exists and would be present on a manned trip to Mars. At least, that’s what the intro says. I’m not an astronaut, so I mean, I suppose he could have made it all up. It sounds pretty legit though, and that is good enough for me.

The most important thing that I wanted to share with you guys, is something that I can’t believe is never mentioned in the summary. MARK WATNEY IS FREAKING HILARIOUS. This dude gets stranded on Mars with zero contact with any other human. The entire world think that he is dead. Instead of wallowing in what is honestly the most dire situation that I can think of, he decides that if he is going to die all alone on Mars, he is going down with some snark. Here is a couple little gems from him that are my favorites.

“The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”

*

“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”

*

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.” 

*

“Everything went great right up to the explosion.”

That’s about all I can post quote-wise without putting too many spoilers out there. If you guys love action, suspense, humor, and an extremely well-written storyline, then this book is for you. If you don’t like any of those things, you might be at the wrong blog 😉

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

RosemarysBaby

So, I am in this book club with some friends and girls I work with. Our last club meeting was right before Halloween and we were all amped to read something creepy. So we thought, Hey! Rosemary’s Baby! Wasn’t that made into a movie? And it was written in like the 60’s right? A horror classic? Sure! Why not! Let’s do it!

CasIRegretNothingGif

If you are looking for a book that will scare the begeezus out of you, look no further. You guys know I love a good scare, and I have been hunting for a classic horror novel that actually does that ( I know some won’t consider something written in 1965 a classic yet, but hey, I’m not one of those people. Also, based on the amount of work that Rosemary’s Baby ultimately inspired, makes it a classic in it’s own right anyway). Frankenstein and Dracula did not do that for me. Like, not even at all.

If you are looking for a book that makes you want to literally crawl out of your own skin, this is it. The suspense in this is perfectly executed. There is never a lull that you have to wade through, it takes you smoothly throughout the plot while everything just escalates and escalates and escalates.

Levin’s writing is so modern too. If you took away the references to the pop culture of the time, or the “Hey, since I’m pregnant now, I’ll have to remember to ask the doctor how many cocktails is too much” thoughts, and someone asked me when I thought this book was published, I would say post 90’s for sure.

The story is a pretty well known one so I am not going to go too much into that here. What I will say is that the version that I downloaded on my kindle had an introduction by Otto Penzler and it was awesome. Read it. It will cue you in on so many inside jokes Levin slipped into the novel that are down right hilarious. Like constantly referring to the play Drat! The Cat! which he wrote for broadway.

All in all, I seriously recommend this book to anyone who isn’t too squirmish. It will make you feel uncomfortable, scared, paranoid, and you will love every second of it. Until the end. Then this will occur. JohnNotOkayGif2

Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly by P.T. Jones

Floating Boy

Mary’s life is going fine. Except for being a freshman in high school. And having anxiety attacks. And her dad having no job. So, introduce one boy who can fly, kidnap the little brother she’s supposed to be babysitting, and drop a military quarantine on her town and that should make her anxiety completely disappear, right? Wrong!

Yay for being back to reading and blogging 🙂 I missed you guys. Like a lot.

I was given this book on NetGalley, and I am so glad that I finally got to it. I’m not going to lie, it was the cover that drew me in. The blurb is pretty vague, but that cover is stunning! So maybe judging a book by it’s cover isn’t so bad sometimes? 🙂

I do love that the first thing they mention in the blurb is Mary’s anxiety though. The authors (P.T. Jones is a combination of Stephen Jones and Paul Tremblay) took a pretty serious disorder and infused it into a fantastical story, without belittling or mocking it. When Mary has an attack, the anxiety is almost palpable to the reader. You feel her fear and helplessness as if it is oozing off the page.

On the other hand though, this really is a fantastical story. A mysterious boy who can float, who knows so little about himself and social norms that it is hard for Mary to figure out anything about him. How do you understand a boy who doesn’t even understand himself? Throw in that he has a hard time not literally drifting away and you can see the problem.

What you can’t see is the ending. I tend to figure stories out as soon as the author writes a bit of foreshadowing that is a bit too revealing. I hate it. This story didn’t do that.

I would totally recommend Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly to anyone who likes a good mystery, and a bit of snark and suspense.