Yes Please

Yes PleaseYes Please by Amy Poehler (2014)

Summary

Comedian and actress Amy Poehler shares personal stories in this memoir.

Review

This isn’t the type of book I’d normally read, but I needed a memoir for the Seattle Public Library Summer Book Bingo and an audiobook for the Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge, so I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone. Amy Poehler narrates the audiobook herself with the assistance of some famous special guests.

Yes Please was funny, honest, and enjoyable, but it’s not going to stick with me.

You might like this book if you are interested in…

  • Amy Poehler (duh)
  • Celebrity memoirs
  • Humor
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Behind-the-scenes of acting
  • Parks and Recreation

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2007)

Summary

Arnold “Junior” Spirit is an awkward teenage cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington. Trying to rise above the poverty-stricken, self-destructive world he grew up in, he transfers to an all-white high school outside the reservation.

Review

True Diary has been banned for including profanity and subjects like racism and masturbation. I like Alexie’s response:

I certainly respect any parent’s right to determine what their child is reading. They don’t get to determine it for a whole school or community, but that said I was the only Democrat in my high school. I went to high school with a bunch of extremely Republican Christians (in other words, the kind of people who generally seek to ban my book) and let me tell you — those conservative Christian kids and I were exactly alike. I was publicly inappropriate, they were privately inappropriate. All this stuff that is controversial is stuff that kids are dealing with on a daily basis.

True Diary CartoonTrue Diary is semi-autobiographical; Alexie estimates that it is about 78% true. While it covers some sad and serious topics, it’s also funny and something young readers should relate to. Junior’s diary is interspersed with his hand-drawn cartoons, which give life to the story.

I didn’t love it, but I think True Diary is worth reading. It definitely was written for a young audience, though — best suited for teenagers.

You might like this book if you like…

  • Native American culture
  • Self-deprecating humor
  • Coming of age books
  • Stories with illustrations

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called OveMy mom practically shoved A Man Called Ove at me and exclaimed, “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!” When I asked her what it was about, she said, “A grumpy old Swedish man who wants to kill himself. You’ll LOVE it!” Um what?

Summary

Ove is an old-fashioned curmudgeon who is surrounded by incompetent neighbors who are caught up in technology, lax about rules, and oblivious of basic maintenance. It’s all incredibly irritating for Ove. He goes on a daily neighborhood inspection to ensure that everything is in order and rules are not being broken.

There used to be a forest here but now there were only houses. Everything paid for with loans, of course. That was how you did it nowadays. Shopping on credit and driving electric cars and hiring tradesman to change a lightbulb. A society that apparently could not see the difference between the correct anchor bolt for a concrete wall and a smack in the face.

After his wife dies and he is forced into early retirement, Ove feels like he has nothing left to live for… except that every time he tries to kill himself, his pesky neighbors get in the way. Ove feels compelled to help his neighbors through their ill-timed crises since they can’t be counted on to do things correctly. As time passes, they find an unexpected place in Ove’s life and reveal that there is more to Ove than his cranky exterior.

Review

Although it seems like an unappealing premise (“a grumpy old Swedish man who wants to kill himself”), A Man Called Ove is surprisingly heartwarming, funny, and charming.

Throughout the book, I was constantly quoting amusing passages to my family members who had read the book. Things like:

It was five to six in the morning when Ove and the cat met for the first time. The cat instantly disliked Ove exceedingly. The feeling was very much reciprocated.

I had such a fun time reading this book and it’s one of my favorites so far this year. Like my mom, I’ll keep my review simple and say YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!

You might like this book if you like…

  • Quirky Scandinavian literature
  • Begrudgingly helping out incompetent neighbors
  • The movie Up
  • Saabs (and just can’t reason with people who buy BMWs)
  • Knowing which anchor bolt to use for a concrete wall
  • Referring to cats as “Cat Annoyances”

The Color of Magic

The Colour of MagicThe Color of Magic is the first book in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.

Summary

Rincewind is a cynical wizard (although he failed as a student at the Unseen University) who unintentionally gets caught up in adventures. When an odd and naive tourist named Twoflower shows up in Ankh-Morpork, he hires Rincewind as his guide. The rest of the book tells of their adventures with sentient homicidal luggage, a great fire, tree nymphs, magical swords, dragons, sea trolls, and a city on the very edge of Discworld.

Discworld itself is a disc-shaped world that is carried on the backs of four elephants, who are all standing on the shell of an enormous turtle as it swims through space.

Review

The Color of Magic felt shallow to me; the characters lacked depth and the book was more like four short stories than one cohesive novel. That being said, I liked the absurdist humor and I enjoyed the book well enough that I’m going to continue on with the series.

It helped that I knew going into it not to have my expectations too high. From what I’ve found, most people think the first few published books in the series are relatively weak and they generally recommend that people start with a later book like Guards! Guards! or Mort instead.