Like most people, I cannot believe how quickly the Summer flew by. This is especially the case for August which felt like it happened all within the span of one week. With this being said, I was happy to still get two books and one audio book in for the month. It didn’t hurt that all three were really great reads.
Here is my recap of books from August:
BECOMING by MICHELLE OBAMA
This book has been sitting on my to be read (TBR) list since the moment it was released and to be honest, I don’t know why it has taken me so long to read it. I decided on a whim to listen to it on Audible and I have to say it was a pretty damn good choice on my part. There is a reason this book has received so many rave reviews. It is wonderful.
From beginning to end, this is one of the best memoirs I have read. When I think of ways to describe this read I think of words like captivating, compelling and moving. I really loved how much of the story was based on Michelle’s upbringing and her childhood. You truly get a better sense of Michelle as a person and not Michelle, Barack Obama’s wife.
The reason I chose to listen to the book on Audible since Michelle herself does the voice over and I am so grateful that I did. I believe that hearing the words from Michelle directly made the emotional response to this book that much more intense. From tearing up as she details the passing of her father to smiling as she narrates her initiatives in the White House – this book had me feeling ALL the feels. You also get a real sense of Michelle’s personality which is fun and serious, joyful and eloquent. If anything, this book is an honest look at Michelle Obama in a way that you don’t always get to see in the media and absolutely everyone should take the time to read (or listen) to her story.
TOIL & TROUBLE by AUGUSTEN BURROUGHS
I should start off by saying that I am a big time fan of Augusten Burroughs and all of the incredible memoirs he has written. Being such a fan, I went into this book understaning that this would be a unique read and one I would need an open mind for. Afterall, this is Augusten’s first time admitting he is a witch.
This book really was magick – pun intended. It made me feel all of the emotions that Burroughs is known for making you feel. I adored the ties to his childhood and the path in which he realizes the extent of his powers. I also really enjoyed how he revisits the relationship with his mother from a more grown and understanding perspective.This book was a mix of new stories and a wander down memory lane. While the context seems far fetched – a witch?? – it is still a memoir you can hold onto. One that has layers of emotions and, in true Augusten Burroughs fashion, dark humor.
I found myself not wanting the stories to end and wishing there were more pages as I closed the book. I was grateful we got to see adult Burroughs who now lives in the country with his dogs and his husband. And while this is a much different Augusten than the one we have seen in previous memoirs, he is equally entertaining and honest.
IN PRAISE OF DIFFICULT WOMEN by KAREN KARBO
When I stumbled across a book that praised fierce women who are not afraid to speak up, to be themselves, and to challenge others, I knew I had hit the jackpot. As a society, we are in a strange time where women still find themselves pushed aside and silenced by men (and at times, other women) even though women’s rights already exist. With this in mind I quickly added this book to my reads for August and sped through it.
There were a number of women featured in this book that I loved to see in the spotlight and I really enjoyed hearing all of the stories, some of which I never knew. With that being said, I can agree with other reviews I have read, that showcasing only a handful of women of color in a book of 29 women was pretty disappointing. Sure, there are amazing women that fill these pages, but it would have been nice to see a bit more diversity. I will say that I do not believe it was Karen Karbo’s intention to omit more diversity in her collection (there are in fact some great pieces on women of color and those in the LGBTQ community). In fact, I believe it is almost an impossible task to choose only 29 ‘difficult women’ to feature, so I feel for her on that.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The small chapters made it an easy read and the illustrations were a perfect touch to this dedication of women who dare to be difficult.
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