Warm weather book reviews

As the weather warms and the sun begins to poke its head out, it’s time to grab some books and enjoy the fresh air. If you’re looking for some book recommendations, here are some that I’ve recently read (or, actually, listened to on audio book) that I loved.

FICTION

“Clan of the Cave Bear” (and the first sequel, “Valley of Horses”)
by Jean M. Auel

This historical fiction novel chronicles the history of people at the beginning of time — caveman days. The book suggests relationships between Neanderthals and homo sapiens, explaining the differences in their cultures and the perceptions of each other. In “Clan of the Cave Bear,” Ayla, a young homo sapiens girl, grows up with a Neanderthal clan. In “Valley of Horses,” the next book of the series, Ayla must learn to interact with animals and nature as she searches for someone of her own kind. These two books kept me riveted and ignited a fascination with caveman culture. It’s amazing to see how different but yet how similar the two ancient cultures are to our modern day society.

“Let the Great World Spin”
by Colum McCann

This book of short stories centers around a tightrope walker, Philippe Petit, who danced along a steel cable set up between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. At first, each story is seemingly unrelated to the next, but as you read on, the stories are all woven together. We hear about a court case from the perspective of the judge, the judge’s wife, the driver of a car crash, the victim of the car crash, and others involved with an incident occurring near the tightrope walker. I loved how the stories came together, showing how many angles there are to any given event, and how we are all connected.

NON-FICTION

“Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)”
by Mindy Kaling

I loved this one. Mindy Kaling (Kelly from “The Office”) writes about her life leading up to being a comedy writer, and all the hilarity along the way (and because I’m listening to it on audio book, I get to hear Kaling reading it herself, adding to the humor). She intersperses biographical stories with general thoughts on life that almost remind me a bit of my blog (but she’s famous, so hers is better). I laughed out loud many times, and her book inspired me to see that even if things are working out pretty well in your life and you never had to overcome deep hardships, you can still write some funny quips.

“Bossypants”
by Tina Fey

Remember in 2007 when I blogged an audio blog answering the question of whether or not women are funny? That clearly must have been before women like Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling were popular. Fey’s book is another example that women can definitely be funny. I loved listening to Fey’s account of her days at Second City, impersonating Sarah Palin on SNL, and writing and starring in her own 30 Rock. If you’re a Fey fan, which you have to be if you’re a breathing human, you have to read this book — or better yet, listen to it so you can hear Fey’s voice (and even a few ad libs).

“Happy Accidents”
by Jane Lynch

 In real life, Sue Sylvester from “Glee” is actually a decently nice person. Or at least it appears so from Jane Lynch’s memoir, “Happy Accidents.” She landed a life-changing spot on “Glee,” but until that point, it wasn’t all fun and games for Lynch. She writes about working her way up the acting ladder (including a run as Carol Brady in the musical “The Real Live Brady Bunch” and ad libbing a Guatemalan love song in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) and about the challenges she overcame as an openly gay actress. Without her “Glee” character’s insults and trickery, the actress behind the character comes across as compassionate, loving, and hardworking, and it was a pleasure to hear her tell her story.

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