Rebel Girls Lead (Book Review)

REBEL GIRLS! Heck yesssss! I’ve actually always wanted to read the series Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, but my library unfortunately doesn’t have them available. Not to worry! I was able to read their newest mini-book called Rebel Girls Lead from NetGalley.

Image of flowers and a butterfly with the book Rebel Girls Lead in the front

The Book

Rebel Girls Lead is a mini version of their Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls series. While the Goodnight series includes 200 women in two books, Rebel Girls Lead only has 25 women. Of the 25 women, some are pulled from the Goodnight series, however, 11 new women are included! Each “rebel girl” has a short summary of her life on the left page, accompanied by a BEAUTIFUL portrait on the right with a quote. At the end of the book there is an template for you to create your own rebel girl profile for the book! After that, there is a short and sweet leadership quiz (I’m an ardent activist) followed by exercises in leadership to inspire activism. Overall, this book is amazing and makes me wish I had access to the other books published by Rebel Girls.

The Rebel Girls

Of the 25 rebel girls in the book, I knew or have heard about 13 of them. Even though the stories of the women are written for young kids, I found them very informative! It gives you enough information for you to get a dip into their lives. Honestly, it has left me wanting more and I’ll be looking into more of these women in my free time. Two of the women that I enjoyed learning about most were Pat Summit and Mary Barra. Both are women who entered majority-male jobs and thrived! I love a woman who can prove she is as good as the men in their field!

The Art

I needed to make a special section for the art. Each portrait is amazing and beautiful! I’ve discovered so many artists that I would love to follow on Instagram or maybe purchase from. My favorite pieces of art from the book were Ana Galvan‘s Elizabeth I and Eleanor Davis‘s Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

However, I came across an issue when looking at the Rebel Girl’s website. They have a page where they list all the creators, which is great! But they did a real disservice to the artists by having most of the links mixed up. You can click on an artist’s name, but it will bring up another artist’s Instagram page instead. So, I’ve decided that I’ll list the artist’s below and link their insta for you 🙂 I hope you can use this to discover beautiful art!

  1. Aisha Akeju
  2. Alessandra De Cristofaro
  3. Alexandra Bowman
  4. Ana Galvan
  5. Annalisa Ventura
  6. Cindy Echevarria
  7. Debora Guidi
  8. Eleanor Davis
  9. Elenia Beretta
  10. Fanesha Fabre
  11. Jacquelyn B. Moore
  12. Kathrin Honesta
  13. Kelsee Thomas
  14. Kiki Ljung
  15. Laura Perez
  16. Marta Signori
  17. Nicole Miles
  18. Paola Rollo
  19. Salini Perera
  20. Sally Deng
  21. Sally Nixon
  22. Sara Bondi
  23. Sarah Madden
  24. T.S. Abe
  25. Thandiwe Tshabalala

*I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*

Interested in more? I don’t only write about books!I also blog about my life. Maybe you’ve considered traveling in South Korea. Why not check out my dogs! They are pretty adorable  Either way, I hope my stories help make your day a bit more stupendous.

Body Shaming The Evil Queen (Fairest of All – Book Review

Let me start by saying that Fairest of All by Serena Valentino wasn’t at all what I expected. This retelling of Disney’s classic Snow White seriously took me by surprise in a good way. I had no idea what to expect when picking this up. In the movie, the Evil Queen is jealous of Snow White for her beauty. The original story seemed so straight forward. How could there be an entertaining backstory for the Queen? Turns out, the answer is body shaming.

Body Shaming

Okay, let’s talk about body shaming real quick in case you’ve been living under a rock or something. Body shaming is when someone is criticized or shamed for their body. Typically, body shaming refers to body size. For example: Calling someone fat. All I ever really see on social media are critiques on body shaming in relation to size. But, that’s not all. Calling someone ugly is also body shaming. Saying someone’s nose is too big or laughing about how someone’s ears stick out a bit too much is body shaming.

My Experience

I’m a bigger woman. I’ve been on the larger side my whole life. Needless to say, I’ve been body shamed before. However, I want to talk about my most recent experience. I was about half-way through Fairest of All when this happened.

My boyfriend (let’s call him KJ) told me that a female coworker had actually made some not so nice comments about me. I wasn’t there for these comments, but KJ told me after the fact. Apparently, this coworker asked KJ if he likes chubby girls. In all honesty, even after all these years, hearing someone call me chubby or fat in a negative way hurts. I think it will always hurt. However, in Korean culture it’s not necessarily rude to comment on someone’s weight here. So, I tried to take it with a grain of salt. But then, there was another comment.

KJ loves talk to people from all over the world, so he frequently joins chat groups to meet new people. He was showing a male coworker some of his international friends when the same female coworker said “These girls are prettier than your girlfriend.” Of course, KJ stood up for me but knowing someone said that about me to someone I love hurts a lot. When KJ told me, I wanted to cry. I hate that I let someone, who I’ve never even met, get to me. But I’m trying my best to not let it stay in my heart.

Background of snow covered trees, book cover for Fairest of All by Serena Valentino

The Evil Queen

In Fairest of All, the Queen also grew up being body shamed, but for her appearance. On top of that, the person doing the body shaming was her father. He constantly called her “ugly” and made her life miserable. Even after she marries the King, she continues to struggle with self confidence and self worth. While things did start looking better for her, it all came crashing down after the King died. Her grief consumed her. She no longer had a loving voice to cover up the comments from her father that still swam in her head.

Then, she gets the mirror with her father’s soul trapped in it. Because he has to tell the truth, the Queen forces him to tell her she is beautiful everyday. Hearing HIM, the one who tormented her as a child, call her beautiful becomes this drug and she is addicted. The Queen can’t get enough and struggles when her father says someone’s beauty has surpassed hers. This addiction corrupts her soul and turns her into the Queen we see in Disney’s Snow White.

The Queen was so kind and loving, even when her father was so awful to her. If she didn’t have that insecurity from, a lifetime of bullying, she wouldn’t have needed the daily validation from her father in the mirror. Her self-worth wouldn’t have been dependent on how others perceive her. She wouldn’t have constantly compared herself to those around her. She could have lived a happy life with her step-daughter. But then, we wouldn’t have to story of Snow White.

Do not believe your father’s lies, my little girl. He doesn’t see you as you are and I fear for your soul should you ever let his darkness linger in your heart.

From Nanny to the Queen in Fairest of All by Serena Valentino

Interested in more? I don’t only write about books! I also blog about my life. Maybe you’ve considered teaching in South Korea. Why not check out my dogs! They are pretty adorable 🙂 Either way, I hope my stories help make your day a bit more stupendous.

Everyone in Jaws Sucks (Book Review)

Did you know that Jaws wasn’t just a Spielberg movie, but a best selling novel? Yeah, neither did I until recently. I decided to immediately read it as I had already planned on giving my boyfriend a shark themed birthday. Jaws is a movie classic that everyone should see, but so is the novel. Peter Benchley‘s novel of the same name, should also be on your TBR. It was a suspenseful novel and I loved the sections from the shark’s PoV. The novel exceeded my expectations! You expect that after seeing the movie, the suspense wouldn’t be there. However, things are written in such a way that makes you hold your breath even if you think you know what’s coming.

Assuming you have seen the movie or know what it’s about, the premise is the same. Big shark kills people. Two of the bigger changes were the romance and mafia sub-plots that didn’t make an appearance in the movie. The main characters are all there and have the same roles with minor changes except, the character’s were unlikable. In the movie, everyone is at least somewhat likable, even when making horrible decisions. However, in the book, there wasn’t a single person that I liked. In fact, I disliked them so much that I decided to make a full post about it.

You, who have never read Jaws, you who have only seen the movie, I can see you frowning, I can hear you saying to yourself, “Romance? Mafia? What’s he talking about? Where’s all that stuff?” Read on, please, and discover for yourselves.

Peter Benchley in the “Introduction to the 30th Anniversary Edition” in Jaws
Image from Bookstagram Background image of the beach and Jaws book cover in the forefront

Chief Martin Brody

Listen, Brody is a pushover. We can all agree on this, right? He knows the right thing is to close the beach after the first shark attack. But he caves to the pressures of people like Vaughan and Meadows. Three more people are killed before he gets the balls to close the beach. A couple days of no action and Brody is again pressured to open the beaches for the 4th of July and does. I want to remind you that Brody is the one who has the authority to close the beaches. He doesn’t need approval to do so. So, the beaches are open again. No one is really swimming until a boy is dared to by his friends. Brody had the chance to stop the boy from going in, but chose against it. As a result, the shark almost kills the kid. At the end of the day, Chief Brody made a lot of bad calls because of peer pressure and the threat of losing his job. Is it really that hard to do the right thing, Brody? I don’t think so.

The Cherry on Top

And for good measure, I’ll mention how Chief Brody was more obsessed with trying to figure out if Hooper slept with Ellen than he was about finding and killing the shark. Let’s move on people. 4 people are dead already and there was almost a 5th.

He had to take the blame, but it was not rightly his. It belonged to Larry Vaughan and his partners, whoever they might be. He had wanted to do the right thing; they had forced him not to. But who were they to force him? If he couldn’t stand up to Vaughan, what kind of cop was he? He should have closed the beaches.

About Chief Brody in Jaws by Peter Benchley

Wife Ellen Brody

Ellen is completely self-centered. I had no idea someone could be so self-centered when everyone around her is being eaten by a massive shark. She spends a majority of the book dreaming about the life she could have had if she hadn’t married Martin. Don’t misunderstand, it’s not like she was forced to marry Martin. She married for love. She WANTED to marry Martin and have the Amity life. However, she now feels this desperation to connect with her old life of privilege. Okay, I know I sound like I’m bashing someone for no reason. BUT SHE PLANS A DINNER PARTY WHEN 4 PEOPLE HAVE DIED IN 5 DAYS AND HER HUSBAND IS UNDER INCREDIBLE STRESS JUST SO SHE CAN CLING TO HER OLD LIFE OF SOPHISITICATION! Not only that, but she sleeps with Hooper out of boredom essentially. She doesn’t even realize how awful she is being until the last quarter of the book.

The past–like a bird long locked in a cage and suddenly released–was flying at her, swirling around her head, showering her with longing.

About Ellen Brody in Jaws by Peter Benchley

Reporter Harry Meadows

I kind of want to punch him in the throat for making everything worse. He purposefully left the first attack out of the paper. Then, later he blames the police and local government officials for hiding the first attack. He even put in a FAKE QUOTE from Chief Brody saying Brody chose to not close the beaches. MEADOWS KNEW AND MADE THE DECISION TO NOT WRITE ABOUT IT IN THE PAPER. Honestly, I can’t stand people and this whole thing makes me furious.

So it seems to me, Martin, that there’s no reason to get the public all upset over something that’s almost sure not to happen again.

Harry Meadows to Chief Brody in Jaws by Peter Benchley

Mayor Larry Vaughan

This is who I really wish would have been eaten by the shark. Just like all the townspeople, he was selfish. I mean COME ON! Yes, I understand the town will struggle. I get that the town gets the main bulk of income from the summer season. However, this is no excuse for not caring about human life. Vaughan is the one who brings the mafia subplot. It was pretty inconsequential and was just an excuse for why Vaughan was adamant on keeping the beaches open. The whole book basically, Vaughan is a jerk about people being killed by a shark. He only cares about himself and his mafia, real estate business partners. He may wither away to essentially nothing from stress, but he deserved a more gruesome death.

We do have one thing going for us. Miss Watkins was a nobody. She was a drifter. No family, no close friends. She said she had hitchhiked East from Idaho. So she wont’ be missed.

Vaughn to Chief Brody in Jaws by Peter Benchley

Researcher Matthew Hooper

Okay, listen. There is that argument that the person cheating is the only one responsible and not the person who they are doing the cheating with… if any of that made sense to you. However, Hooper was a total jerk for sleeping with Ellen. He knew she was married. He knew they didn’t have an open relationship. But he went ahead and encouraged it anyway. Most of the time Brody and Hooper are fighting over who has the bigger dick. Personally, I feel like he did it to have this secret one-up over Chief Brody.

That fish is a beauty. It’s the kind of thing that makes you believe in a god. It shows you what nature can do when she sets her mind to it.

Hooper to Quint and Chief Brody after seeing the shark in Jaws by Peter Benchley

Fisherman Quint

This is the only person I’m conflicted about. He seems like an okay person. I mean, he is unsympathetic completely. He charges $400 a day to take Hooper and Chief Brody out to try and kill the shark. Not to mention, he breaks fishing laws all the time. However, he has logical arguments for both so I let that go. What really made me pissed off is the scene where he splits a shark open at it’s stomach and throws it back into the water. He actually enjoyed watching the shark eat itself and even was looking forward to other sharks coming to eat the one he cut open. I get fishing for a living and doing what needs to be done. However, what Quint did was for pure amusement and that disgusts me.

If we’re lucky, in a minute other blues’ll come around, and they’ll help him eat himself. If we get enough of them, there’ll be a real feeding frenzy. That’s quite a show.

Quint talking to Chief Brody and Hooper after he cut a shark open and threw it into the ocean in Jaws by Peter Benchley

Despite all this, Jaws is a terrific book. It kept me on my toes and went way above my expectations! Sure, I didn’t like any of the characters, but there is something special about hate. I easily fall in love with characters and relate to so many. However, it takes a lot for me to dislike a character. There needs to be a level of realism for me to connect to in order to build that hatred. That being said, Benchley did an amazing job.

So tell me, who did you hate the most? Was there anyone you found likable? Do unlikable characters turn you away from a book?

Interested in more? I don’t only write about books! I also blog about my life. Maybe you’ve considered teaching in South Korea. Why not check out my dogs! They are pretty adorable 🙂 Either way, I hope my stories help make your day a bit more stupendous.

Bookstagram Links for StupendousReads

Are you here because of StupendousRead’s bookstagram? Looking for the related blog post? This is where you want to be! Just click on the image to go to the related blog post!

Image of flowers and a butterfly with the book Rebel Girls Lead in the front
Background of snow covered trees, book cover for Fairest of All by Serena Valentino
Background is a photo of my dogs jumping on my legs for treats. The book is No, David! by David Shannon
Bookstagram image. Background is a flood street in SETX and in the foreground is the book The Liar's Club by Mary Karr
Image from bookstagram. Background is Remus and book in foreground is Goodnight Moon.
Image from Bookstagram Background image of the beach and Jaws book cover in the forefront
Image from bookstagram. Background is concrete wall edited to be blue and purple and book in foreground is I Was a Stripper Librarian with window shade shadows.

Interested in more? I don’t only write about books! I also blog about my life. Maybe you’ve considered teaching in South Korea. Why not check out my dogs! They are pretty adorable 🙂 Either way, I hope my stories help make your day a bit more stupendous.

4 Things Librarians and Strippers Have In Common (Book Review)

I recently discovered NetGalley. NetGalley is a website where readers are given the chance to read digital review copies before publishing. This seemed amazing to me, so I checked it out. The first book I decided to read was by Kristy Cooper. Her book, I Was a Stripper Librarian: From Cardigans to G-strings, was a wonderful first choice for me to try out. I was so amazed with this book and I learned a lot. Surprisingly, Librarians and strippers have a lot in common.

Edited book cover for I Was a Stripper Librarian by Kristy Cooper

1. It’s not like what you see on TV.

Personally, my experience with strippers is limited to television. When I think of strippers, I think of women dancing on poles while men throw singles on the stage. The strip club scene Cooper describes, wasn’t like that. Turns out, that was more back in the 80s and things have died down since then. With the rise of internet porn and sites like OnlyFans, people don’t see a need to go out to strip clubs when they can just stay home.

For librarians, they don’t go around telling people to be quiet all day. Cooper even talks about a time when a library patron shushed her and another librarian. Librarians are all about helping you get the information you need. It’s not just about books, but making all information accessible to everyone.

2. You need a license.

Early on in the book, Cooper gets a job as a library aide at a public library in Michigan. However, before she could start, Cooper had to get her driver’s license changed. She needed to be a Michigan resident in order to work for the public library.

Strippers need a license too, of sorts. There is something called a dancer-card where you have to register with the city and have your information in a database. Cooper describes it as a “creepy database” and I have to agree with her.

A registry of who worked in strip clubs seemed invasive and just another way to control the autonomy of women just trying to get by.

Kristy Cooper in I Was a Stripper Librarian

3. Sex is everywhere.

Nudity at a strip club isn’t a surprise, but apparently its more common at libraries than you would expect. A lot of libraries have porn policies, which makes sense because kids are around and not all the computers are set up in a private area. However, policies and public computers don’t stop people from trying. Cooper has an interesting story about her first porn patron encounter in her book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

4. Privacy is important.

Why not just block the porn sites? Cooper discussed this as well: “There [are] libraries that philosophically wouldn’t block or stop patrons from looking at anything because they considered that a form of censorship.” Libraries and librarians do their best to ensure YOUR privacy rights are being upheld. Amazing right? That wasn’t something I knew!

This is where sex workers and librarians really connect. Sex workers and librarians are advocating for our privacy in a growing data driven world. If you want to learn more about librarians and privacy, check out the Library Freedom Institute’s website.

It’s such an absurd idea that sex workers are the only ones selling themselves. All workers sell their time and labor. Sex workers just often get a better payout for their time.

Kristy Cooper in I Was a Stripper Librarian

I Was a Stripper Librarian blew my mind. I learned so much about two worlds that I considered polar opposites. Cooper was so open and honest about her experiences, prejudices, and privilege. I don’t believe that anyone else could connect these two worlds better than she did. This is going on the list of books I recommend to others and it will one day be a part of my personal home library.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*

Interested in more? I don’t only write about books! I also blog about my life. Maybe you’ve considered teaching in South Korea. Why not check out my dogs! They are pretty adorable 🙂 Either way, I hope my stories help make your day a bit more stupendous.

A Book List For Bradley and His Kids

So, basically my long term plan has always been to be a librarian. I used to have an active BookTube channel, that I’m hoping to start up again this summer maybe? I started this blog thinking I could post book stuff here as well. (Check out some of my other book lists.) However, life happens and dogs happen and depression happens and things get forgotten. But I’m back and hopefully going to keep this blog going this time.

Anyway, I had a guy I knew back in my middle school and high school days message me for book recommendations! Someone I haven’t spoken to in 15ish years reached out to ME for a list of books to read! This felt amazing and I immediately put together a list of books for him. I decided that I would go ahead and share that list on my blog 🙂

The Book List

For the Kids

So, this guy has kids WHO LOOK EXACTLY LIKE HIM and I thought I would put together a book list that they could read together. 

Interested in more? I don’t only write about books! I also blog about my life. Maybe you’ve considered teaching in South Korea. Why not check out my dogs! They are pretty adorable 🙂 Either way, I hope my stories help make your day a bit more stupendous.

The Wife Upstairs – Book Review

The Wife Upstairs - Book Review

Rachel Hawkin‘s The Wife Upstairs is a modern take on Jane Eyre by Charoltte Bronte. Jane is a young woman in her 20s with secrets. She just moved to Birmingham, Alabama from Arizona to escape her past. She walks dogs for money in a rich neighborhood called Thornhill Estates. However, Jane is bitter about her clients owning earrings and shirts that cost more than her rent, so she frequently steals small items from them. Then, one rainy day as she is admiring a house in the neighborhood, she is almost run over. The driver is Eddie Rochester, whose wife, Bea, went missing in a boating accident 6 months earlier. Jane sees Eddie as an opportunity to live a life she only imagined. Above all, Eddie is how she can outrun her past for good. As it turns out, Jane isn’t the only one in Thornhill with secrets.

What I have is, after all, like winning the fucking lottery, and I’ve learned the hard way that wanting more is what fucks you in the end.

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

My Thoughts

THIS. WAS. SO. MUCH. FUN. In terms of it being a beach-read thriller, which is exactly what I was in the mood for. I have been wanting to read this novel for a while, but the waiting list from my library took forever. Before I discuss my thoughts I want to let you know about doesthedogdie.com. If you can’t tell, it’s lets you know if a dog dies in the novel. (Speaking of dogs, check out my dogs Remus and Tonks). However, it does more than that now. It lets you know about various trigger warnings and if they appear in the novel/movie you search. I’m going to list trigger warnings for the novel towards the end of my post, as some find trigger warnings spoiling.

Comparing to the Classic

I read Jane Eyre back in high school, but if I’m being honest, I don’t remember much about it. All I remember is a wife being hidden upstairs and the house burning down. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of classics in general, so I don’t plan on reading it again to compare to this novel. However, when I saw the title, I thought of Jane Eyre. When I read the book, I also thought of Jane Eyre. If you’re a fan of the classics, I’m sure comparing the two would add another layer of fun that I am missing out on.

Setting

I loved the setting in a affluent southern neighborhood. While it didn’t entirely capture the passive aggressiveness of southern women, but it got the gossipy bit down well. It reminds me of why I enjoy not being overly friendly with my neighbors. However, Jane was a bit too good at fitting in. It should have been a bit more of a struggle to get the neighborhood women to accept her into their group.

Plot

Moving on from that, there is a big twist in the novel that I’m sure lots of readers will guess at, but I didn’t! However, I’m one of those readers who doesn’t try to figure out what’s going on and just rides the thrills out to the end. I wouldn’t say the twist is original, but it was enough for me.

The ending was perfect. It was one of those that makes it clear the story is over, but leaves a bit open ended so your imagination can run wild. Okay, I’ll admit there are a few things at the end that don’t make sense and maybe a couple holes, BUT I felt it was fitting

Characters

No one was very likable. You are told the story from the POV of the three main characters: Jane, Eddie, and Bea. All have their own agenda. To me, the characters are complex. We learn about their childhoods and personal struggles. We see good and bad sides. Lastly, we see how they came to make the adult decisions they did. However, none of that lead me to like them. Personally, I hope I never encounter anyone like them in real life.

Overall

As far as I understand, this is a mild thriller. I mentioned it before, but I do feel like this is a beach-read or a pool-side-read for those who aren’t a fan of the typical contemporary romances. I’m very happy to have read this book. It helped me get out of a reading funk and lit a spark inside me. I’m not really one to give star ratings, but what the heck… 4 out of 5 stars from me!

A man who overestimates his intelligence is a man who can be easily manipulated.

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Book Club Questions

  1. Have you read any other Jane Eyre retellings? How does this one compare?
  2. How are Jane and Bea alike/different? Are you sympathetic?
  3. What do you think about Jane’s stealing before and after she comes into wealth?
  4. Why do you think Eddie changed his will?
  5. Jane, Eddie, and Bea frequently reference their childhood. How did their upbringing influence their adult decisions?

The stressful part is always making the decision. Once you’ve made it, it’s done and you feel better.

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Trigger Warnings

addiction, alcohol abuse, burned alive, teeth damaged, parent dies, kidnapping, cheating, shower/bath scene, gaslighting, domestic violence, drowning, profanity

While the novel does include the above listed, I wouldn’t say they were graphic depictions.

 

Interested in more? I don’t only write about books! I also blog about my life. Maybe you’ve considered teaching in South Korea. Why not check out my dogs! They are pretty adorable 🙂 Either way, I hope my stories help make your day a bit more stupendous.

 

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Book Review

Balli Kaur Jaswal’s Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows follows a writing class for Punjabi widows that morphed from an ESL class to an erotic creative writing class. Giggling and shy, the women use these stories to demand the respect and authority they desire in their everyday life. Throw in a little romance and murder mystery all mixed together with the immigrant experience, and Jaswal has created a novel that pleases all readers, in more ways than one. *wink*

Fiery-eyed and indignant, they would pen their stories for the whole world to read.

Balli Kaur Jaswal, Erotic Stores for Punjabi Widows

Characters

The main character, Nikki, is a daughter of Indian immigrants. She has grown up with the mindset of your average millennial, but choices come at a price. Nikki struggles at home with the pressures to follow cultural expectation. However, she watches as the Punjabi widows in her class defy these cultural expectations.

Nikki never imagined these traditional widows would be interested in erotic stories, much less write them. The widows all crave something they can’t have or never had in their lives. The classes started off as a secret rebellion, something not to be shared outside the classroom. But, it’s hard to keep a secret. Especially ones about newlywed Indian women taking control in the bedroom.

Death is better than life if a girl doesn’t have her honor. Sometimes the younger generation needs this reminder.

Balli Kaur Jaswal, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

My Thoughts

When I picked up this book, I was a little worried I would be lost in a culture I knew nothing about. However, Jaswal does a fantastic job of educating the reader about Punjabi and Indian culture. She does this in a humorous way that allowed me to comfortably slip into a foreign culture.

Perhaps passion and excitement were meant to be secondary to a stable adult life.

Balli Kaur Jaswal, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

Trying to compare this to any other book is futile. It’s unlike anything I’ve come across before. It was such a new experience and everyone should try reading it. There is some sexually explicit scenes, but the erotic stories are italicized so you can easily skip over them if you want. Usually, the stories don’t go into too much detail and they aren’t long and drawn out.

Overall, highly recommend! 5 out of 5! Please read it so I can have someone to discuss it with!

Interested in more? I don’t only write about books! I also blog about my life. Maybe you’ve considered teaching in South Korea. Why not check out my dogs! They are pretty adorable 🙂 Either way, I hope my stories help make your day a bit more stupendous.

15 Books I Want to Read Again

15 Books I Want to Read Again - Title Image

Does anyone else have this problem where you want to re-read a book, but you feel like you shouldn’t because your TBR (to-be-read) pile is so high and growing every day?  Yeah, me too.    So many books have been floating around in my head saying “read me, read me” but I’ve been doing my best to ignore them.  However, I have recently decided that life is short and I shouldn’t NOT read something again because of a growing list of other books.  Here is a list of 15 Books I Want to Read Again!

 

  1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    The Night Circus - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I read this back when I was in San Antonio.  I remember it being pretty popular because Morgenstern wrote it during NaNoWriMo.  My friend and I read it at the same time and we both fell in love with the circus.  Morgenstern really was able to bring it to life so vividly and I felt like I was actually there!  Honestly, I don’t remember any of the plot or anything else that happened except for the circus…

  2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

    Coraline - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    Coraline is my favorite book.  No lie.  I plan on getting two Coraline tattoos one day and I actually have a tattoo artist in mind that would be perfect for what I’m wanting.  I’m going to get the Other Mother’s hand on one thigh and a vintage looking key on the other thigh.  Originally, I was wanting to get them on my feet, but I decided it would be too small and I read it fades quickly there. Back to the book, Coraline was given to me by my Aunt Donna and I actually have a first edition!  I know other friends have read it after they were adults and it didn’t impact them as much.  I guess I just read it at the right time, when I needed it most.  Neil Gaiman is my favorite author, however, I haven’t read everything by him yet.  I’m such a bad fan!  But Coraline is a book that I have already re-read, and re-read often.

  3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    Okay, I’ve read Hitchhiker’s twice, but this is really a book that you need to read multiple times.  There is so much packed into one book and you really need to read it multiple times just to catch all the little details.  This particular book has been swimming in the forefront of my brain for a couple weeks now.  I’m sure I’ll be picking it up again soon.

  4. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

    The Princess Bride - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I didn’t realize this was a book for the longest time!  I was about 23 by the time I read it even though I had watched the movie as a kid.  Admittedly, I wasn’t in love with the movie like most others my age.  However, now that I’m older I appreciate it more and it’s something I would like to share with my students if I can manage to find Korean subtitles!  One thing I remember enjoying about this book were the footnotes.  Hopefully, I’ll find time in 2019 to sit and read it!

  5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

    The Phantom Tollbooth - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    This is another book that I didn’t realize was a book.  When I was younger I was in love with The Phantom Tollbooth movie.  I would rent it from the library all the time and I’m sure my mom got tired of it after a while.  As I got older there were so many vocabulary words that I already knew because of the movie.  Specifically, I remember being a freshman in high school and one of our vocabulary words was “doldrums” which means “a state or period of inactivity or stagnation” (from dictionary.com).  I was so excited because the doldrums portion of the movie was one of my favorite parts!  I absolutely loved the book as well and really want to read it again to really fall into that world.

  6. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney

    The Face on the Milk Carton - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I read this book when I was in elementary school and I remember being in total shock and awe.  I mostly read books like The Magic Attic Club and the books about The American Girl Dolls, so this was new territory for me.  It was something that could happen (though not likely) and it blew my mind.  After this, I started to branch out more and discovered that I really enjoyed thrillers, crime, and science fiction.

  7. The King, the Mice and the Cheese by Nancy Gurney

    The King the Mice and the Cheese - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    This was my favorite children’s book when I was younger.  My mom read it so much that we had to tape it back together because the cover and other pages were falling out.  I have so many memories of that book and if I ever have kids I’m going to buy that for them.  Actually, I may as well buy it now and read it to my dogs.  They actually love when I read to them 🙂

  8. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

    Where the Sidewalk Ends - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    Come on, who doesn’t like this book?  I actually had my students read one of his poems, but I don’t think they really appreciated it.  Fortunately, I didn’t really care and just enjoyed it on my own.  This and A Light in the Attic are such good books!  One of the teachers at my school is trying to read children’s books in English to help her study.  Her teacher sent her a list of books to try and read and this was on there!  I highly recommended this to her and I hope she gets the chance to read it.

  9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I feel like such a bad Potter fan.  My dogs are named Remus and Tonks, and I’m over here forgetting major plot points!  I’ve read the first 3 books multiple times, but I haven’t managed to read any of the thicker ones again.  I really need to get on the ball before I lose my credibility with the fandom.

  10. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

    Elsewhere - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I remember this book really well considering it’s been 10 years since I last read it.  I recommended it to many friends and everyone that read it loved it.  Heaven, hell, and all that isn’t something I believe in.  When you die, your body decomposes and that’s all.  Back to being dirt.  But after I read Elsewhere I thought it would be nice if this is how it actually happened.  Speaking of death and things… The Good Place on Netflix is one of the best shows out there.  Also, there is a book called Stiff by Mary Roach talking about cadavers and different things you can do with your body after you die and it’s also amazing!  I’ve got 3 different options for my family members to choose from when I die.  They can pool together and pick one 🙂

  11. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

    A Game of Thrones - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    After watching the first season on HBO, I read the book.  It was fantastic and I wanted to read the others, but that’s about the time when I kind of stopped reading altogether.  Now, I want to get back into the series, but I need to read the first book again since there is so much I’ve already forgotten.

  12. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

    Jurassic Park - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    Jurassic Park is one of my favorite movies of all time.  I’m actually having my students watch it right now and they are thoroughly enjoying it!  I read the book about 2 or 3 years ago and fell in love with this world all over again.  I’m sure it helps that I love dinosaurs in general.

  13. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

    Flowers in the Attic - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I’ve read this book twice already and I don’t know why, but I keep wanting to torture myself.  I can’t manage to read past this first book in the series, but I keep reading this one.  It’s like a darker version of A Series of Unfortunate Events and I just can’t take reading how these kids suffer anymore.  However, you can bet your butt I’ll read this book again and again.  There is just something about it that keeps dragging me back.  I haven’t seen any of the movie adaptations and I don’t plan to.  I’ve heard they aren’t good and I can’t imagine any movie being made that will fully capture what the book is able to give readers.  Seriously, one of the best books I’ve ever read even if the content is haunting.

  14. Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix

    Running Out of Time - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    This was one of the books I found after reading The Face on the Milk Carton.  I was again in total shock and I remember telling my mom about this book in detail because I was so fascinated by the idea of living in an experiment, essentially.  My mom told me that if I like this, I would also like The Truman Show.  Also, I’m going to say it like many before me have… M. Night Shyamalan totally ripped off this book when he wrote The Village.  I watched The Village at my grandparent’s house and afterwards went into a lengthy, angry rant about how his movie was a total rip of one of my favorite childhood books!  I’m sure no one in my family cared and just tuned me out, but I couldn’t let the injustice go!  I’m still bitter about it actually.

  15. A BOOK THAT I CAN’T SEEM TO FIND

    Blue - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    The Book

    There is a book that I read when I was younger.  I rented it from the local library and it was about polio.  The main character was a girl, but she wasn’t the one who got polio.  I think her neighborhood friend got polio and her mom was very adamant about her staying away from him.  That’s about all I remember from the book.

    When I read the back cover I didn’t know what polio was and asked my mom about it.  She took the book from my hand and read the back cover as well and made sure I got it from the kids/YA section before she let me rent it.  After we got home we sat and had a discussion about it and it’s role in America.  I still remember how the book made me feel and I really really want to read it again!

    Two Possibilities

    So far I haven’t been able to find the book, but I have found two books that could be a maybe.  Hero of Lesser Causes by Julie Johnston and Blue by Joyce Moyer Hostetter.  I’m going to read these two, possibly next year and try to see if either of them are the book I’ve been searching for!

 

So many of these books were such an important part of my life growing up and it’s kind of awesome to see them all in a list together!  I am a little nervous about reading some of the books I read when I was in elementary or middle school.  What if I read them again and I realize how silly or stupid they are?  It would break my heart.  However, it’s possible my heart would win out in the end and I would still appreciate the book for what it originally gave me.  Even if I didn’t enjoy it now.

Let me know which books you want to re-read or which ones you already have!

Interested in more? I don’t only write about books! I also blog about my life. Maybe you’ve considered teaching in South Korea. Why not check out my dogs! They are pretty adorable 🙂 Either way, I hope my stories help make your day a bit more stupendous.

21 Books I’ve Been Meaning to Read

21 Books I've Been Meaning to Read - Title Image

I frequently get newsletters from different publishing companies and other book websites.  I like to get these since it keeps me updated on new and popular books.  Recently, I got one from Penguin Random House with a book list called 21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read.  While I’ve read some of the books, I didn’t feel like the list really represented what I have been meaning to read and it got me thinking about what my list would look like.  So, here is a list of the 21 books I’ve been meaning to read in no particular order!

  1. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

    Gulliver's Travels-Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I was supposed to read this twice in university, but I somehow managed to avoid it all together while still passing my classes.  Eventually, I would like to read it and I know what happens for the most part.  It seems pretty thin, from what I can remember.. so I really could knock it out in a weekend.  I just need to get myself into the mood.

  2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

    Memoirs of a Geisha - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    Honestly, I have no idea what this book is about.  It’s one of those books that I see everywhere and so many people have recommended it to me.  Every time I see it in the bookstore I stop and stare at it on the shelf.  However, I always decide to pass.  Maybe I’ll choose to read it within this next year?

  3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I remember seeing this around the house when I was a teenager.  My mom had the paperback and I always thought the cutout of the upside-down poodle was really cool.  My mom isn’t an avid reader so it took her a while to finish it which lead me to seeing it around the house for a good long time.  I remember asking my mom if I could read it, but she said it was above my reading level and suggested I read it when I’m older.  I think I’m scared to read this one really.  I’ve built it up in my head (when I don’t even know what it’s about) and I’m worried it won’t live up to my expectations.

  4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

    The Book Thief - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    This one is sad.  I don’t know why I haven’t read it.  I think I protested this just out of the fact that it was super popular.  My friend who never reads has even been telling me to read this.  I tried to borrow it from her, but ended up giving it back after reading the first paragraph.  I keep hearing how amazing it is and I think I just need to bite the bullet with this one and try it out!

  5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    This is another book that my non-reader friend has told me to read.  It took her over a year to read it, but she is proud of herself!  I just really haven’t been in the mood for series books in a long time and I know that’s what this is.  Also, I’ve heard it’s difficult to read because of the amount of information in the book.  But, this does seem like a good series for winter vacation since I’m just staying at home.

  6. The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

    The Fellowship of the Ring - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I read The Hobbit when I was as freshman in high school.  I really enjoyed it and of course I loved the movies as well.  I’ve been meaning to read them especially since one of my good friends is a huge LotR fan.  You know, I bash people who have watched the Harry Potter movies, but haven’t read the books.  It’s a bit hypocritical of me to do that when I’ve done the exact same thing with the LotR series.

  7. The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr

    The Liars Club - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    This is another one of those books that I saw around the house.  As I’ve gotten older, my mom keeps telling me I need to read it.  Since the book is a memoir based on Karr’s life in Southeast Texas, my mom was really able to relate to the book.  My mom always mentions different places that were referenced in the book and she gets so animated when she talks about it!  That is not something my mom usually does, so I will for sure one day read this.

  8. Beaches by Iris Rainer Dart

    Beaches - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    One day I asked my mom where she got my name from, and she said it came from the movie Beaches with Bette Midler.  After watching it, I was upset that I was named after the character Hillary, but my mom insists it has nothing to do with the character and she just thought the name was pretty.  Either way, the movie is based off this book!  I feel like since it’s my namesake I really should take the time to read it.

  9. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

    The Picture of Dorian Gray - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    One of my friends really really wanted me to read this because of The Confessions of Dorian Gray.  It had been on my list before then, but I would say it’s gotten closer to the top since then.  My friend’s favorite television show is Merlin and one of the actors, Alexander Vlahos, is the voice of Dorian so she really pushed me to read it.  I was pretty busy at the time and I’ve found that I don’t follow audio well.  So, it got pushed to the side.

  10. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

    1Q84 - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I have always heard so many good things about this book.  I actually got about half way through before I got bored and put it down.  Lately I’ve been wanting to finish reading it and find out what happens.

  11. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

    Moby-Dick - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I’ve attempted to read this before.  And while I don’t really WANT to read it, I want to read it just so I can say I did.  I feel like once I finish reading it you should be given a patch or pin to prove you succeeded!  Hey, that’s not a bad idea… Someone should make patches or pins for books so you can collect them like girl scouts badges.

  12. Dead Man Walking by Helen Prejean

    Dead Man Walking - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    The only reason I’ve wanted to read this for a long time is because one of the men interviewed by the nun actually murdered a distant relative of mine.  My mom would point them out to me at funerals and tell me about the book and the movie.  I haven’t seen the movie and I won’t until after I read the book, but since it’s woven into our family history, I’m really interested to read and research more on the subject.  The family also has a book called Dead Family Walking that I plan on reading along with this one.

  13. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

    A Clockwork Orange - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I feel bad saying this, but I have no idea what this book is about.  This book is always mentioned and there is art based off the book everywhere.  I feel like this is one of those books that I need to have read.  I feel pretty bad calling myself an English Literature major while I haven’t read this.

  14. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

    Catch-22 - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    Basically copy and paste what I said about A Clockwork Orange here.  This is the same predicament.

  15. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

    Middlesex - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    This is another one of those books that I saw my mom reading and sitting around the house often.  I also have no idea what this book is about, but I remember the cover and always wanted to read it.

  16. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    The Little Prince - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    The Little Prince is very popular in South Korea.  I have never felt bad before for not reading it, but here I feel so guilty.  You can go to rest stops and the theme is The Little Prince.  If you are looking for places to go in South Korea, you’ll always see photos from the Little Prince statue in Busan and Petite France in Seoul.  Everyone is always so excited about seeing The Little Prince everywhere and I just don’t get it because I haven’t read the book.

  17. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I’ve always wanted to read this, but I haven’t gotten myself to pick up the book quite yet.  Barnes and Nobles has this really pretty pink version of the book and I’ve got that in storage back in Texas.  I’m not quite sure why, but reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has always seemed daunting to me.

  18. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

    Winnie-the-Pooh - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    Who doesn’t like Winnie-the-Pooh?  I grew up watching the Disney cartoon and my VHS cover was beaten to bits.  My favorite character is Rabbit.  I’ve always gravitated towards the older grumpy characters in movies for some reason.  Piglet is a close second for me.  I think this is one of those cases where I haven’t read it because I have seen so much of the world through the eyes of Disney.  What if the book doesn’t live up to this whole world I’ve created in my head?  I guess I just need to try it out and see what happens.

  19. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

    The Martian Chronicles - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I’m almost certain this was a book assigned to me in university that I never read.  One of my cousins is really big into science fiction and I remember this being on a book shelf at their house.  Of course, I hear about Ray Bradbury all the time too.

  20. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

    My Sister's Keeper - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    I actually tried to read this right when it came out in 2004, but it was a bit above my reading level and I just couldn’t handle it.  But I remember thinking “wow, this is a serious book.”  I haven’t see the movie and I really don’t want to, but I would like to pick this book up again and give it another try now that I’m older.

  21. Wicked by Gregory Maguire

    Wicked - Cover
    Image from Goodreads

    No, I haven’t seen the musical, but I have listened to the sound track a million times over.  This is another book my mom read and I remember she wouldn’t let me borrow it because she was worried she wouldn’t get it back.  I also remember her friends not liking it because it wasn’t similar to the musical, but my mom still enjoyed it.

I really feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself while making this list.  You can’t force me to read a book if I’m not feeling it.  That goes for university and friend recommendations.  I’ve also learned that what I’ve wanted to read has been heavily influenced by what I saw my mom reading when I was younger.  I had never noticed that before now!

Now that I’ve written all these books down in a list, I feel compelled to read them all this coming year.  I’m not committing to it, but I think I will attempt to read some of the books on this list.  I don’t want to spend too much time reading classics when there is so much new content coming out daily!  But that is one of the problems book lovers have, our to be read pile is never ending.

Interested in more? I don’t only write about books! I also blog about my life. Maybe you’ve considered teaching in South Korea. Why not check out my dogs! They are pretty adorable 🙂 Either way, I hope my stories help make your day a bit more stupendous.