Unique – Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker

Dear Mr. You

by Mary-Louise Parker

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Published 2015

Genres: Non-Fiction / Memoir

“Perhaps there are no answers for us poor humans, but we know a handful of things. We know that there exists a planet with four thousand versions of songbirds. Because that is possible and because on that same planet can exist sentient beings made up almost entirely of stardust, and because actual poetry erupts mightily from some of those beings, and there is music, sex, and babies; because we are all roaming a universe that may in fact be a hologram, with another dimension consecutively projecting itself outside the definition of relativity and gravity; because of all that, there is no reason why my prayers shouldn’t be able to reach your mother whose name I didn’t even know.”

 

Janelle says…

This is not your standard autobiography. And thank goodness, because more than anything, I really liked the unique format of this book. Writing letters to people (in the case of this book – men) who have influenced your life in some way – sometimes through a close relationship, sometimes with only an obscure or fleeting impact – is such an intriguing method of self-exploration and sharing your story.

Parker writes in a way that is almost stream-of-consciousness, with really insightful thoughts about the world and the important moments in our lives. It wasn’t until I was about a third of the way through the book that I was really taken by her writing though. The more I read, the more I understood her way of thinking and writing and her letters grew on me, and by the end I felt a real affection for her.

The mystery of the book is that we don’t know for sure who all of the letters are to. Some are obvious or have been deciphered and discussed online – her grandfather, her ex. But for most of them, we might never know. Which I think actually adds to the lure of this book. The idea that seemingly anonymous people who may have only touched your life for a day or an hour or less, can still make you ponder life’s questions deeply and embed themselves in your memory in the long-term.

I wouldn’t say this was one of my favourite books of this year, but it’s clear that Mary-Louise Parker has real writing talent. She’s funny, and honest, and has a way of describing things that make me feel like maybe I have had the same thoughts once, but would never have been able to figure out how to get them down on paper. If you have been a fan of Mary-Louise until now, or are just in the mood for reading something a little out-of-the-square and thoughtful, then give Dear Mr. You a read.

 

“He won’t be able to jump until he is almost eight, will not be capable of pronouncing the letter r, and will pass through a period, as his mother did, where he will stutter so badly that it makes him cry. There will be plenty that he won’t be the best at, but it is within all the medium and below that I will find relief, knowing he can enjoy the enviable position of normal, and the thrill of improving from floundering to adequate.”

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

*I was provided with an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review*

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Tis the season to give bookish gifts

bookish xmas gifts

 

Looking for a Christmas gift for the book-lover in your life? Something slightly more interesting than another bookstore voucher (although personally, I would never be unhappy with that)? We’ve got you covered. Check out these sweet bookish gift ideas-

 

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Frostbeard Studio – Book Lovers’ Soy Candles

Know somebody who loves the smell of Old Books? There’s a candle for that. Or someone with a hint of a Librarian fetish? There’s a candle for that too. In fact, whether your precious book-lover is in to romance novels, the Outlander series, Doctor Who, or just gorgeous old libraries and bookstores, you’ll find a waxy treat to tempt their nostrils with at Frostbeard’s Etsy shop. These candles are a bit of a thing on the bookternet, and seem to pop up everywhere on bookish Instagram feeds. My pick of the bunch for the festive season? Christmas in the Great Hall. Mmm…smells like yule.

 

Blackmilk Clothing

Looking for a gift for someone who enjoys wearing tight clothing while they read? Look no further. Blackmilk has you covered with their extremely popular leggings, tanks, skirts and dresses, with collections inspired by Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, DC Comics and more. Mel is a big fan, and will personally vouch for their comfyness.

 

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Hello Papers – Handmade Magnetic Bookmarks

Basically, Etsy is a treasure trove for book fiends. I just discovered this store and have fallen in love! I would love to build up a really good bookmark collection. And have them displayed in some kind of hanging showcase in my house, from where I can lovingly select a different bookmark each time I start a new book. It’s going to happen.

Anyway, this store has Star Wars bookmarks, Hunger Games bookmarks, Winnie the Pooh bookmarks, to name a few. Super cute, and very affordable too.

 

Obvious State – Homewares

For the sophisticated reader among us. Stylish black + white literary designs on prints, tote bags, mugs, and notebooks, inspired by the classics. All items on offer at this store would easily blend in with any type of decor. My favourite is the Jorge Luis Borges quote print, which is going to hang in my library someday. Next to the hanging bookmark showcase.

 

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Funko Pop! – Figurines

Also all over the Bookstagram. I have to admit, they are super cute, and they look great on a bookshelf. Just check out #funkopop on Instagram for the proof! Admittedly, they do seem to be more centred around TV, movie and comic characters more than anything else, but you still have a good chance of finding a little plastic icon to suit you (or someone else). There are soooooo many to choose from, too many options to start listing here. I’ve seen Harry Potter Funko’s, Hobbit Funko’sSherlock Funko’s…..and if you’re a fan of HBO TV series, boy howdy! You’ll be in heaven!

 

So, now your Christmas shopping list is sorted! Go forth and buy my presents!

 

Wise – Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please

by Amy Poehler

amy poehler yes please

Published 2014

Genres: Non-Fiction / Memoir / Humour

 

“I stood onstage in my blue checked dress, Toto in my arms, and looked at the audience of parents, teachers, and students. I breathed in….and I had a huge realisation. I could decide right then and there what the next moment would be. I could try something new. I could go off script and give something a shot. I could say whatever I wanted.”

 

Janelle says…

This is just what a memoir/autobiography should be – a good balance of personal history, life lessons and advice, gossip and humour.

It’s also just what an audiobook should be. There’s so much content you don’t get with the printed version. There are special guest appearances, from Kathleen Turner, Patrick Stewart, Seth Meyers, and Amy’s parents. There’s snippets of extra narration from Amy along the way. She even performs a sweet little song. There’s even a haiku read by Patrick Stewart!

Amy goes into detail about her early life, her stand-up/improv/acting career to this point, and the people who have influenced her along the way. She also tackles divorce, female self-image, and most interestingly to me – parenting.

“I loved being pregnant, I loved being at work and still feeling vital and busy while this extraordinary thing was happening inside of me. I never felt alone. I always had a companion.”

This is EXACTLY how I felt when I was pregnant, especially the first time, and I remember saying basically the same words to my husband.

Amy is so honest and heartfelt in her thoughts on being a mother. At one point she speaks a lot about “mother-on-mother crime”, which is absolutely a real, sad and ridiculous thing. I love her saying, “Good for her! Not for me” – this viewpoint really needs to be adopted by mothers in general, it would save us all a lot of judgement and hurt!

This review is already a little quote-heavy, but I just can’t resist slipping in one more – in my opinion, the most hilarious moment in the book. Enjoy – and get yourself a copy of this on audio! You will laugh and nod and it will make you happy!

“But take it from me, no one knows the biz like I know the biz, I love the biz. Hollywood’s a crazy biz, and I know the biz, cause the biz is in my blood. Some say I’m a biz-wiz. Either way, show-business is my business, so you better get busy with the business I know.”

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

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