The Samurai’s Garden

The Samurai’s Garden Book Cover

This sweet novel follows a Chinese teenager's recovery from tuberculosis in a remote Japanese village on the eve of the Second World War. Tsukiyama's straightforward, elegant style belies the complexity of characters and emotions that her well-crafted story unfolds. A tender and easy read that will unexpectedly remind you of life's simple gifts.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Book Cover

Sixteen-year-old Jacob no longer believes the stories his grandfather told him when he was a little boy. Fairy tales about children with mysterious abilities, such as a girl who could levitate, a boy with bees living inside him, and a girl who can start fires with her hands. He decides that Grandpa's sepia-toned photographs of his strange friends must be fake. When his grandfather is mysteriously murdered, Jacob travels to the island where the stories took place and finds, not only the children, but the truth about himself. This first novel should appeal to readers who like quirky fantasies with a touch of horror. Grade 8 - adult.

Hunger makes me a modern girl

Hunger makes me a modern girl Book Cover

Before reading Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, I - like many others, I'm sure - only knew Carrie Brownstein from IFC's absurdist masterpiece Portlandia. I did know that she was once in a punk band, but I didn't know any other details from Brownstein's earlier life. It speaks to the transcendent, heartbreaking nature of the themes in this book that despite going in mostly blind, I was more moved by this memoir than by any other I've read in recent years. In this book, Brownstein lets you into the explosive, transformative, complicated world of the Riot Grrl movement, of Olympia and Portland during the 1990's. She demystifies and contradicts the perceived glamour of being in a successful touring band, even as she details how those few moments onstage each night were what temporarily obliterated her anxieties and fears, her loneliness, and made it all worth it. She writes about her life the same way she plays guitar and sings in her band, Sleater Kinney: masterfully, all cards on the table, allowing for and celebrating imperfection. I find it hard to imagine that any reader would not find something in this memoir that speaks deeply to them, or would not see something of themselves in Carrie Brownstein's candor, vulnerability, humor, and hunger for something nameless. This book has stayed with me long after I finished the last page.

The Girl With All the Gifts

The Girl With All the Gifts Book Cover

While I usually refrain from zombie books, The Girl with All the Gifts, was a treat to read and one of the best endings I’ve experienced in a while. Melanie and the other children wait in their cell daily until it is time for class, Melanie’s favorite part of the day. Unlike regular school children, these pupils eat larva for lunch, and attend school in a highly secure military structure after the virus has taken most of the planet. When everyone is forced to leave camp, boundaries between Melanie and the military personal (including her favorite teacher) become fluid as they fight for their survival among zombies who do not have the rare intellect Melanie features.

Bossypants

Bossypants Book Cover

This book is a wonderful insight on the life of Tina Fey. I found myself laughing out loud and getting weird stares from people sitting next to me while reading this! She is just as hilarious in print as she is on Television. A wonderful treat!

The bedwetter: stories of courage, redemption, and pee

The bedwetter: stories of courage, redemption, and pee Book Cover

This quick read gave me a sneak peak at Sarah Silverman's childhood and life. You get to see a glimpse of her family, where some of her humor comes from, and the reader gets to see glimpse's of her childhood diary. Great read!

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry Book Cover

The irascible A. J. Fikry, owner of Island Books - the only bookstore on Alice Island - has already lost his wife. Now his most prized possession, a rare book, has been stolen from right under his nose in the most embarrassing of circumstances. The store itself, it seems, will be next to go. One night upon closing, he discovers a toddler in his children’s section with a note from her mother pinned to her Elmo doll: "I want Maya to grow up in a place with books and among people who care about such kinds of things. I love her very much, but I can no longer take care of her". A search for Maya’s mother, A. J.’s rare book, and good childcare advice ensues. A new love interest in the form of a book salesperson appears and Fikry's cantankerous shell is further softened. This book is full of humor and tears: a great mix.

Ordinary Grace

Ordinary Grace Book Cover

Ordinary Grace is a stand-alone novel written by Krueger, known for his best-selling Cork O’Connor mysteries (also highly recommended). Frank Drum, teenage son of a preacher in a small town in Minnesota, narrates this story of a summer of death, anger, spiritual uncertainty and love. Present is an endearing old-fashioned innocence. I started listening to the CD and was forced to take the book home as I couldn't wait to discover the end of the story. Reviewed by Juli

Best In Show

Best In Show Book Cover

This film is a mockumentary! The actors in the film got an outline of the story, and they made the rest up as they went along, in front of the cameras! This film gives you a faux-inside look at the life inside dog shows. One of my all-time favorite movies!

In A World

In A World Book Cover

If you are one of those people who is slightly annoyed when you hear women talking in baby Mickey Mouse voices then you will appreciate this comedy. It has excellent and hilarious dialogue that pokes fun at a cut throat industry full of outlandish and over the top characters. Not to mention an important reminder that sexism is alive and well in some of our most lauded professions. Lake Bell is smart and funny - a winning combination.