Saturday, December 2, 2023

Canción de Navidad

Canción de Navidad
Por Charles Dickens
JM Ediciones, 1999. 123 páginas. Ficción

Ebenezer Scrooge es un hombre avaro y egoísta, sarcástico y huraño con sus pocos seres allegados. La víspera de Navidad, el fantasma de su antiguo socio Jacob Marley se le manifiesta, provocando una serie de apariciones de los fantasmas de las Navidades pasadas, presentes y futuras, que despertarán emociones en el protagonista que parecían olvidadas. Scrooge aprende el verdadero significado de la Navidad por las fantasmas que le visitan para analizar su pasado y predecir su futuro.

Si le gusta «Canción de Navidad» le recomendamos:

Buscando a Papá Noel
Por Richard Paul Evans
Umbriel Editores, 2010. 344 páginas. Ficción

Se supone que la Navidad es una época llena de alegría. Pero la vida ha sido dura para Mark Smart: tuvo que dejar de estudiar, su madre murió en un accidente, su novia lo abandonó, y ahora, en plena nevada, su coche ha dejado de funcionar. A duras penas consigue llegar a una cafetería en busca de un teléfono. Pero lo que encuentra, en cambio, es a una hermosa joven que, a través de un simple acto de amabilidad, cambia su vida para siempre.

Macy no recuerda casi nada de sus verdaderos padres y del hogar donde nació. Un adorno navideño con la palabra "Noel" es la única pista que tiene para localizar a su hermanita perdida, y ahora Mark, este extraño que aparece en medio de una tormenta de nieve, parece estar dispuesto a ayudarla...

Fiestas Dulces
Por Patricia Arribálzaga
Boutique de Ideas, 2015. 191 páginas. No Ficción

Tortas, cupcakes, cookies y deliciosos postres con un encanto irresistible para celebrar desde fiestas tradicionales como Navidad, Halloween o San Valentín hasta una boda o una cena elegante. La famosa pastelera Patricia Arribálzaga te propone recetas exquisitas e innovadoras y decoraciones espectaculares con su inigualable estilo para que tus fiestas sean inolvidables.

Por Joseph Lee Castleberry
BroadStreet Publishing Group, 2019. 129 páginas. No Ficción

¿Encuentra su atención consumida por las presiones de la temporada navideña con cosas como: tomar la foto perfecta para la tarjeta de Navidad, hallar el regalo perfecto, servir la comida perfecta o crear la experiencia perfecta para su familia? Es muy fácil perder de vista lo más importante.

Con pasajes de las Escrituras para cada día, lecturas inspiradoras y oraciones edificantes, 40 días de Navidad es un devocional diseñado para ayudarle a disfrutar tres de las temporadas tradicionales del calendario eclesiástico. Prepare su corazón durante el Adviento, regocíjese por el nacimiento de Cristo en Navidad y manifieste Su luz en la Epifanía.


Labels: Español, MEB, No Ficción, Ficción, Ficción Historico, Religion, Libros de Cocina

Friday, December 1, 2023

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi

by Shannon Chakraborty
Harper Voyager, 2023. 482 pages. Fantasy
After a storied and scandalous career as one of the Indian Ocean's most notorious pirates, Amina al-Sirafi has survived backstabbing rogues, vengeful merchant princes, several husbands, and one actual demon, and has retired peacefully with her family to a life of piety, motherhood, and absolutely nothing that hints of the supernatural. But when she's tracked down by the obscenely wealthy mother of a former crewman, she's offered a job no bandit could refuse: retrieve her comrade's kidnapped daughter for a kingly sum. The chance to have one last adventure with her crew, do right by an old friend, and win a fortune that will secure her family's future forever? Such an obvious choice must be God's will. Yet the deeper Amina dives, the more it becomes alarmingly clear there's more to this job, and the girl's disappearance, than she was led to believe.

If you're looking for an excellent combination of adventure on the high seas and a hint of magic, look no further. The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi is a great new take on the genre, featuring a middle-aged Muslim-Indian woman who is also a pirate. The magical adventures Amina and her crew encounter add an otherworldly quality to this story that pulls the reader in and keeps them wondering what will happen next. While this makes for a fun, escapist read, I also appreciated that one theme of the book was the juxtaposition between Amina's love for her daughter and desire to protect her family and the pull of her former life of adventuring. 

I listened to this book in audiobook format, and I loved the excellent narration. The book is told in a conversational style, as Amina tells a scribe her life story. There are asides by the scribe and by Amina as they argue whether Amina's tale is entirely true. This is the first book in a planned trilogy, and I can't wait to see where Amina will travel next.

If you like The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi you might also like:

The Stardust Thief
by Chelsea Abdullah
Orbit, 2022. 467 pages. Fantasy

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn. With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan's oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie's past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

The Poppy War
by R.F. Kuang
Harper Voyager, 2018, 530 pages. Fantasy

Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

Tress of the Emerald Sea
by Brandon Sanderson
Tor, 2023. 369 pages. Fantasy

The only life Tress has known on her island home in an emerald-green ocean has been a simple one, with the simple pleasures of collecting cups brought by sailors from faraway lands and listening to stories told by her friend Charlie. But when his father takes him on a voyage to find a bride and disaster strikes, Tress must stow away on a ship and seek the Sorceress of the deadly Midnight Sea. Amid the spore oceans where pirates abound, can Tress leave her simple life behind and make her own place sailing a sea where a single drop of water can mean instant death?


Wednesday, November 29, 2023


By Gerardo Sámano Córdova
Zando, 2023. 326 pages. Fiction. 

Grieving mother Magos cuts out a piece of her deceased eleven-year-old son Santiago's lung. Acting on fierce maternal instinct and the dubious logic of an old folktale, she nurtures the lung until it gains sentience, growing into the carnivorous little Monstrilio she keeps hidden within the walls of her family's decaying Mexico City estate. Eventually, Monstrilio begins to resemble the Santiago he once was, but his innate impulses--though curbed by his biological and chosen family's communal care--threaten to destroy this fragile second chance at life. 

Monstrilio is a stunning examination of grief and the lengths people will go to in search of solace. This book has beautifully written prose which complements the graphic nature of the story. While I personally loved this book, it deals with many sensitive subject matters that should be approached with caution. Throughout the story we get many different perspectives on loss, grief, family, and unconditional love. Both beautiful and horrifying, Monstrilio is an excellent horror debut novel. 

If you like Monstrilio, you might also like: 

By Mariana Enriquez 
Hogarth, 2023. 588 pages. Fiction. 

In 1981, a young father and son set out on a road trip across Argentina, devastated by the mysterious death of the wife and mother they both loved. United in grief, the pair travels to her family home near Iguazú Falls, where they must confront the horrific legacy she has bequeathed. For the woman they are grieving came from a family like no other--a centuries-old secret society called the Order that pursues eternal life through ghastly rituals. For Gaspar, the son, this cult is his destiny. As Gaspar grows up he must learn to harness his developing supernatural powers, while struggling to understand what kind of man his mother wanted him to be. Meanwhile Gaspar's father tries to protect his son from his wife's violent family while still honoring the woman he loved so desperately 

By Zoje Stage 
St. Martin’s Press, 2018. 304 pages. Fiction. 

An ailing woman fights to protect her family from her mute daughter's psychologically manipulative schemes, which are complicated by her doting husband's denial about their daughter's true nature.

Counting the Cost: A Memoir

Counting the Cost: A Memoir
by Jill Duggar
Gallery Books, 2023. 288 pages. Biography/Memoir 

As a star on the popular TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, Jill Duggar grew up in front of viewers who were fascinated by her family's way of life. She was the responsible, second daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle's nineteen kids; always with a baby on her hip and happy to wear the modest ankle-length dresses with throat-high necklines. She didn't protest the strict model of patriarchy that her family followed, which declares that men are superior, that women are expected to be wives and mothers and are discouraged from attaining a higher education, and that parental authority over their children continues well into adulthood, even once they are married. But as Jill got older, married Derick Dillard, and embarked with him on their own lives, the red flags became too obvious to ignore. Theirs is a remarkable story of the power of the truth and is a moving example of how to find healing through honesty. 

Even though I had never watched 19 Kids and Counting and its spin-offs, I was still fascinated by Jill’s story. While this is a highly honest account, it’s not a slash and burn memoir. She holds her brother Josh accountable for the abuse he inflicted on Jill and their sisters, and she also forcefully indicts the authorities who leaked that abuse information to the media. She describes how through extensive therapy, self-reflection, and the support of her husband she learns to set appropriate boundaries with her father and the tv network that controlled so much of her life. The corrupting effect of wealth, power, greed, and secrecy shine through in her account. Yet even after lengthy emotional and legal battles with her parents, Jill’s love and respect for them is clear, and she maintains a deep Christian faith after leaving some of the more fundamentalist aspects of her upbringing behind. This is a measured and self-aware personal story that fans of religious coming-of-age tales, complicated family dramas, and behind-the-scenes celebrity memoirs will enjoy. 

If you like Counting the Cost, you might also like:

I’m Glad My Mom Died
by Jennette McCurdy
Simon & Schuster, 2022. 320 pages. Biography/Memoir 

The iCarly and Sam & Cat star, after her controlling mother dies, gets the help she needs to overcome eating disorders, addiction, and unhealthy relationships--and finally decides what she really wants for the first time in her life. 

The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith
by Joanna Brooks
Free Press, 2012. 240 pages. Biography/Memoir 

Joanna Brooks always understood that being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set her apart from others. But, in her eyes, that made her special; the devout LDS home she grew up in was filled with love, spirituality, and an emphasis on service. But as she grew older, Joanna began to wrestle with some tenets of her religion, including the Church’s stance on women’s rights and homosexuality. In 1993, when the Church excommunicated a group of feminists for speaking out about an LDS controversy, Joanna found herself searching for a way to live by the leadings of her heart and the faith she loved. The Book of Mormon Girl is a story about leaving behind the innocence of childhood belief and embracing the complications and heartbreaks that come to every adult life of faith 

Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear
by Jinger Duggar Vuolo
Thomas Nelson, 2023. 240 pages. Biograhy/Memoir 

Jinger Vuolo, the sixth child in the famous Duggar family of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On, recounts how she began to question the unhealthy ideology of her youth and learned to embrace true freedom in Christ.


Saturday, November 25, 2023

Fourth Wing

Fourth Wing

By Rebecca Yarros
Red Tower Books, 2023. 498 pages. Adult Fantasy

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders. But when you're smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away...because dragons don't bond to "fragile" humans. They incinerate them. With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother's daughter—like, Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant. She'll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.

This action-packed romantic fantasy is worth the hype on social media. It checked off all of my requirements for a great read. It has dragons, steamy sex, an engaging writing style, a driving plot, and likeable characters. Violet is a relatable female who is put to the test and comes out on top despite her disability (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?). I recognized many common tropes found in other books, but the personalities and the thrilling plot kept them from becoming tedious. 

Along with everyone else on the internet, I highly recommend this book, especially if you like sexy romantacy books like A Court of Thorns and Roses and the Dragonriders of Pern series.


If you like Fourth Wing you might also like:


By Rosaria Munda
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2019. 448 pages. Fantasy

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn't be more different. Annie's lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee's aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he's come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves...or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you've chosen.

By Stacey McEwan
Angry Robot, 2022. 400 pages. Fantasy

After being randomly selected as a human sacrifice, instead of death, Dawsyn finds herself on a quest to save her people from their icy prison... In a place known as the Ledge, a civilization is trapped by a vast chasm and sheer mountain face. There is no way for anyone to escape the frozen wasteland without befalling a deathly drop. They know nothing of the outside world except that it is where the Glacians reside–mystical and vicious winged creatures who bring meagre rations in exchange for a periodic human sacrifice. 

Dawsyn, ax wielder and only remaining member of her family, has so far avoided the annual culling, but her luck has run out. She is chosen and ripped from her icy home, the only world she knows. No one knows what will happen to her on the other side, least of all Dawsyn. Murdered? Enslaved? Worse? Fortunately, a half-Glacian called Ryon offers to help them both escape, but how can she trust one of the very creatures that plagued her life? Dawsyn is a survivor, and she is not afraid to cut anyone down to live. 

With a slow-burning romance, high stakes and even higher rewards, this richly created new fantasy series by popular TikToker Stacey McEwan will keep you gripped to the very end.

By Naomi Novik
Del Rey, 2020. 320 pages. Fantasy

Enter a school of magic unlike any you have ever encountered: There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won't allow its students to leave until they graduate...or die... El is uniquely prepared for the school's dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out untold millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students. So El is trying her hardest not to use her least not until she has no other option. Meanwhile, her fellow student, the insufferable Orion Lake, is making heroism look like a breeze. He's saved hundreds of lives—including El's—with his flashy combat magic. But in the spring of their junior year, after Orion rescues El for the second time and makes her look like more of an outcast than she already is, she reaches an impulsive conclusion: Orion Lake must die. But El is about to learn some lessons she never could in the classroom: About the school. About Orion Lake. And about who she really is.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Mistletoe Murder: and other stories

Mistletoe Murder: and other stories

By P.D. James

Alfred A. Knopf, 2016. 152 pages. Mystery

Four previously uncollected stories from one of the great mystery writers of our time--swift, cunning murder mysteries (two of which feature the young Adam Dalgliesh) that together, to borrow the author's own word, add up to a delightful "entertainment."Each of these stories is as playful as it is ingeniously plotted, the author's sly humor as evident as her hallmark narrative elegance and shrewd understanding of some of the most complex--not to say the most damning--aspects of human nature.

I have not read James' Dalgleish mysteries, but I was impressed by the story and research that she displayed in "Death Comes to Pemberley". Though there are only four stories in this collection, each was distinct and intriguing. One of the stories is quite disturbing and spooked me for quite a few hours after reading it. I recommend this little volume, its especially good for reading during the holidays, which doesn't afford as much time for a longer novel. 

If you like Mistletoe Murder, you might also like: 

By Michael Sims
Penguin Classics, 2023. 323 pages. Mystery

For The Penguin Book of Murder Mysteries , writer and anthologist Michael Sims did not summon the usual suspects. He sought the unfamiliar, the unjustly forgotten, and little-known gems by writers from outside the genre. This historical tour of one of our most popular literary categories includes stories never-before reprinted, features rebellious early "lady detectives", and spotlights former stars of the crime field. For twenty-first century connoisseurs of crime, The Penguin Books of Murder Mysteries celebrates how the nineteenth century added a fierce modern twist to the ancient theme of bloody murder.

By Martin Edwards
Poisoned Pen Press, 2021. 305 pages. Mystery

A Postman murdered while delivering cards on Christmas morning. A Christmas pine growing over a forgotten homicide. A Yuletide heist gone horribly wrong. When there's as much murder as magic in the air and the facts seem to point to the impossible, it's up to the detective's trained eye to unwrap the clues and neatly tie together an explanation (preferably with a bow on top). Martin Edwards has once again gathered the best of these seasonal stories into a stellar anthology brimming with rare tales, fresh as fallen snow, and classics from the likes of Julian Symons, Margery Allingham, Anthony Gilbert and Cyril Hare. A most welcome surprise indeed, and perfect to be shared between super-sleuths by the fire on a cold winter's night.


Saturday, November 18, 2023

Queen Bee: An Anti-historical Regency Romp


Queen Bee: An Anti-historical Regency Romp

by Amalie Howard

Joy Revolution, 2023. 352 pages. Young Adult Fiction

Lady Ela Dalvi knows the exact moment her life was forever changed--when her best friend, Poppy, betrayed her without qualm over a boy, the son of a duke. She was sent away in disgrace, her reputation ruined. Nearly three years later, eighteen-year-old Ela is consumed with bitterness and a desire for . . . revenge. Her enemy is quickly joining the crème de la crème of high society while she withers away in the English countryside. With an audacious plan to get even, Ela disguises herself as a mysterious heiress and infiltrates London's elite. But when Ela reunites with the only boy she's ever loved, she begins to question whether vengeance is still her greatest desire. In this complicated game of real-life chess, Ela must choose her next move: Finally bring down the queen or capture the king's heart?

 This fast-paced, character-driven historical romance is for all those fans of Regency Era novels, The Count of Monte Cristo, and shows like Bridgerton. Prepare for witty banter, revenge, betrayal, bite-your-hand romance, and diverse characters. In fact, Howard includes minute details about characters that reveal that most of them are BIPOC, only the evil Poppy is white. I think this is what is meant by anti-historical.  Most of these characters would not have the opportunities and affluence during this time period. I appreciate that Howard reveals these details through lush descriptions instead of just saying that Ela is East Asian. It is not heavy handed and done with such wit that readers feel like they are sharing a delicious secret with the author. Those who like anachronistic period pieces, like The Lady Janies books, will enjoy this romp immensely. 

If you liked Queen Bee, you might also like:

Sixteen Scandals

by Sophie Jordan

Houghton Mifflin, 2021. 235 pages. Young Adult Fiction

The youngest of four daughters, Primrose Ainsworth is used to getting lost in the shuffle. But when her parents decide to delay her debut into English society, Prim hatches a plan to go rogue on the night of her sixteenth birthday.


Rosewood: A Midsummer Meet Cute

by Sayantani DasGupta

Scholastic Press, 2023. 306 pages. Young Adult Fiction

Teenage sisters Eila and Mallika Das are attending a summer camp where the campers are trying out for minor parts in a romance/detective television show set in Regency times--but when Eila meets the handsome Rahul it is clear that there is plenty of drama to be had outside of the screenplay.

Friday, November 17, 2023

¡Viva Lola Espinoza!

By Ella Cerón
Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2023. 392 pages. Young Adult Fiction

Cursed in love, Lola Espinoza finds herself torn between two very different boys during a summer spent with her grandmother in Mexico City, where she tries to break the curse while learning about herself, her heritage and the magic around us all.

Lola's parents have high expectations of her, which means that the majority of her time has been spent studying, not attending the parties that her best friend and opposite, Ava, thinks she should.  So when she doesn't excel in her Spanish language class, Lola is frustrated, but none more so than her parents who decide that she should spend the entire summer away from her friends in California down in Mexico City with her Abuela. Tasked with learning the Spanish language and assimilating with her Mexican family, Lola suddenly finds herself with a romantic interest(s!) and a surprise along with it: a family curse. While Lola is not a vivacious, quippy protagonist, she is a smart and sensible character to connect with.  A candid, thoughtful, coming of age story about first love and cultural identity.   

If you like ¡Viva Lola Espinoza!, you might also like: 

By Jenna Evans Welch
New York: Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2020. 506 pages. Young Adult Fiction

When her long-estranged father invites sixteen-year-old Liv Varanakis to help him film a documentary about his theories on Atlantis, she looks forward to reconnecting but discovers he may have invited her to Greece for a very different reason.
Rubi Ramos's Recipe for Success
By Jessica Parra
New York: Wednesday Books, 2023. 311 pages. Young Adult Fiction

As seventeen-year-old Rubi secretly juggles participating in a baking competition, improving her grades for college admission, and a newfound romance, she soon realizes she must learn how to manage her family's expectations while finding her own path.


Thursday, November 9, 2023


By V.E. Schwab
Tor, 2013. 364 pages. Fiction 

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates-- brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find-- aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge-- but who will be left alive at the end?

This book is an absolute masterpiece! Schwab creates an anti-hero who is definitely a bad person doing things, that are just barely for the greater good, and yet by the end of it you are rooting for him completely. The use of flashbacks creates a deliciously suspenseful atmosphere of inevitability that keeps you hooked through multiple perspectives and plotlines. And the characters are all just as complex and intriguing as the rest. I loved the atmosphere and the way the story came together like a puzzle leaving you in awe at how it all worked out.


If you like Vicious, you might also like: 


Ninth House
By Leigh Bardugo
Flatiron Books, 2019. 458 pages. Science Fiction

Galaxy "Alex" Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale's freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she's thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world's most prestigious universities on a full ride. What's the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale's secret societies. Their eight windowless "tombs" are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street's biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.


By Natalie Zina Walschots 

William Morrow, 2020. 403 pages. Science Fiction

Anna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. As a temp, she's just a cog in the machine. But when she finally gets a promising assignment, everything goes very wrong, and an encounter with the so-called 'hero' leaves her badly injured. So, of course, then she gets laid off. With no money and no mobility, with only her anger and internet research acumen, she discovers her suffering at the hands of a hero is far from unique. When people start listening to the story that her data tells, she realizes she might not be as powerless as she thinks. Because the key to everything is data: knowing how to collate it, how to manipulate it, and how to weaponize it.


Sure, I'll Join Your Cult

Sure, I'll Join Your Cult
By Maria Bamford
Gallery Books, 2023. 272 pages. Biography

I picked this book up because of the title, of course. How could I resist? I am so glad that I did, and even more glad that I chose to listen to the audiobook version. Hearing Bamford's hilariously relatable words in her own voice is truly the icing on the cake. Maria Bamford is a "comedian's comedian (an outsider among outsiders)" and has forever fought to find a place to belong. From struggling with an eating disorder as a child of the 1980s, to navigating a career in the arts (and medical debt and psychiatric institutionalization), she has tried just about every method possible to not only be a part of the world, but to want to be a part of it. In her signature voice, this book brings readers on a quest to participate in something. With sincerity and transparency, she recounts a childhood spent dealing with OCD, anxiety, and self-harm. This memoir explores what it means to keep going, and to be a member of society (or any group she's invited to) despite not being very good at it. In turn, she transforms isolating experiences into comedy that will make you feel less alone.

I recognized Bamford's face on the book cover from some of the television shows I've seen her in, like Arrested Development and Louie. I had no idea about the difficult journey behind her infectious laugh and carefree attitude; a reminder to never assume that you know what someone else is going through. I laughed out loud alone in my car listening to Bamford carefully walk the reader through her hilariously unbelievable antics. I also found myself welling up with tears at other points because of her struggles and my own personal and professional connections to mental illness. If you want to develop empathy for people who suffer from mental illness, as well as laugh your butt off, this book is absolutely for you.

If you like Sure, I'll Join Your Cult, you might also like: 

Furiously Happy
By Jenny Lawson
Flatiron Books, 2015. 329 pages. Biography

The full title of this book is Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things. Makes you want to read it, right? A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea, but terrible ideas are what the author does best. This is a book about embracing everything that makes us who we are - the beautiful and the flawed - and then using it to find joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. This book was also reviewed by a librarian on our blog back in 2015. It's timeless hilarity! 

Save Yourself
By Cameron Esposito
Grand Central, 2020. 229 pages. Biography

Cameron Esposito has a unique brand of comedy that doesn't shy away from the issues women (and many men) face today. From sexism and sexuality to white male privilege and self-acceptance, Cameron uses humor to break down the barriers that keep us from speaking openly about these topics. She offers funny and insightful essays, about everything from coming out, to joining the circus, to accepting yourself for who you are. It's full of humor, heart, and cringe-worthy stories that anyone can relate to.