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Book Review: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Book Review: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Biography, memoir, non-fiction, science

Published: Oct 2013 by Macmillan (US) and Little, Brown and Company (UK)


An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth was definitely one of the more interesting and compelling memoir of sorts that I’ve read which proffered valuable life lessons.  Lessons which in fact seemed to go against conventional thinking and life coaching such as visualising success, not sweating the small stuff and not caring about what others think.  Chris Hadfield’s experience as an astronaut – or more importantly, on becoming an astronaut – proved otherwise.

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Book Review: The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek

Book Review: The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek


The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jeopardy was a huge part of my childhood. It seemed like every time I visited my grandparents, which was everyday, Jeopardy was on. It’s how I learned to embrace my huge thirst for and retention of useless trivia. Because it’s not totally useless if it could potentially help you win on Jeopardy one day, right? It’s why the only team I joined in school was Quiz Bowl, and why Quiz Bowl captain was one of my favorite things to list on college applications. It’s part of the bond I share with the aforementioned grandparents, who are two of my favorite people on the planet. And Alex Trebek has been the face of it all for my entire life. News of his passing hit my family hard, as he felt more like a friend than a celebrity. He is mourned and will be deeply missed by legions, myself and those I love most among them.

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Book Review: Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett

Book Review: Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett

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Hollywood Park: A Memoir by Mikel Jollett

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir

Pages: 384 pages (Hardcover)

Published: 26th May 2020 by Celadon Books


A heartbreaking and beautifully written memoir.

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Book Review: Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett

Book Review: Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett


Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the past few years, I’ve developed a deep love for any memoir in which someone details their crazy childhood and how they managed to rise above it. While they are radically different, Hollywood Park is joining Educated as one of my favorites in this random subgenre for which I’ve developed such a fondness. Hearing about Mikel Jollett’s earliest years was incredibly illuminating, and was yet another true story that made me so incredibly thankful for the wonderful, easy childhood I had, and how foundational that gilded upbringing was in my becoming the person I am today.

“Those nights I just go blank, like I could tie every bad thing inside me to a balloon and just let it float up into the sky, disappearing beyond the clouds.”

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Book Review: Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain

Book Review: Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain


Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am not, nor have I ever been, a foodie. I wish I was. I wish I had a more adventurous palette that loved encountering new things. But alas, such is not my lot in life. However, I’ve always loved cooking shows and food-based travelogues for reasons that honestly elude me. I still remember watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations on the Travel Channel when I was in high school and losing myself in daydreams of exotic locales and finding my way off of their beaten paths and into locals-only areas. I thought Bourdain had one of the most fascinating jobs on the planet. Because of this, I was intrigued by his early life and decided to read my first ever foodie memoir about how he got started in the business.

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Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I’ve discovered that I have a thing for memoirs about wild, unbelievably difficult childhoods and the children who grow up to overcome them. Educated was one of my favorite books of 2019, and I quite honestly didn’t expect to find anything else in its genre to rival it, especially not so soon. The Glass Castle, which is kind of the OG of the rough childhood, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps type of memoir, proved to be just as compelling as Educated. I don’t know why I put off reading it for so long, as I’ve owned a copy for years. Whatever led to that wait, I’m so glad that the wait is over. The Glass Castle was brilliant and beautiful and made me incredibly thankful for the type of upbringing I had and the (very stable) parents who raised me.

“I lived in a world that at any moment could erupt into fire. It was the sort of knowledge that kept you on your toes.”

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Book Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Book Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara


I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I’ve heard amazing things about I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. One of my resolutions for 2020 is to read more nonfiction that I find interesting, and true crime is a topic that is endlessly fascinating to me. I expected to be caught up in the chase for an elusive killer. What I didn’t expect was breathtaking, engaging prose dripping with compassion and empathy for the victims. Beautifully written and deeply insightful, this book was an experience unlike any other I’ve yet found in the genre.

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Book Review: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

Book Review: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride


As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a delightful experience. Nonfiction isn’t anywhere near by genre of choice, but The Princess Bride is among my favorite movies of all time, so I decided to give it a go. Also, Cary Elwes is an absolute treasure. But even the fact that the book was the backstory of one of my favorite movies as told by its lead actor wasn’t enough to entice me into buying a copy of this book. Until I came across the audio version. Let me tell you, I jumped right on that, especially once I learned that Carey Elwes himself, along with the majority of his Princess Bride co-stars and those who were involved with filming, directing, writing, and producing the movie, narrated the audio. Getting to hear these people, whose work together has been delighting countless viewers for over 30 years, talk about their experience with the movie was a wonderful experience. It just made me appreciate even more this movie that has been so special to me for nearly half of my life. So many lines from this story have worked their way into my family’s vocabulary and, while that is in large part due to the brilliance of Goldman’s writing, the voices in which we heard them spoken are what have kept them in our heads for well over a decade.

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Book Review: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Book Review: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading a book about books are among the coziest experiences a bookworm can have, in my opinion. Even if you don’t share all or many or any of the author’s views on books at all, there’s something about the knowledge that this person took the time to write an entire book for the soul purpose of expressing their fervent love for the medium that produces instant camaraderie between writer and reader.

“I have never been able to resist a book about books.”

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Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tara Westover’s Educated is a case of truth being stranger than fiction. I seldom read nonfiction because I often have a hard time connecting to a book if it doesn’t have a compelling story to tell, and will find myself fighting boredom and finally abandoning the book. That was never a danger with Educated. Westover’s memoir is horrifying and poignant and powerful, and it captivated me in a way that few books outside the fantasy genre have. It’s a story that I can’t stop thinking about, and I truly believe that it will stay with me for a long time to come. It also made me insanely thankful for my family and upbringing, my freedom and education.

“My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.”

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