Tag Archives: nonfiction books

The Best Books to Give to Everyone on Your List

We all have so many different kinds of people in our lives…and it’s near impossible to find books that best suit every type of friend…BUT, I’m here to offer some help!

best-gift-book-ideas

Outside of the usual fiction lovers or top 100 lovers, there are people out there who just want to laugh at their sadness…or read about f*cking amazing food.  There are people who need advice on raising their kids and people who are just kids at heart.  With this list, you’ll be able to find amazing books that you can buy for your single friend, your friend who loves to travel, your friend who secretly loves a good YA novel and even your friend who is there for you during your most embarrassing times.

The Best Books to Give to Everyone on Your List

The Single Friend
Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, Jenni Ferrari-Adler
41d0SLYjiEL
A collection of hilarious short stories about cooking for one, this book is a MUST even if you sometimes cook for two or five.

The Traveler
A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson
51FH8CFR32L.jpg
No one can tell a travel tale like Bill Bryson. With hilarious antidotes about hiking the Appalachian Trail, A Walk in the Woods will make you want to pack a backpack (and maybe some toenail clippers) and hit the open road.

For the SAHM
Sh*tty Mom, Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo, Mary Ann Zoellner
1200x630bb
Written by four moms who have seen it all, this book is the ultimate parenting guide. Each chapter presents a common parenting scenario with advice on how to get through it in the easiest way possible (like, “How to Sleep Until 9 AM Every Weekend”, for example).

For the Foodie
F*UCK, that’s Delicious, Action Bronson
41i+kfcMIVL
This ain’t no cookbook. This ain’t no memoir. This is a devotional book about the overwhelming power of delicious – no, f*cking amazing – food.

The Working Girl
#GIRLBOSS, Sophia Amoruso
515mDsAAP3L
The founder, creative director and CEO of Nasty Gal fills her memoir with advice on how to get hired, stay employed, and how to take care of your own business…all while keeping true to yourself.

For Music Lovers
Your Song Changed My Life, Bob Boilen
u34+1F!EVWH7ngw7NLVXIcKIKW2pmYA+Gl!w8rbMsYH!BRIAG5OUet9tcq9F2XjffXkZsjELHH1dotzfe59Az8458JDs9D0t2hphI9KAc!+WsW1OYzkgsRAdZgmVYczu
NPR’s music guru asks dozens of artists (Jimmy Page, St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson) about the songs that inspired them.

For Film Buffs
Pictures at a Revolution, Mark Harris
51J-BqxQ49L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_
A look at five films, including The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, that were made during the 1970s. Studios were taking chances and making daring, thought-provoking, original movies that had nothing to do with sequels. By some, it’s thought to have been the true golden age of Hollywood.

The DIY Enthusiast
Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, Amy Sedaris
51M+CAiFhrL
Filled with actual great ideas for cheap ways to make gifts and decorate you rhome, Simple Times is bound to be a favorite with crafters and creative minds alike.

The YA Lover
One of Us is Lying, Karen M. McManus
9781524714697
It’s The Breakfast Club meets Gossip Girl.  Five teens walk into detention, but only four walk out alive.  A threat to release juicy gossip about classmates finds one teen belly up in a classroom.

For Those Who Love a Twist
My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult
my-sisters-keeper-lg
I know it’s an old book, but I LOVED the twist at the end! When Kate is born with a horrible illness, her parents decide to give birth to Anna, a child who was medically altered to be able to be Kate’s sole blood and organ donor. But when Anna fights her family for rights to her body, things start to spiral out of control.

For the Book Lover
My Ideal Bookshelf, Jane Mount
9780316200905_p0_v5_s550x406
A large assortment of writers, actors, musicians, and popular leaders in the country share what books would populate their ideal bookshelves.  This book also features amazing illustrations of what those shelves might look like. A coffee table-style book that’s a must for any bibliophile!

For the Fashionista
Women in Clothes, Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton
518YRTVa27L._SX371_BO1,204,203,200_
The three women behind this book survey more than 600 women about their feelings and perspectives on fashion.

The History Buff
Grant, Ron Chernov
9780525528456
Often misunderstood and under-appreciated, General Ulysses S. Grant is all too often caricatured as a chronic loser and inept businessman…but Chernov gives readers a new view of the General, bringing to light how one simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.

For the Soon-to-Be Grown-Up
Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps, Kelly Williams Brown
510VK8Q1dbL
Based on Brown’s blog, ADULTING, this book makes the scary, confusing “real world” approachable, manageable…and even conquerable.

For the Quirky One
Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse, Alida Nugent
51ZY34pkcRL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_
They say misery loves company…and this book is like that weird friend you just need in your life sometimes…to help pick you up, dust you off, and give you a story so bizarre if not just to make you feel better about wearing your shirt inside out all day.

For the Visual Reader
The Lego Architect, Tom Alphin
architect_cover-front-sm-600x600
If you’re looking for a book for someone who just loves looking at pictures, take a gander at this book of amazing Lego creations.  There are even instructions on how you can build your own replicas of the models featured in the book.

For Animal Lovers
The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein
download
This book is about a man and his dog, narrated from the dog’s point of view. Enzo, the dog in the book, is the kind of pet that we all imagine we own…wise, genuine, loving, kind and comical.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under book lists

Anatomy of a Song Book Review + GIVEAWAY!

WIN A COPY OF Anatomy of a Song BELOW!

Whether it’s Taylor Swift’s “All to Well”, R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”, or Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, every great song usually starts with one hell of a backstory.

28957313

In Anatomy of a Song, based on the ongoing Wall Street Journal column, writer and music historian Marc Meyers brings five decades of music to life through his oral histories of 45 songs that have had some impact on rock, R&B, or pop culture. Writers, producers, musicians, and singers talk about the emotional meaning behind their songs, as well as the inspirations and techniques that helped every mistake, every nuance, every one-take recording all the more amazing.

When I first read Anatomy of a Song, it was a full sensory experience. After each chapter, I would take a break to pull up each song on YouTube and listen to it in its entirety. I’d listen for the little instrumental queues in “Shout” by the Isley Brothers…or the nods to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in “Proud Mary” by John Fogerty. Listening to these songs in order of release (they are in order of release in the book, also) really shows how musicians and singers are influenced and motivated by each other. I even put together a YouTube playlist with the songs in order for your listening pleasure!  For anyone with an appreciation for music and writing, this book is a fascinating read.

Check out my Anatomy of a Song playlist on YouTube to listen to all the songs featured in this book!

Filled with interviews by Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart, The Clash, Stevie Wonder, Keith Richards, Cyndi Lauper and many more, Anatomy of a Song is a love letter to the music that defined generations of listeners.

GIVEAWAY! 
Want the chance to read this book yourself? Well, you’re in luck because I happen to have a copy to give away to one lucky reader!  All you need to do is write a comment below with your favorite song growing up and what it meant to you.  I’ll pick a random winner from the comments on December 8th!  Good luck!

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

Leave a comment

Filed under book reviews

Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality Book Review

Rhett and Link wrote a book.  Let’s talk about that.

rhett-link-s-book-of-mythicality

If you’re not familiar with Good Mythical Morning, allow me to educate you.  This is Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal:

 rhett and link GIF

They are the “Internet-tainers” behind YouTube’s most popular daily talk show, Good Mythical Morning.  Every weekday they release a video where they try new things for the good of science.  Want to know if LEGOS make good shoes?  Want to know the hottest hot sauce in America or the best-tasting pumpkin spice item at Trader Joe’s?  Rhett and Link put their taste buds, stomachs, and sanity on the line for us in this highly addicting and amazing YouTube series.

I’ve been a Mythical Beast (GMM fan) for at least four or five years.  I tune in every morning to watch GMM and even crafted my own Rhett and Link poster for my workspace!

poster

I’m seriously in love with these guys.

When Rhett and Link announced that they were working on a book, I was literally gitty with excitement.  I knew it would be nothing but MYTHICAL in its amazingness and I have to say, it met – nay – EXCEEDED my expectations!

Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality is everything Mythical Beasts would want and more.  Filled with hilarious stories, amazing photographs, and top-notch advice for how to be your mythical best, this book is an intimate look into the lives of Rhett and Link and is a testament to true, unadulterated friendship.

Want to throw a party that will go down in history as one of the best?  Rhett and Link show you how.  Want to know the secret to eating tarantulas, pig’s blood, and other disgusting things for possible post-apocalyptic survival?  Rhett and Link show you how.  What to learn how to tell someone you love them in the most mythical way possible?  Rhett and Link show you how…well, at least their wives do.  Want to know about Rhett’s dog curse, Link’s standards for quality BFF material, and their mutual love for Merle Haggard?  It’s all found in the colorful and hilarious pages of Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality.

Just like the show that inspired its birth, Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality aims to teach readers new things:  how to laugh more often, how to eat things that scare you, how to invent something ridiculous, and how to own your hair style.  Complete the fun activities and prompts along the way, this book is even more fun to read with your BFF…plus you earn Mythical “merit badges” as you make your way through the book!

Image result for book of mythicality

For those who don’t know, Rhett and Link have actually been BFF’s since the first grade when their teacher made them miss recess for writing profanity on their desks.  They spent their time drawing and creating mythical beasts and, thankfully for us, it was the start of a beautiful friendship.  After rooming together in college, attempting (and failing) to start a band, and abandoning their degrees in engineering, Rhett and Link decided to take to the Internet as a way to talk about their lives, air their grievances, and just make each other laugh…

Now with more than 12 million subscribers, Good Mythical Morning has spawned several other YouTube channels, including Good Mythical More, which airs after GMM, Rhett & Link which features behind-the-scenes content and other fun videos, This is Mythical, which is a channel devoted to the beloved Mythical crew behind GMM, a YouTube Red series titled Rhett and Link’s Buddy System, and even a pod cast titled Ear Biscuits where Rhett and Link continue their discussions about creativity and tomfoolery.

Here’s the fact of the matter…If you love GMM, you’re going to love Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality.  And if you’ve never seen GMM, allow me to share some of my favorite episodes:

Also these:

What I love the most about Rhett and Link is that they are 100% authentic to who they are, something that is ever more apparent in their mythical field guide.  With heartfelt stories that will literally make you laugh out loud, Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality is like the BFF you always wanted: filled with great advice, funny stories, and plenty of heart.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

Leave a comment

Filed under book reviews

Farm Anatomy Book Review

Call me crazy, but the thought of moving out into the country and owning a farm where I can grow my own produce and have a honey bee farm sounds like pure heaven.  I love the idea of living off the land and (slightly) off the grid, eating food you’ve grown yourself and having a job where you can get down and dirty working with your hands.

Realistic?  Maybe…but I’m not stupid.  I know farm life is hard work.  Your entire livelihood is dependent on the elements you can’t control….and there’s no calling in sick when work has to get done.  It requires expensive equipment, sometimes owning livestock, and apparently learning a whole new vocabulary of words I never even knew existed.

91NpyZEXEnL

In her beautifully illustrated book, Farm Anatomy, author Julia Rothman takes readers through various parts and pieces of country life, including layers of the soil, how to rotate your crops, how to make a barn (and what animals might come to occupy it), how to plow a field, how to grow seeds, how to make wine and spin yarn, as well as how to shear a sheep and identify the various cuts of pig, chicken, lamb, beef and rabbit.

The perfect book for budding farmers, Farm Anatomy aims to teach readers the bits and pieces that make a farm run, from reading the clouds to composting your waste.  Illustrated with amazing detail and filled with tons of tidbits about everything you’ve ever wanted to know about keeping bugs off your crops, this book is so fascinating and fun to read that you might even find yourself wanting to build a chicken coop in your own backyard.

Even if you’re not ready to go full Charlotte’s Web and start butchering pigs and collecting eggs, Farm Anatomy is a great resource for just living a simpler, more homemade lifestyle.  There are amazing recipes for carrot cake, buckwheat pancakes, and dill pickles, as well as helpful guides for how to can tomatoes, make bread and cheese, and how to cut a full chicken.

A colorful, fun, and entertaining coffee table book you’ll actually WANT to read, Farm Anatomy breaks down farming into manageable pieces, dissecting everything from the parts of a milking machine to the anatomy of a pig.  With witty illustrations and easy-to-follow instructions, this book is bound to turn city dwellers into country mice, one seed at a time.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

Leave a comment

Filed under book reviews

Devil in the White City Book Review

Chicago, 1893.  The city was still rebuilding after the fire that left 100,000 homeless and destroyed most of the wooden buildings that peppered the downtown area.  In an attempt to draw more people and revenue to the city, Chicago grew as a national retail center and produced a crop of brand-name business tycoons, including Marshall Field, Philip Armour, and George Pullman.  People began coming to the city to shop the best in (affordable) fashion and see the birth of a new type of architecture that would come to define and reinvent Chicago.

At the age of 26, a young man named Daniel Burnham joined the offices of Carter, Drake, and Wright, an architectural firm behind the Manierre Building, Lennox Building, Mercantile Library, New York Academy of Design, and Grant Park.  While there, he met a man named John Wellborn Root and, together, the two designed one of the first American skyscrapers: the Masonic Temple Building in Chicago.  Measuring 21 stories and 302 feet, the temple held claim as the tallest building of its time (but was ultimately torn down in 1939).

Right in the midst of their 15 minutes of fame for the Temple Building, Burnham and Root were asked to oversee design and construction of The World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, named so to celebrate the 400-year anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ famous voyage.  The duo accepted the challenge, but when Root passed away suddenly, Burnham was left to create a new team, bringing on such visionaries as Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, and Louis Sullivan to help him turn then-desolate Jackson Park into an amazing world’s fairground.

It was a feat.  A HUGE feat.  Financial panic and an extremely tight timeframe caused major stress on the architects, not to mention the fact that Chicago had to compete with the most recent release of the Paris World’s Fair: The Eiffel Tower.  And brewing under all the commotion surrounding the fair, tucked away in a small area away from the hustle and bustle, a murderer by the name of H.H. Holmes was plotting a most gruesome rouge to take advantage of the fair’s most delicate and feminine fair-goers…

DWCity

And so begins Erik Larson’s book, Devil in the White City.  The true story of the fair that changed America, this book is a captivating account of the trials and tribulations that came with designing the World’s Columbian Exposition.

Besides being about the building of the fair, this book also explores the life of H.H. Holmes, a charming murderer masquerading as a doctor to woo and attract young women, then ultimately torturing and killing them.

The two storylines exist independent of each other until the opening of the World’s Fair.  The massive draw of the exposition was all the motivation Holmes needed to construct his own hotel on the fairgrounds, for women only of course, where he could set up his own murderous torture dungeon, brimming right under the hype of the Columbian Exposition.

Told with amazing detail and captivating language, Devil in the White City brings the Chicago World’s Fair to life.  It puts you right in the heat of the action, takes you into the brainstorming room with Burnham’s team…into the hotel with H.H. Holmes, and into the streets of the fair that, from then on, defined architectural design.

d

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

Leave a comment

Filed under book reviews

Reading Around the Country: 50 Books for 50 States

They say that books are the cheapest form of travel…and with this list of 50 Books for 50 States, you can make your way around the US from the comfort of your own couch.

books-by-state

Start your journey at the Whistle Stop Café in Alabama (Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café), then journey into the Alaskan wilderness in Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild.  Travel back in time to 1800’s Chicago for the Chicago World’s Fair in Devil in the White City, then get a true taste of Wyoming’s beautiful landscape in Annie Proulx’s collection of stories, Close Range.

This is the ultimate reading list for those looking to learn about the eclectic culture of the US, from the rough and tough landscapes of the American southwest to the picturesque mountains and valleys that abound on our coastal states.

Reading Around the Country: 50 Books for 50 States

books-by-state1

  • Alabama – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, Fannie Flagg
  • Alaska – Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
  • Arizona – Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli
  • Arkansas – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  • California – East of Eden, John Steinbeck
  • Colorado – Kings of Colorado, David E. Hilton
  • Connecticut – Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
  • Delaware – And Never Let Her Go, Ann Rule
  • Florida – Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

books-by-state2

  • Georgia – Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt
  • Hawaii – The Descendants, Kaui Hart Hemmings
  • Idaho – Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech
  • Illinois – Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
  • Indiana – All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven
  • Iowa – The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller
  • Kansas – In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
  • Kentucky – Beloved, Toni Morrison
  • Louisiana – The Awakening, Kate Chopin

books-by-state3

  • Maine – It, Stephen King
  • Maryland – The Sot-Weed Factor, John Barth
  • Massachusetts – The Crucible, Arthur Miller
  • Michigan – The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Minnesota – The Good Girl, Mary Kubica
  • Mississippi – The Help, Kathryn Stockett
  • Missouri – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • Montana – A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, Norman Maclean
  • Nebraska – O Pioneers!, Willa Cather

books-by-state4

  • Nevada – Desperation, Stephen King
  • New Hampshire – A Separate Peace, John Knowles
  • New Jersey – American Pastoral, Philip Roth
  • New Mexico – The Milagro Beanfield War, Joe Mondragon
  • New York – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
  • North Carolina – A Land More Kind Than Home, Wiley Cash
  • North Dakota – The Round House, Louise Erdrich
  • Ohio – Deadeye Dick, Kurt Vonnegut
  • Oklahoma – The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

books-by-state5

  • Oregon – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
  • Pennsylvania – Rabbit, Run, John Updike
  • Rhode Island – The Witches of Eastwick, John Updike
  • South Carolina – The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
  • South Dakota – The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, Ann Weisgarber
  • Tennessee – A Death in the Family, James Agee
  • Texas – Friday Night Lights, Buzz Bissinger
  • Utah – The 19th Wife, David Ebershoff
  • Vermont – Where the Rivers Flow North, Howard Frank Mosher

books-by-state6

  • Virginia – Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
  • Washington – Border Songs, Jim Lynch
  • West Virginia – Rocket Boys, Homer H. Hickam, Jr.
  • Wisconsin – A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick
  • Wyoming – Close Range: Wyoming Stories, Annie Proulx

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

2 Comments

Filed under book lists

Kiss Me Like a Stranger Book Review

He was the music maker…the dreamer of dreams.  He brought some of our favorite characters to life, including Dr. Frankenstein, Willy Wonka, Leo Bloom, Sigerson Holmes, and Skip Donahue.  From his humble beginnings as a Shakespearean actor to his amazing collection of movies he made with Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder challenged the comic genre.  He pushed himself, pushed his directors.  He poured himself into each project, owning and enveloping each of his characters with all the energy he could muster.  He may have been a simple Midwestern boy at heart, but Gene Wilder was nothing if not a believer in the extraordinary.

kiss-me-like-a-stranger-book-cover

In his very intimate and personal autobiography, Kiss Me Like a Stranger, Wilder opens up and exposes his deepest secrets, talking about how his sick mother influenced his career path and his very real and emotional experiences with psychoanalysis.  He opens about his love affairs and marriages, including his sometimes tumultuous relationship with fellow comedian, Gilda Radner, and his difficult relationship with his adopted daughter, Katie.

While he does talk briefly about his projects and films, Kiss Me Like a Stranger is not a tell-all about a chocolate factory or a secret laboratory.  At its core, this book is about an actor’s search for truth, love, and acceptance.  It’s about mistakes and choices.  With eloquence and grace, it turns this larger-than-life comedian into a real person, a humble person.  A man who falls in and out of love, who struggles with raising a daughter not his own, and who – just like the rest of us – is just looking for love and fulfillment both personally and professionally.

Written about 10 years before his death, Kiss Me Like a Stranger is a frank, yet charming memoir that shows Wilder for what he truly was…a shy, gentle man who loved to make people laugh.  He was a dear friend, a doting husband, and a beloved actor who, like so many of his profession, had a series of serendipitous moments that propelled him, maybe unwillingly, into stardom.

 

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

Leave a comment

Filed under book reviews