For What It's Worth

Monday, October 15, 2018

monday mini: For Every One by Jason Reynolds

I just have one mini today - For Every One by Jason Reynolds.

From Goodreads:

Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world.

For Every One is just that: for every one. For every one person. For every one dream. But especially for every one kid. The kids who dream of being better than they are. Kids who dream of doing more than they almost dare to dream. Kids who are like Jason Reynolds, a self-professed dreamer. Jason does not claim to know how to make dreams come true; he has, in fact, been fighting on the front line of his own battle to make his own dreams a reality. He expected to make it when he was sixteen. Then eighteen. Then twenty-five. Now, some of those expectations have been realized. But others, the most important ones, lay ahead, and a lot of them involve kids, how to inspire them. All the kids who are scared to dream, or don’t know how to dream, or don’t dare to dream because they’ve NEVER seen a dream come true. Jason wants kids to know that dreams take time. They involve countless struggles. But no matter how many times a dreamer gets beat down, the drive and the passion and the hope never fully extinguish—because just having the dream is the start you need, or you won’t get anywhere anyway, and that is when you have to take a leap of faith.

Source: Finished copy provided by the publisher via ALA18

My thoughts:

I have been wanting to try Reynolds books for a very long time. I picked up this book and Long Way Down while at ALA. At just over 100 pages, this was a perfect introduction to his writing.

For Every One is for all the's part poetry, part letter, with pieces of random thoughts thrown in. It's sparse yet heartfelt.

It reads a like an inspirational commencement speech; raw, beautiful and encouraging and the hardcover is gorgeous – making it the perfect gift for a graduate or someone just starting out or embarking on their dreams.

And I love this space that allows you to personalize and pass the book on to future dreamers...


Friday, October 12, 2018

the friday 5: Reality Bites

I rarely read non-fiction and when I do it takes me FOREVER to finish them. I read a bit here and there, set it aside for a month, and come back to it because there’s no driving plot to keep me engaged.

Even so, I did pick up a few non-fiction books at ALA and the library and I figured I’d share my thoughts so far. I did finish and few – while the others are still in progress.



Fantastic Failures: True Stories of People Who Changed the World by Falling Down First by Luke Reynolds

Source: ALA18

~ Reynolds, formally a 7th grade English teacher, noticed that many of the children he taught felt pressured do do everything perfect all of the time and didn’t know how to deal with failure.

In writing Fantastic Failures, he hopes to show that even the most successful people have failed before picking themselves back up and getting it right.

Told in short, 2-3 page chapters, he profiles a subject (& it’s quite diverse! including people from different backgrounds,, ethnicity, sexual orientations, the famous & non-famous, and even a horse (Seabiscuit) by starting with a made up bio of how everything went perfectly right from the start and then NOPE – this is how it really went down.

There are also mini snippets for people related to the main subject and references included at the end of each chapter.  Reynolds uses the persons struggle to relate it to something that may be going on in the readers life and how they could learn from it.

This is meant for younger readers (ages 6+) and at times had a repetitive style (I skimmed over the fake bios for example) but it was written in a quick, humorous style and should appeal to it’s intended audience.



The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abrams (translator)

Source: Purchased

~ I’ve been reading this book for what seems like forever lol I think it’s been at least a year. I kind of pull it out when I’m feeling down and need a kick in the pants to get out of that negative thought spiral.

The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu have the best rapport and it’s so adorable to eavesdrop on their conversations about finding joy or when the Dalai Lama makes Desmond Tutu blush talking about sex lol

I have dozens of quotes post-it tabbed so far but the reason I’m struggling to finish is that there is that Abrams (the translator) often interjects himself into the text to discuss the science of happiness and honestly... I don’t care. I just wanted to feel the joy of the men conversing.

If you are interested in the science of happiness or just need inspirational quotes to get through difficult times, I highly recommend The Book of Joy.



My Mother’s Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and the Meaning of Life by Peter Gethers

Source: Publisher

~ I lost my mom to cancer when I was 16 years old but I have fond memories of her cooking her famous spaghetti sauce every weekend. There’s something about food that brings people together and creates special moments. My husband’s grandmother is a more recent memory, and why I picked this book up. While my mom had a few special dishes – she wasn’t a great cook. Sorry mom lol and didn't care that much about it. Now Kevin’s Granny… she always had her special lemon bars or molasses cookies at the ready for a visit. And you HAD to eat them. ALL of them or it was a great insult! Even if she made dozens and you couldn’t fit even one more. When she was older and knew she wasn’t going to be around much longer, she hand wrote all the recipes in a little book for me. I can’t cook like her at all but I treasure that memento from her. She was also the person who bought all my first cookware when we got married. And I still have it all!

So anyway – that was a long winded way of saying that this book – about a son trying to give his aging restaurateur mother, Judy Gethers, the gift of her favorite meals but ends up learning about his mom’s past and become closer than ever - brought back my own fond memories.

I’m still reading this one too. The stories about Gethers mom are wonderful but he often makes it about himself so I drift off.


Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens

Source: ALA18

~ Unbroken is a YA Anthology of short stories featuring disabled teens, written by #ownvoice authors.

I feel like there’s been a huge step forward in representation in so many areas of YA – but disability is not one of them. Hopefully this book helps push in that direction.

I’m just starting this one now and hope to have a review coming soon.



Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay


~ I'm listening to this one on audio right now on audio and I'm surprised by how much I'm enjoying it.

I've always enjoyed Gay's thoughtful responses on social media and in interviews and Bad Feminist is a collection of essays where she tries to reconcile her enjoyment of problematic pop culture and feminism.

To be honest, most of the book wasn't about her personal feminism - more an indictment of certain entertainment. She discusses Chris Brown and his violent past yet acknowledges his songs are catchy but she doesn't listen to him because of it so not exactly a bad feminist. 

Gay covers topics from 50S0G (& I laughed so hard at this one), Twilight, Girls, The Hunger Games and oddly...Scrabble. Some chapters start with one train of thought, drift, and then come back to the original topic - leaving the narrative disjointed at times.

Then other chapters punch you so hard in the gut that you want to cry and take a break from reading. Her essays on rape, body image and race are incredibly powerful.

She doesn't offer answers but poses the question - can you enjoy problematic entertainment? So far I've found the title a bit misleading but this is still an interesting critique of pop culture and  it's, occasionally, it's relation to feminism.

Do you read non-fiction? Do you have any books to recommend?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

whatever wednesday: twenty one pilots trench trilogy videos

Twenty Two Pilots 5th studio album Trench came out last week and, no surprise, I LOVE it. It tackles depression, suicide, fame and I love how they balance the darkness with hope but the videos have been next level amazing.

The first three videos from Trench are an apocalyptic, YA-ish vibe trilogy. I love the music and the visuals. If you’ve been a long time fan there are a lot of Easter eggs but also makes sense if you aren’t.

Here they are in order…


Nico and the Niners

Levitate (my favorite)

And if you don’t feel like watching an apocalyptic music trilogy – check out their Fight Club inspired video for My Blood