For What It's Worth

Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday minis…



I put the puppies down for a nap in their crates and have a rare, blissful moment of silence lol
I got a lot of reading in before they arrived but I don’t have time to blog now. Here’s a quick rundown of the books I read pre-puppy blizzard.



All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson ~ Goodreads

Gorgeous memoir. Johnson's essays (although it never really feels like a series of essay's) on living in the US as a queer, Black man is honest, raw, informative, funny, bittersweet, heartbreaking, loving and inspiring.

“Navigating in a space that questions your humanity isn’t really living at all. It’s existing. We all deserve more than just the ability to exist.”

This is a must read for readers of all ages and backgrounds but especially queer and Black boys. There's a lot of pain and trauma in his life but also a wonderful, large supportive family and fraternity that's rarely portrayed in this way. 

CW: All content warnings are given at the beginning of the book but include: sexual assault (described on page), death, cancer, physical assault, use of homophobic/racial slurs as it relates to the authors lived experiences.


Me by Elton John ~ Goodreads

I was a little disappointed that Elton John wasn’t narrating the audiobook at first (he does the foreword and afterword) but Taron Egerton (who played John in the movie Rocketman) was fantastic. Very conversational and animated.

Me covers his early career with a veritable who’s who of rock royalty, his childhood all the way to adulthood, coming out as gay, marriage and children.

There’s a lot of pain and loss in his life and it’s remarkable that he was able to come out the other side while so many of his friends have not. He was refreshingly honest about his wild days and mistakes while not being salacious or tarnishing others.

He does seem to still posses a bit of a narcissist streak with tantrum tendencies so he’s probably still a work in progress. Aren’t we all - but this was really interesting. (Thanks to A Book A Week for the rec)


Clap When you Land by Elizabeth Acevedo ~ Goodreads

The only thing bad about an Elizabeth Acevedo book is that it has to end and I have to wait a year for the next one. 

Clap When You Land is told in the alternating pov’s (& in novel –verse) of two young women – Yahira in NYC and Camino in the Dominican Republic – unknowingly tied together by one mans death.

Acevedo touches on so many subjects in her books and writes such powerful girls. They are knocked down by life but never out. Family is also a theme. And in this case family comes with major flaws but was written so beautifully and with nuance.

She doesn't give away too much in the blurb so I'll leave it at that.

Read Clap When You Land – read all her books! And on audio if you can!!! Acevedo's narration is perfection. Although there are two narrators for this one.



Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer ~ Goodreads 

This was a clear off my TBR cart and buddy read with Lindsi from Do You Dog Ear read (her review here

This was my first book by Kemmerer and it wasn’t quite what I was hoping but overall I did like it. Juliet leaves letters to her dead mother at her grave while Declan, on probation mowing the cemetery’s lawn, finds one of the letters and responds after feeling connected to the words of loss and grief.
 
They begin writing to each other and pouring their hearts out. In the meantime – they unknowingly interact at school and really dislike each other.

There is so much that is left unsaid and a lot of miscommunication between these two so while they are supportive in letters – they (especially Juliet) could be really judgmental in person. It could be irritating to watch but I liked how their letters sort of transferred over to real life and made them both consider their actions and do better over the course of the book. Declan with his temper and starting to believe in himself and her with her actions towards her dad and panic attacks.

Juliet’s relationship with her father is strained as she idolized her jet setting, war photographer mother but I liked how it played out. I didn't love how convoluted the story got to get to that point. Kemmerer kind of detoured into a mystery about the cause of the moms death that felt unnecessary.

Declan’s situation was abusive and I hated how it was resolved. His mother was negligent, at best, and his step father was cruel and it was sort of played off in the end as oooh we were just worried about you and things are better now that we had this chat. I felt it was so bad that if I were to encounter them in real life, I would have called child protective services or help him get emancipated.

This didn’t 100% connect with me but would recommend it to readers who like messy, complicated characters and books that explore grief.

And I really want to read book #2 about Declan's best friend, Rev. 

30 comments:

  1. With the exception of Letters to the Lost, all of these are on my TBR! 📚✨ Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 👍✨

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    1. A lot of people LOVED Letters tot he Lost but i think that one is dependent on how tolerant you are of waiting almost a whole book for people to grow lol

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      Delete
  2. I did not realise how much he had partied in the 80s and I made me realise how lucky he was to survive

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  3. The Elton John book is already lurking somewhere on my e-reader! He always seemed honest about his diva tantrums and bad behaviour so I thought it would be a good read.

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    1. He was honest without going into details that might hurt others. So I'm sure some people would want more but I felt it struck the right balance.

      But he's had a very turbulent life. Some of it by his own making and I thought he owned up to it.

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  4. I have loved all of Acevedo's books. They're beautiful and powerful. The ending of this book! I am pretty sure there were tears. It was so emotional for me.

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    1. They're really amazing. I'm not someone who gets overly emotional while reading but her books suck me in and I was both excited about and dreading the girls meeting.

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  5. I am curious about Elton John's book - he's definitely been through a lot. I have Clap When You Land to HOPEFULLY read soon. I really like her books.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Acevdedo is like a slam dunk for me. I just adore her writing.

      I think you would really love Elton's book!

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  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed ME! I've got the other three books on my TBR as well, so I'm eager to get to them soon!

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    1. I've been kind of bored by biographies and memoirs lately so I wasn't sure but I enjoyed it!

      Look forward to your thoughts on the other three.

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  7. Yeah I'll bet Elton John is super interesting to read about. I still love some of those old songs...

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    1. I know a lot of his songs but wasn't ever a huge fan. There were a lot of stories about some of his most famous songs here which was really cool.

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  8. I just love the story of Elton John, such an iconic figure for so many and yes he suffered so much. Its incredible the strength a human can endure and struggle one can overcome. Such an inspiration. Hope you are well and safe!

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    1. It's really amazing how he survived. And so, so many losses. That he could come out of that with a positive outlook and change it into something good is wonderful.

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  9. I should really try Elizabeth Acevedo's books one of these days! I never tried The Poet X because poetry was never my thing (and I believe that was kind of a major part of the story?).

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    1. Poet X is slam poetry and I listened to it on audio and really loved it despite not liking poetry myself.

      With the Fire on High doesn't have any poetry or verse so that might be a good place to start.

      And this one has both.

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    2. Thanks so much for that! I'll start with that one then. And knowing how Poet X worked out for you, sounds like I can safely try that as well :)

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  10. I would really like to try All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson. I know it will be a tough read, but I want to hear the stories.

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    1. It was at times but it was also a really uplifting story and his family is wonderful.

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  11. All Boys Aren't Blue Sounds like such a powerful read. I semi-curious about Elton's book. We had tickets to his concert here last month, which was obviously cancelled. He's always struck me as quite the narcissist and something of a prima donna, but he's so insanely talented and I just find him interesting.

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    1. He is! And still is - or it seems to me lol but a really fascinating story.

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  12. Having puppies will definitely keep you busy.

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  13. "Pre-puppy blizzard" - I love it!
    I get that you had niggles with Letters to The Lost but I've just added it to my wishlist because of your mini review, lol.

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    1. A lot of people totally loved it and I ended up liking it a lot. Even with the niggles.

      Let me know what you think!

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  14. Glad these were all good, even if the Kemmerer one didn't blow you away.

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  15. I recently finished reading clap when you land and absolutely adored it from start to finish so much! I really want to read all boys aren't blue and also get around to some of Kemmerer's contemporaries at some point.

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