For readers around the globe. :)

Friday, June 14, 2019

Out of Orange

You might know Cleary Wolters as Alex Vause in the hit Netflix series, Orange is the New Black or as Nora Jansen in Piper Kerman's book with the same name.

Personally, I enjoyed reading this book more than Orange is the New Black. Cleary's story is more personal than Piper's. She gets us into the deep into the African drug smuggling ring. She gives us details of how they were under the impression they were smuggling diamonds, which soon turned to heroin, which then turned to $50k sewn into suitcases. They never expected to be in so deep with a drug lord, yet here they were carrying loaded luggage through airports and living to tell the tale. 

Piper got involved when Cleary started crushing on her. She thought maybe, just maybe, Piper could be a stand in on one of their runs. They could start an international love affair with suitcases full of money. Which is exactly what they tried to do, before Piper realized she didn't want to be a part of that life. Cleary was already in way too deep to call it quits and head back to San Fran with her.

It details how they got into this business, how they got out, how they got caught, and how they made their prison time worthwhile. It deals with love, loss, and growth. Cleary never expected for this to be her life and she really never expected to turn on the tv one day and a blonde girl hop out of a van and say, "Hello. My name is Piper Chapman, and this is my story."  

Looking for Piper Kerman's book?

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Imagine this scenario:
It's 1936, you live with your Pa in the Kentucky mountains; Troublesome Creek to be exact. But you're colored. Not white, not black,

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek follows the story of Cussy Mary, better known as Bluet. She one of the last surviving members of her bloodline. Many years ago, living deep in the mountainside, desperate family members made their own family... if you get what I'm saying.
Bluet and her Pa both have what appears to be blue skin. Which means they don't get the same treatment as the white folks in town, but instead have to follow the same rules as the other colored folks. They get looked at as sickly, disgusting, not quite human. It's a hard life, but that doesn't stop Cussy Mary and her pa from living and working with everyone else. 

Bluet becomes a Pack Librarian for Troublesome Creek.
Pack librarians became essential when people in poor areas and off the beaten track, wanted some reading materials. Newspapers, magazines, scrapbooks, you name it, Bluet had it in her satchel. She would ride miles upon miles a week to deliver books to her patrons. They all called her Book Woman. But some of them still had to open their minds to a colored bringing them reading material. But over the course of a year, they come to love her. School children, young mothers, uptight fathers, they all wait patiently to see what the Book Woman has brought for them this week.

I absolutely loved this book.
I made a promise to myself to start reading more historical fiction this year, and I'm beyond glad I picked this up. It's a unique story, that I'm fairly certain hasn't been told before!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Life Inside My Mind

I personally think all books on mental health should be written in this format.
Life Inside My Mind is a collection of essays written by various authors who either have mental illnesses of their own or are close to people who do. Each author delves into what their struggles are and how they began helping themselves to a life they actually wanted and not one defined by their mental illness. Each author tackles a different mental health aspect, though some are repeated, their coping mechanisms and other things that specifically helped them differ from some of the other authors.

What I loved most about this was how raw, real, and groundbreaking this book is. There is such a stigma when it comes to mental illnesses. To quote Melissa Marr's essay, "How to Deal with Me... And My PTSD," "The fact that you read as far as that last sentence, that you read this essay, that you picked up this anthology tells me that we can go out in public without apology on my part or worry on yours. It says that you won't think me impossible if I say not this restaurant or ask you to walk a few blocks or maybe switch seats with me so I can stay here and talk to you. It says we can find a way to deal with my PTSD."

I think that is how we break the stigma. We begin understanding, we ask questions, we don't judge. If we can share our stories with the world, the world just might turn a little easier, especially knowing we aren't the only ones dealing with an illness.

Below I'll be sharing a few resources for those who may need them along with personal recommendations of mental health books and books with mentally ill characters.


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come

When I was a junior, my high school offered a poetry writing contest.I entered and didn't tell a soul. No one knew until it was announced over the loud speaker that I had won first place. Teachers, friends, classmates, my parents.... were SHOCKED.

The even bigger catch....
I had to read my poem (which also had a visual aspect) in front of the school board, along with all the other winners.
I wanted to throw up. I cried on the drive there. I was so thankful I included my visual aspect (I wrote my poem in the shape of a question mark and only included questions in the poem). Which they displayed on the big screen at the front of the room. I thought, "Good, people will be looking at that and not me."

I got up there, I read my poem, got off stage and asked my mom how I did and if you could tell my face was covered in bright red fire up there.... and her response?

"I didn't look at you because I thought it'd make you more nervous."


But honestly, I'm glad I did it. I've given countless presentations since then and I think that was the first one that kicked me in the ass. That being said, Jessica Pan struggled with a lot of the same issues and she set out on a year of extroversion. She was determined to make her friends, better herself, and even got a few fun stories out of it.
Now I could never imagine doing some of the stuff she did, ex. see chapters "Everest or Stand Up Comedy" and "La-La-Land or Traveling Solo."

But I see a lot of myself in her and finally understand why I hate small's because I want the meat of what makes people tick. I want to know intimate details about their lives and understand who they were when they were living through it. I don't care how the weather is, I don't care that traffic was bad. I want to know WHY you love/hate this weather or what was really bothering you when that guy cut you off in traffic.

Her year of extroverting gave her a new sense of what it means to be an introvert.
She found a happy medium between the two and I think we could all use a little help finding that line.

Huge thank you to NetGalley, Andrew McNeels Publishing, and to Jessica Pan for providing me with a copy of Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come. 
I am so glad I found this book!