April 2020 Book Review

The Greats

Lennon by Ray Coleman

I am a Beatles fan, much like everyone else in the world. John Lennon was always my favorite Beatle, and I personally prefer his solo works over the Beatle’s records (even though I do love the Beatle’s records!). This biography is all about John Lennon, since his childhood, rise to fame, Beatlemania, the John-Yoko years, and lastly, his death. This book is easy to read and has been wonderfully written, providing many different perspectives on Lennon’s life. I enjoyed how the biography did not merely to idolize him, but told the moral, peaceful, political artist he was along with his struggles with anger, drugs and alcohol, and infidelity. Ray Coleman wrote about who the real person John Lennon is and how he was able to grow from his mistakes.

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.” 

John Lennon

The Crying Book by Heather Christle

This was an interesting and innovative work of choppy prose that focused on the act of crying. The book is broken up into basically little paragraphs that each describe the events the speaker cried over and what that felt like. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this for it was genuine, touching, and poignant, as she recounts being burdened with death of loved ones and depression. Strangely, reading about the occurrence of tears is comforting. I read this during the darkest time of my life, and Christle’s word felt like a condoling hug, telling me that I am not alone amidst tragedy.

“My despair is stupid and greedy. It wants my life but I will not give it my life, so it bargains.

The Crying Book by Heather Christle

Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After by Heather Harpham

Okay, I read this book in one day, because the raw emotion glued me to the page. Heather Harpham writes about her journey to happiness after being pregnant and giving birth alone, struggling in a complicated relationship, and financially making ends meet, while trying to save her daughter’s life. These are all heavy topics and, unfortunately, stressful experiences we all go through. While Harpham was not happy most of the time in these struggles, she never gave up and eventually reached her bliss. No one ever said that the road to happiness was straight or lined with roses.

“I hope what she hears are directions for happiness; the happiness blueprint. But I don’t think there is one. We find happiness, if we find it at all, on accident. We trip over it on our own way somewhere else. It’s woven out of the oddest circumstances.” 

Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After by Heather Harpham

Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis

This is one of the best autobiographies I have ever read. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are my favorite band ever, and the lead singer, Anthony Kiedis writes about his wild life. He grew up in a very unconventional household with a drug dealing parent, leading him to become swept away in the realm of drugs at a very young age. Kiedis writes about his rascal years with high school bandmates, his many relationships, the musical evolution of the Chili Peppers, and his addiction to heroin. What really intrigued me in this memoir is his spirituality. During Kiedis’ struggles, he impressively maintained or quickly regained a sense of inner peace.

“Once I opened my mind to the concept of a greater power, I never struggled with it. Everywhere I went, I felt and saw the existence of a creative intelligence in this universe, of a loving power larger than myself in nature, in people, everywhere.”

Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

This novel has been a The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 and the The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2020 for a 30 weeks. Everywhere I go I hear about this book. This is actually my second time reading it; I read it for the first time in July of 2019. I adore this book greatly. The story is told through two timelines that merge together at the end. The protagonist is a girl named Kya, whose family members slowly left her as a child to escape patriarchal abuse. She lives alone on a secluded marsh her entire life and learns to fend for herself. Her incredible self-sufficiency and love of nature is inspiring throughout the novel. While this novel is a bildungsroman, it is also a crime novel when a murder is committed. Kya learns to survive in every way she can. My favorite part of this book is Delia Owen’s ability to capture imagery so well. I can still see the glistening rays on the water between the reeds and smell Kya’s grits and hush puppies coming out of the kitchen.

“When cornered, desperate, or isolated, man reverts to those instincts that aim straight at survival. Quick and just. They will always be the trump cards because they are passed on more frequently from one generation to the next than the gentler genes. It is not a morality, but simple math. Among themselves, doves fight as often as hawks.”

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

William Shakespeare said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” This quotation stands as a testament to Dicken’s book Great Expectations. The story is about an orphan named Pip who ambitiously seeks success and social advancement, but finds himself down on his luck again and again. The novel follows Pip’s journey to achieving happiness, ultimately proving, that love, morale, and loyalty are far more important than wealth and social status. This novel is well-done, obviously because its from Charles Dickens, and I really enjoyed the theme and narrative sequence.

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Thank you for reading another month’s book review. Come check out May 2020’s Book Review soon!

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