When books make you think a little bit harder

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would find reading about the 2008 financial crisis a “page-turner,” and yet, here I write before you. About to tell you what a damn page-turner it was. It took me several weeks to read President Obama’s latest tome, A Promised Land, a deep dive into his first presidential campaign and those tumultuous first few years in office. But it was worth every second.

Brian and I read simultaneously — him listening to the audiobook while he completed chores or lounged on the couch with the dog napping beside him, and me with my book light wrapped around my neck each night, hoping the weighty hardcover wouldn’t fall on my face as I began drifting.

I was able to both read and listen to the aforementioned chapter about the financial crisis, as we listened together on a car ride, shortly after I finished the chapter. I read each page as if it was all new to me. As if I didn’t know what was coming. As if I hadn’t lived the experience of the American people that Obama talks about. As if my family hadn’t lost our small business in 2008. As if I hadn’t claimed bankruptcy in 2009 to account for the debt of investing in the family business. As if I hadn’t learned very quickly that I was not the only one getting a teaching degree to weather the crisis only to realize that getting a teaching job would be damn near impossible — with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of applicants for a single position in a good school district. As if I hadn’t lived on unemployment for many months after losing my first office job (almost twice as many months of unemployment than I had been employed — if you were wondering).

I read each page, and hoped for a different outcome than the one I knew, from my lived experience, would come. I couldn’t sleep until I finished that chapter. The one that sucked me in with the deepest of breaths.

It could have been…

So much worse.

One of the overarching themes of this book really resonated with me. It could have been worse. Of course, it could have been better. All of it could have been better. Most things in this world can be better. But because the president was acting in what he believed was the best interest of the American people, it could have been worse. All of it. Wars, the economy, the environment, public health. Everything.

The juxtaposition of reading this book and the first month of Biden’s presidency is jarring. Not because of the differences, but because of the similarities, particularly anything involving Mitch McConnell, who cares, not about people but, about power and money. I find comfort in knowing that Biden was there every step of the way for Obama’s journey and that he can do what it takes to avoid history repeating itself in the ways that it could have been better.

The financial crisis was merely a single chapter in a book about almost every major crisis that hit this country between 2008 and 2011. A book that shows (not tells) how a man like Donald Trump was able to come to power, and how that movement continues today. How populist rhetoric continues gaining traction around the world. And how difficult it is to maintain and propel a free and fair democratic government on a world stage.

I learned a lot from reading this book. I learned about the issues and events I was too ignorant of, too young and naive to care about. I laughed. I cried. I thought. My favorite three reactions to any books in my queue. I highly recommend this book, but let yourself take time to really absorb it because there’s a lot of meat on those bones.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Rumpelstiltskin Problem: What Problem?

Woah!

(If you, too heard Joey Lawrence in your head and thought, you know…Matthew Lawrence was always the more attractive brother, then we should be friends.)

Anyways, I’ve got another book review for the wonderful Project Fairy Tale hosted by The Cheap Reader. And it was flippin’ awesome. Finally a fairy tale rewrite I can get behind. And in front of. And all over, because I thought it was that fun.

 

Project Fairy Tale

So Katie at Words for Worms recently reviewed Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde and after reading her positive review I was stoked, because I was waiting for my paper copy (yes, a real live book) of The Rumpelstiltskin Problem, also by Vivian Vande Velde, to arrive in the mail. Of course, I’m not used to waiting this long for a freakin’ book…so I was a little antsy.

I got the book on a really great day for me and the US Postal Service. I received 2 packages, a letter (OK invitation to a baby shower), and I got my very own PO box, so that I have an address that isn’t my home in my contact information! Not only all of this exciting stuff, but also our mail carrier, who is patient and wonderful even though I stalk her asking about packages (because they won’t leave them outside our door…and then I have to wait until 8am the next day, and it’s very annoying) had already brought the packages inside with the help of our neighbors. It was very nice of everyone involved. </ramble>

ANYWAYS! Opening the package to find this adorable little hard cover that I paid like $2 for was incredibly exciting for me. (The other package was 4 boxes of K-cups for my Keurig of JOY) A little over 100 pages of pure joy, this book was an absolute delight.

Sure, it was most definitely written for a younger audience, but hey…SO WAS TOY STORY! And we laughed. We cried.  We loved it. And there were jokes that we totally got.  Same goes for The Rumpelstiltskin Problem. Funny. Smart. CLEVER. This book was a great quick distraction this weekend, when I had 5-10 minutes to spare. Each of the short Rumpelstiltskin takes in this book were short, sweet, and awesome. A female Rumpel? Yep. A vodka drinking Miller? Yep. A fat little gnome who reminds me of a happier house elf? Yep.

Triple V aims to answer all of the questions that the original Rumpelstiltskin leaves out. Why is the king such a douche? Why does Rumpel want a baby? Why is the Miller such a bad father? What else is going on behind the music? This lady has the answers and she’s good at it.

In total, this one took me about an hour, maybe less to read. But it was worth every minute. If I thought she had a paper copy, I’d ask Katie to borrow Cloaked in Red…because I just know it’s got to be good.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!