Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mini Reviews: "Bossypants," "Goodnight June," "The Catcher in the Rye" & "Bunnicula"

My, oh my, where did the summer go?! I've read tons of books in the past couple months but have been a total slacker about writing reviews. (You can blame our unusually mild weather and my ridiculously comfy hammock for that!) My cheater's solution? Some mini book reviews! (Part 2 coming soon.)

"Bossypants" audiobook by Tina Fey
First publishd in 2012
My rating: 4 out of 5
After hearing a few people rave about it, I listened to the audiobook version of Tina Fey's memoir. It was smart, funny and witty, and it was really enhanced by the fact that Tina voiced the audiobook. It's got everything from awkward childhood stories to bad dates to Tina's stint as Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live, with some feminist and be-true-to-yourself undertones. Definitely worth a listen if you like Tina Fey, SNL, funny stories and/or celebrity memoirs.

"Goodnight June" by Sarah Jio
First published in 2014
320 pages
My rating: 3 out of 5
I was really excited to read "Goodnight June," a novel that involves old letters, an independent children's bookstore, Seattle, family secrets, and a little romance. Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was a quick, easy, light read. But something about Jio's writing style bothered me, and I also didn't love June, our protagonist. It reminded me a little bit of "You've Got Mail," but not as good.

But still. This novel is worth a read, and I did like the plot. It reminded me of something I'd write if I were an author. June has a fast-paced and stressful life as a bank vice president in New York City. When her aunt dies and leaves June her Seattle bookstore, June immediately knows she'll sell it. But once there, she discovers a scavenger hunt her aunt has left for her in the form of letters between herself and children's book author Margaret Wise Brown (of "Goodnight Moon" fame). The letters may help June save not only herself and her fractured relationships but also the struggling bookstore.
"The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
First published in 1951
277 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5
"The Catcher in the Rye" is a classic, and as such I expected it to be dry and hard to get through. But instead it was interesting and quick and easy. Salinger did a masterful job giving our narrator -- 16-year old Holden Caulfield -- a distinct voice, and I really felt like Holden was sitting next to me, telling his story (which is about the few days he spent bumming around New York City after being kicked out of boarding school -- again). It's definitely more of a character-driven tale, but Holden's worldview is so fascinating and real that I didn't mind that it wasn't action-packed. This is one classic everyone should read, teenagers and adults alike!
"Bunnicula" by James Howe
First published in 1979
My rating: 4 out of 5
This was a childhood favorite of mine. I see it all the time at work and checked it out on a whim one day this summer. It's a super-fast, adorable read and I remembered why I liked it so much as a kid (I'm sure my obsession with rabbits factored in, too). Narrated by Harold the dog, "Bunnicula" is about a vampiric rabbit adopted by the unsuspecting Monroe family. Chester the cat is on to Bunnicula and makes it his mission to rid the house of vampire-bunnies! 

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