Review: Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik

From Goodreads: You can’t spell truth without Ruth.
Only Ruth Bader Ginsburg can judge me.
The Ruth will set you free.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame—she was just trying to make the world a little better and a little freer. But along the way, the feminist pioneer’s searing dissents and steely strength have inspired millions. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, created by the young lawyer who began the Internet sensation and an award-winning journalist, takes you behind the myth for an intimate, irreverent look at the justice’s life and work. As America struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stays fierce. And if you don’t know, now you know.

Jennie’s Thoughts:

I am a total fangirl of RBG and I am not ashamed. When I found out about this book, it immediately went on my wish list. I’m pretty sure I legit squealed when I opened it over Christmas. All this to say that I had high expectations.

And those expectations were exceeded. This book was phenomenal. It contains such awesome depth, from biographical details of her early life and marriage. To humorous artwork and Notorious BIG lyrics as chapter headings. (Seriously!)

And, there are numerous timelines and charts that give a great overview of the entire feminist journey, providing the reader with a history of many of the disgustingly outrageous biases towards women. One of my favorite aspects is the legal briefs that include notations to explain the meanings and intentions behind the words RBG wrote.

Basically, after finishing I started googling how one could juggle law school and children. I highly, highly recommend this if you’re interested in RBG at all. Really, everyone should read this. So, just go read it, please!

Hi! Remember Us?

Hellooooooooo! Happy 2016…like six weeks ago.

Here at We Still Read last year got busy and crazy and blogging to a way, way backseat. There were reading slumps, promotions, new creative and physical hobbies, kids growing, moving, and just general life.

BUT! We are back! :) We can’t guarantee we will be posting every weekday or even every week, but we all miss our little internet home here, and that means we’ll be blogging more and more active on our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

We hope you’re enjoying 2016 so far! We’d love to hear what your favorite book has been so far…comment here or on Twitter or Facebook.

<3

Review: Illuminae

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

From Goodreads: This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Jennie’s Thoughts: I love Amie Kaufman’s Starbound trilogy, so when I saw she was co-writing another science-fiction series, I was all over the library hold button.

And man, oh man, does this book bring the suspense and drama and hilarity. The characters, even though we only see them through written communications, are real and snarky and funny and quirky. The relationship between Kady and Ezra made me laugh and swoon and squeeze with suspense.

And the plot, was heart-racing, and I mean that literally. This book had me on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t put it down. I wanted more, more, more with each page. It was some of the best science-fictiony elements all together in one awesome book.

I hate that I have a year to wait for the next in the series. BUT, don’t let that stop you from reading it right now, because I need to talk about how crazy awesome it was!

Review: The Library at Mount Char

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

From Goodreads: Carolyn’s not so different from the other human beings around her. She’s sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.

After all, she was a normal American herself, once.

That was a long time ago, of course—before the time she calls “adoption day,” when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.

Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.

In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn’t gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father’s ancient Pelapi customs. They’ve studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power.

Sometimes, they’ve wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library—and with it, power over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her.

But Carolyn can win. She’s sure of it. What she doesn’t realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price—because in becoming a God, she’s forgotten a great deal about being human.

Jennie’s Thoughts: That is the longest GR summary I have ever seen, but I had no clue how to manage it in my own words. So, if you’re still reading after all that, here are my thoughts.

This book is gory and sickening and twisted and weird and suspenseful and intriguing and crazy. (See this is why I didn’t attempt to rewrite that GR summary shorter…) But, I highly recommend it, which maybe makes me as twisted as some of the characters in the book, but oh well.

I picked this up because Julie at Book Hooked Blog informed me that I had to read it. And when Julie says something is a must read, I obey. And she’s rarely (if ever, honestly!) lead me astray. This book was NOTHING like I’ve ever read before, and even when things got gross (my stomach LITERALLY hurt at parts) it was still something I could not put down.

But, a word of wisdom, do NOT read this alone at night unless you’re braver than I am. It was a bit unsettling to leave this world between the closed book and try to go to sleep without jumping at every little sound.

Review: Carry On

From GoodreadsSimon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up. Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

Erin’s Thoughts: I’m not going to lie and say that I wasn’t just dying to get my hands on this book.  I mean, I adore Rainbow Rowell, and I ADORE Fangirl.  So a book, THE BOOK, that the fanfic in Fangirl is based on? Sign me up!

The first fifty pages or so had me nervous.  Really nervous.  My brain was shouting, “THIS IS HARRY POTTER” the whole time I was reading.  Then, suddenly, I was sucked in to this delightfully quirky world that Rowell created. While Carry On certainly is a well-crafted “Chosen One” tale, it’s the strength of Rowell’s characters, her sense of humor, and her witty storytelling that make this book the gem it is.  Also…the Baz/Simon romantic scenes? Um…steamy.

Like many of Rowell’s works, I don’t think this will wow everyone.  There always seems to be debate around her titles.  For me, this was such a winner.  If you loved Fangirl, I would definitely pick this one up.  Such a fun way to connect two books together.  And really, if you’ve ever enjoyed any of Rowell’s writing, pick this up.  It’s fun, quirky, and basically everything you could expect from a Rainbow Rowell Chosen One motif!

Review: HONY: Stories

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

From Goodreads: In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton began an ambitious project -to single-handedly create a photographic census of New York City. The photos he took and the accompanying interviews became the blog Humans of New York. His audience steadily grew from a few hundred followers to, at present count, over twelve million. In 2013, his book Humans of New York, based on that blog, was published and immediately catapulted to the top of the NY Times Bestseller List where it has appeared for over forty-five weeks. Now, Brandon is back with the Humans of New York book that his loyal followers have been waiting for: Humans of New York: Stories. Ever since Brandon began interviewing people on the streets of New York, the dialogue he’s had with them has increasingly become as in-depth, intriguing and moving as the photos themselves. Humans of New York: Stories presents a whole new group of people in stunning photographs, with a rich design and, most importantly, longer stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candor.

Jennie’s Thoughts: If you aren’t following HONY somewhere in the social media conglomerate, please start now. This review will wait, go and click that like or follow or whatever button it is that you need to see these amazing stories every day.

This book is very similar to the daily posts featured on HONY’s pages each day. Some of the stories in the book were past posts, actually. But, seeing the photos in person and reading their words on print…it’s even more powerful.

If you’ve ever wanted to experience a glimpse in another’s shoes, or get your heart broken and then reglued and then rebroken over and over, read this. It will destroy and restore your faith in humanity again and again. But I think it’s a thing we all need to see; a chance to hear stories we otherwise wouldn’t know and to see that our lives aren’t the only struggles and successes to be lived.

On Audio Reading

I’ve reviewed several audio books here at We Still Read, so it might surprise you to know that I’ve only recently become an audio book reader. Other than a few books on tape we listened to on long car rides and my beloved Harry Potter audio, I haven’t done much reading via audio.  I have a great love for paper books, and I wasn’t sure I had the attention span to listen to audio.  My mind tends to wander, so I figured I’d struggle to pay attention.

Then, this past spring I decided to listen to As You Wish by Cary Elwes.  His excellent storytelling and narration made paying attention a breeze, and I quickly became hooked on audio reading. My worry about audio keeping my attention was unfounded.  In fact, I have found that listening to audio books helps me zone out in exactly the right way.  A huge component of my job is having conversations with people.  I spend a lot of time carefully considering what I will say and how I will say it.  After coaching sessions, I reflect on how those conversations have gone and plan for the next conversation.  But…sometimes (ok, pretty much all the time), I start to over analyze the conversation and I cannot turn my brain off.  Audio books draw enough of my attention so that I can focus on the story and not on replaying conversations over in my head.

I’ve also found audio books to be a great way to enjoy genres I may not normally choose.  Celebrity biographies, for example.  Not my usual cup of tea when it comes to reading, but they make for fantastic listening!  I’ve also discovered the joy of rereading via audio.  Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy stole my heart when I read it, and getting to enjoy it again on audio was amazing. I’m so glad that I finally gave audio a chance!

Are you an audio book reader? What are some of your favorite books to listen to?

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