Category Archives: Memoir

Juniper by Kelley and Tom French

Juniper French was born at just 23 weeks 6 days after a placental abruption. This book is the story of her many months in the NICU, full of triumphs and setbacks, combined with a lot of thoughts and feelings from her parents as they tell it in alternating chapters. Both of her parents were journalists and so they easily wove facts and statistics in among the terror, grief, excitement, and love they went through having such a tiny, sick baby. I enjoyed the book a lot. It was very well-written and even knowing that Juniper survived, I was completely engaged wondering what she would have to overcome next. I recommend it to anyone who likes memoirs.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 99
Pages Read in 2019: 25,373
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Covering his first two years as a vet from the time he arrived to work for an established vet until he got married, All Creatures Great and Small reads like a collection of short stories, sometimes about life in Yorkshire and sometimes about attending animals. The pace is slow, really helping to get the a feeling of life on the early mid-1900s English countryside. It’s an enjoyable book, I only wish he had been a little heavier on the veterinary part of his life. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about animals.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 97
Pages Read in 2019: 24,807
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A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa

Born in Japan, the author and his family were “repatriated” to a country none of them had ever been to before: North Korea. They soon discovered the promises of utopia and free healthcare, food, shelter, and a job were pretty much all lies. A River in Darkness tells a sad tale of trying to survive (and sometimes trying not to survive) and starvation under a brutal regime. It’s told simply and is relatively short so it read fast, but it’s an important story to help those on the outside know what life in North Korea is like. I recommend it to people interested in North Korea.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 91
Pages Read in 2019: 23,121
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Seriously Mum, What’s an Alpaca? by Alan Parks

Moving from England to Spain to breed alpacas might be crazy. But as Alan Parks discovered, it’s also incredibly rewarding. Seriously Mum, What’s an Alpaca? chronicles the first few years of their adventure. If it could go wrong, it probably did. Written with typical British self-deprecating humor and wit, this book is quite an enjoyable read. Some chapters end with a bit as if it was written by one of the animals and I found that weird and distracting. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys travelogues, and particularly travelogues written by British people (which are the best ones in my opinion).

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 80
Pages Read in 2019: 21,531
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Breaking Free by Rachel Jeffs

I knew Warren Jeffs was an awful person, but I never realized just how crazy and controlling he is to those inside the FLDS church. Rachel Jeffs, one of Warren Jeffs’ daughters, is one of the lucky ones. She found the strength to get out. Breaking Free documents what she went through at the hand of her father and how she finally was able to leave. It reads pretty fast and is quite interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs or is interested in what life is like in a cult.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 71
Pages Read in 2019: 19,447
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Becoming by Michelle Obama

The story of Michelle Obama’s life is told in Becoming in a way that sucks the reader in and helps you to understand how she was feeling at the time and why she did what she did. While I did not vote for her husband, I do have a new appreciation for the Obamas, and especially for Michelle as a woman, wife, and mother, having read her book. I recommend Becoming to anyone interested in knowing where Michelle Obama came from and what life in the White House can be like for a first lady who isn’t too fond of politics.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 70
Pages Read in 2019: 19,130
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Filed under Annual Wrap-Up, Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

On Hitler’s Mountain by Irmgard A. Hunt

The author grew up during World War II in Berchtesgaden, right in the shadow of Hitler up on his mountain. Her family were typical Germans who supported Hitler because of how much he helped the German economy. On Hitler’s Mountain tells the story of her childhood as well as examines how normal, good people could allow the rise of Hitler to happen unchecked. I recommend this book to people interested in World War II.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 64
Pages Read in 2019: 17,212
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron