book review: paper towns

Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Genre:  Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Publishing Date: 2009

Paper Towns, John Green


Favorite Quotes:

“If I am ever told that I have one day to live, I will head straight for the hallowed halls of Winter Park High School, where a day has been known to last a thousand years.” (pg. 21)

“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereal based on color instead of taste.” (pg. 36)

“It’s so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest god-damned thing in the world.” (pg. 192)

“Before he was this minor figure in the drama of my life, he was—you know, the central figure in the drama of his own life.” (pg. 267)

Synopsis: Margo Roth Spiegelman and Quentin Johnson (Q) grow up as neighbors. Even though a traumatic childhood event ties them together, they’ve never been more than mere acquaintances. That is until their senior year in high school when Margo shows up in Q’s bedroom window one night and convinces him to join her on a spree of vengeance-fueled pranks. After spending the night wreaking havoc on their frenemies together, Margot doesn’t show up for school the next day. Instead, she vanishes—leaving clues as to where she has gone in her wake. Clues that are just for Q.


I loved The Fault in Our Stars. I loved it so much, I even read Looking for Alaska (which is a big deal because I prefer not to re-read authors). Paper Towns was selected by my book club for our February read, and I was excited to have an excuse to pick up Green again.

That being said, this book reminded me exactly why I don’t re-read authors.

Having read all three of these Green books, it’s impossible to miss the similarities. Green builds the same relationship between the central male and female characters. One is unfathomably amazing and sophisticated and desirable and unattainable. And the other is hopelessly in love with him or her.

Such is the set up for Fault and Alaska and alas, for Paper Towns–with Margot as the endless object of Q’s completely one-sided affection.

What Green does so well, however, is capture the essence of uninhibited teenage infatuation, youthful exuberance, and even adorable immaturity. His portrayals of teenagers are so accurate they’re both amusing and nostalgic.

Part I of this book—the all-night prank extravaganza—sets Paper Towns up for success with a quick pace and plenty of action. Likewise, Part III—the graduation-day road trip—is engaging, dynamic, and full of humor. It’s Part II that felt labored, repetitive, and painful, like taking the longest route possible to get to a destination.

Despite that, this book was enjoyable to read overall. And even with an accurately portrayed juvenile ensemble, it managed to touch on some complex and critical adult themes—identity, vanity, what makes life worth living, and how much do we truly know about ourselves and others. From screennames to dialogue to teenage eccentricities, Green once again captures the essence of humans at their most vulnerable age—when we struggle to know nothing and everything all at the same time.

Overall: 3 out of 5

Who Should Read This Book: If you’re an adult who loved other John Green books, I wouldn’t read this one. If you’re someone who hasn’t read other John Green books, I would read The Fault in Our Stars or Looking for Alaska, but again, not this one. But if you’re a detached, misfit, or misunderstood teenager looking for a relatable read with some important heavier themes, Paper Towns is the Green book for you.

book review: the night circus

Title: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Genre:  Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism

Publishing Date: 2011

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus,
Erin Morgenstern


Synopsis: Le Cirque Des Revs is a traveling attraction open only at night. It arrives without warning. It leaves without notice. But within its black and white striped tents is a world that blends the boundaries between reality and imagination. And two young magicians—Celia and Marco—are bound to the circus as dueling competitors in a high-stakes game of which neither understands the rules or more importantly, the consequences.


Remember when you were a young kid and you read a book that transported you somewhere surreal, somewhere wonderful, somewhere magical? That’s how I felt when reading this book. Its pages hold ideas and settings that are more vivid and unique and fantastic than those of my own dreams. It made me long to visit Le Cirque Des Revs—or at least hope that someone adapts this dreamlike story into a film.

After a slow start (first 50 or so pages), this book picks up pace as you begin to see how the different characters are woven together with the night circus as the unifying thread. And by the time you’re grasping the overarching plot—two dueling magicians are fighting unknowingly in a competition to the death—it’s a full-blown magical, star-crossed love roller coaster ride.

I enjoyed the plot. I enjoyed the characters. I enjoyed the writing. But mostly, I enjoyed this book for its imaginative scenes within the circus walls: the ice garden, the merry-go-round, the cloud room, the grandfather clock. Morgenstern portrays magic and illusion in such a unique, intimate way that you can’t help but believe it must be real.

Overall: 4 out of 5

Who Should Read This Book: Adults who love logic-defying, limitless, magical stories. Those who are looking for a 19th Century romance novel that reads like a fantasy-mystery-thriller. Anyone who wants to be transported to a literary world of creative brilliance that’s so beautiful, you’ll want to savor every last word.

book review: defending jacob

Title: Defending Jacob

Author: William Landay

Genre:  Fiction, Crime Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Publishing Date: 2012

Defending Jacob, book cover
Defending Jacob,
William Landay


Synopsis: In a small, upper-class Boston suburb, a 14-year-old boy has been stabbed to death. And the primary suspect quickly becomes Jacob Barber, the only child of Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber. The story, told from Andy’s perspective, follows the Barber family through the months leading up to and through the trial, as evidence slowly mounts against the brooding, intense, anti-social Jacob.

Opinion: Defending Jacob was the second book chosen by my newly formed book club. I haven’t read a crime drama in quite some time (A Time to Kill is the last one that comes to mind), so I was eager to tackle this one.

From a crime-drama-thriller-twist-ending perspective, Defending Jacob did not disappoint. After a slow start, this novel picked up the pace after about 50 pages and never slowed down. It was like reading a movie. And I was constantly changing my mind about what I thought happened—leaving me feeling like an outside detective on the case.

That being said, the story did have a tremendous flaw for me as a reader. Landay never lets the reader know for sure whether or not Jacob is guilty; it’s up for him or her to infer based on the details given. But Landay paints Jacob in such a poor light, that by Part III, I didn’t care what happened to him. As a result, I wasn’t pulling for any particular outcome—guilty, innocent, or otherwise—which made the final twists and turns of the story fall flat.

The other strange part of this novel is that it takes such lengths to carry the reader through the lingering months leading up to the trial and even through the trial itself. So when what seems like a climax happens with more than 50 pages to go, it leaves you wondering, what else is going to happen here?

If I were writing this novel, I think I would have condensed the pre-trial and actual trial portions, and added more meat to the post-trial twists. So much happens after the trial and it’s breezed over as if the author was simply tired of writing and wanted to wrap it up.

Overall: 3 out of 5

Who Should Read This Book: Fans of crime dramas, for sure. Those who are looking for an exciting page-turner with plenty of twists at the end. Book clubs looking for an intense read and a less intense discussion.

book review: a heartbreaking work of staggering genius

Title: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Author: Dave Eggers

Genre:  Biography, Memoir, Humor

Publishing Date: 2000

a heartbreaking work of staggering genius book cover
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,
Dave Eggers


Favorite Quotes:

“Because I was afraid that you’d be unpopular and would be cast out for being a near-orphan and having funny ears and living in a rental and would grow up with an interest in guns and uniforms, or worse, I’ll find you under the covers reading Chicken Soup for the Prepubescent Soul and lamenting your poor lot, I got dressed and went to that comics stores that’s open ’til eight, and we got two packs of cards and one of them has a hologram in it…” (pg. 84)

“We are wearing what we always wear, shorts and T-shirts, having decided, after thinking about what to wear and then remembering not to think about what to wear, to wear what we would have worn had we not been thinking about what to wear.” (pg. 244)

“My mom used to kill us when we took school pictures without her knowledge, before she would approve of our outfits. Of course, there’s a reason we didn’t tell her about Picture Day, and that reason is spelled P-L-A-I-D.” (pg. 326)

Synopsis: At age 22, Dave Eggers loses both of his parents to unrelated cancers within five weeks of one another. Orphaned along with his three siblings, Eggers becomes the primary caretaker for his eight-year-old brother. In the memoir, Dave recounts his parents’ final days and the challenges, failures, and triumphs (but mostly just challenges and failures) that follow when he moves across the country to California in an attempt to start a new life for himself and his brother.

Opinion: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (AHWOSG) was one of the books I pulled from my mom’s bookshelf after she passed away. I had heard of the title but had no idea what it was about. After reading the premise, I was intrigued and decided to give it a go.

Part I of this 11-part, 437-page memoir is, in my opinion, the best. In this section, Eggers walks through the demise of his mother’s health and the sudden, unexpected loss of his father. And he does it with such impeccable honesty and authenticity. Having just watched my mom die not even a year ago, I was amazed by Eggers’ ability to so accurately capture the heartbreak and humor that can coexist in our most difficult moments.

After Part I, however, AHWOSG lost me. Eggers style is self-reflective, stream of consciousness, and more often than not, rambling. There are tangents that go on for dozens of pages at a time. And circuitous thought patterns that don’t really take you anywhere. I felt like this book was a series of memories and thoughts and obsessions strung together haphazardly, rather than a thoughtful, purposeful memoir with a clear route and worthwhile destination.

By the 300th page, I was just fighting to finish. And the grand finale was quite possibly the greatest letdown of all.

Perhaps AHWOSG was simply over my head. If someone told me “You just don’t get it,” I’d have to wholeheartedly agree. (I mean, it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize!!)

But it did provide a few chuckle-out-loud moments, and the first part was so well done that it was worth the rest, which I waded through laboriously like a fat person running under water.

If I had to sum it up in one word, that word would undoubtedly be this: Staggering.

Overall: 1.5 out of 5

Who Should Read This Book: It’s hard to say, really, since I didn’t connect with this one. But I’d image hipsters who grew up at the same time as Eggers would enjoy AHWOSG more than I did.

book review: me before you

Title: Me Before You

Author: Jojo Moyes

Genre:  Literature and Fiction

Publishing Date: 2012

me before you book cover
Me Before You,
Jojo Moyes


Favorite Quote:

“Some mistakes…just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let that night be the thing that defines you.” (pg. 242)

Synopsis: Set in a quaint English town, Me Before You, tells the story of two unlikely companions—Louisa Clark and Will Traynor—who spend six months together and change each other’s lives forever.

Louisa Clark, born and raised in the small town where she still lives with her parents, never dreamed bigger than her minor existence. With no ambitions, no experiences, no passions, Louisa goes through the motions of life never questioning if there could be more.

Will Traynor once lived life to its fullest. A successful businessman from a wealthy family, Will traveled, explored, dared, adventured, and loved. But a motorcycle accident ended all that, leaving Will bound to a wheelchair with no use of his arms or legs.

Will is determined to end his life. And Louisa, hired as his daytime caretaker, is determined to change his mind.

Opinion: I pulled Me Before You off my Goodreads To-Read shelf because it had the highest average rating of the nearly 50 books waiting for me there. Although I adored it—and sped through it in a single, rainy weekend—I’m not sure it’ll actually best all those others still waiting on that shelf.

Me Before You is, at its core, a love story. It’s heartwarming, humorous, and screams to be made into film. I’d be lying if I told you there weren’t some tears let loose along the way.

It’s also a book about assisted suicide. It forces you to think through tough questions about whether or not it’s okay to give up on life: Is it possible to have nothing to live for? Is it right to force those who don’t want to live to stay alive?

I love books that shift your perspective as you read. Although, I never quite gave in to Will’s argument for suicide, I was guided to better understand it, and ultimately, respect it—all while holding out hope that he would still change his mind.

The one complaint I have about this book is related to the perspective shifts. The vast majority of the story is told exclusively from Louisa’s point of view. But a few chapters in the middle switch to the perspective of other characters: her sister, Will’s mother, Will’s father, and even a second caretaker. To me, these shifts were confusing (I kept forgetting I wasn’t seeing the story from Louisa’s eyes) and didn’t actually offer any new insight. I could have done without them.

Overall: 4 out of 5

Who Should Read This Book: Those who enjoyed A Fault in Our Stars (which, of course, is anyone who read it). Anyone who enjoys quirky and ornery characters combined with witty dialogue. Those looking for a sweet, but not-too-sappy romance or an easy read on a rainy weekend. And anyone who enjoys reading books in English accents.

book review: the invention of wings

Title: The Invention of Wings

Author: Sue Monk Kidd

Genre: Historical Fiction, Literature and Fiction

Publishing Date: 2014

The invention of wings book cover
The Invention of Wings,
Sue Monk Kidd


Favorite Quotes:

“He didn’t like any kind of talk about heaven. He said that was the coward’s way, pining for life in the hereafter, acting like this one didn’t mean a thing.” (pg 185)

“If you were a slave toiling in the fields in Carolina…I suspect you would think the time had fully come.” (pg. 311)

“How could I choose someone who would force me to give up my own small reach for meaning? I chose myself.” (pg. 320)

“The world depends upon the small beating in your heart.” (pg. 321)

“I’d chosen the regret I could live with best.” (pg. 322)

“In Pepperell, we were forced to deliver our message in a barn with the horses and cows. ‘As you see, there’s no room at the inn,’ Nina told them. ‘But, still, the wise men have come.'” (pg. 359)

“The time to assert one’s right is when it’s denied!” (pg. 362)

Synopsis: Based largely in Charleston, South Carolina during the 19th Century, The Invention of Wings shifts between the perspectives of its two heroines: Sarah Grimke, a wealthy daughter of a southern plantation owner, and Hetty “Handful,” the slave given to her on her 11th birthday. The novel follows the two girls as they grow, one shackled by society, the other by slavery. Over the course of the decades covered in the novel, both women face tremendous adversity, suffer devastating losses, and have nothing handed to them during their separate, unique, and equally moving journeys to take flight.

Opinion: This was the book selected by my newly formed book club for our first meeting in September. I imagine most folks were interested in it due to its setting in Charleston, but I’m sure having Oprah’s seal of approval didn’t hurt either.

I’m not new to Sue Monk Kidd. My mom introduced me to her after she fell in love with The Secret Life of Bees, which I also read and enjoyed. Although I don’t think the Bees will stick with me over time the way this novel most certainly will.

I can’t speak for other places in the United States because I’ve only lived in the South. But in the South, we don’t talk about slavery. It’s a dark, blind spot on our histories. We don’t think about it. We learn it briefly when we’re too young to comprehend it, and then we tuck it away and imagine it was all just a bad dream. Just hearing the word “slave” itself makes me wince in discomfort.

And that’s why I loved this book.

Not because it’s about slavery, but because it’s honest about slavery. It’s honest about what it was and why it existed and what it did to the people who experienced it firsthand.

I loved this book because it wasn’t some warm and fuzzy benevolent-slave-owner-befriends-her-slave story. Although Hetty and Sarah do bond on some level, it’s clear with every encounter that they are not friends.

I loved this book because both heroines end up having to create freedom for themselves. Because society wasn’t ready and no one was going to help them.

And most of all, I loved this book because it made me think about the horrors of slavery outside of the physical (which are horrible enough on their own). It helped me to begin to understand the psychological pain of being owned. The way it devastates one’s soul. The way it crumbles you from within.

Kidd says it best herself in her Author’s Note at the end of the novel: “History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.”

In The Invention of Wings, Kidd successfully goes beyond facts and events to accurately portray an institution we struggle to understand or even acknowledge today. For that, I’m thankful to have read this book.

Overall: 4 out of 5

Who Should Read This Book: Kidd fans, of course. Anyone who feels trapped in society. Young women looking for books with incredible, strong heroines. Historical fiction lovers. And everyone who would like acknowledge slavery with less discomfort and more empathy.

book review: queen of the dark things

Title: Queen of the Dark Things

Author: C. Robert Cargill

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Publishing date: 2014

cover art for Queen of the Dark Things, a novel
Queen of the Dark Things, C. Robert Cargill


Favorite Quote:

If it stops hurting, it isn’t really love. (pg. 168)

Synopsis: A sequel to Dreams and Shadows, Queen of the Dark Things weaves together the stories of a handful of supernatural beings including Colby the wizard, the anti-hero who survived the horrors of Cargill’s first novel. In addition to Colby and his djinn (genie) named Yashar, we’re introduced to a new cast of characters in Queen of the Dark Things–dreamwalkers, Clever Men, gods, demons, shadows, monsters, and more–whose lives are woven together–for better or worse–by destiny itself. In this brooding fantasy thriller, Colby faces even tougher decisions with even graver consequences in an effort to save himself and his few remaining friends.

Opinion: Although book two did not have as many breathtaking sentences and pause-let-me-read-that-again moments, it was a heart-pumping fantasy page turner, and I loved every moment of it. Cargill pushes the imagination into far darker places than you ever thought possible, leaving you in awe of the creativity and evil he’s able to dream up.

Similar to Dreams and Shadows, Queen of the Dark Things touches on some critical themes: vengeance, destiny, choice, and morality. He makes you question what choices are really good ones, how much control we have over our own fate, what makes us powerful, and what does it mean to do something bad for the right reasons.

His action builds effortlessly, making these books a breeze and a pleasure to read. I could hardly put it down and was already aching for more when it was over. I hope there’s a third still to come in this well-plotted, well-executed series.

Overall: 4 out of 5

Who Should Read This Book: Anyone who enjoyed Dream and Shadows. Read that. Then read this. They’re both worth it.

book review: dreams and shadows

Title: Dreams and Shadows

Author: C. Robert Cargill

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Publishing date: 2013

Dreams and shadows novel cover image
Dreams and Shadows, C. Robert Cargill


Favorite quotes:

Monsters are real. Very real. But they’re not just creatures. They’re people, they’re nightmares. . . They are the things that we harbor within ourselves. . . there is not a monster dreamt that hasn’t walked once within the soul of a man. (pg 49)

Women were tricky that way. They wanted to be thought of as beautiful, but they only wanted you if you thought they were almost beautiful. (pg 190)

God doesn’t hide himself away because he wants each person to come to him with blind faith; he hides himself away because if people knew the truth, they wouldn’t want to believe in him at all. (pg 211)

Nothing is permanent, but everything is never-ending. (pg 214)

Ignorance is the only one truly unstoppable force in this world. (pg 318)

Yes, people are sheep. Big deal. You need to stop trying to educate the sheep and instead just steer the herd. (pg 318)

The Devil catches every crumb that spills off Heaven’s plate. (pg 354)

The total of our lives won’t be the things we did to survive, but the things we did to change the world. (pg 355)

Synopsis: Two boys from Austin, TX–Ewan and Colby–both end up in up in the Limestone Kingdom, a magical realm filled with fairies, demons, and all things supernatural. Ewan was stolen by a fairy as a baby. Colby stumbled upon the Limestone Kingdom with the help of a djinn (genie). After narrowly escaping death within the walls of the Limestone Kingdom, Ewan and Colby return to Austin. The novel follows the boys years later as they both struggle to deal with the consequences of their actions as children and are forced to fight the ultimate battle against the Kingdom’s most sinister creatures in search of long-overdue revenge.


This book is not for the faint of heart.

I am not a huge fantasy reader. In fact, this novel is probably my first true fantasy novel. Despite seeing mixed reviews on the book, something drew me to it. And I’m glad it did. I found it fascinating, start to finish.

It’s dark, gritty, sinister, relentless, and horribly pessimistic. It reminded me of Game of Thrones in that any character at any time is at risk of being axed. Even the ones you love. Even the ones you’re rooting for.

The characters are all perfectly flawed, making them feel honest and believable. Cursed genies. Drunken angels. Killer mermaids. Fairies who feed on others’ suffering. A young boy who asks for the wrong wish (twice). And a whole world of supernatural beings who will sacrifice their own young just to survive. The humans are just as flawed as the fantasy creatures. The villains, just as flawed as the anti-heroes.

I found the ideas fresh, imaginative, and unexpected. I loved exploring fairies and genies and trolls and angels and mermaids from a new, exquisitely dark perspective.

The quick-paced plot was packed with relevant, tense events all leading up to a superb climatic final battle. It’s a story line worthy of the big screen; I hope I have the chance to see it there one day.

In addition to an excellent plot, the strong writing was at times poetic and often profound. Despite the unreal world it creates, Dreams and Shadows touches on some very real themes: fate, vengeance, internal demons, and legacies.

Although I’m not big on books in a series, Cargill’s next novel, Queen of Dark Things, features at least one of the characters who manages to survive the horrific events of Dreams and Shadows. And I may just have to read it too.

Overall: 4 out of 5

Who should read this book: Fantasy book lovers. And not teenie-bopper vampire fantasies, either. But dark, dramatic, depressing fantasy lovers. Anyone who loves epic battles and underdogs and imaginative worlds that are even bleaker than our own.

Those looking for a happy ending need not apply.

book review: the night gwen stacy died

Title: The Night Gwen Stacy Died

Author: Sarah Bruni

Genre: Fiction

Publishing date: 2013

The Night Gwen Stacy Died Novel book cover art
The Night Gwen Stacy Died,  Sarah Bruni


Favorite quote:

To not know whether he would never come back, or whether he would always come back, and always they would be abandoned again and again. (pg. 184)

Synopsis: The life of Sheila Gower, a disinterested high school student by day and gas-station attendant by night, is forever changed when she’s willingly kidnapped by taxi driver, Seth Novak. Still struggling with the childhood loss of his older brother, Novak is tormented by dreams of others dying. When one dream of a man’s suicide begins to repeat itself night-after-night, he “kidnaps” Sheila and sets off to Chicago to try to stop it. The novel follows the young couple – living under the comic-book aliases of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy – as they evade the police, fall in love, and try to save a stranger’s life in the Windy City.

Opinion: As much as I hate to say it, this book fell flat for me. I liked the premise. I liked the Spiderman angle. But somehow, something missed the mark.

For starters, even though there was action happening throughout the novel, I felt like the plot wasn’t going anywhere. It was more like sequence of events instead of actions with consequences that build on one another. And somehow, the central story line – going to Chicago to prevent a suicide – seemed to get swept to the side for about two-thirds of the novel.

As early as fifty pages in, I had no desire to pick this one up and continue reading. It just didn’t interest me enough and I didn’t really care what happened next. Although the plot did gain momentum in the last 75 pages, the ending still felt lack-luster.

Perhaps part of the issue was in character development. As I read, I felt the main characters were both constantly doing or saying things that seemed weird. Maybe that’s because the characters weren’t clearly drawn from the beginning. I didn’t have a clear picture of who Sheila was, so when she would, for example, have explosive emotions and fits of anger, I was confused. And because I felt like I didn’t know her or understand her, I ended up detached from the story as a whole.

Outside of the plot and character development, I didn’t find the writing particularly moving, which can sometimes win me over regardless of what transpires between the pages. The language wasn’t challenging and neither were the ideas or themes.

In summary, it was a decent story told in an unremarkable way.

Overall: 2 out of 5

Who should read this book: Young adults, especially teenagers  who have an affinity for comics and superheroes. I imagine as a nerdy 16-year-old girl, I would have enjoyed it more than I did now.

book review: let’s explore diabetes with owls

Title: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

Author: David Sedaris

Genre: Humor, Essays

Publishing date: 2013

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls Book Cover Art
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris


Favorite quotes:

“Leave me the fuck alone” comes out as “Well, maybe. Sure. I guess I can see your point.” (pg. 34)

Either way, I’m more afraid of conservatives than I am of black people. (pg. 111)

I’ve become one of those people I hate, the sort who go to the museum and, instead of looking at the magnificent Brueghel, take a picture of it, reducing it from art to a proof. (pg. 174)

Of the many expressions we Americans tend to overuse, I think the most irritating is “Blind people are human too.” They are, I guess, but saying so makes you sound preachy and involved, like all your best friends are blind. (pg. 19)

Synopsis: A collection of essays, short stories, and vignettes by North Carolina-native humorist David Sedaris. Topics range from littering issues in England, judging strangers with strangers at the airport, and brutally hysterical memories of childhood. Some fiction, some reality, plenty of laughs.

Opinion: This book was recommended to me when I was looking for a lighter read. I’d heard a lot about Me Talk Pretty One Day and thought I’d give Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls a chance, if for no other reason than to be able to repeat that title anytime someone asked me what I was reading.

This book did not disappoint. I’m new to the humor genre, but whoever I read next most certainly has big shoes to fill. I was impressed by Sedaris’ ability to weave stories back to the beginning – to bring them full circle. You’d think you were going off on some wild tangent, but then somehow, before the end, you’d end up right back where you started – usually with a shift in perspective.

Instead of reading it straight through, I would read a chapter whenever I was bored or needed a break from another book. The great thing about reading a collection of essays is you don’t have to remember what happened before, so I stretched this one out over several months.

Although I didn’t laugh out loud as much as I anticipated, I did chuckle silently to myself quite often.

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

Who should read this book: Sedaris fans, of course. Anyone who loves Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy or anyone who needs something light to read in short bursts, which may or may not result in snort-laughter, depending on your sense of humor and level of self-control.