Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming by Michelle Obama

In Becoming, Michelle Obama tells her story. She talks about growing up poor in Southside Chicago. She talks about the love of her family, the value they placed on hard work and education. She discusses her career, the right path she started on and the twists and turns it took. She talks about meeting Barack, their early marriage, and how they function as a couple. Of course, she eventually gets around to the presidential campaign and their time in the White House, but she (mostly) stays with her point of view, her difficulties, and her initiatives. She also touches on her difficulties with putting her career on hold to support her husband's career and how unfair things could feel. She talks about the difficulties of raising two girls, the tightrope of keeping them safe but allowing them to have "normal" childhoods and teen years, of appreciating the luxuries they have but still being grounded in "regular" life. Michelle Obama is...
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A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa

A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa

A River in Darkness is a heart-breaking story. Ishikawa went form a childhood in Japan where he didn't fit in because he was half-Korean to North Korea where he was one of the lowest of the low. He tells his story frankly, without sentimentality, but it's full of misery, hunger, desperation. He tells of living conditions that I can't even imagine. I knew North Korea is not a good country, but we don't get to see this side of it often. We don't see how the people live, and die. We know that life in the totalitarian regime is tough, but Ishikawa let's us see the brainwashing, the untenable choices that have to be made. The corruption and domination affect every aspect of life. A River in Darkness was way out of my comfort zone, but I am definitely glad I picked it up. I got sucked into Ishikawa's story. I wish it had a happy ending, though. He does escape...
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Spotlight and Giveaway: Falling for the Stars by Lisa Loving Dalton

Book Trailer: Giveaway: Grand Prize Package: one winner will receive: 1) a paperback copy of Falling For the Stars by Lisa Loving Dalton with autographed Last Dragon Pic 2) a paperback copy of A Balancing Act by Emmanuelle Chaulet 3) an e-copy of Murder of Talent 4) a 30-min video chat with author 2nd and 3rd Prize Packages: 2 winners will each get: 1) a Kindle copy of Falling for the Stars by Lisa Loving Dalton with an autographed Last Dragon pic 2) a paperback copy of A Balancing Act by Emmanuelle Chaulet 3) an e-copy of Murder of Talent USA only Giveaway ends Dec 17 a Rafflecopter giveaway ...
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Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song by Sara Bareilles

I enjoy Sara Bareilles' songs. I just do. They make me want to sing along, which is why I picked this audio up from the library. Sara reads this collection of 8 essays and sing pieces of a few of her songs along the way. It's like talking to an old friend. She's honest and lets us see parts of her life. She shares her insecurities, her struggles with body image, her struggles as a beginning songwriter. I think listening to the audio was the way to go though, rather than reading it in print. You can tell that she really cares about people and is thrilled when her songs connect to people, inspires people, let people know that they're not alone. She's very affirming of others, especially young women. I love how she doesn't take herself too seriously though. She keeps the tone light throughout and I enjoyed the different tones she uses when she laughs at herself. It's a fun...
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Everything Old is New Again: Guest Post by Andra Watkins, author of Not Without My Father

Today, I'm happy to welcome Andra Watkins, author of Not Without My Father, to my notebooks. She's talking a bit about her walk on the Natchez Trace. Everything Old Is New Again by Andra Watkins For 10,000 years, souls both animal and human have walked the Natchez Trace. It’s older than Egypt’s pyramids, more ancient than the hanging gardens of Babylon. Animals first trekked its natural ridge line thousands of years ago, migrating from the Ohio River Valley to Mississippi’s salt licks. When the Native Americans arrived, it was natural for them to settle along the Trace. Who wouldn’t covet a ready food supply and ample space to build ceremonial mounds visitors can still experience today? I’m no athlete, but I was curious. Walkers ruled the Natchez Trace for millennia, but in the 1930’s, they were displaced by a ribbon of pavement from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. A historic footpath overrun by cars and camper vans. With no facilities for through hikers, almost...
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