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The Week in Review: 09.20.2019

September 20, 2019


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

If you, like me, have enjoyed Raina Telgemeier‘s previous graphic novels, you’ll want to grab a copy of her latest, GUTS, as soon as possible.  In this autobiographical graphic novel, Telgemeier shares her struggles with anxiety beginning when she was in the fifth grade.  Young Rainia is nervous about an oral presentation and her stomach begins to churn during it, eventually causing her to make a mad dash to the restroom.  When she goes back to her class, a classmate calls her a “Poopy Diaper Baby,” causing Raina to have even more anxiety.  Her parents see what’s going on and are sympathetic and do what they can to help her.

I thought this book was terrific!  As I expect with Telgemeier, the illustrations are fabulous (and full color) and the story is even better.  I know so many kids who will relate to Raina and her struggles.  I love the fact that she shares her personal experiences in the back of the book and emphasizes that everyone’s struggle with anxiety is different.  She also shares some techniques that have helped her.  This is a must read for youngsters dealing with anxiety AND their parents.  (Review copy provided by Scholastic.)


I picked up OBVIOUSLY: STORIES FROM MY TIMELINE by Akilah Hughes without knowing the author is a social media star.  She has used her sense of humor to create a popular YouTube channel which led to jobs with MTV and Comedy Central.  Her book is a series of essays about her life – with topics ranging from her complicated relationship with her father to attending a mostly white school to creating her first YouTube video – and, for the most part, I found them to be well written and entertaining.  Hughes humor and thoughtfulness are evident throughout.  But, I felt the book was a little disjointed – the essays weren’t cohesive or in any particular order.  Still, the audio was a pleasant way to spend a few hours.  Hughes narrates it herself and does a great job.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


I was a little young to really be a fan of Janis Joplin’s but I’ve always enjoyed her music so I picked up JANIS: HER LIFE AND MUSIC by Holly George-Warren.  This meticulously researched book tells the story of Joplin’s life from her childhood in Port Arthur, Texas to her death in Hollywood.  From an early age, Joplin was different from her peers and struggled to fit in.  She tried, though, if for no other reason than to please her parents.

This is the first detailed account I’ve read of Joplin’s life and career and she came across as a lost soul searching for love and acceptance her whole life.  She worked hard, honed her talent, and achieved great success but it was never quite enough.  As I read this book, I couldn’t help but look up photos and videos of the iconic singer and wondered what she’d be doing now had she lived.  At times, JANIS was a little too detailed – listing every song played at a concert, for example – but I still enjoyed it and recommend it to music lovers and Joplin fans.  (Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

Off the blog

  • My sister left Monday after a great weekend at SIBA with me.
  • I had blood drawn on Monday to prepare for my annual physical next week and I’m happy to report all my test results were good
  • Carl was out of town for a few days so I worked a little extra.
  • Mother Nature teased us with a couple days of fall weather but temperatures are climbing again.
  • I didn’t walk while my sister was here and averaged almost 15,300 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2019 6:40 am

    You had a full week! I’m curious about the Lynn Cullen book so will watch for your thoughts. I hope fall weather arrives and stays for a while.

  2. Beth F permalink
    September 20, 2019 7:18 am

    I love Telgemeier — I’ll have to pick up a copy of Guts. I’m old enough to remember Janis. 🙂

  3. September 20, 2019 8:03 am

    I’ve read a couple Janis bios over the years (like Pearl) and it does seem she felt like the ugly duckling who didn’t fit in …. but she sure could belt out a song! I still like to play her tunes.

  4. September 20, 2019 8:34 am

    I am curious about Janis…and I like the sound of America’s Reluctant Prince.

    Glad you had some family time. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Helen Murdoch permalink
    September 20, 2019 11:15 am

    I heard an interview with the author of Obviously yesterday and today have read 2 reviews/posts about her. The book sounds interesting and she was a good speaker during the interview.

  6. September 20, 2019 12:04 pm

    My daughter liked those graphic novels when she was younger. Pretty solid. The only books, really, that she read in one sitting.

  7. September 20, 2019 12:11 pm

    I think my husband would enjoy reading Janis. Like you, I’m a bit young to know much about her music, but I’d be interested to see what this biographer writes about Janis’ relationship with Kris Kristofferson. Glad you blood work was all good. The countdown to my daughter’s wedding has begun! Bridal Brunch and a casual dinner (where we met the groom’s family for the first time!) have come and gone. Dinner with all the bridesmaids (and the bride, of course) tonight and rehearsal/dinner on Saturday night. Big day on Sunday!!

  8. September 20, 2019 1:03 pm

    Glad you and your sister get to spend time together from time to time (and your mom).

    The only song Janis sang that I really liked was Me and Bobby McGee. Her voice was a bit to gravelly for me. A friend told me she watched Janis: Little Girl Blue on Prime Video and wanted me to watch it so we could discuss it. I did watch it, and enjoyed it. I think it was such a tragedy that she died so young.

  9. September 20, 2019 3:42 pm

    Guts sounds like a great graphic novel. The other two books seem interesting as well. It sounds like you had a terrific week, Kathy! Thank you for sharing some of the highlights. Have a good weekend.

  10. September 21, 2019 2:11 am

    I thought Fall was stepping away, but it changed its mind

  11. September 21, 2019 7:18 am

    Guts makes me so glad I’m not in school anymore where kids can be so mean! :–)

  12. September 21, 2019 11:49 am

    I added The Sisters on Summit Avenue to my list. As one of 3 sisters, I love any and all sister novels. My daughter loved the Telgemeier books. I would order them on the scholastic book order for her and now she is 14 and no more scholastic orders or Telgemeier books. *sniff sniff*

  13. September 21, 2019 5:06 pm

    I bet you enjoyed your sister’s visit a lot. Her name isn’t Debbie, is it? My sister’s name is Cathy.

    I’m often disappointed with biographies, but I almost always like memoirs. Janis, of course, didn’t have time to get around to a memoir. I suspect hers would have been very sad. She’s from Texas, of course, like I am.

    Guts sounds like a great read. So many children have to deal with anxiety, even at young ages.

    Have a great week!

  14. Diane permalink
    September 21, 2019 6:41 pm

    Congrats on the excellent lab results. Glad you had a nice visit with your sister; the book event sounded like fun! I can’t believe you put so many steps a day on your Fitbit! How great!

  15. September 21, 2019 11:51 pm

    SIBA sounded like a lot of fun.
    We are still having showers which are very welcome because otherwise it’s very hot

  16. Literary Feline permalink
    September 22, 2019 7:45 pm

    My daughter recently reread Telgemeier’s Smile, which she and I had read last year. I am hoping to get to her Drama soon. I am glad Guts is good.I am glad you and your sister had a nice time at SIBA. I hope you have a great week, Kathy.

  17. September 24, 2019 9:56 am

    I’m going to have to check out Guts. I loved her book Smile and so did my daughter.

  18. bookingmama permalink
    October 28, 2019 8:13 pm

    GUTS sounds amazing and perfect for so many kids. I read a bio on Janis Joplin years ago and found it extremely interesting.

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