I’d Rather Be Reading by Guinevere De La Mare
Rating: 2 stars
I had such high hopes for this book when I saw it on amazon. The title obviously catches my eye because I’d pretty much always rather be reading! And the picture on the front seems to guarantee the book will be filled with other wonderful bookish art. It’s also just an assumption that this will be a large coffee table type book. After reading reviews I did come out that it’s quite tiny and compact. But I still requested it in a book exchange I recently took part in, hoping it would exceed my expectations. It didn’t.
First of all, there are almost no “essays” in the book. Just a few very short chapters. I loved the beginning because the author seemed to have the same story as me. I also was a huge bookworm as a child. I loved books like crazy – until my AP English class. Just like her, the pretentious discussions and constant analysis was just so much more than I wanted. I liked reading books for enjoyment. I still only like reading books for enjoyment. Anyway, I thought after that first chapter the rest of the book would follow in the same vein. But in a future essay it was all about focusing only on literary fiction and reading the classics. It was basically pointed out that unless a book is a classic work of fiction, it’s not worth reading. I don’t like hearing that! It really turned me off to the rest of the book.
The photos and artwork were just okay. It was certainly interesting, but I would have enjoyed it so much more if they were bigger! I also would have greatly appreciated the title of the work and the artist on the same page. Instead, the artist’s name is just listed at the back of the book.
Overall, I was gravely disappointed by this book. It had the potential to be amazing. Instead it felt like a very rushed and ridiculously simple way to make money. Anybody could have whipped up a book like that. Throw about 70 pictures together (mostly photographs, not actual bookish art like I had hoped) and ask three people to write a two page essay. There could have been hundreds of prints, at least fifty essays! Anyway, it’s fun to thumb through. It took me about half an hour to read in its entirety. But it’s definitely not worth buying.
Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
Rating: 5 stars
This is a wonderfully delightful series of essays arranged into a book about the messiness of life and the moxie it takes to get through it. Jen Hatmaker is just fantastic. She has such voice! Maybe it’s because I also have been listening to her podcast, For the Love with Jen Hatmaker. I read the book and hear her speak and it’s just on par and hilarious. I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed out loud so often while reading a book. Jen instantly feels like the best friend that totally and completely knows what you’re going through because she’s been there too. She’s one of us! She’s a famous author and speaker, but she’s also out there living the same kind of life as me day in and day out. It’s impossible to read this book and not feel connected to at least the majority of it! It’s fabulous.
I would HIGHLY recommend this book to any and every woman out there. You’ll feel so much less alone. It’ll make you laugh and it’ll probably make you cry. My favorite chapters were those on friendship and parenting. Interspersed are chapters that really have no point other than to just give you the giggles. Jen just delivers chapter after chapter, though, and I loved this book. She’s honest, she’s real, and she’s a hoot. Definitely read this book!
As You Wish by Cary Elwes (audiobook version)
Rating: 4 stars
If you loved the movie The Princess Bride, you will surely enjoy this book. In As You Wish, Cary Elwes reflects on the preparation, filming, and production of the movie. He tells stories about how he was cast in the role of Wesley, how other cast members were chosen and why they were all so perfect for their parts. He provides plenty of nostalgia about the book the movie is based off of and how much all the cast and crew loved it. Everything about the movie is seen with such love and admiration, which made it feel extra special. I’ve never given a lot of thought to what all goes into making and producing a legendary movie, and it was interesting to learn about all the behind the scenes information.
One of the best parts about this audiobook version is that much of the cast has their own speaking parts. They’ve obviously contributed to the book itself and come on to read their own parts. Not everyone was available, but enough to make it an enjoyable experience. Elwes writes about the epic sword battles and how long it took to prepare them. He shares about how many times he and Robin Wright redid the final kiss of the movie simply because they didn’t want it all to be over. You also learn about how complicated everything in the fire pit was – including parts about the giant rats that I feared so greatly as a child! There was also quite a bit about Andre the Giant and how he fit into everything.
Overall, I think if you liked the movie and have seen it multiple times, you’d truly enjoy this book. Particularly the audiobook version as it brings the characters back to life. It’s interesting, fast paced, and will provide you with insight and trivia you can point out to other people the next time you see the movie (like I did)!