Tag: nonfiction

July 24, 2012

Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerrns) by Mindy Kaling

I love summer beach reads. : )
Synopsis (from GoodReads.com)

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?” 
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.



Mindy Kaling is an amazing woman. Maybe she hasn’t survived cancer, saved the seals, or climbed Mount Rushmore, but she is one hell of a role model. Mindy Kaling is Everygirl – every girl who was uncertain and/or insecure in middle and high school can look up to this woman. I love her tone of voice throughout the book, allowing the same comedic writing that made her famous on The Office to infiltrate into her memoir. 

Usually, I think if you haven’t reached at least sixty years old, you aren’t allowed to write a memoir. What on earth have you done that would fill a book? (Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone…) However, Kaling doesn’t focus overly on her career or her aspirations. She talks about growing, the journey we all take early on in discovering who we are. That sounds sappy…I love this book because it is an example of a insecure young girl making her wau into the fame of Hollywood and how she got there. I think it’s incredibly inspirational.


I loved Kaling’s character on The Office, but it wasn’t until I read her book that I understood quite how funny she is. Her background gossip of The Office is only the top layer. I enjoyed her comments on the Indian culture and how it’s view by the American society at large. 


Kaling’s comments about the true meaning of friendship is probably one of my favorite parts of the book. It spoke especially true to me for I feel like I am at a point in my life where everything is changing, where people I once knew are leaving or going on with their lives and new ones are entering my social circle. Even though Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me seems to be focused upon younger girls, it was inspirational to me.


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me is a good beach read, an easy travel read, or something simply fun and enjoyable. 

Posted July 24, 2012 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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July 7, 2012

New Books!

I love getting new books to read! Since my budget is kinda tight, I can only buy books on sale, so most of my books come from the library or from friends. I found a bunch of really good ones at the library on my way home from work today. So excited to get reading!

Something About You by Julie James is first. This one was recommended to me by a WWW Wednesday post and it finally arrived at the library for me! I couldn’t pass it up after seeing so many positive reviews of it on GoodReads. I need a new romance author, since I’ve read through all the books of my favorites. This looks like a easy, lighthearted read, perfect for summer.

The Twin’s Daughter is another blogger recommendation. Her review was so stellar that I had to request it from the library (I wish I could remember where I found it and I could link her post here =[ ). I think the cover is amazing and hopefully that also means that the book is wonderful as well! Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s novel is found here on GoodReads.

I am in love with Downton Abbey, so I was thrilled when I found out the story had been based on Margaret Powell’s Below Stairs. This might be my next read out of this entire list, partly because I can’t wait any longer to get my Downton Abbey fix. Here it is on GoodReads.

 This was a random find at the library. I’ve read a few books along the same lines as this, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Poser: My life in twenty-three yoga poses by Claire Dederer is the journey of a woman exploring herself through yoga. I’m not the best at describing nonfiction, but these memoirs strike a chord in me, and I can’t not read them. I have skimmed the first chapter, and I adore the author’s voice. It’s like having a conversation with her instead of reading the words in print. 



Kelley Armstrong has been recommended over and over and over again to me, and I finally got my hands on a copy of the first of her Women of the Otherworld series, Bitten. I’m a bit worried this will be another angsty-teen-wannabe Twilight-drama, but there are so many good reviews, I feel like I should give this one a try!

Another shot-in-the-dark book I picked up in the library. It looks like it’s extremely popular, according to GoodReads, so I’m excited to try it! I know pretty much nothing about this book…we’ll have to see =]

Posted July 7, 2012 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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June 27, 2012

WWW Wednesday {June 27, 2012}

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading: Yet another week I want to stay home and read! Unfortunately, this is the busiest week out of the year at my job (starting today! Whee!) so that’s not really an option. I always hide my Kindle in my purse though. 😉 

This is becoming a must-read. I haven’t been able to put it down yet! Benulis weaves such an incredible story that I can’t always put my finger on the difference between reality and fantasy. 

I am also reading The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (might take me a while…) and The Queen’s Vow by C.W. Gortner. Both of these are somewhat heavy works, so I’m reading lighter stuff as well. 



Recently Finished: I finished two very different books. First was Making the Corps by Thomas E. Rickman (review here), a book of the military lifestyle and history of Marines upon Parris Island. In the opposite hand (with a completely different genre), I read Meg Cabot’s Underworld, a take on the Greek mythology tale of Persephone and Hades.


Next: I wish my TBR shelf was neat enough that I could just attach a photo of all the books instead of trying to choose! 
Insurgence by Veronica Roth is a must. I’m thinking about trying Kim Harrison’s Death Witch Walking.  I accidentally picked up the 10th book in the series, Pale Demon, at the library, and even though I had no idea what was going on, I really enjoyed it! So maybe starting at the beginning would be a good idea. : )

What’re you reading?
Happy Wednesday!

Posted June 27, 2012 by Ellen in the canon talks, Uncategorized, WWW Wednesday / 6 Comments
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June 23, 2012

Review: Making the Corps by Thomas E. Ricks

This is quite a diversion from my usual reading, but it came so highly recommended from my   dad that I had to try it. Ricks’ nonfiction novel following the lives of Marine Recruit Platoon 3086 was inspiring and entertaining, including tidbits from the guys’ day-to-day lives within the boot camp as well as bits of information regarding Marine culture and life.


Synopsis (from goodreads.com)
“Making the Corps” visits the front lines of boot camp, Parris Island, South Carolina. Here, old values are stripped away and new, Marine Corps values are forged. Acclaimed military journalist Thomas E. Ricks follows these men from their hometowns, through boot camp, and into their first year as Marines. As three fierce drill instructors fight a battle for the hearts and minds of this unforgettable group of young men, a larger picture emerges, brilliantly painted, of the growing gulf that divides the military from the rest of America.



The author, the senior Penatgon correspondent from The Washington Post, is a huge fan of the Marine culture and way of life. He states that “in a society that seems to have trouble transmitting values, the Marines stand out as successful and healthy institution that unabashedly teaches values to the Beavises and Buttheads of America” (pg 20). I admire the brashness and brute honesty in how the author delivers his opinions of…well, everything. Everything regarding the Marines, their culture, and the relationship between civilians and our military. 


To be honest, this book must be read with a grain of salt. It was a bit degrading to read the author’s [constant] tangents about how American civilian life is “undisciplined and lazy”, but in comparison to the soldiers of the military…yup. However, I do wish the author organized his rants and comparisons of the Army and Marines a little more thoroughly so I knew when to expect them. He almost interrupts himself in a few instances in his rush to instill us civilians with his vast military knowledge.


Regardless of the author’s opinions, the chapters detailing the life of the platoon were extremely fascinating. I loved watching them grow and develop into full-fledged Marine privates before my eyes. The different personalities of the men were what made the book for me; I wanted them to make it, to cheer them on when everything hit the fan. I enjoyed learning about their backgrounds and families, and the logic behind their decision to join the Marines. Ricks includes a very interesting section near the end of the book where he details the different journeys of the recruits we came to know and love. I felt like I knew them.



Posted June 23, 2012 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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