Show Us Your Books Link-Up: May 2018

I read this almost immediately on the heels of  reading The Glass Castle, which was both so hard and also so illuminating. I read a twitter thread from Tirado which discussed the psychology of being poor and immediately went "Holy fuck OMG this is describing me perfectly how have I never realized this or seen it put into words?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!" It discusses the psychology and sociology and reality of living in poverty in such a frank and honest and unapologetic way that I wanted to cheer and also growl in frustration during the whole thing. Please, please, please read it. Especially if you have ever wondered why people in poverty don't just "fix their situation" or why kids on those angel trees at Christmas dare to ask for a Play Station. But really just everyone read it.

Someone from SUYB mentioned this a while back. I kind of loved it and also kind of found it boring. This had a lot to do with the way the story was written- it's third person and follows a young couple from dating into marriage and children and middle age. But it alternates between their story, told almost clinically, and basically a psychology manual about love. It's good, and they relate...but it felt very stiff at times.

 I was in the mood for a steamy, kinda spooky Southern tale and this hit the spot. It's a supposedly true book that reads like an insane fiction story. It spent a ridiculous amount of time at the NYT Bestsellers list when it came out and that's for a damn good reason.

 Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham 
I got this as a free Audible app, because I accidentally realized I had an email I hadn't exploited yet. It was fun and fast and interesting and I love that she loves her work and characters.

 All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
TLDR: If you are a person who thinks in black and white and very specific age of consent, do not read this book.

If you believe in shades of grade and want an emotional roller coaster, read this. It was so hard in so many ways and I still don't know what I think. It follows the child of drug addicts and her relationship with the one adult who takes care of her- it is hard in so many ways but also I didn't get ickies but maybe I should have and I DON'T KNOW. It makes me question whether we can identify someone as a victim if they feel they have agency, and what childhood means and can we actually give that to someone when it has already been taken away or does trying to give that back invalidate their expereince? Does criminalizing something actually treat it- especially when it was one signature (& maybe less than 24 hours) away from not being a crime? It speaks to race and class- would this story be as tragic (even within the story itself) if the girl was black (as stats show African-American females are viewed as more sexual and older, when they aren't) or if the guy wasn't a literal giant Native American? Would it be as acceptable if they were rich- after all, the whole reason the characters met is because her parents never took care of her & mentally abused her, which was at least partially due to struggling with drugs & poverty? When does one person's trauma become more important than another person's trauma? As far as the writing itself, I liked that we saw different viewpoints as the characters aged and they provided outside views and were just as confused as I was.

*I read this as a) the child of a teen mom who later entered into a relationship with a large age difference, and b) a psychology major who is deeply intrigued by the way our brains work to protect us and the way our relationships function and making sense of an emotional mess- so if you want to judge this book or talk trash about it, do it with someone else please & thanks kbye*

The Face of Deception by Iris Johansen
My mom picked up a bunch of books for me at the library, because apparently they were giving them away and...she loves me! She did a great job and I really enjoyed this. TBH, I did not see the twist. Like, at all. Totally bought the red herring. Anyway this was a fun and intruiging book- the end was a little pat for me but overall good. Really like 3.75 but we'll round up for the sake of review.

What have you been reading lately? Link-up & let us know!

Life According to Steph


  1. I can appreciate exploiting an unused email address! LOL

    I want to read All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, but I'm afraid of how nasty it will be and I know how dark and twisty I get when I'm reading/watching something miserable, so I try to not read those types of things.

  2. All the questions prompted by Ugly/Wonderful are why it is a tremendous book in my opinion. Books that help us explore our beliefs and boundaries are invaluable.

    I freaking loved Midnight. I remember when it came out, I was in high school and felt very adult reading it.

    I wanted to read Bootstrap when it first came out but had a difficult time finding it - Philly library wasn't carrying it. I should check again, I'm sure they've gotten it by now.

  3. Ugly and Wonderful Things was an outstanding book, even in the discomfort of it.

    Linda Tirado is an interesting person. Her book was an excellent perspective into living in poverty but her tone was a I wanted her to tone down the anger just a bit. I think it would have made the book even more effective.

  4. I really liked All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. Although there were definitely shades of gray, it was a great read. I read Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil awhile ago and enjoyed it. I'm adding Hand to Mouth to my to read list. Sounds like a good non-fiction read.

  5. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is probably one of my all-time favorites. I liked it because it made me uncomfortable and it made me rethink some of my own beliefs. I tried Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil several times when it first came out, but for whatever reason(s), I never got far enough into it before laying it down and then not picking it up. Perhaps I'll try it again someday. Your review has renewed some interest.

  6. I remember reading Nickel and Dimed in college and how it really made me think, but I was kind of annoyed because she did it as a "social experiment" and then went back to her normal life. I think because it's more autobiographical (which I like), I really have to read Hand to Mouth. Actually, almost all of these are on my TBR, and happy to see so many positive reviews!

  7. Talking as Fast as I Can is so fun! I listened to it with my mom on a road trip once cause we both watched Gilmore Girls and she loves Parenthood, so it was really fun!

  8. I haven't heard of Hand to Mouth but I loved Nickel and Dimed and sociology books in general so I'm definitely going to add that to my tbr! I started Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil after going to Savannah one year but never really got into it, but your review makes me want to pick it up again.