Monday, February 12, 2018

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

Hilarious Haddish (Memoir)


This book is an account of Tiffany Haddish’s life and how she began to use humor as a way of coping with distressing and shocking events that shaped her childhood. She endured teasing in school and getting beat up in foster care.  She suffered mental, sexual, and physical abuse from an unstable mother, an old man, and later her husband. But with her unique voice in a simple, conversational, hilarious narration Tiffany tells how she dealt with those unfathnomably difficult times by using over-the-top antics and her wisecracking wit as a shield. Tiffany transformed herself into the last black unicorn who has the magical power to turn shit into rays of sunshine that beam through comedy, acting, and now through this book.

Both my husband and I were chortling at her time as a hype girl at Bar Mitzvah’s when she booty bumped an old man right into heaven.  The chuckles continued on her dates with a disabled man, and even when she had to face a judge to get permission to be on the news.  Tiffany is open and honest about everything, including her sex life. So, if you’re receptive to raw candor and language with blushable laughter then read on. 

My husband and I saw an interview with Tiffany on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (whose own memoir is engagingly funny) before her book was released, and we were hooked by her vibrant and vivacious personality. When he ordered the book for me for Christmas, we were not surprised to learn that it was on back-order.  I received it well after the holidays, but my present was truly in Tiffany’s unrelenting spirit she delivers in the book.  She believes her “purpose is to bring joy to people, to make them laugh, and share [her] story to help them.  To show people that no matter what, they matter, and they can suceed. No matter how bad things go, no matter how dark your life is, there is a reason for it.  You can find beauty in it…”[1]

Good lesson.  Funny book.


Happy Reading,

Annette

Questions or comments?  Email Readinginthegarden@gmail.com







[1] Tiffany Haddish, The Last Black Unicorn (New York: Gallery Books, 2017), 276.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


The Tides of War (WWII)


This beautifully  written book takes you into the lives of two people during World War II.  Werner, an intelligent 18-year-old German boy is a curious, mechanically inclined orphan who is enlisted in the National Political Institute of Education at Schulpforta to track resistance members through radio communication.  Marie-Laure is a 16-year-old blind, French girl, who grew up surrounded by the intrigues of the Museum of Natural History in Paris, where her father was a locksmith. The museum houses a unique, large diamond called the Sea of Flames, which plays directly and indirectly into the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner when they eventually meet in August, 1944 in occupied Saint-Malo, a walled city by the sea.

This is a poignant story about the interconnectivity of people’s lives, their lights, which may turn the tides of someone’s world even with a few brief moments of interaction. The Pulitzer-prize winning prose is rich and eloquent and kept me turning page after page.  I got lost in this book which ponders the fact that nothing is ever pure black or white, that we are touched by things we cannot see: light molecules, radio waves, and "is it so hard to believe that souls might also travel those paths?"



This was my book club selection and other members all enjoyed the book, too.  We found it thought-provoking and captivating. It made us more aware of the grey areas of war, and consider what we would do in no-win situations--hoping, of course, that we would never be forced to face such circumstances.   




On another note former President Obama listed All the Light We Cannot See as one of the best books he read in 2015. 

Here is his Facebook post listing favorite books of 2017:

He wrote: During my presidency, I started a tradition of sharing my reading lists and playlists. It was a nice way to reflect on the works that resonated with me and lift up authors and artists from around the world. With some extra time on my hands this year to catch up, I wanted to share the books and music that I enjoyed most. From songs that got me moving to stories that inspired me, here's my 2017 list — I hope you enjoy it and have a happy and healthy New Year.

The best books he read in 2017:

-The Power by Naomi Alderman
-Grant by Ron Chernow
-Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond 
-Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
-Exit West by Mohsin Hamid 
-Five-Carat Soul by James McBride 
-Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout (Same author of Olive Kitteridge)
-Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor
-A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
-Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
*Bonus for hoops fans: Coach Wooden and Me by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Basketball (and Other Things
) by Shea Serrano


The top five summer reads for President Obama in 2016 were:

-Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan
-The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
-H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
-The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins 
-Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Here are five top summer reads for President Obama in 2015:

-All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
-The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
-The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
-Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
-Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow




Happy Reading,

Annette

Questions or comments?  Email Readinginthegarden@gmail.com