Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

ellison-ralph-invisible-man( thumbs_up ) There is a reason why this book is still considered amazing past it’s time, and has caused such controversy that it is banned from some schools’ curriculum.  Yes, it is fiction – but one could argue it is historical fiction as many of the tales from the narrator’s life are based on realistic events and social injustices that occurred at those areas in history.

This is a book about racial injustice – to the extreme. The writing is advanced and beautiful. The author is more than impressive in his ability to delve into one side of deeply debated topics.

This is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. If you didn’t catch it when it was free on Audible – sucks for you!

Girl Walks Out of a Bar by Lisa F. Smith

smith-lisa-girl-walks-out-of-a-bar( thumbs_up ) This is a powerful book. It sheds more light on how lonely and isolating addiction is, even though it’s usually one’s social influences that aid in someone developing the disease.

Smith was surrounded by drinking while growing up, as well as in her adult years. She also had a “predisposition”. This develops into full-blown alcoholism, and soon a coke problem too. She becomes a successful lawyer but this doesn’t quell her substance abuse.

Smith cleverly intertwines comedy when telling her story. She didn’t have to hit rock bottom to know she finally needed help – she just came to a realization after experiencing many panic attacks and health issues due to her lifestyle. This is a solid memoir.

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

melton-glennon-doyle-love-warrior( thumbs_up ) This story touches on the struggles of being a woman, fighting addiction, and maintaining a rocky marriage. This is a memoir about a woman finally finding herself. She has been playing by society’s rules her whole life; but she discovers the key to true happiness lies in her making her own rules.

The author writes this narrative elegantly, which is more important than any of the content (in my opinion). There is a good reason this is recommended by Oprah: It’s MFing good.

My only critique is that it can be a little too hippy dippy sounding at the very end – but I just get turned off by that type of language. It is a very inspiring book.

If I Break by Portia Moore

moore-portia-if-i-break( A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of my Father by Augusten Burroughs ) Oh man, I had no idea I was getting such a hopeless romantic novel when I downloaded this free audiobook from Amazon. I was just like, “Oooh good reviews, and it’s free!”

Well… the story of this novel is way too played out. A ridiculously fantasy-like romance with a mysterious man. He proposes, but after marriage, she becomes bitter because she still feels like he is holding his true self back.

She has a baby and he suddenly disappears. Only later does she track him down, and she finds out there was more to their relationship issues than she – or even he – knew.

(*Spoiler* He has multiple personalities. The most repetitive plot ever, despite it being one of the rarest disorders ever to be diagnosed. Also, how it is portrayed here is highly uncharacteristic of the actual disorder or the circumstances that usually surround it.)

I do not recommend this book to anyone who prefers an intelligent read.

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

kubica-mary-the-good-girl( thumbs_side ) I usually love weird, suspenseful novels like this one. I was excited as a lot of the reviews say it’s as good as Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

But… I don’t know what it is. This one isn’t that great (in my opinion). It’s slow and has an unsatisfying end for me. Like yeah, the twist is good – but it was also super dark and depressing. Plus, the mystery of how her kidnapping got instigated was pretty obviously linked to the fame of her family. The writer made it seem like it was some big surprise reveal.

Oh yeah, so the basic premise is that she gets kidnapped by a guy who wanted to protect her from the people that paid him to take her to them. When she finally gets rescued, she has amnesia and goes by a different name. And so on the story ensues jumping back and forth through time to what really happened during the kidnapping and what occurred after.

Sober Stick Figure by Amber Tozer

tozer-amber-sober-stick-figure( thumbs_side ) If you know me, you know I like a good addiction memoir. But there are a lot of super dramatic, over-the-top stories of people pulling themselves up from their boot straps out there. It’s refreshing that I’ve been able to find a few of the more comedic genre.

Tozer describes her journey of developing her addiction, and the ensuing fights she has with it. She also delves into what brought her to join the standup comedy world, which is deeper than just detesting office environments.

Like I said, it’s refreshing read. It doesn’t knock me off my feet or anything, but it’s alright.

Between Breaths by Elizabeth Vargas

vargas-elizabeth-between-breaths( thumbs_side ) Even though I’ve been trying to lay off memoirs a little more lately, I knew i had to take a gander at this book because of how much I can relate. Anxiety has always been a huge issue for me and my brother, and I know that at least for me, it’s hard to always deal with it in a healthy way.

The author has hidden and struggled with severe anxiety and panic attacks most of her life. She slowly developed an addiction to alcohol that helped her suppress the symptoms over a long time. She eventually got sober, but as with developing the full-blown disease, it was a long process for her.

It’s good, and really makes you wonder how many people suffer from mental illness but are able to hide it or mask it with addiction as well. However, it was a hard story to keep my attention on because she never had any momentous consequences from it, the way a lot of other addicts that have written memoirs have. But Vargas was incredibly high-functioning. She was and is a famous news reporter with children.