Friday, May 18, 2018

Being There by Jerzy Kosinski | Review

677877Title: Being There
Author: Jerzy Kosinski
Publisher: Grove Press
Release Date: September 15, 1999 (originally published January 1, 1970)

A modern classic now available from Grove Press, Being There is one of the most popular and significant works from a writer of international stature. It is the story of Chauncey Gardiner - Chance, an enigmatic but distinguished man who emerges from nowhere to become an heir to the throne of a Wall Street tycoon, a presidential policy adviser, and a media icon. Truly "a man without qualities," Chance's straightforward responses to popular concerns are heralded as visionary. But though everyone is quoting him, no one is sure what he's really saying. And filling in the blanks in his background proves impossible. Being There is a brilliantly satiric look at the unreality of American media culture that is, if anything, more trenchant now than ever. 
This was a book that I had to read for one of my classes at school. It was for a comm class, so of course the reading wasn't that bad. The story follows Chance, who basically spent his whole life in a garden. He soon becomes a national hit, after the man who lives in the garden's home dies.

This book, though it may not seem like it on the surface, is actually pretty funny. There are so many ridiculous things that happen that you can't help but laugh while you're reading it. My roommate took the class with me, and she read it before me. While she was reading it, she'd literally start laughing and tell me that insane things were happening in the book and that I'd understand more when I read it.

Being There is also a super short book, so you really fly through it when you're reading it. If you're looking for a quick, funny read this summer, then I'd definitely suggest picking this one up.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler | Mini Review

1813867Title: Ladder of Years
Author: Anne Tyler
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: March 26, 1996

BALTIMORE WOMAN DISAPPEARS DURING FAMILY VACATION, declares the headline. Forty-year-old Delia Grinstead is last seen strolling down the Delaware shore, wearing nothing more than a bathing suit and carrying a beach tote with five hundred dollars tucked inside. To her husband and three almost-grown children, she has vanished without trace or reason. But for Delia, who feels like a tiny gnat buzzing around her family's edges, "walking away from it all" is not a premeditated act, but an impulse that will lead her into a new, exciting, and unimagined life... 

I picked this book up too because it was part of my English class! I found this one to be pretty enjoyable compared to the other books that I had to read. I've never read anything by Anne Taylor, but I do know that a lot of people find her fiction stories to be really easy to read.

It was interesting how the story followed a woman who just up and left her family during a vacation and tried living her own life alone. I found Delia to be annoying at times, but the storyline was just so different that oftentimes I found myself thinking about the novel when I wasn't reading it.

I did find the book to be easy-to-read because there wasn't much depth to it. The language was simple too, so it'd definitely be a nice beach reach, I think. I'd definitely recommend it!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock | Review

18144031Title: Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
Author: Janet Mock
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: February 4, 2014

In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.
Welcomed into the world as her parents' firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person-no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on-and maybe even change-the world.
This powerful memoir follows Mock's quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.
Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master's degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself. 
I picked this one up since it was part of my syllabus for my English class last fall. I don't really read memoirs, so this book definitely opened my eyes up to the genre. I ended up wholly enjoying this book and reading about all of Mock's hurdles describing what it's like to be transgender in our society.

This book definitely opened my eyes to the struggles of being transgender as well as the terminology that comes with it.  Mock is an extremely strong woman, and I could feel her power through her words on every page. She's also an extremely talented writer.

If you're looking for a memoir about truth and courage, this is definitely the one for you. By the end of it, you will feel like you know Mock in real life. I highly recommend picking it up. It's written in a way that will make it a fairly easy and enjoyable book, as well.