Saturday, October 19, 2019

Audiobook Review: Beautiful on the Outside by Adam Rippon

When Adam Rippon became the media darling of the 2018 Winter Olympics, it was because he made the decision to soak in the experience of the Olympics rather than pushing to win the gold medal. At 28, he knew that was likely not possible. But what he didn't expect was that despite not going home with a gold medal, Adam Rippon really was the winner of the 2018 Olympics. He was joyful and sassy and shared every exciting moment with his fans.

Adam's sass has become his trademark personality trait, but sass can quickly come off as bitchiness if you're not careful. The reason his sass never comes off as bitchy in this book or in his life is because Adam is not a catty gossip. If he is talking smack about anyone, it is only himself. The only time he speaks overwhelmingly negatively about people in this book are when he describes the actions of a possessive, borderline abusive ex-boyfriend, when he describes the horrible behavior of his former coach Nikolai Morozov, and also when he discusses the manipulative behavior of Mike Pence when he tried to have a meeting with Adam before the Olympics. But as you learn in comedy, always punch up, not down. He spoke truth to power in those moments and used the rest of the book to be both hard on himself and to give himself some grace.

Verdict: I wanted to be BFFs with Adam before reading this and I want to be even more so now that I've read what an amazing, hardworking, honorable man he is -- despite the Khardashian-like trashiness he tries to portray himself as in front of the cameras. That facade is all a fun ruse, a joke he even lets the public in on, but if you don't know a lot about him, doesn't always translate for those who see him on TV in small doses. Also, other than missing out on the included photographs in the physical book, I highly recommend listening to the audiobook instead of the physical book because, of course, Adam narrates it himself.

My only criticism of this book is more a commentary on our culture. All I could think about when I was listening to the audiobook is how much the public would not allow or excuse Adam's behavior in a female skater. She WOULD come off as bitchy and ungrateful and be expected to not show any sort of humor or emotion. So as much as I love Adam, I also recognize that loving this persona that he has created would only be granted to a man and not to a woman.

Beautiful on the Outside by Adam Rippon
Published: October 15, 2019
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 256
Audiobook length: 8 hours, 19 minutes
Genre: Memoir
Audience: Adults/Skating Fans/ LGBTQIA + identifying and allies
Disclosure: Audiobook purchased with my credits, which supports The Brain Lair Bookstore

If you buy this book or any book through Amazon, it is my hope that you also regularly patronize independent bookstores, which are important centerpieces of thriving communities. While I am an Amazon Affiliate, that by no means implies that I only buy my books through their website. Please make sure you are still helping small, independent bookstores thrive in your community. To locate an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound

Monday, October 14, 2019

It's Monday! What are you reading? 10-14-19

It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.

Last week I read and enjoyed:

So You Want to Start a Podcast by Kristen Meinzer
No, I don't want to start a podcast, but I love Kristen Meinzer's podcast, BY THE BOOK, and so when I had the opportunity to listen to her narrate her own audiobook, I decided to give it a try. I love Kristin's voice and I love her practical, detailed advice for potential podcasters.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Long-Lost Home by Maryrose Wood
A lovely end to a wonderful series

Kevin the Unicorn: It's Not All Rainbows by Jessika Von Innerebner
Even unicorns can have bad days. And that's okay.

A great message to counteract the pervasive "good vibes only" messages we're being given that has turned into toxic positivity -- i.e., encouraging a positive outlook at the expense of exploring necessary negative emotions that need to be expressed in order to be fully human.

Why? by Adam Rex, illustrated by Claire Keane
A super-villain with daddy issues meets his match when he runs into a little girl who only asks one question over and over.

Frankie's Scared of Everything by Matthew Franklin
Will Frankie succumb to his fears or will he use them to his advantage? Interesting sort of street art style to the illustrations though I think they still need more refinement to be in the same league as a regular children’s book illustrator.

Little Muir's Song by John Muir, illustrated by Susie Ghahremani
"The sun shines not on us but in us.
The rivers flow not past, but through us."

Short, stunning writing in board book format from John Muir's journals.

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
A gorgeous book that gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at how MLK's most famous speech came to be -- in fact, it almost didn't.

The President Sang Amazing Grace: A Book About Finding Grace After Unspeakable Tragedy by Zoe Mulford, illustrated by Jeff Scher
This book left me in tears. A beautiful tribute to a tragic moment in our nation's history.

Currently (still) reading:

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Currently reading with my ears:

Over the Top: A Raw Journey of Self-Love
by Jonathan Van Ness
I am absolutely loving listening to Jonathon narrate his own story. I was only a few minutes in and I had to stop the audiobook to write down a quote because I identified with it so much: