Monday, November 22, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading? 11-22-21

 

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.

I'm still having tons of fun making book-related content over on TikTok. Here is my favorite one from the past few weeks:
@bibliophilebeth

##schoollibrarian ##librariansoftiktok ##librarianlife

♬ original sound - NicolandiašŸŒž

Last week I reviewed: 
 


Picture books I enjoyed last week:
The Creature of Habit by Jennifer E. Smith, illustrated by Leo Espinosa
A book that challenges the concept of "well that's just how we've always done things here" and examines the joy and possibility of new perspectives.

Words to Make a Friend: A Story in Japanese and English by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Naoko Stoop
A beautiful story that shows friendship can transcend language.

Currently reading:




Note: Purchasing the books from any of the above Bookshop affiliate links supports independent bookstores and gives me a small percentage of the sale. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Audiobook Review: The Storyteller by Dave Grohl

I've always loved the Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl ever since I learned he was the drummer for Nirvana and then became the guitarist and frontman for his own band after Kurt Cobain died. Foo Fighters is very much a band of my generation.  I listened to the audiobook of The Storyteller which Grohl narrates so it felt more like I was sitting with him at the kitchen table while he regaled me with stories from his life in rock n roll. I love how salt-of-the earth Grohl is, managing to stick pretty close to his humble roots despite having a life in an industry that can get you swept up in the fame, money, and vices pretty quickly. But Grohl is quick and frequent to credit his public schoolteacher mother who recognized that her son would never be fit for the academia track and let him go to pursue his dreams of being a musician before he even finished high school. What a gift that was to him to live his own life rather than trying to get him to fulfill her dreams that she had for him.

Despite my love for Grohl as a person, his writing, and hearing his rich yet gravelly baritone voice narrate his story, I did find  it frustrating that the book didn't follow a linear timeline and there were holes that I wanted to know more about (how did he meet his wife? Why are his oldest daughters talked about frequently but his third daughter only gets two passing mentions?) And yet, despite my frustration with this, I think the tone of the book was meant to be more about telling stories rather than a linear memoir, I am willing to overlook those criticisms because I loved listening to him tell his stories so much. By far the best audiobook I've listened to in 2021. 

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl*
Published: October 5, 2021
Publisher: Dey Street Books/Harper Audio
Pages: 376
Audiobook length: 10 hours, 35 minutes
Genre: Memoir
Audience: Adults/Rock music lovers
Disclosure: Audiobook purchased from Libro.fm, which supports independent bookstores

*Purchasing the book from the above Bookshop affiliate link supports independent bookstores and gives me a small percentage of the sale. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain by Tom Vitale

When Anthony Bourdain died by suicide in June of 2018, the devastation was immediate and lasting for so many, including me. It felt like a good friend died, even though I'd never met him.

Someone who did know Anthony Bourdain was author of In the Weeds, Tom Vitale. Having worked with Anthony Bourdain for over 15 years as a producer/director on No Reservations, The Layover, and Parts Unknown, Tom Vitale knew Tony better than almost anybody. In the Weeds is Vitale's story of working with such a complicated, mythical figure as Anthony Bourdain.

When I started reading In the Weeds, it was initially slow-going because it felt like Vitale was telling Tony's story from his backseat/behind-the-camera view. But as the story progressed and when the book started to feel the most engaging, was when Vitale became more confident in asserting his own story of traveling around the world rather than just describing Tony's reaction to everything. Some of my favorite moments in the narrative are when Tony isn't even present, like when Vitale went scouting locations for the Jamaica shoot of Parts Unknown and he and producer Josh Ferrell made all manner of absurd proposals just to spite the new line producer who was slashing costs left and right and forced their team to get pre-approval on any cost over $200 despite the fact that they were never extravagant with money. I also really appreciated his story of having dinner with Asia Argento in Rome after Tony's death because he did a something that I don't think Laurie Woolever's oral biography did, which was to take care not to come off as blaming Argento for Tony's death. One thing that has bothered me in the collateral damage of Bourdain's death is the misogynistic hot takes that have plagued Argento, essentially saying that she is the one responsible for his death by suicide. While Vitale does not absolve Argento, going so far as to say to her, "Everyone thinks he killed himself because of you," he also allows readers to come to their own conclusions and even manages to give her some grace. And finally, I found his telling of the behind-the-scenes chaos, drama, and choreography that was required to pull off that one short scene with President Obama in Vietnam in 2016.

Die-hard Bourdain fans will be initially be drawn to this book for untold Tony stories, but they will ultimately stay for Vitale's own gifted storytelling.

In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain by Tom Vitale*
Published: October 5, 2021
Publisher: Hachette Books
Genre: Memoir
Audience: Adults/Travel lovers
Disclosure: Library copy

*Purchasing the book from the above Bookshop affiliate link supports independent bookstores and gives me a small percentage of the sale. 

Monday, November 8, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading? 11-8-21

 

I
t'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.

I'm having tons of fun making book-related content over on TikTok. Here is my favorite one from the past few weeks:

I recently reviewed:
Niki Nakayama: A Chef's Tale in 13 Bites by Jamie Michalak and Debbie Michiko Florence, illustrated by Yuko Jones


I recently read and loved:
Huda F Are You? by Huda Fahmy
When Huda Fahmy moves to Dearborn, Michigan, a city that has the highest percentage of Arab Americans in the nation, she’s suddenly not the only hijab-wearing Muslim at her school, which leads her to question her own identity and what makes her special.

Huda F Are You? is compelling and page-turning while also dealing with serious and sometimes heavy issues like identity, family, and Islamaphobia.


Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography by Laurie Woolever
Anthony Bourdain contained multitudes. He was equal parts
Sensitive and badass
Quiet and brash
Introverted and confrontational
Narcissistic and empathetic

His life was full of contradictions. Which is what made him such a compelling writer and TV personality.

This biography is a collection of interviews of people who knew him well to help readers gain insight into the parts of Bourdain that his fans didn't know or didn't see.


The People Remember by Ibi Zoboi, illustrated by Loveis Wise
This collection of poetry in a chronological narrative of the history of African Americans is absolutely stunning. 


The 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson, illustrated by Nikkolas Smith
A beautiful and important book


Currently reading: 

In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain by Tom Vitale 


Currently reading with my ears: 

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl