Book Review | The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

museum of modern love cover.jpgInspired by an actual Marina Abramović exhibit that took place in 2010, The Museum of Modern Love explores the definition of art and speaks about love over the long haul, examining some of the complications that come with an aging relationship. After the protagonist’s wife slips into a coma, he spends his days visiting a rare exhibit at the MoMA entitled The Artist Is Present. He is a composer of musical scores for films and is in a slump as he finds himself separated from his wife. As he observes museum visitors silently experiencing Abramović, he begins a silent journey of his own.

For those who appreciate art fiction, this will be an enjoyable read. The story is entertaining and with chapters that shift focus among them, each of the characters receives the right amount of emphasis. Readers who’ve experienced difficulty in a loving relationship should be able to relate to the text on multiple levels. Check it out from a library near you!

*Fans of The Only Story, may enjoy The Anatomy Lesson by Nina Siegal (2014).

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Book Review | Sometimes Sneezing Hurts: The Journal of a Divorced Bachelor by C. Sleek

sometimes sneezing hurts.jpgWritten in diary form, Sometimes Sneezing Hurts reveals Sleek’s dating life as he approaches his 40th birthday. As a divorced bachelor he shares custody of his 12 year old daughter, works a 9-5 job with side gigs, and still finds plenty of time to match with chicks on Tinder while banging a string of them. Readers who shuttered at that last sentence won’t be able to handle this book.

The story is interesting from the beginning, but after a while it drags a bit. It’s a little challenging to keep the seemingly endless string of females straight. Some readers will be captivated by hearing what goes on inside the mind of a male serial dater, while others may just be put off. Certain people may also be able to gain something from the author’s shared experiences. The edition I read would have benefited from an editor catching a couple of textual errors.

I received a Kindle ebook edition of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway. *Fans of Sometimes Sneezing Hurts may be interested in We’ll Sleep When We’re Old by Pino Corrias (2017). 

Book Review | Mindfulness for the Mindless by John Burley

Mindfulness for the Mindless cover.jpgAs mindfulness becomes more popular, introductory texts such as this one are quite advantageous. Mindfulness for the Mindless in particular is an accessible read for all audiences, written in a casual style. Burley’s goal of sharing a summation of what he has learned about the definition and practice of mindfulness is clearly attained within this quick read. Readers will gain an understanding of what being mindful means, how mindfulness may benefit them, and further, brief introductions to several forms of meditation. Burley includes an extensive list of further reading, which could be helpful for those wanting to pursue additional specific topics. Perhaps I received an early edition, but my copy was in need of a good editing. There were a few repetitions and grammatical errors that may have been fixed in later editions. At present, only one library reports holdings for this text.

I received an ebook version as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

For further reading, adults dealing with or overcoming trauma may appreciate the insights offered in To Lose the Madness : Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity by L.M. Browning (2018).

Book Review | Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

killing commendatore book cover.jpgAt over 680 pages, this tome may be daunting, but the story is well worth your time. More like Murakami’s earlier writings, specifically The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the WorldKilling Commendatore is a real winner. The basis of the story is a painter who has recently separated with his wife, goes to live in the mountains as caretaker for the remote residence of another famous painter. Once a diverse cast of characters is introduced, the plot takes a surreal dive into a literal pit the painter is drawn to unearth in his back yard.

Murakami’s signature writing style will have fans smiling from the beginning of this book. The novel includes ample twists and turns, and the author does a fabulous job of weaving together many themes and plot lines. Magical realism works so well as a binding agent for these various subjects. While not all long-time Murakami fans may have enjoyed his last few publications as much as the oldies, this serves as more of a return to his writing roots and is sure to entertain the critics. Check it out from a library near you!

*Fans of Killing Commendatore, may enjoy Taduno’s Song by Odafe Atogun (2017).

Book Review | Be Mindful and Stress Less: 50 Ways to Deal with Your (Crazy) Life by Gina Biegel

be mindfull stress less cover This little book is packed full of tips and tactics aimed at a YA audience for being mindful and stressing less. The book’s tips are certainly helpful and it offers an accessible introduction to mindfulness that would be applicable to readers of any age. While the chapters are very short, making the book easy to pick up or put down, as a whole it may be a bit more of an undertaking for a teen than the author intended. Lots of acronyms are included that list out processes for dealing with certain situations, but it could be hard to keep them all straight. Likely, this book could be used as a type of handbook to be referenced in various stressful situations. A helpful appendix also spells out a list of which processes may be helpful to individuals “actively working with a disability” (p.199). Check it out from a library near you.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

For further reading, adults dealing with or overcoming trauma may appreciate the insights offered in To Lose the Madness : Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity by L.M. Browning (2018).

Book Review | So Happiness to Meet You: Foolishly, Blissfully Stranded in Vietnam by Karin Esterhammer

so happiness to meet you cover.jpgAfter the recession hits their Los Angeles family hard, Karin, Robin and their adopted son Kai move to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Though they’ve touristed there before, the story of becoming residents in a district where they are the only non-natives is eye-opening. While Robin is able to secure a job teaching English, Karin is left to home school Kai, do freelance work and take care of their home while befriending the neighbors.

Esterhammer’s background in writing makes this book a delightful read. Feelings, humor and challenging situations are shared with great insight and tact. The memoir is a very entertaining and quick read, with frequent chapter breaks, making it easy to pick up and put down. It would be especially appealing to those who love to travel and/or experience other cultures. Check it out from a library near you.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway. *Fans of So Happiness to Meet You: Foolishly, Blissfully Stranded in Vietnam may be interested in Songs of the Baka and Other Discoveries by Dennis James (2017). 

Book Review | If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi by Neel Patel

This is an interesting collection of 11 short stories involving Indian Americans. Recurring topics include interpersonal relationships, family business, sexual relations, and cultural perceptions, among others. Most characters seem to be in their 20’s to 40’s and dealing with issues present in everyday life. While the narrators could be from any background and experiencing their issues, the stories are injected with an Indian flavor that makes the book stand apart from other similar works.

Easily digestible, each tale has a specific focus and voice. While none of the stories is particularly uplifting, each one does hold the reader’s interest and create a curiosity for what is to come. Clearly, many of Patel’s cultural insights come from personal experience, which he is able to share in a way that makes the characters relatable. This book is recommended for fans of ethnic fiction, realistic short stories, or those looking for a quick read while in transit. Check it out from a library near you.

I received an advance reading copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating. *Fans of If you See me, Don’t Say Hi, may enjoy A Life of Adventure and Delight by Akhil Sharma (2017).