If you read the advicesisters.com book reviews you know that I read and review many books. I don’t post about all of them. It is challenging to be objective especially if a book isn’t a topic you are interested in or the writing could use some work. Not every book review here is a glowing recommendation. However, all of them have something to offer for varied interests. Want some reading delight during the rest of the Winter? How about one of these books to fill some “me” time?
In this review, I included links to Amazon.com as in some places it is just too cold or snowy to shop. However, I also urge you to visit your local bookstores. They need your support, too.
Rock/funkmaster Prince wrote plenty of blockbuster songs for himself but also wrote an amazing number of top hits for a myriad of artists from Chaka Khan, the Bangles, Sinead O’Connor, and many more. If you want to know just about everything about this mega-star, Prince: the Man and His Music by Matt Thorne (Agate Publishing 2023) will just about tell all. Prince is a bit of an enigma, and chronicling his life must have been a very daunting task.
However, the 638 pages of tiny typeface make for daunting reading, as well. There are (some) photos, but the book is a bit on the dry side. This is an updated version of the 2012 book including some information after Prince’s untimely death. It’s a reading delight if you are a Prince fan, but it will take a while to wade through it. Get this book on Amazon
Are you having a difficult time? You’re not alone. An inspirational book with charming illustrations How We Got By: 111 People Share Stories of Survival, Resilience, and Hope Through Hardship by Shaina Feinberg and Julia Rothman (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2023) will let you know how others get through those dark times. I loved the personal stories in a casual, conversational, first-person format. Each of these individuals had coping mechanisms that helped them deal with their issues.
If there is a downside, it’s that the stories are not in-depth with the longest ones at only two pages and the shortest, at just a paragraph, I would have liked to know more. Additionally, a lot of the individuals seemed to be artists. I love artists, but the focus on creatives was top-heavy. Still, it is a nice book to read when you’re feeling when things are not going your way. Get this book on Amazon.
If you or someone you know needs a smile, then Let Me Knock That Off the Counter For You- And More Everyday Sass From Cats, photographed by Mark Rogers (Ulysses Press 2023) is a fun, quick little pick-me-up. The cats are cute and will bring a smile to everyone from young to old. There isn’t a lot to read, just captions. That makes it a reading delight for the guest room, or when you are feeling the Winter Blues
You don’t need to be a cat lover to like the book, but fans of cats will relate to the cute quips photos. This adorable book has almost the same format as The Bad Cat Calendar, my special way to smile 365 days a year. Get this book on Amazon
I love cookbooks, but especially when they have quick and easy recipes. Warm up your Winter with one such cookbook: Ooodles and Oodles of Vegan Noodles – Soba, Ramen and More by Cheynese Khachame (the experiment publishing/Hachette Book Group 2023). Pasta shows up in nearly every culture but is claimed to be the first plant-based Pan Asian cookbook. You don’t have to be vegan or even vegetarian to enjoy these mouth-watering oodles of noodles in all forms hot, cold, and even salads. The beginning has a nice primer on ingredients and different types of noodles. When you don’t feel like cooking, Oodles and Oodles of Vegan Noodles will have a great lunch or dinner on the table for one, or a family! Get this book on Amazon
If you own a business or want to start one this year, Woman Mean Business has over 500 insights from Extraordinary Leaders to Spark Your Success by Edie Fraser, Robyn Freedman Spisman, and Andi Simon, PhD (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2023). Depending upon your mood, you’ll be inspired by the many CEOs in this book who have made it. They can share some soundbites with you that you might not have considered. On the other hand, looking at all these successful women might not be the tonic required if you feel a bit defeated.
Each woman has the same format: a photo, a biography, words to live by, and “five wisdoms.” These “pearls” helped each woman get to where she is today. What bothered me was that the point of entry was after these women were successful. I wondered, where did they start? I would have liked more background. The call-out quotes are mostly cliche such as: trust yourself never let anyone else dictate your destiny, I have what it takes. etc. You have heard the “wisdoms” many times eg. collaborate, stay connected, be intentional celebrate yourself! Great advice. But much of it you already know, even if you don’t follow it. Get this book on Amazon
Do you remember workbooks from elementary school? These were not fun to do, but we had to fill them out and in the process, learn something. Light Beams: A Workbook For Being Your Badass Self by singer/songwriter Valerie June Hockett (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2023) is not your grade school workbook. Inside the bright yellow cover are aphorisms and questions in large type with beautiful backgrounds. That makes it a reading delight in my opinion.
However, it is a workbook. That means if you want to take the journey to be your um..”badass” self you have to put in the work. But I just couldn’t get into it due to all the “new age-y” rhetoric and obtuse ideas. The actual work in the workbook is minimal and the format is artsy. If you like the term “badass” you enjoy exercises such as writing words on stones, or you’re stuck in life, this might help you move forward. Then the workbook might just work for you. I liked the concept a lot, but the book in its entirety didn’t make much sense. Get this book on Amazon
I started my online career as a career and a relationship expert and an author. So, honestly, I am probably more critical of relationship books than other people might be. If you’re not seeking a “how-to” book An Unapologetic Spinster: True Modern Dating Stories by Christiana Cioffi (Mascot Books/Amplify Publishing Group 2023) is a fun read. The author chronicles her dating life in detail. The stories are well-written and amusing, especially for those under 50. What did bother me is that for someone who spends the entire book seeking Mr. Right and not finding him, being a “spinster” is the last thing she wants to be. The end message is to learn to love yourself. Obvious. As Ru Paul says, “If you don’t love yourself, then who will?”
The author is not just super picky but looks for a lot of superficial things in her dates. She seeks a great-looking guy (who wouldn’t?) who gets her motor racing. But meanwhile, her true Prince Charming might have walked right past her. She just wasn’t looking in the right direction. Each date teaches her something, Maybe you can relate. But I think she bypasses a lot of what makes a successful long-term love. Her failed relationships just validate my dating books. Introspection and learning from the past take you closer to your goals. I do like her cat and her shoes on the book cover, a lot! Get this book on Amazon