FIP Review Station Eleven

Goodreads Summary:

Station Eleven


One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.”




FIP review: 

Can I give this a 4.50? I heard about this book on the Modern Mrs Darcy blog and then it literally kept following me around – so against all my natural instinct I picked it up. Glad I did. After a long reading rut, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing was the best part for me. There was enough information given that I wasn’t annoyed and enough information withheld that I wanted to find out what happened next.

Although there are some plot holes – or rather nuances that I didn’t appreciate.
You know that these characters are somehow interlinked – but when you eventually find out how; it’s slightly underwhelming. Like that’s it? It was almost like the 7 degrees of separation theory set in post doomsday. Another thing I found very casually done, was the outcome of the Prophet. I’d guessed his identity earlier on – didn’t guess how (why was pretty evident) he came to name his dog Luli but all of a sudden, the Prophet stops being an issue… like what? How? Wasn’t there more to him – but I guess that was the whole point right, mortality at its best? Finally the way the author brings in so many characters and then leaves the stories untold… particularly Prophet’s mom…I’d have love to hear more about her. Or the way Kirsten’s brother dies. The loved ones lost were just put away — and I really really wanted Kirsten to recover her lost year.

While reading the book, I kept wondering why no one was working towards rebuilding. Why folks have just accepted their destiny. Mankind built the former world why can’t they rebuild it now? So I was very happy with what Kirsten was shown by Clarke.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Was a very satisfying read.
And it’s totally put the luxury of A/C back into perspective.




Inspirational Books

It’s been to long, sorry life has a way of happening.

Everygirl.com has a great article out about a handful of awesome books to help inspire us to be our best. Perfect timing too, its mid year and all the zaaz pazaaz of new year’s resolutions are starting to wain.

I’ve personally read some Chasing Slow /Better then Before /Why Not Me/Thinking, Fast and Slow and I can honestly say each has left its stamp on my personality. This, my friends is a good indicator that the rest of this list is also Rock Star status.  Enjoy and report back.



Inspirational Books That Will Actually Change Your Life

A new year always feels enormous with possibility. Your resolutions list is fresh in your mind and your productivity levels are at an all-time high — you’re raring to go. But where to start?! No worries, we’ve got your back with a list of titles to jumpstart your 2017. These books are chock full of inspiration, commiseration, acceptance, and love (not to mention more than a few practical tips for success). That resolution to read more? Officially conquered.

Difficult Women

Influential writer Roxanne Gay, author of “Bad Feminist” (a searing collection of essays I will forever recommend), is back with a collection of stories that are as thought-provoking as they are human. This isn’t your traditional “inspirational” read, but these bittersweet stories of passion and connection will leave you with a unique self-awareness of the world we’re living in and the way we navigate in our own spaces. It’s hard to walk away from this mesmerizing collection of women, who continue to push against unfathomable circumstances, without a renewed sense of determination, drive, and resilience.

Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path

What do you do when you having you could ever want, the world adores you, you’re revered and admired… and yet, you still don’t feel complete? Follow Erin Loechner, HGTV.com star and “The Nicest Girl Online,” as she explores this paradox and searches out the answers we may have had all along. An excellent way to refresh your new year by challenging old preconceptions and ditching the same old “grind.”

Designing Your Life: Build a Life that Works for You

As a person who likes tackling a problem by making a list of 40 bullet points (at least), this book was a game-changer. If you’re like me, long-winded books about making your life “meaningful” don’t do anything for you (what does “meaningful” even mean?!). Enter “Designing Your Life.” Designers Bill Burnett and Dave Evans outline actual, physical steps you can take to create and cultivate a life you adore, using the same building blocks designers have used for decades to craft our entire world. A book for anyone that has ever asked, “What am I even doing with my life?”

Pick Me Up: A Pep Talk for Now and Later

The cutest, most fun book on this list (and possibly ever?) is definitely the easiest to dive into. If you’re looking for something that will inspire you in five minutes or less, “Pick Me Up” is for you. Open to any page (there are no rules, so no need to start at the beginning), and illustrator Adam J. Kurtz has doodled a little something to help you capture your thoughts, ideas, and the important little things in life that are so easy to forget. The perfect thing to offer subtle perspective when you’re going through tough times or help you record your best moments for later inspiration.

Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits — to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life

I love the way Gretchen Rubin tackles a problem. Her wildly successful “The Happiness Project,” took a unique approach to the “am I happy?” dilemma and helped me work my way — slowly and surely — to an entirely different outlook. In “Better Than Before,” Gretchen is back and asking an essential question: can we change? Ready to stop biting your nails, take more chances, drink more water, and just generally revitalize your life? Take it one step at a time. Step one: Buy this book. Step two is up to you.

The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own

Beyond political affiliations and party lines, Michelle Obama has inspired a nation. From the moment she became First Lady, she has challenged America’s ideals of beauty, motherhood, and strength. In a new anthology edited by Veronica Chambers, 16 writers reflect on what Michelle has meant in their own lives and how her time in the White House has influenced their own journeys. A timely read that reinforces the oft-forgotten notion that one person — one woman — can inspire millions.

In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs

Do you love our Career Profiles? Then you must check this out, immediately. An incredible collection of powerhouse women, by Grace Bonney (founder of Design*Sponge), who are disrupting their industries and making waves in the creative community. They share their secrets of success, their brushes with failure, and their everyday rituals — all which have helped them cultivate beautiful, exceptional lives. Immerse yourself in the day-to-day struggles and triumphs of these women and let them inspire your own journey.

Why Not Me?

This book made me laugh out loud more than any episode of “The Office,” “Arrested Development,” and “New Girl” combined. Seriously. Mindy Kaling should be required reading for everyone, everywhere. This collection of essays tackles everything from how to sit like the classy woman you are (the trick is to not bend your waist, like at all) to Hollywood’s continued obsession with weight and why they just can’t get over themselves already. Essential reading for anytime you’re feeling blue and want some commiseration from the most #relatable lady out there.

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All

We’ve all been in a place where we think, “I’m just not creative.” I’m a part-time graphic designer, and even I’ve been there. Creativity is such an elusive thing. There’s no step-by-step process on how to be creative and that’s super freakin’ frustrating. Which is why I seriously loved this book. Tom Kelley and David Kelley take creativity apart and look at it from every angle, using their insane amount of combined experience with some of the world’s top companies. This isn’t a “how to be creative” guide. It’s a tool to find the creativity within yourself. Sounds cheesy, but just trust me, okay?

The Men in My Life: A Memoir of Love and Art in 1950s Manhattan

There’s nothing like a behind-the-curtain look at the life of a prolific woman to remind you that struggle is not singular and to overcome, we have to go through a lot of sh*t first. In “The Men in My Life,” celebrated biographer Patricia Bosworth takes us into her world in a uniquely creative and pivotal time in America. As you dive deeper into her life, you realize her trials and setbacks are just as relevant now as they were then. A tremendous look at one woman’s search for acceptance, prosperity, and love.

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman

I’ve struggled with worrying I’m taking up too much space. With anxiety over whether or not my opinions matter. It’s a personal struggle, but it’s also struggle that has a lot to do with growing up as a woman and how we are taught to inhabit our world. No one has expressed this more acutely (or more hilariously) than Lindy West. In “Shrill,” West has penned a deeply personal memoir that speaks directly to feeling “invisible.” I cannot recommend this book enough for anyone who has ever felt they don’t matter. You do. More than you know.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Has this been on your TBR pile for longer than you’d like to admit? Read it now. Daniel Kahneman breaks down the way we think into two systems and then fills us in on how these systems influence our decisions — big and small. Sounds complicated, but Kahneman’s breezy style is easy to take in, and the practical steps he suggests aren’t as “mind-bending” as you might think. A book for all of us who made a resolution to make fewer mistakes this year.




Read something you hate…

A very interesting read. The article argues that we should read books that we don’t particularly like (hate is such a strong word).  I find this idea oddly appealing and very timely for myself.  I was just thinking this morning that my FB feed is so “me” — the people I follow share my views, the pages I follow share my interests.  I was lacking variety and ultimately found myself bored. I can see why – so maybe the next book I pick up will me Atlast Shrugged — I’ll give it a 3rd attempt.

LINK: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/15/opinion/sunday/the-joy-of-hate-reading.html?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits&_r=0

Here’s a reading challenge: Pick up a book you’re pretty sure you won’t like — the style is wrong, the taste not your own, the author bio unappealing. You might even take it one step further. Pick up a book you think you will hate, of a genre you’ve dismissed since high school, written by an author you’re inclined to avoid. Now read it to the last bitter page.

Sound like hell? You’re off to a good start.

This is not about reading a book you know is bad, a pleasure in its own right, like an exceptionally dashing villain. It’s about finding a book that affronts you, and staring it down to the last word.

At a time when people are siloed into narrow sources of information according to their particular tinted worldview — those they follow on Twitter, the evening shoutfest they choose, AM talk radio or NPR — it’s no surprise most of us also read books we’re inclined to favor. Reading is a pleasure and a time-consuming one. Why bother reading something you dislike?

But reading what you hate helps you refine what it is you value, whether it’s a style, a story line or an argument. Because books are long-form, they require more of the writer and the reader than a talk show or Facebook link. You can finish watching a movie in two hours and forget about it; not so a novel. Sticking it out for 300 pages means immersing yourself in another person’s world and discovering how it feels. That’s part of what makes books you despise so hard to dismiss. Rather than toss the book aside, turn to the next page and wrestle with its ideas. What about them makes you so uncomfortable?


My taste for hate reading began with “The Fountainhead,” which I opened in a state of complete ignorance as bonus material for a college class on 20th-century architecture. I knew nothing of Ayn Rand or of objectivism. I thought it was a book about building things. I even showed it off to a French friend, an architect and a die-hard socialist, thinking he’d be impressed.

“How could you bring that into our house?” he asked in disgust. “But it’s about architecture,” I replied weakly. Or was it? Within pages, I found myself suffering at the hands of its tyrannical egomaniac of a protagonist, Howard Roark, forever plunging a fist into soil and holding forth. The lead female character, Dominique, who naturally took second place to the godlike Roark, kept striding across rooms in long, column-like gowns.

Still, I persisted. A hundred pages later, I was more of a French socialist than I’d ever been before or since. I finished every wretched page of “The Fountainhead” in alternating states of fury and despair, and when it was finally over, I tried to leave the vague echo of Dominique, stomping around in her evening gowns, behind. What stuck was the abiding knowledge that I was not, nor would I ever be, a libertarian.

In earlier, blithe days, I’d simply allowed the contents of books to gather agreeably in my head as I read and then file out when I was done. Either I enjoyed a book or I didn’t. It was only by burrowing through books that I hated, books that provoked feelings of outrage and indignation, that I truly learned how to read. Defensiveness makes you a better reader, a closer, more skeptical reader: a critic. Arguing with the author in your head forces you to gather opposing evidence. You may find yourself turning to other texts with determination, stowing away facts, fighting against the book at hand. You may find yourself developing a point of view.

As debaters know, sometimes you figure out your position only in opposition. All it takes is for me to read a book by Howard Zinn or Paul Johnson, each gleefully hate-worthy in its own polarizing way, to locate my own interpretation of history. This is what’s so invigorating about hate-reading. To actively grapple with your assumptions and defend your conclusions gives you a sense of purpose. You come to know where you stand, even if that means standing apart.

I’ve hated my way through many books, thinking, I will read you no matter how hard you make it. But as I go on, I often find that loathing is mixed with other emotions — fear, perverse attraction, even complicated strains of sympathy. This is, in part, what makes negative book reviews so compelling.

One of the most scathing reviews I’ve ever written was for this newspaper as a freelancer. The book I’d been assigned was a parenting book. I wanted to like the book. I agreed with much of the book. But the authors were too credulous of certain research, and in ways that served their thesis. As I put it in the review, the authors’ “penchant for describing psychological studies and research projects as if they were chemistry experiments, with phrases like ‘the test of scientific analysis’ and ‘the science of peer relations,’ conjure up the image of Thomas Dolby repeatedly exhorting ‘Science!’ ”

It came across as manipulative, and I felt betrayed both personally (I had written a parenting book and bristled at seeing the genre compromised) and on behalf of readers who might not have the background to parse the data. New parents are a susceptible lot — I know because I used to be one.

It can be interesting, and instructive, when a book provokes animosity. It may tell you more about a subject or about yourself, as a reader, than you think you know. It might even, on occasion, challenge you to change your mind.

Of course, many hateful books simply clarify and confirm. I can tell you straight out what I loathed about the novel “Flashman,” by George MacDonald Fraser, though I read it nearly 15 years ago. “Flashman” is a cult novel, which didn’t bode well for me when I picked it up at the suggestion of a new boyfriend. For whatever reason, when it comes to cult fiction, I am never part of the cult. Beloved in the same way Wodehouse is beloved but by fewer people, “Flashman,” published in 1969, is the first in a series whose subsequent titles each felt like a slap in the face (e.g., “Flashman and the Redskins,” “Flashman’s Lady”). The cover of “Flashman, Volume I” featured a swaggering bloke in uniform with a bare-breasted maiden of “exotic” background, in, of course, the background. Sometimes you can tell a book by its cover.

But I went in anyway. There, I met the title character, Harry Paget Flashman, who romps across the British Empire, landing variously in Scotland, India and Afghanistan. Accompanying him are minor figures from British history — Lord Auckland, governor-general of India; Thomas Arnold, headmaster at the Rugby School; and the like. But the main action concerns Flashman, a light dragoon and a womanizing drunkard who skips from duel to romp to “forceful seduction.” Most of the time, he frequents prostitutes, but he also enjoys raping an Afghan dancing girl. I have nothing against a good antihero, but I didn’t even enjoy hating this guy. I just wanted to get away from him. Also, it turned out, I wanted to get away from the boyfriend who’d recommended him. This was a perfectly useful takeaway.

Yet hate reading can actually bring readers together. Sure, it’s nice when people like the books you like. But an even more stimulating excitement comes from finding someone else who hates the same book as much as you do (welcome, fellow “Pickwick Papers” loathers). This is why book critics love commiserating. Some of the most spirited discussions I’ve had with other readers have been over just how despicable or disheartening we’ve found something we’ve read.

So go ahead, bond over what you hate. Or hate it all on your own, knowing that someone, somewhere wants to throw that same miserable book against the wall. Just please finish reading it before you do.


FIP Shares

Today’s post is an incredibly interesting and accurate blog I came across. Had to share with my readers. You can visit the original content by clicking on the title or feel free to read below and leave your thoughts. Are you an audio booker? 


America’s unhealthy obsession with productivity is driving its biggest new reading trend

“I probably started reading ultra hardcore about seven or eight years ago,” says Tom Bilyeu, an entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. “Ultra hardcore” means that Bilyeu reads everywhere: While he brushes his teeth, while he gets dressed, in the 30 seconds it takes to cross rooms in his house, he’s reading.

“My big secret is,” says Bilyeu, “I read in all those little transitional moments.” Plus, for the last eight years, he’s optimized his intellectual consumption by listening to audiobooks at three times the normal speed.

Audiobooks are the latest trend in book publishing. They’re part of the podcast boom, and they’re helping US publishers keep losses down as ebook sales from big-name companies continue to slump. What’s been around since the 1980s has a sleek new face, and today who’s listening, where, and why, offers a glimpse into a new reading trend sweeping the US.

Audiobook listening is growing rapidly specifically with 25- to 34-year-olds, thanks to a pernicious “sleep when you’re dead” mindset reflective of the young, aspirational, educated American: We are fearful of mono-tasking, find downtime distasteful, and feel anxious around idleness. Even when picking socks from a drawer, young workers feel better if information’s somehow flowing into their brains. And this is exactly the restless market that book publishers need.

A fast growing format

Audiobooks are booming audibly in the mobile age. In the US, growth of audio is stronger than any other format, according to the Association of American Publishers, which tracks revenue from 1,200 book publishers. And while audiobook unit sales numbers are still small (from January to September 2016, US traditional publishers sold $240 million in audiobooks, compared to $1.8 billion in hardcover books), the format’s growth has meant more and more publishers are putting their money in people’s ears.

“I am very bullish on audio,” Kristen McClean, executive director of business development for market trends company NPD Book. “This is on the top of my list in terms of things I’m watching.”

“What we’re seeing is something that goes beyond the simple ease of downloading,” she says. “I think there is a shift in consumption going on.”

A class of readers

Audiobooks are a way for people who were once big readers to keep up with their youthful curiosity. As they find themselves with less leisure time than they had in college, the gym and the car become opportunities to be stimulated. “I used to read a lot, and probably stopped when I went to law school,” says Jamie Brooks, a lawyer based in New York City. Now she listens to an audiobook a week, on average three hours a day, on the train to work and before bed.

Audiobook listeners tend to be slightly above average in terms of income and education compared to the rest of the US population, according to 2006 data (pdf), the most recent available from the Audio Publishers Association (APA). “We find that our users are well educated, well paid, and successful,” says Beth Anderson, the executive vice president and publisher of Amazon’s Audible, the world’s largest retailer and publisher of digital audiobooks. “A huge number have masters and PhDs. They’re book lovers.”

 “[Audio] gives us the opportunity to take time that would be dead time and make it into time that’s useful.” 

But they’re also book lovers in a hurry. Mustafa Anil Kocak, a graduate student in electrical engineering at New York University, says he listens to 40 minutes to an hour of audio per day, during his commute, and to make his exercise regimen more efficient. “At the gym I feel like I’m wasting time,” he says. “[Audio] helps me not to think that way.”

One of the biggest use cases for audio listeners is the commute. But a sizable third say they listen while exercising, or while gardening or cooking. “[Audio] gives us the opportunity to take time that would be dead time and make it into time that’s useful,” says Michele Cobb, executive director of the APA.

Restless minds

Audiobooks mean we never have to be idle. They’re a cure to widespread restless mind syndrome, with its daily self-imposed nagging to make progress: Be more effective, says your productivity tracker. Do and learn more, says your to-do list. Optimize your to-do list, says your faddish new notebook.

Mobile technology helps. David Gross, a doctor and longtime audiobook listener based in Washington DC, recalls the trying process of procuring them 20 years ago: “There’d be a paper catalog, you’d call a phone number, they’d mail you the CDs, you’d keep it for a month, you’d mail it back,” he says. Today, downloads take two minutes, and apps make accelerated listening easy.

 “It’s part of that obsessive, ‘Where else can I squeeze out another 10% of efficiency throughout my day and drink Soylent’ mindset.” 

Podcast app Overcast offers “smart speed,” which shortens silences and pregnant pauses, so you don’t waste any time on the in-between. And Audible’s Whispersync for Voice lets you switch back and forth between listening and reading the ebook, so you can go from the car to your couch, or from the kitchen to your bed, without losing your spot. “Audible makes it possible for you to read when your eyes are busy,” Jeff Bezos wrote of the feature in his 2013 annual report.

“It’s part of that obsessive ‘Where else can I squeeze out another 10% of efficiency throughout my day and drink Soylent’ mindset,” says Khe Hy, entrepreneur-in-residence here at Quartz. He recently confessed that during a period of his life where he was fixated on optimizing his time, he listened to audiobooks on double speed:

I spoke at a frenetic pace, bragging about all my time management hacks. I told her how about how I listened to audiobooks at 2.5 times their natural speed; how I’d created a BlackBerry shorthand language that included the most common English words; how I exercised by plowing through tens of thousands of burpees, praising their efficiency.

“That behavior was motivated by a hardcore scarcity mindset that there’s not enough time to do all you want to do in life,” he says now.

Bilyeu, whose mantra is “Always Be Reading,” after the business truism, “always be closing,” describes the moment he discovered he could listen faster than the normal pace: “The clouds parted; music started playing; angels were singing. Oh my God, you can speed this up!”

He started with 1.5x, and it was just at the edge of what he could understand. He stuck with it, and a week later he thought he must have accidentally turned it back to 1x speed, because the book didn’t sound fast to him. “I had just normalized it. So I bumped it up to 2x.”

Now, at 3x, it’s only the confused look of people who get in his car and hear the book begin to autoplay that reminds him of how insanely fast he’s “reading.” Bilyeu, who also speaks quickly, listens to 50 books a year. He doesn’t believe that he sacrifices any substance or style (he listens primarily to nonfiction), and says the speed helps him focus on the material, instead of giving him the space to daydream or wander.

A productivity trap

As publishers see more and more interest, they’re making more and more irresistible audiobooks, and paying big-name celebrities to help draw readers. Eddie Redmayne’s narration of JK Rowling’s fictional textbook, published by Pottermore, came out March 14, and is an Amazon bestseller. On February 14, Random House Audio released the aural version of George Saunders’s debut novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, with a 166-person cast, including Susan Sarandon, Don Cheadle, David Sedaris, and Lena Dunham. The movie version has since been sold to actors Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, who both play characters in the audiobook.

At a February event in New York City, Saunders admitted it was the first time he was reading the book in public, and not a group of actors. He told Quartz the actors’ voices are the ones he hears now in his own mind.

In the way that film and TV adaptations imagine a world for the reader—the setting, characters’ faces, unspoken actions and glances—audiobooks do that through voice. In audiobooks, readers depend on producers and actors to predigest and interpret content for them. But the ease of that passive consumption can lead to another kind of dependence.

“Having our devices, which give us constant access to podcasts, audiobooks, radio livestream, we actually develop addictions to use them in a mindless way,” says Elana Feldman, assistant professor of management at UMass Lowell.

“Given that we have access,” she says, “People feel that they can and should use every moment of their time in a productive way. For a lot of people it means, ‘What could I also be doing right at this time?’”

Ticking boxes on a consumption to-do list in this way can actually impair longterm productivity and creativity in unforeseen ways, she warns. The mind can benefit when you listen to nothing at all. “Creativity happens in non-conscious ways,” she says. “[Psychological] incubation can happen when you’re cooking, exercising, driving, when you’re not purposefully thinking about something.” It’s difficult to achieve that when you’re filling downtime time with mental stimulation, even if it’s a novel.

And in terms of productivity, listening to books in the gym may not be the best way to learn. Even though Feldman has never specifically studied audiobooks, she says, generally, “The concept of multitasking is really kind of a myth.” The cost of switching between simultaneous tasks exceeds the benefits.

But ultimately, of course, there are far worse addictions. Says Audible’s Anderson, “Listening to too many books or magazines is probably one of the less offensive vices one might have.”



FIP Book Review: Born a Crime

Title:  Born a Crime

Author: Trevor Noah

Goodreads summary: The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother: his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

FIP Review: 

Mr. Trevor Noah *I bow down*

I don’t think its any long fair to simplly label Trevor Noah a comedian; after reading his book, FIP sees him as a deeply reflective person who, like his mother pokes fun at the atrocities of life to hide his raw emotions.  Stand up comics often use their life stories as a back drop to many of their acts but this is not what we find in this book. Rather we are faced with a harrowing account of a half black – half white child growing up in South Africa in the 1990’s.  During the narrative you find yourself laughing hard at times and suddenly staring down the reality of a life where you are forced to eat worms or goat eyes for survival. At times you may doubt humanity but you never doubt the resilience of young Trevor Noah.

FIP gives this book a 4.75 stars. We missed the 5 star mark only because we wish the book was longer. We leave off when Trevor is able to pay for his mother’s medical expenses but I want to know more about how he got to net worth of $3 million. Here’s to hoping he writes a sequel.

FIP also highly recommends the audio version; I promise you will be wholly entertained by Mr Noah’s mimicry skills.




Back to the Challenge

A while ago, I started to read books based on these categories; thought it was high time I updated a few.  See purple for updates: 

A BOOK THAT WAS BANNED AT SOME POINT  – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

A BOOK PUBLISHED THIS YEAR – Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallace 

  A BOOK YOU CAN FINISH IN A DAY – These Things Hidden  by Heather Gudenkauf

A BOOK YOU PREVIOUSLY ABANDONED – Autobiography of Malcom X by Alex haley 


A BOOK YOU’VE BEEN MEANING TO READ – The Raven Boys by Maggie Striefvater


A BOOK YOU’VE ALREADY READ AT LEAST ONCE – Twilight (my go to when I need to escape reality) 



A BOOK PUBLISHED BEFORE YOU WERE BORN- You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt



The Year in Review

Can you believe it’s almost the end of 2016!  Although it seems the world has been put off its axis (politics/war/deaths); FIP had a great reading year. I feel like I broke away from my norms and reinvented my reading style. I learned so much about other people and learned to ponder about my own life.

Two books that impacted my thinking: 

The Autobiography of Malcom X by Alex Haley

You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt

A few books that had great stories to tell: 

The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker

When We Collided by Emery Lord

A Man Called Ove by F. Backman

And for a complete list and ratings please visit my goodreads page.



(Let me know if the link doesn’t work)

So what have you read this year? The best the worst?




Book-Vending Machine Dispenses Suspense

I need a break from all this doom gloom election talk. Here’s something fun for your Friday.

Link: https://wordpress.com/post/aforkinmypage.wordpress.com/679

Earlier this year, Stephen Fowler, owner of The Monkey’s Paw used-book store in Toronto, had an idea.

He wanted a creative way to offload his more ill-favored books — “old and unusual” all, as the store’s motto goes — that went further than a $1 bin by the register.

It came in a conversation with his wife: a vending machine.

“Originally, I thought maybe we would just have a refrigerator box and paint it to look like a vending machine,” he tells NPR, “and put a skinny assistant of mine inside and have him drop books out when people put a coin in.”

But then he was hanging out with a friend, Craig Small, who runs an animation studio in Toronto.

“I mentioned the idea to him, and he said, ‘Forget it! Let’s just build one!’ ”

So they did, and for the past few weeks that machine has been up and running. The “Biblio-Mat” is about the size of a refrigerator and painted vintage pistachio green with chrome accents. On the front, in old-style lettering, it reads: “Every book a surprise. No two alike. Collect all 112 million titles.”

Watch the Biblio-Mat in action in this video from Craig Small.

Though he’s not making much money off the Biblio-Mat, Fowler says it’s a great way to entertain customers — especially kids.

“One kid I can think of in particular — a very intense, physical little boy, not what you would necessarily consider the bookish type — he got a weird, local history book about Hamilton, Ontario,” he says. “And apparently he’s been carrying it around his house, you know, asking his mom, ‘Did you see where I left my Hamilton book?’

“It’s like it completely reinjects the mystery into these old printed artifacts.”

Fowler says the machine reinforces something he’s learned in the book trade: People are always looking for meaning.

“People have a deep need to think the thing is actually being picked for them,” he says. “Yesterday a young woman got a book out of the machine — 12 Hardest Shots in Golf, or something like that — and she was not very impressed. But then she said, ‘I know exactly who I’m giving this to for Christmas.’ ”



Book Review: The Six of Crows Duology

Book 1: Six of Crows 

Goodreads Summary: 

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Book 2: The Crooked Kingdom 

Goodreads Summary: 

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.


FIP Review:

Rarely will you see me give a book 5 stars – but this one (begrudgingly) deserves it.
I picked up this series on a whim; discounted price on the audiobook of Six of Crows.


I’m glad I did.

Story: Good, fast paced story keeps you alert and interested. Fairly predictable with some unpredictable twists along the way. Above average ending; not all loose ends were tied up and not everyone got their happy endings – to me this was more realistic and rougher than most YA books which tend to coddle.

Characters: Personally I felt like this was the highlight of the book. All the characters; secondary and main characters alike – grow on you. Their triumphs and pitfalls become yours.

Overall unexpectedly enjoyed the books.


About the Author

Leigh Bardugo is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Grisha Trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising).

She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects. These days, she’s lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band. Her new book, Six of Crows, arrives fall 2015.