2016 Book Report – Part 2

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna KendrickScrappy Little NobodyScrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Yes, that’s my own personal autographed copy. It’s ok to be a little (or a lot) jealous. I was given an this book by Ashlee and I couldn’t have been more excited. Ever since being told that I favored Anna Kendrick, I’ve paid more attention to our similarities. I share many traits with Kendrick in addition to physical appearance. The title of her book alone made me want to read it. Scrappy Little Nobody – it seems to describe me perfectly! I’ve always been called things like feisty and firecracker (hence the name of my other business) and I was eager to see how she exhibited these characteristics too. My favorite lady comedian books are still Yes Please and Bossypants. However, I truly enjoyed getting to see where she came from, what she struggled with, and who she is as a person – not just how she’s portrayed in the movies. And I was right – we are very similar. One of the main similarities I saw right away was the feisty attitude and defense mechanisms that are born from being the smallest kid on the playground. I’d started a chapter in my “book” about this and reading her account of it helped solidify some of my points. If you’ve never experienced life from the perspective of the smallest kid at school, you won’t quite understand why some many of us become a little tougher (and in some cases a little meaner) than the rest. Another sentiment I quickly identified with was that crushing, gut-wrenching feeling that comes when your sarcasm and unique wit aren’t received as intended. It seems as if the both of us can be somewhat misunderstood when using our humor in a way that doesn’t go over as planned. This tendency is something I’ve struggled to put into words both verbally and on paper. It truly sucks to mean something one way (often as purely a joke or an attempt to solicit laughter from your audience) only to come across as a major jerk. I feel a sinking in my stomach just thinking about it.

What I’ve Used Most from the Book:
Possibly my favorite thing from this book is her discussion of “nice.” Kendrick talks about how we use the word nice when describing people and how most of the time we actually mean something else, like considerate, timid, or reserved. She goes on to talk about how we decide that the opposite of nice is bitchy, mean, or unruly when that isn’t accurate. She makes a case for having no desire to be labeled as “nice” and it was a manifestation that I could really identify with. I actually have an entire post started on this topic. Kendrick says that her insecurity and uncomfortableness with new people automatically rules out “nice” as an option. However, that doesn’t mean she’s mean or uncaring. Rather than being concerned with nice as a descriptor, she’d rather be known as other things. Immediately I began making my own list and the idea that I don’t have to be “nice” to be a good, likable person was such a relief. I’ll forever be grateful for this read, just because it took so much pressure off by showing me that there are thousands of other endearing, loveable qualities besides “nice” which definitely doesn’t come easy for me.

In the Company of WomenIn the Company of Women by Grace Bonney

This book is one of those great coffee table books that you wouldn’t be able to resist flipping through. I haven’t made my way through it yet because for me, it’s one of those you sit down and flip through a few pages at once. The photography is superb and the perspectives and stories of real life #girlbosses are fascinating and inspiring. It’s not all stories of women running Fortune 500 companies or tales of lucky breaks. Instead, it shares wins, losses, hard work, struggles, and success stories. Both the content and the visual appeal made this purchase worth it.

What I’ve Used Most from the Book:
My favorite quote so far is, “I’m proudest of my resiliency., I’ve had a tough life and been through a lot. And I am still standing.” – Danielle Colding. The book is a nice reminder that while the specifics of everyone’s story can be vastly different, the basics are the same. We all struggle sometimes. We all have highs and lows, wins and losses. The ones that stand out and make a difference though, are the ones that don’t back down and keep fighting. That resiliency, that fight within us, is something to always celebrate. We might not always know the details of someone’s struggle. However, if they’re still standing, it means they’ve fought a good fight.

A Work in Progress by Connor Franta

This book is the memoir of You Tube sensation, Connor Franta. I purchased this one at the same time as The Opposite of Loneliness and through the same method. I liked the cover and it was in the autobiography section. I have never heard of Franta and didn’t know a single thing about the book. It was interesting to hear his story and how he came to be the young internet sensation that he is. However, the book was probably a little youthful for me because I’d already experienced a good bit more of life that the author. This fact alone made it a bit hard to connect. Nonetheless, I’m proud of him for unapologetically telling his story and I know that someone will get something from it.

What I’ve Used Most from the Book:
Again, I couldn’t directly relate to much of what he described in the book. However, it was a nice reminder to be true to who you are, tell the real story, and to never apologize for the paths we take.

The Girl with the Lower Back TattooThe Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

I do find Amy Schumer to be rather entertaining sometimes, though I wouldn’t say I’m a “fan.” Nonetheless, I wanted to read the book for a couple of reasons. First, I’m a sucker for anything telling someone’s life story, especially when it’s them telling it themselves. Second, I don’t think there’s a book written by a female comic that I haven’t read. I did find the book to be much more funny than I expected, although just a crude as I expected too. (I certainly wouldn’t recommend this for younger audiences. I even blushed some.) Furthermore, I loved to hear the story of where she came from and how much hard work and determination she put into getting to where she is today. She told stories about being a female in a male-dominated industry and those accounts were very inspiring. I also felt like she was telling me the story face-to-face which made my connection to her story even stronger. It’s a good, easy read if you appreciate comedy (and don’t mind some foul humor).

What I’ve Used Most from this Book:
There are two main points that have stuck with me from this book. First, her path to stardom was a good reminder to never give up and work hard, even when you think you’re going nowhere. The difference between people who “make it” and people who don’t is the ones who cross the finish line didn’t stop running. Even when Schumer struggled to pay her bills and her career felt stagnant, she continued to work on her craft and eventually, the hours and hours of determination paid off. Furthermore, she reminded me of the importance of setting boundaries. Sometimes later in life we are finally able to see things for what they truly are and we must draw more concrete lines in the sand. This book reminded me that we don’t have to do something because we’ve always done it and sometimes we must cut even the closest of ties.

Wildflowers by Drew BarrymoreWildflower by Drew Barrymore

When I first saw this book on the shelf, I knew I had to read it. The cover was so delicate and pretty and just spoke to me somehow. Little did I know that I’d download it to my iPad when we were cooped up in a hotel room. Right away I was engulfed, hanging on every word, excitedly waiting for the next story to unfold. This feeling is why I love stories about people’s lives. I feel like I get to know them better and get to live in their shoes for just a moment. Barrymore’s story was no different. I followed along like I was there for the actual occurrences and felt somewhat of a kindred spirit with her. I’ve never been a super fan of Drew Barrymore and after reading her book, I developed a huge, new respect for her.

What I’ve Used Most from this Book:
The main thing that I’ve taken from this one, besides a new appreciation of Barrymore, is an encouragement to tell my own story. As I read along, I felt inspired to write about so many things, pausing after each chapter to spill my own words on to a page. Her authenticity reminded me of how much is to gain by sharing what’s real and true.

The 52 Lists ProjectThe 52 Lists Project by Moorea Seal

And just for fun – I picked this book up from the author’s store while in Seattle and it’s been a joy to have. Each week there’s a new prompt for a list to make and for an impulsive list-maker like myself, it’s so fun to get to make random lists just for the hell of it. I even gifted this book to Amanda with a packet of our favorite pens because she, too, makes all the lists. It’s simple and somewhat mindless and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sitting down to make a random list, just for fun. Next up, 52 Lists for Happiness.

What I’ve Used Most from the Book:
Lists, lists, and more lists. Duh.

And that’s the complete list of what I read in 2016! (I think,) If you missed the first half of the list, check here. It’s a pretty impressive list for me since I’m just getting back into the habit of reading. I feel pretty confident in saying that this list is at least double the number of books I read the previous year. This year, I’ve already finished tiny beautiful things and Talking as Fast As I Can. I’m currently working on Daring Greatly and Resisting Happiness

What are you reading this year?? Any non-fiction options that I need to add to my list?

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