Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham — A Review

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham

RaeleighReads rating: love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236

Just go buy this and read it and love it. Can my review end there? No? Well, all right. I’ll give you a few reasons. 😛

I have been watching and re-watching Gilmore Girls since it came out in 2000. There I was, at the ripe old age of thirteen (stop doing the math!), watching Rory. A girl who loved her books. Just like me! A girl who studied, and stayed at home, and had a freakishly close relationship with her mother. Just like me! Well, needless to say I was hooked. Now, before you get mad at me, and say, “Raeleigh, this is supposed to be a review of a BOOK not the TV show.” I know. But the TV show is the reason I heard of Lauren Graham in the first place. Then I saw her through the years in various movies and then again in the beloved Parenthood (I’m not crying, you’re crying, omgthatshowbreaksmyhearteverytime).

So when I found out there was a memoir, I HAD to have it. Then it languished on my shelf for a couple of years. I know, I know, what kind of book reviewer am I!?!? But then. This year. It worked as one of my challenge books for the Read Harder Challenge. What luck! Number 12 is “a celebrity memoir.”

Now, if you liked quick-witted, fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore, then you will like this memoir. Lauren Graham’s writing is very much like Lorelai’s speaking. A fellow book reviewer told me she listened to the audio book, which Graham narrates herself. I must now get my hands, err..ears, on that! I can only imagine it’s even more amazing being delivered in her iconic voice.

Graham lets us in on some pretty private moments in her life. From growing up with her dad to schlepping it in New York, working all kinds of jobs so that she could pursue her dream of being an actor. I think for me, that was the part I liked most. I knew I would love hearing about her time on the Gilmore Girls and A Year in the Life sets. But it is always so inspiring to me to hear artists describe their early years. What I have started calling, the “lean years.”

What all of these artists, who eventually “make it”, have in common, is that they never, ever, ever gave up. They just kept working at the thing they love. It gives me the warm fuzzies and a sort of frenetic energy in my chest that makes me want to get up and do things!

Have I gushed enough yet? No? Guuuuussssshhhhhh. There you go. Now go get this!

Happy reading, lovelies!


What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman — A Review

18373272What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

“I wanted love, but I also wanted freedom and adventure, and those two desires fought like angry obese sumo wrestlers in the dojo of my soul.”

I think the above quote pretty well sums up this book. Newman longed for freedom and adventure and probably a little bit of escape from her single-girl life in L.A., and she found those things by vacationing anytime she had free time.

My initial reaction was that this was clearly written by a witty, hilarious, fun-loving person that it might be fun to attend a boring dinner party with. The further I read though, the more irritated I became with Kristin-Adjacent, Newman’s name for herself when she was on her travels. Now, I’m all for carpe dieming the shiz out of life, but for me the behavior described on these trips was just so foreign to me. I’m shy, an introvert, and I would much rather read or write on a beach or in a quaint coffee shop while on vacation than go out and meet new people or party/drink a lot. That’s just not my idea of a good time. So, what I had here was a real disconnect with the author of this book.

To be sure, Newman describes a lot of zany, fun adventures that most people would probably be envious of. I’m just not one of them. For this reason, I was bored while reading most of this memoir, left wondering what was the point of it all? I loved hearing about the various locales she visited — Argentina, Columbia, Russia, Israel, New Zealand, etc., and the various lessons learned. I just got a little non-plussed about the constant descriptions of drunken hook-ups. Again, just not my idea of a good time. ZERO judgement about it. I know some people really love to go out and meet people. I’m an awkward home-body 🙂 .

Toward the end of the memoir Newman really shifted gears (because she was growing up, duh!), and the focus became much more about personal development and creating real and honest relationships with other people. That’s when I started to care a bit more. The last bit of the book is really tender and sweet, and I’m so happy that it ended the way it did.

I think people who are very into adventure and meeting new people/living vicariously through a clearly vivacious and fun-loving character will love this. It’s probably not a great book to read while on vacation lest it make your vacay pale in comparison.

I read this as part of the 2017 Read Harder Challenge. This memoir fulfills #8, “Read a travel memoir”.

2017 Read Harder Challenge Stats: 4/24

Happy reading!

Curiously Similar Book Covers

Anyone else struck by the similarity in these book covers?

Is it just me? Am I making too much of this?

Both memoir-ish, both written by insightful, impactful women…

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson is the May book pick for Our Shared Shelf (Emma Watson’s book club on Goodreads).

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham

Regardless, I intend to read them both 🙂

Yes Please by Amy Poehler — A Review

yes pleaseYes Please by Amy Poehler

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

“You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.”

Amy Poehler is hilarious, obviously, but I already knew that from watching her in sketches on SNL and in her roles in Baby Mama, Wet Hot American Summer, Mean Girls, Parks & Recreation, and Sisters (I know, I watch alotta Amy Poehler — deal with it).

What this book taught me about Amy, is that she has a spectacular way with words (seriously this woman’s vocabulary is massive and her sentence structure is always new and interesting); she has a huge and sensitive heart; an incredible work ethic; some pretty fantastic ideas about recreational drug use; and she seems like she would be an AMAZING bestie. Please let her know I’m available if she’s ever in the market. You know, should she and Tina ever have a falling out. It’s more likely that the world would end abruptly, but, just in case, I thought I’d put that out there.

Now, I did listen to the audiobook, and I feel like that was the absolute best choice because her words were delivered in her unmistakable voice. I laughed, I cried, I laugh-cried. I got a lot of strange looks because I listened to this in public, but I did not care.

“It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for. It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate.”

If you love comedy, improv, acting, or show biz AT ALL, you should devour this. If you’re thinking, oh, comedy’s not really my thing…you should devour this. It’s honest and sensitive and yes, funny, but it is also very intimate. While she did not share super personal, nitty-gritty details of her divorce, she did open up a huge window into how her mind works, her struggles with sleep and anxiety, and her overwhelming, and in fact, all-consuming love for her children.

“I swear, if I could eat my children, I would. I’d consume them like some beast in a Hieronymus Bosch painting, but in a friendlier, more mom-like way. Their little bodies make me salivate. It takes everything I have not to swallow them whole.”

What a woman!

P.S. Amy, Yes! Please read ALL THE THINGS!!!

ThankyouThankyouThankyou 😉

28 Days of Solitude by B.L. Bruce — A Review

28 days of solitude28 Days of Solitude by B.L. Bruce

RaeleighReads rating: 4 out of 5 coffee cups

“Maybe all writers survive on just a few things: coffee (or certain other substances of choice), good books, and hope.”


I received a copy of this memoir in exchange for an honest review.

I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with this memoir written by a perceptive, creative, and beautiful soul. What a wonderfully intimate view of one writer’s thoughts — a month-long collection of insights and asides about what it means to be an artist, to be a creator, to be sensitive to the world, and to have an insatiable desire to share these things through the written word.

28 Days of Solitude was written during B.L. Bruce’s stay in a cabin in the forests of Northern California. It chronicles her daily struggles with creating, in particular in writing a collection of poetry and a novel. As a memoir of sorts, a journal in fact, there is no plot, but as a reader I felt compelled to continue on this month-long journey of introspection.

It was interesting to witness the turn of the mind — one moment hopeful, another steadfast, and yet another full of defeat and negativity. Bruce’s driving force seems to be a desire to capture a sense of realism in her work through natural, relatable occurrences. This is, she states, the goal of her poetry and her novel, “…I want it to be rooted in reality and relatable, raw.”

This desire for realism makes me think of two things. One, the transcendentalist poet Thoreau, and two, the group of realist writers of the late nineteenth-century:  Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Maupassant, and Ibsen. Perhaps it is the blend of Bruce’s obvious love and appreciation for nature and her slightly antiquated turns of phrase together with her desire to illustrate real moments that make me think of these other master writers as I read this journal.

As a fellow empath, for I think that is what Bruce is, I really related to her experience. At one point she discusses the difference between alone and lonely. Being alone does not make one lonely. And doing things alone is often a freeing and revelatory experience, one to which many people are unable to relate. Reading Bruce’s thoughts on the nature of being alone and the nature of loneliness really resonated with me.

I would recommend this to people who enjoy reading memoirs and journals, and I would recommend this especially to other writers, readers who are in love with words, and artists of all kinds. Go out and feel something today!

Other thoughts you may find useful:

The author wrote each page elegantly and captured my interest with even the minor details.“– Kristin Hinkle on Goodreads

“Her insights of the writing experience, both the successes and the challenges, make this book an interesting read. Highly recommended.”– Evie on Amazon