Category Archives: Bookish Activity

BOOK REVIEW||TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN

Image result for talking as fast as i can book cover

photo credit: Penguin Random House

TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN (audiobook)

Listening to Lauren Graham recount the exciting moments of her life in this audiobook is like inviting your coolest friend over for brunch. Not dinner… brunch. She’s just that hip.

Graham comes across as witty, trendy, and most importantly… true to herself. After listening to her story, it’s not surprising that she has had staying power in an industry with very little scruples about tossing aside those who no longer fit the ever-changing mold of what a “star” looks like.

To be honest, before listening to Talking As Fast As I Can (from Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between)I did not know much about her other than that she had played the fast-talking Lorelai on Gilmore Girls and was the brilliant author of Someday, Someday Maybe. 

I came to the series pretty late. I was a senior in college when Gilmore Girls appeared in Netflix for the first time and was pretty amused when the internet freaked out over it. My roommate was a die-hard fan of the entire series and knew almost everything there was to know about its actors and writers. She was the one who lent me Graham’s first book Someday, Someday Maybe while playfully demanding I start watching the show.

I fell in love instantly. The writing of Amy Sherman-Palladino was clever and lively; it was fast-moving and had a rare rhythm that absolutely captivated me.

BUT.

That was all I knew. I did had no idea what she had done before and did not realize she had worked between the ending of Gilmore Girls  and its highly-anticipated netflix reboot Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. 

Halfway through listening to her speak I found myself going to the netflix app on my phone and adding Parenthood  to my queue. It sounded so good… and if Lauren Graham was in it, I KNEW I would be interested.

Talking As Fast As I Can details Graham’s life before acting, the struggle of the early years before arriving, dating, overcoming obstacles as a writer, returning to Gilmore Girls, and her charming “Old Lady Jackson” personality.

NOTE: The “Kitchen Timer” and “Old Lady Jackson” chapters were probably my two favorites of the entire book.

And did I mention she does it in under 5 hours?

True to her word, Graham really does talk fast… or rather, her words have the same famous wit and quick-moving rhythm she conveys as Lorelai Gilmore.

If you are a fan of Gilmore Girls (or a fan of any of Graham’s work), this book should be at the top of your #tbr list. It can be listened to in a single afternoon — if you are so inclined– or may spice up an otherwise dull night in.

Rating: 5/5

The January Book Review: Halsey Street

Image result for halsey street by naima coster

photo credit: Vox / Little A

Let me start of by saying that as 2018 approached,  I felt a TREMENDOUS amount to pressure to choose the next book I would read.

I know… silly, right?

But I felt that with the late start I had in staying true to my New Year’s resolutions, I had to just relax. And by relax, I mean quit dwelling on the things I CAN’T control and begin focusing on what I CAN.

Things I can’t control: other people’s opinions, what my bosses assign me at work, what my roommates do, the state of our country… basically, an infinite amount of things.

Things I can control: My attitude, how I handle things, how I manage my time, how to do things that make me happy, WHAT BOOK I READ… not as many as the first list, but a lot more than what I’ve just written.

Boy, did I take that last one to heart. I love to read, and figured the first book I ready of 2018 would really set the tone for what is shaping up to be another chaotic year. However, despite the unnecessary stress I put on myself to make what is usually a completely arbitrary choice…

I finally picked up Halsey Street.

Friends… I made the right choice.

THE BOOK

Halsey Street  is the stunning debut novel by Naima Coster.

It was released on the first of the new year.

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Naima Coster

photo credit: Jonathan Jimenez

The story takes us on the journey of 28-year-old Penelope Grand, an artist who moves from Pittsburgh to Brooklyn to care for her ailing father. The story unfolds beautifully between the past and “real-time,” all set against the disarming backdrop of gentrification.

Early in the book, we are introduced to the Harpers… the white family Penelope lives with because she just can’t bear the thought of living with her father again. The Harpers mirror everything Penelope isn’t; they have everything she doesn’t have. They’re white,  well-off, and happy.

Noticeably absent from Penelope’s thoughts in the first chapter of the novel is her mother, Mirella. An intelligent, independent Dominicana, Mirella has struggled to maintain a relationship with her independent, multi-racial daughter.

Halsey Street compares and contrasts the lives of Penelope and Mirella, while skillfully pivoting between their strong voices. As the story unfolds with the Harper Family looming in the background, we see how thin family ties can quickly come unbound with the help of a drastically changing landscape.

WHY IT MATTERS

This novel offers a glimpse into the lives of people from marginalized communities, battling tooth-and-nail for their livelihood (and at the heart of it, very existence) due to the circumstances of an unjust society.

Halsey Street is the story of surviving in a world of racism, colorism, elitism, and suffocating inequities. It’s the story of driving oneself down a dark path to both conform to and rebel against what such a society demands of you.

It’s about crumbling family ties, and incredibly strong women.

If you can relate to the experiences described in Halsey Street, this book is for you.

If you can’t relate to the experiences described in the story, this book will educate you.