Big Kids’ Table: 2014 Reflections

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Another year almost done. Are they all going to go as fast as this one? I sure hope not because I think part of my brain is still hanging out in the spring. Ha! It’s been another interesting year of Big Kids’ Table feature. Unlike many other blog features I see, I still haven’t been able to get my rhythm done with this one. No two posts are ever the same, and while I should be proud of that, sometimes it makes me feel like this feature was never full realized.

But, hey, I’m recommending readers non-YA books, right? So part of it is working. In fact, there are a few posts I totally loved this year…

And now, a rundown of the most memorable non-YA books I’ve gobbled up this year… hopefully in time for your holiday shopping:

What took me so long?

Big Kids Table 2014 Overview What Took Me So Long

The world told me and I listened. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes = total wins. Emotional but also with such humor folded in. DON’T FORGET THE HUMOR.

Let’s fall in love.

It’s not a reading year if there isn’t romance. Am I right? What do I need to recommend a romance from the highest mountain? Chemistry, a great story, and some fantastic dialogue. Hope you’ll give these a whirl!

Big Kids Table 2014 Overview Romance Novels

Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl | A Passionate Love Affair with a Perfect Stranger by Lucy Robinson | Her Holiday Man by Stacey Shannon

Sah-prise!

Big Kids' Table Most Surprising of 2014

Two VERY different titles that were almost a shock to my own reading system. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica, a fantastic debut, about a woman who is kidnapped.  The story is told from alternate POVs and positively creepy, emotional and yet understandable. And then to change things up completely, Charlie’s Glass Slippers: a makeover, career confidence, and romance drama. Guys, this book might be long but it is so so much fun. (The cover is pretty sweet too!)

No one hit wonder.

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Forever Interrupted still tops my list as one of the most realistic, perfect books for someone in their mid-20s. Her follow-up about a young couple that decides to separate and not speak for a year was full of so many moments that made me thinking about how we can easily start to take people for granted in our lives, and also easily fall into habit and lose something so valuable. I can’t recommend Taylor’s work enough.

Runner-up: The Fragile World by Paula Treick DeBoard: a family torn apart after a tragedy and revenge.

A recommendation that hit the spot.

Steal the North by Heather Bergstrom

Steal the North freaking knocked my socks off. For regular YA readers, this is the perfect pick for crossover because the main character is a teen going through a ton of changes with family, boys, and herself. The writing is beyond spectacular. Big thanks to Leah at The Pretty Good Gatsby for putting it on my radar.

Runner up: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. I’m not one to usually pick up historical romances but I’m glad I read this one. It’s so emotional and well-done. (A review at So Obsessed Blog to get you inspired to read Burial Rites!)

The in-betweeners.

Yep. I’m adding some New Adult picks in this time. Guys, they were great and you have to read them. If you are worried about being overwhelmed by the sex, don’t me… these are all a combination of super sexy and well-developed.

Big Kids Table New Adult Book Recommendations 2014

Make It Count by Megan Erickson | Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler | Unraveled by Jen Frederick

A hopeful wish.

Well, being that I didn’t read any of the books I thought I would in 2014 per this post, I’m going to try again with better results. I swear! At the end of next year, I will most certainly be patting myself on the back for following through on this very short list. Right? Right?! I need you all to cheer me on.

Big Kids Table 2014 Overview What to Read in 2015

 Girl Before Mirror by Liza Palmer | A Little Princess by Frances H. Burnett | My Father’s Wives by Mike Greenberg


A quick announcement: I’m changing up Big Kids’ Table again in 2015 (I hinted to it slightly in last month’s post) and if you want to share your non-YA recs in this capacity, I would love to hear from you. Email me anytime: estelle AT ratherbereadingblog DOT com. I swear it will be oodles of fun, and I’d love to have you.

Until the next Big Kids’ Table, happy holidays, happy reading, and enjoy the rest of the year.

And remember: don’t be afraid to read outside of your genre. 🙂

Eclectic Picks from Publishers Weekly | Big Kids’ Table

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Happy Halloween! Let’s talk boo-boo-books! 😉

It’s been awhile since I picked up an issue of Publishers Weekly and scouted out some good titles.

Last week’s issue made it pretty easy for me to pick out some new-to-me titles (some of yet won’t be out until 2015). Like anything else, there’s no telling if a book is a winner until you actually pick it up and read it yourself. Oh the pressure! But perhaps the best part of plucking up a new book and coming to the love it or hate it conclusion.

Here’s the lineup:

Big Kids' Table November 2014 at Rather Be Reading Blog

 

A Second Bite of the Apple by Dana Bate (November 2014)

Sydney Strauss is obsessed with food. Not with eating it–though she does that too–but with writing about the wonders of the gastronomic world, from obscure fruit hybrids to organic farming techniques. Since food journalism jobs are more coveted than Cronuts®, Sydney pays her bills working for one of TV’s biggest egomaniacs–until she’s left scrambling for shifts at a local farmers’ market.

Stacking muffins for the Wild Yeast Bakery isn’t going to win her any James Beard awards. But soon Sydney is writing the market’s weekly newsletter, and her quirky stories gain attention from a prominent food columnist. After years of putting her love life into deep freeze, she’s even dating again. And then Sydney gets a shot at the story, one that could either make her career or burn it to a crisp–along with her relationship and her reputation… (from Goodreads)

Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar (December 2014) — historical romance!

London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby, and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous artistic friends who will grow into legend and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer.

Each member of the group will go on to earn fame and success, but so far Vanessa Bell has never sold a painting. Virginia Woolf’s book review has just been turned down by The Times. Lytton Strachey has not published anything. E. M. Forster has finished his first novel but does not like the title. Leonard Woolf is still a civil servant in Ceylon, and John Maynard Keynes is looking for a job. Together, this sparkling coterie of artists and intellectuals throw away convention and embrace the wild freedom of being young, single bohemians in London.

But the landscape shifts when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love and her sister feels dangerously abandoned. Eerily possessive, charismatic, manipulative, and brilliant, Virginia has always lived in the shelter of Vanessa’s constant attention and encouragement. Without it, she careens toward self-destruction and madness. As tragedy and betrayal threaten to destroy the family, Vanessa must decide if it is finally time to protect her own happiness above all else. (from Goodreads)

The Last Cowboy in Texas by Katie Lane (December 2014) — country music + cowboys = a perfect combo!

Country music princess Starlet Brubaker has a sweet tooth for moon pies and cowboys: both are yummy-and you can never have just one. Now Beckett Cates may not be a cowboy, but he certainly has the heart, soul-and body-to whet her appetite. He’s a sexy ex-Marine with a touch hotter than the scorching Texas sun and arms strong enough to catch her when she lands into trouble.

Playing bodyguard to America’s sweetheart isn’t easy for Beckett. But falling for her sure is. Unfortunately, Starlet has a reputation for keeping a guy or two wrapped around her finger and Beckett refuses to be anybody’s backup. So now it’s up to Starlet to prove that she’s put her cowboy-crazy days behind her. Otherwise, she’ll be singing solo instead of living in harmony with the man who’s loved her even before her fame and fortune. (from Goodreads)

Bonita Avenue by Peter Buwaldo (January 2015)

Siem Sigerius is a beloved, brilliant professor of mathematics with a promising future in politics. His family—including a loving wife, two gorgeous, intelligent stepdaughters and a successful future son-in-law—and carefully appointed home in the bucolic countryside complete the portrait of a comfortable, morally upright household. But there are elements of Siem’s past that threaten to upend the peace and stability that he has achieved, and when he stumbles upon a deception that’s painfully close to home, things begin to fall apart. A cataclysmic explosion in a fireworks factory, the advent of internet pornography, and the reappearances of a discarded, dangerous son all play a terrible role in the spectacular fragmentation of the Sigerius clan. (from Goodreads)

The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos (March 2015) — loved her work in the past!

In all her life, Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has given her heart to only three men: her first love, Ben Ransom; her twin brother, Marcus; and Wilson Cleary—professor, inventor, philanderer, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, breathtaking jerk: her father.

Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter Willow only once.

Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister—a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir? (from Goodreads)

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So what looks good? 🙂 Don’t forget to share the great non-YA reads you’ve been reading lately!

Big Kids’ Table: Leah + Her Pretty Good Book Jar

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Hello, reading buddies! It’s been awhile — I skipped last month, eek — but don’t worry, I’m back and even better I’m back with a huge book enthusiast who reviews “big kid” books all the time on her blog: The Pretty Good Gatsby. Leah is better than “pretty good”. Magnificent? Enthusiastic? Smart, awesome, lovely, and always inspiring me to pick up hidden gems? Yep. Pretty much all the above. I love her blog + I can’t think of anyone better to be a part of Big Kids’ Table.

Leah from The Pretty Good Gatsby

Note: this is Leah but not her cat.

This month, Leah is taking charge and giving us some amazing suggestions. Enjoy!

♥

Hi guys! I’ve been a huge fan of Big Kids Table since Day 1 and I’m so excited to be here with you today! Here’s the deal – instead of choosing my books, we’re switching it up a bit: I’m having them chosen for me. Back in July, I made a super easy Book Jar. If you’re anything like me, staring at a giant mountain of books can be a little overwhelming. This takes all the stress out of it. Whenever I’m in the mood for a book and can’t decide, I pull out a star and I’m set.

For this edition of Big Kids’ Table I’m letting the jar pick for me – fingers crossed!

BOOK ONE: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Okay, confession time: I miiight have squealed a little when this was the first pick. Yes, I’ve had this book on my shelves for ages and yes, I’ve heard how super fantastic awesome it is! So many bloggers I adore and trust absolutely love this novel: an orderly, socially awkward professor is on a quest to find a wife. I’m all about quirky, charming novels and even better – a sequel is coming out in December!

BOOK TWO: The Venetian Bargain by Marina Fiorato

Venice, 1576. A passenger aboard a cargo ship sends the Bubonic Plague tearing through the city. Don’t judge me, but I love reading about deadly plagues and diseases. The Venetian Bargain seems to have a little bit of everything: romance, mystery, real-life events. Although I love Historical Fiction, I’ve noticed I tend to stick to certain time periods, but I think coming out of my comfort zone won’t be too difficult with this one!

BOOK THREE: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

OMG CAN WE DISCUSS THAT SECOND SEASON CLIFFHANGER?! If you’re not watching this show you should probably fix that. It’s campy and ridiculous and a ton of fun! A Gypsy boy who turns into a werewolf, a fabulously wealthy vampire with a Frankenstein-esque little sister. Seriously, what’s not to love? I immediately bought a copy of this book after watching the first season but never got around to reading it. I made the horrible mistake of binging on the second season (thanks a lot, Netflix) and the withdrawal is torture. With season three not coming back until next summer I’ll need to get my fix with the novel!

BOOK FOUR: Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen

So now that I had my book jar pick some books for me, I think it’s time I highlighted one I’ve actually read! You know a book is special when you still think about it eight months later. Raise your hand if you grew up reading Little House on the Prairie! Looking for an adult version? I’ve got you covered. Pioneer Girl tells the story of a Vietnamese-American woman and the family heirloom that sends her on a cross-country journey. I love dual narratives and Lee’s story was just as fascinating as Rose Wilder’s and when the pieces finally came together…perfection.

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My reading list is going to hate me, but ahh — I love the sound of these. Thanks for sharing, Leah!

To make sure you get great book recs from Leah ALL the time, follow her blog and tweet her!

Be sure to leave any awesome reading suggestions below too!

Big Kids’ Table: My Romance Novel “Guidelines”

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Hiya! Welcome to the first Big Kids’ Table post of 2014. If you are new here, this is where I recommend some titles outside of the young adult genre. As much as I love YA, sometimes I just need to branch out and hope you’ll decide to as well!

As the date of this post inched closer and closer, I toyed with the idea of giving the feature a more uniform layout. But you know what? I love writing something new every single month so this feature is going to continue to be experimental as always! (By all means, feedback is appreciated. Email me!)

So today, I’m talking about ROMANCE NOVELS. This post is actually inspired by Ellice who guest reviews over at Paper Riot (she is awesome so make sure you follow her everywhere, okay?). Like anyone else unfamiliar with a genre, she wanted to know where to start when it comes to romance novels. There’s totally no right answer to this so I thought I would share some of my own romance novel “rules”.

Where I started

My mom absolutely loves to read. I definitely inherited this from her, and I still remember the awesome summer days we spent at library, checking out all the shelves. My mom took out a lot of paperback Harlequin romances back then. (They didn’t even check them out separately, just counted them.) This is where it started. On vacations, and long road trips, I stole a few of her romance novels and got hooked. But it wasn’t until I read Danielle Steel that I fell in love. I’ve always been a huge fan of books set in the 60s and 70s and Message from Nam had it all. (Think Forrest Gump!) From Danielle, I learned you could tell a lush, full story in romance. It wasn’t all about the lust.

Message from Nam by Danielle Steel

When I was re-introduced

Confession: for four years after I finished college, I wasn’t reading that much. I think I just wore myself out. But then I got an eReader, I went on a long honeymoon, and I met Magan (not on my honeymoon) and my love of books came rushing back. (It was nice to be home.) So my journey back to romance novels came after the launch of RBR when I started reading Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series. I forgot how fun, how sexy, and how wonderful a community of people looking for happily ever could be.

Here’s what I learned:

♥  I didn’t mind reading this series out of order because happily ever after was the outcome.
♥  Even though these are a lot of fun, reading them back to back got to be a little difficult. The stories can feel a bit repetitive, the characters can get a little flat, and you can only read about tongues stroking each other so much. (True story.) Fool’s Gold became my feet up on the couch, palette cleanser.

A few of my favorites: Three Little Words; A Fool’s Gold Christmas; Just One Kiss.

Susan Mallery Fool's Gold Favorites

The hits keep on coming

In the past two years, there have been a lot of winners in my romance reading. (And, sadly, losers but we are being happy and positive today!) To make it easier, a short list:

♥  Star Crossed by Jennifer Echols: one of my favorite YA authors taking on the big kids? Love it. Hot chemistry, a Las Vegas setting, and a little mystery. So good.

♥  Let Me Be the One by Bella Andre: showing off my rebel streak because I started Andre’s series out of order too but this one. I loved stories of old friends with crushes who reunite as adults. This one was off the charts sexy with great background stories on both and a lot of sweet, REAL moments. (So many times emotions fall flat but not in this one.)

♥  Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl: COWBOYS. That is all. No really. This one was almost TOO hot for me but I loved the back story, the setting, and the tension was just so intense. I basically read this in one sitting.

♥  The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins: Funny and sexy? What what? I couldn’t put this one down. I loved the supporting characters, how unpredictable the couple was, and the vineyard setting.

Recommended Romance Reads from Estelle

Don’t be scared; historical romance doesn’t have to be stuffy.

I lost my historical romance virginity in December, and I’m pretty glad I had such a great experience for my first time? (Is this getting too uncomfortable for you?) Wicked Designs by Lauren Smith features a sly and spunky leading lady, an aggressive (yet vulnerable) duke, and a team of Rogues — protective, lovable, and all around enjoyable to get to know. From the setting to the smallest details, Smith made me feel like I was smack dab in the middle of London watching the hi-jinx myself. I can’t wait to check out more!

Wicked Designs by Lauren Smith

With a little help from my friends

Need more recommendations? Try The Book Barbies, Heroes & Heartbreakers, Gone with the Words, Lusty Penguin, or Michelle and Leslie’s Book Picks.

Or some recent personal recommendations from Alexa (Julie Garwood’s Ransom) and Ginger (Lisa Kleypas’ Sugar Daddy).

Now it’s time to say goodbye

As you can see, I’m no expert. My guidelines are just my own personal preferences. It’s not a huge necessity to jump into series right at the beginning because happily ever afters will come no matter what. And for me and this genre, that’s what it is all about: -a reading experience that makes me feel good and keeps me smiling.

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As always, I would love to hear your recommendations + even how you got into romance novels yourself.

Be sure to check in at the end of February for your next dose of Big Kids’ Table.

(Big thanks to Hannah, Alexa, and Jamie for all their recent feedback on this feature!)

Big Kids’ Table: YA/NA Authors Chat “Grown Up” Books

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Happy Halloween, book lovers! Nothing too spooky going on around these parts, but I am so enthused to share this month’s Big Kids’ Table with you! (I’m down to the wire… on the last day of the month, but the wait is worth it, I swear!) Thanks to some brainstorming sessions with Cassie I decided to reach out to a few of my favorite young adult/NA writers and find out what grown up books they would recommend! Not only were the participants totally game but their final picks were as eclectic as their own books and that made me even more excited to share this feature with you!

Without further ado…

Tara Altebrando Author of Roomies Recommends Literature

author of Dreamland Social Club, The Best Night of Your Pathetic Life, and the upcoming Roomies (with Sara Zarr)

Big Kids’ Pick: One of the most breathtaking and heartbreaking books I’ve read about the adolescent experience is an “adult” book called “Wonder When You’ll Miss Me” by Amanda Davis. I read it in one day and at the end of the day I felt a sort of horrible sense of mourning that I hadn’t written it. I recommend it for older teen readers who like dark reads.

It will come as no surprise to readers of my novel Dreamland Social Club that I am fascinated with circuses and carnivals and the like, and “Wonder When You’ll Miss Me” sets the bar way high in terms of “running away with the circus” stories. It’s about 16-year-old Faith Duckle, who has been the victim of a brutal assault that caused her to attempt suicide. She loses a lot of weight while hospitalized but when she gets out nobody seems to notice how different she looks…except for the ghost of her former fat girl self who follows her around, taunting her. With no place to fit in, Faith joins up with a traveling circus, reinvents herself as Annabelle Cabinet, and finds a place among the misfits there while plotting revenge on her attacker and also trying to break free of the ghost of her former self.

The prose is electrifying, the story emotionally wrenching. And the reading experience made additionally bittersweet because the author, so very young when she published the book, died in a plane crash on her DIY book tour.

What’s next for Tara? As for what I’m up to these days, right now I’m gearing up to promote “Soundproof Your Life,” my story in One Teen Story magazine. And of course Roomies, which I wrote with Sara Zarr, comes out in December. My middle-grade debut, The Battle of Darcy Lane, follows soon after that in May. Busy times! In between doing website updates and Q&As and thinking about what to wear to book events I’m working on a new YA novel that is a sort of no-holds-barred thriller. It is not yet ready for prime time but hopefully I’ll share it with the world soon!

[ Follow Tara | My review of Dreamland Social Club | Add Wonder When You’ll Miss Me to Goodreads ]

Sabrina Elkins Author of Stir Me Up Recommends Adult Litauthor of Stir Me Up, October eBook release from Harlequin Teen

Big Kids’ Pick: The first book I’d recommend to anyone is Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. This novel, Hemingway’s first and widely considered his finest, follows the story of Jake Barnes, a man rendered impotent by an injury he sustained in World War I. The story is, at one level, about a group of American and British expatriates who travel from the cafes of Paris to a festival and bullfight in Pamplona. But it is also about Jake’s unrequited love for the beautiful, unattainable and promiscuous Lady Brett Ashley. The story is powerful, and the characters are unforgettable. The lean writing style has been an inspiration for generations of writers, most definitely including myself. My favorite book of all time.

What’s next for Sabrina? Find out in her recent podcast appearance on Meet Us at the Diner.

[ Follow Sabrina | My review of Stir Me Up | Add The Sun Also Rises to Goodreads]

Jessi Kirby Author of Golden Recommends Adult Litauthor of Moonglass, In Honor, and this year’s Golden

Big Kids’ Pick: My “grown up” book recommendation is Deb Caletti’s debut adult novel, HE’S GONE.  I love her YA novels, so I was really curious to see what she would do in the adult realm, and what she did was brilliant! The way she weaves the history of the main character and her husband together with the mystery of his disappearance is so gracefully done and kept me turning the pages long past my bedtime!

What’s next for Jessi? My next book, which will be out Summer 2015, is still in the draft stage, but what I can say is that it’s definitely more of a romance than I’ve written thus far, it has to do with the heart, in all of its definitions, and my theme song that’s been on repeat the entire time I’ve been writing it is Taylor Swift’s “Treacherous.”

[ Follow Jessi | Magan’s review of Golden | Add He’s Gone to Goodreads ]

Bill Konigsberg Author of Openly Straight Recommends Literature

author of Out of Pocket and this year’s Openly Straight

Big Kids’ Pick: Book: Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin — When I was a teenager, I felt incredibly alone. I came out as gay as a teen, and it made me feel separated from my family. I picked up Tales of the City one day perusing a bookstore, and it changed my life. The makeshift family that comes together at 28 Barbary Lane felt like it became my family. They were straight and gay and old and young and they were accepted by each other. They were licking their wounds and having sweet and funny and dramatic adventures, and I was licking my wounds and doing the same. To this day, when I feel alone, I pick up that book and I don’t feel that way anymore. If you haven’t read this series yet, you need to buy the first book this very minute and start reading.

What’s next for Bill: Currently, I’m working on my third novel, The Porcupine of Truth. It’s an exciting departure for me, in that there’s a bit of a mystery at its core. It’s about two teens – a boy and a girl – who are thrown together and embark on a cross-country journey to solve a 30-year-old family mystery. Along the way, everything they’ve ever understood about family and friendship and the universe is tested. That may sound unlike my other books, but it is very much a Konigsberg novel in that it involves characters who feel isolated finding each other and finding ways to connect to others. It’s also funny, so if you enjoyed the humor in Openly Straight, you’ll like this one, too.

[ Follow Bill | My review of Openly Straight | Add Tales of the City to Goodreads ]

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Big thanks to Tara, Sabrina, Jessi, and Bill for being so awesome! I’m so looking forward to picking up
these book recommendations and your new work!

What about you? Reading anything outside of young adult lately?

Big Kids’ Table: Switching It Up with Non-Fiction

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Greetings, friends! You made it to Friday and (believe it or not) the final Friday of September. Hasn’t this year just sped by? I can’t even keep track of the days lately. It’s all a blur.

I hope that you are out there reading some fantastic books right now, and maybe, quite maybe, picking up a grown up book. Part of my reading resolution to myself this year was to branch out more. I didn’t just want to read young adult books. Reading is about learning about new things and new people, and I wanted to make sure I was making a conscious effort to do just that.

So today we are going to talk a little bit about non-fiction.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying a BIOGRAPHY. Shocker, I know. It’s been so long since I’ve read one, and I feared it so much. What if it was boring? What if I just wasn’t getting the point? You know, the natural fears we have when we embark on something new. Lucky for me, I was reading Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones. Jim Henson was the creator of the Muppets and he helped created Sesame Street. The bio tells an honest story of a creative, hardworking man who never ran out of ideas but instead died way too early. (He was only in his 50s.)

Jim Henson The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

For those of you who aren’t Muppets fans, I hope you’ll keep reading but Jim faced a stigma that certain grown up young adult readers seem to face all the time. That self-consciousness that we are adults reading little kid stories. Jim wanted to create an art through puppetry that reached adults AND children. But he hit several roadblocks because critics and audiences couldn’t always look past the fact that puppets were just for kids.

“Good, solid entertainment is funny for young and old,” he patiently told one reporter. “There is a tendency to think of children’s entertainment versus adult entertainment. It’s possible to have an identical level for both.” Still he admitted it was difficult to convince adults that puppetry wasn’t just kids’ stuff. “People don’t tend to like [puppets],” Jim said. “They turn off alt the idea, but that’s because puppets are generally not well done.” (page 178 of Jim Henson: the Biography ARC.)

I couldn’t get over how much his struggle compared to our tastes in books or even our tastes in other hobbies. (For me, loving Walt Disney World as a travel destination fit too.)

As much as I enjoy fiction and being wrapped up in a character’s story, there’s something to be said about journeying through someone’s life and hearing from the people who loved them, the trials they faced, and the accomplishments that set forth their legacy. It’s also quite fun to have a few facts up your sleeve. Think of what a hit you would be a dinner parties!

Here are a few other non-fiction books, I’m hoping to cross off my list soon:

  • Mrs. Lincoln: A Life by Catherine Clinton — I’m sad to admit that I’ve owned this book for more than 3 years now (thanks to my lovely coworker) and haven’t read it yet. I’m a huge fan of the Presidents and I love American history. The prologue to this book is so intriguing, and I can picture myself in a warm, woolly sweater reading this while it’s snowing outside.
  • Everything was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies — I bought this book about two years ago after seeing Follies on Broadway. This musical is very special to me. I spent a lot of time at my first college, the summer they put it on and the story itself reminds me so much of my school closing. I’m a huge musical theater fan and I want to know the backstory!
  • Slimed: an Oral History of Nickelodean’s Golden Age — I’m actually going to an event for this book tonight. (Marc Summers from Double Dare is going to be there!) When I was a kid, I loved SNICK so much. I stayed up every Saturday to watch it and made sure I always had the lights out for “Are you Afraid of the Dark?” I’m also a pop culture junkie so I’m looking forward to checking out this “history” book.

Just for kicks, here are three I’ve already loved + adored:

  • Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett: I read this book for a memoir class and ended up loving it so much, I kept it. It’s about Ann Patchett’s friendship with a gal she meets in college, and soon-to-be fellow writer. I loved this book because I felt Ann portrayed the struggles of wanting to be a REAL writer so well, and of course, the girls together are heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
  • What Remains by Carole Radziwill: This one is kind of a tearjerker but it’s remained a steady recommendation from me for years. Carole was best friends with Carolyn Bessette, who was married to JFK Jr. This book details their friendship, the tragic passing of the pair, and also the cancer that will take Carole’s husband.
  • Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion:  This book is near and dear to my heart — a collection of short stories by a fantastic journalist who writes about writing, home, and pop culture. Definitely something I would suggest to the budding writer or a fan of travel writing.

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For me, non-fiction is a way to make way for my other passions. I never want to be just about fiction books or just about young adult. There are so many different genres out there to discover, and fun facts and stories to learn about living and breathing people. It’s important to make space in your reading wish lists for these too.

Now it’s your turn! Have you been reading non-fiction? What subjects do you want to learn more about? I’d love some suggestions and just to hear from you about embracing other genres and true stories!

Happy reading, all!