Year 11, Book 10

10. Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again by Kimberly Williams-Paisley

Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley writes a memoir focused around her mother’s diagnosis and descent into a rare form of dementia. For people who would be interested in her acting career or marriage to Brad Paisley all these things are included, but you also get to see how during all of these things she was also dealing with her mother’s difficult illness. It’s a beautifully written tribute to her mother that doesn’t white wash all the horrible things that came along with dealing with her disease. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 11, Book 9

9. How to Retire with Enough Money: And How to Know What is Enough by Teresa Ghilarducci

I picked up an advanced reader’s copy of this little book at the American Library Association conference. I thought it might be good to get some advice on investing for retirement. The book was a quick easy read and definitely confirmed my views that the current retirement system in the US is screwed up, but it didn’t really help me much in the way of making me feel like I am properly preparing myself for retirement. It was all pretty basic advice. This book would not be very useful to anyone who has spent even a little bit of time thinking about their retirement. I guess it might provide some assistance to people who really never have, but it really didn’t do me much good. I give it a 5 out of 10.

Year 11, Book 8

8. Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld

As is evidenced by the title this is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice this time with Elizabeth Bennet as a magazine writer in her late-30s living in New York near her sister Jane, a yoga instructor considering artificial insemination to have a baby. They are called back to their hometown of Cincinnati after their father’s health scare where they meet Dr. Chip Bingley and his friend Fitzwilliam Darcy.

As far as retellings of Pride and Prejudice I found this to be a pretty decent one. If you’re into retakes on Austen novels you would enjoy this one. I give it 7 out of 10.

Year 11, Book 7

7. The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture by Glen Weldon

I only read Glen Weldon’s first book Superman: The Unauthorized Biography because I got a free copy of it and I enjoy listening to Glen on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. I’ve never been a comic book reader and Superman was never my thing in his translation into other media. Despite that I actually really enjoyed the book, so I was looking forward to reading this book since Batman was always much more my thing. I still never read any Batman comics, but have watched a lot more Batman related movies.

The Caped Crusade also delved deeper into the connection between Batman and the history of pop culture itself, which gave it a richer texture than just a straight out history of Batman as a character. I really enjoyed the book even though I am far from a comic book nerd. I imagine that people who really are into this stuff would love it. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 11, Book 6

6. Your Song Changed My Life: From Jimmy Page to St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson to Hozier, Thirty-Five Beloved Artists on Their Journey and the Music that Inspired It by Bob Boilen

I adore NPR Music and Bob Boilen,  long-time host of two of its best productions, All Songs Considered and the Tiny Desk Concerts. In Your Song Changed My Life he interviews some of his favorite musical artists and talks to them about what music influenced them. It was interesting how often the songs people talked about were not from the same genre of music they themselves perform. I guess it goes to show that influences can come from all kinds of places. He also weaves his own personal relationship with music throughout the book, which made it seem a little more personal. I don’t know if there was any logic behind the order the artists were featured in the book, but I was curious the whole time I was reading who the last chapter would be devoted to. I found it to be perfect that he chose the artist who won the first Tiny Desk Concert contest. It felt like a perfect homage to music itself which is always looking to the past while moving into the future. I can’t recommend this book highly enough especially to fellow music lovers. I give it a 9 out of 10.