Nothing quite beats the feeling from walking into the library not knowing what to get and walking away victoriously with two exciting reads. Raina Telgemeier graphic novel adaption to the Baby-Sitters Club with Kristy’sGreat Idea was one of them.
One of my greatest accomplishments as a big sister is passing on my love for books to my ten-year-old sister, and I can thank in part Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novels for kicking it off with a bang, specifically with Sisters, which my sister still recites certain scenes from today, like, the infamous road trip. So spending this past Shabbat poring over this newest release was a walk down memory lane for us.
For me, what I personally cherish in these books is how timeless Telgemeier’s writing feels. Like, when I read other middle-grade books I’m self-aware throughout the story that this is meant for younger audiences, but there’s something so appealing in its nostalgic nature.
I also appreciated how this particular book on babysitting kids showcases situations with how to deal with the not-so-kind moments, similar to How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk, wherein it opens up with a kid acting a certain way (throwing tantrums, asking big questions, opening up) and through the Baby-Sitters Club we see a number of ways to react in a helpful manner.
And as always, the art was astounding and perfectly captured those quintessential summer days spent frolicking outside with friends, thinking of what to do next.
It’s also interesting looking back on my 2018 reading challenge to suddenly realize that Raina Telgemeier’s Ghosts was my second book of the year (and first graphic novel), just like Kristy’sGreat Idea is my second read of 2019.
Make your bookish purchases through my Amazon Affiliate. I’ll make a small commission!Kristy’sGreat Idea by Raina Telgemeier:
This month I put my focus and attention on making sure I dedicated as much of my reading time on more Jewish and Nonfiction reads. And I subsequently discovered a lot of noteworthy gems along the way.
In total, I read 13 books this month:
￼￼Books I haven’t stopped thinking about: Pumpkinflowers by Matti Friedman.
It’s been months and months since I had the experience of a book imprinting such a palpable reaction on my everything. I feel like I can reach out and touch the pain and hurt reverberating off Pumpkinflowers.
It was one small hilltop in a small, unnamed war in the late 1990s, but it would send out ripples still felt worldwide today. The hill, in Lebanon, was called the Pumpkin; flowers was the military code word for “casualties.” Award-winning writer Matti Friedman re-creates the harrowing experience of a band of young soldiers–the author among them–charged with holding this remote outpost, a task that changed them forever and foreshadowed the unwinnable conflicts the United States would soon confront in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
No book has so drastically changed the course of my thinking in a single day as this one did. The intimate look at the soldiers’ lives hasn’t left me since. Avi’s story, in particular, hasn’t left me since. I got to know him gradually through his own letters, and I just can’t stop spinning back to how his surroundings rendered him aged beyond his years, yet simultaneously so full of youthful hope.
“It is said in their honor that they were prepared to sacrifice themselves for the rest of us, but of course they weren’t, not most—they just thought it wouldn’t happen to them, and the lucky ones weren’t given time to realize they were wrong.”
Ultimately, Matti Friedman carried out his novel with the utmost care and devotion.
On a lighter note, I rediscovered my love for one of the most hilarious shows with the most lovable cast of characters. As I mentioned in my review for Unqualified by Anna Faris, thanks to watching a bunch of bloopers of Chris Pratt’s character in Parks and Recreation, I decided to go back to rewatch season three (THE BEST!). Similar to The Office, which I finished binge-watching in April 2016, my favorite seasons remain the second and third.
Since I only rewatched season three in January, that’ll be the main focus of my rambling thoughts:
April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer (or should I say Janet Snakehole and Burt Macklin?) are the only romantic couple I care about from now on.
My favorite episode of theirs has to be the one where they learn to adult, courtesy of Ben Wyatt because I LOVE domestic scenes. Going grocery shopping, doing laundry, going to the bank…my kind of jam.
Ya Heard? With Perd! is such an unexpected favorite, but my heart sings whenever he puts his hand to his ear after the catchphrase.
Speaking of side characters, Jean-Ralphio Saperstein shines as bright as ever. I’ve yet to meet a more fleshed-out, eccentric, and lively persona. Years after I stopped watching the show, he was the one that remained on my mind. He’s basically the male version of Ilana Wexler from Broad City (which I raved about in September).
Whereas Chris Traeger is LITERALLY the most wholesome (and intense) character I’ve ever met. You know a situation is worrisome when even Chris can’t find a reassuring solution with his chipper outlook.
The road that led me down to pick this book up is a funny one and can be mainly credited to one character: Andy Dwyer. So basically, I was in a funk of watching a bunch of Parks and Recreation videos that started off with this hilarious compilation below of Chris Pratt bloopers that had me nearly choking with laughter, while simultaneously wiping away laugh-crying tears.
I inevitably went down a rabbit hole of binge-watching clip after clip of Parks and Rec, and all this to say, I knew something productive would come of it because this whole preface led me to Unqualified by Anna Faris, since I recalled that Chris Pratt wrote the foreword, and after reading his words, I can only say: Andy would approve.
But the funny thing is, I quickly forgot all about the previous noise when I put on Anna’s easygoing narrative-voice on audio (perfectly made for storytelling), which snared me in right away. I immensely enjoyed the window into her whirlwind world.
Her comic memoir and first book, Unqualified, will share Anna’s candid, sympathetic, and entertaining stories of love lost and won. Part memoir, part humorous, unflinching advice from her hit podcast Anna Faris Is Unqualified, the book will reveal Anna’s unique take on how to navigate the bizarre, chaotic, and worthwhile adventure of finding love.
The book showcases an honest firsthand account of despising high school (“The guiding question of my teenage years was simply, How do I survive this time in my life?”), getting rejected from audition roles (the most exciting one to read about was the Friends audition that later led her to a much bigger role in the show), school-grade crushes (“It was that heady rush of young love that has no basis in logic at all.”), marriage, family, sharing her “penchant for digging into other people’s personal lives,” and more on life and all its aspects. I bonded over the many insights shared from Faris.
The biggest compliment I can pay is that I was so into Unqualified that I continued dreaming about in my sleep, granted I stayed up listening till 1 am and slept for only five hours that night, but still. This book reads of truth. Also, I’m glad I decided to listen to this on audio since her soft-spoken, calming voice has this subtle raspy factor to it that I came to appreciate.
Other essays that stood out for me were about:
going to her high school reunion after twenty years and having her 90s romantic movie-worthy ending… just read this passage:
“I’d been at the reunion for all of one hour, but it was long enough for me to feel like I was in high school again, and to be ready to get out. I mean, Green Day was pumping through the loudspeakers. Chris drove down and picked me up, as we’d planned, and it did feel a bit like the lion rescuing the lioness from the hyenas. It was amazing to watch the reaction as he came through the door. I still felt like headgear-wearing, awkward Anna Faris, but when Chris came in, he was all movie star. There was a collective gasp as he whisked me away and, yes, that was fairly satisfying, I guess. I’m human, after all.”
her utterly moving chapter about her son, Jack Pratt. This was the most telling chapter in her memoir where I was continually taken off guard, and I applaud Anna Faris for her ineffable strength and endurance. I felt all the things she described, from the terror of feeling her water break two months before she was due, to the boredom through her bed rest, and then the inevitable scenario of going into labor… All these high-intensity moments stayed with me long after the last page.
unfolding the history behind Chris’s fascination with learning to french braid, which had piqued my interest last year when I saw this:
“My mom loves to French braid my hair. It’s a weird thing she does even now that I’m an adult. But she always starts a little too high and I end up looking like a sister wife. Three or four years ago, Chris was watching her do a French braid and wanted to learn. He already knew how to do a regular braid because his sister taught him when they were kids, and he’s into knots in general, from being an outdoorsy guy.”
And last but not least, what’s a memoir with sharing some blast from the past photos?
“(I’m the short one).”
My knowledge of Anna Faris before reading this could be narrowed down to her character Cindy Campbell in Scary Movie (which I definitely shouldn’t have watched at the age that I did), but after reading Unqualified, I feel like I’ve got a more solid perspective on her as a person, which is all I could’ve asked for. Bottom line: I love a good spot-on memoir I can be swept into.
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