The One Book a Month Challenge- Part Two: More Reviews and Recommendations

I am continuing along on my quest to read a new book every month. They range from hilarious to classic to total left-field. I have some especially quirky ones under my belt on this one.


“Let’s Pretend This Never Happened,” by Jenny Lawson

Let'sThis book was a gift from a woman whose opinion I highly regard, and it came at a time when I was feeling especially reclusive and sad. It was just what the doctor ordered. Holy smokes is this
a hilarious novel! From The Bloggess herself, this is a quirky and unique perspective on human nature and social norms. With a taxidermist father and an equally eccentric mother, Lawson takes us through a childhood that was exemplified by a feeling of not fitting in. Lawson has a defining voice. She is decidedly funky and neurotic with just a hint of attention deficit. These are all, naturally, characteristics that make this book such a treasure. For anyone who needs a book to really be a mini vacation, anyone who needs to feel as if quirks are a beautiful thing, and anyone who has ever struggled to feel in-place (what I’m really saying here is that literally everyone should read this) this is a must-have.



“The Sun Also Rises,” by Ernest Hemingway

So my last year of high school I had a teacher that left us all with a great list of “the great western cannon.” There are some real stunners in that list, but there are also some that read like a dried up pile of dust. This, my friends, is a big ol’ dust bunernie.jpgny. I get it, Hemingway was a great writer. He is succinct and highly skilled at portraying distinct character identities. If I am being honest, it is overshadowed by the fact that all of his
stories are driven by plot-points I just can’t relate to. In this novel, a group of hoity-toity friends take a vacation to Spain to watch the running of the bulls and various bull-fights. Along the way they fight over women and drink expensive booze. I believe that in the context of the time in which he was writing, his books were gold. Today, though, they just don’t seem to hold up and present anything particularly moving. Maybe it’s just over my head but I would only recommend this book to a person who talks in a fake British accent.



“A Heart Blown Open,” by Keith Martin-Smith

In one word, this book is revelatory. Martin-Smith chronicles the life of Dennis Kelly, a man who has lived a truly incredible life. Born in a small town, Kelly marries and has a child young, decides to catch a train in the middle of the night, and gets drafted. He then makes copious amounts of acid and fights a constant battle to truly discover himself by seeking out spiritual leaders across the globe. The journey is truly something marvelous and unpredictable. Beyond the story is the message. This book, after all, is about Kelly becoming a Zen master. Each step in hisAHeartBlownOpen.jpg journey pushes him somehow into the zen lifestyle. Through strokes of luck and passionate love affairs we get to know a man who is fighting every day to become truly realized. The end of the book (which admittedly I didn’t want to read partly out of denial it was over and partly because I could’t imagine there was anything more to know) actually changed the way I live my daily life. Here, Kelly’s theory comes to life. He reveals the truth that his wild journeys had brought him to. I have since been remembering his message in my daily life and it has actually helped shift the way I view the world. An incredible story of redemption, love, loss, and self-discovery.


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