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Books I'm Looking Forward To: April

Everything feels extremely uncertain right now, and authors are rightfully concerned about their books that are debuting in the coming months. Right now, Amazon is delaying book shipments, bookstores are being forced to close, and libraries are not providing in person services. While none of that this good news, it doesn't mean that books will be forgotten during this time. If anything, we need books and the arts in general more than ever. We've all turned to Netflix and reading and music to take our minds off of the situation, and these artists need our support too.
Luckily, there are tons of ways to do this. While authors aren't getting to hold traditional book launches, many are transitioning them to places like Instagram Live, so make sure you follow the authors you love on social media. Continuing on the social media theme, it's now more important than ever to talk about the books you enjoy online and leave reviews on Goodreads and Amazon to spread the word.
Anoth…
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The Lucky Ones Review

The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson
Overview: May and Zach are an unlikely couple. His mother is the lead defense attorney for the school shooter that took the life of May's twin brother and her other band classmates. What they do have in common is feeling less than seen. Zach is ostracized because of his mother's choices, and May feels like people only see her as a victim. Both want to reclaim their independent identities and move forward from the terrible tragedy, but without the support and space to grieve, everyone is left fumbling for a sense of closure and unable to deal with their unresolved feelings. Lawson dives into the aftermath of the aftermath of a school shooting and the echoes that are felt by the survivors and the community. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 May and Zach are great main characters, and I'm happy that we got to hear both of their voices. May has a lot of unresolved grief and feelings about that day that manifest in anger that has complicated her getting more…

Switched On Pop Review

Switched on Pop by Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding
Overall: 4.5 
You might be familiar with Nate and Charlie if you listen to the podcast Switched on Pop (I shout out this and other great podcasts in my latest article). If you don't, Nate is an Assistant Professor of Musicology at USC and Charlie is a musician and songwriter who are both super knowledgable about music theory and music history. This book approaches understanding pop music through that lens. Using a song per chapter, Charlie and Nate work through all the characteristic that make pop music pop. They've constructed a book that can be both informative and helpful to those who want to expand their technical music knowledge while also writing a compelling enough narrative of pop to entertain the casual listener who's curious about what's behind their favorite songs.
I really enjoyed this book, and I found it to be an excellent resource. It's honestly probably too basic for anyone who knows a ton about music…

Soooo... The World Is More Than a Little Scary

I'm not sure what exactly I want to say with this post. It feels like there's nothing left to say in a way. Over the last few days, the United States has come to realize just how serious COVID-19 is. It's a reality that people in Europe and Asia grasped long before most Americans. I think that we're all starting to realize just how much our lives are fundamentally changing. How long this will actually impact us.
I've seen a lot of different reactions on Twitter. Understandably, there's a lot of heartbreak over lost vacations, concerts, and book tours. A lot of us were using things like this to keep motivated. It's entirely understandable why these choices have been made, but it doesn't make it any less hard. So, I guess what I wanted to say first is don't feel bad for feeling bad. Yes, there are people losing much more from this, and we should be doing everything we can to help them through this time, but beating yourself up for being disappointed …

Who Put This Song On? Review

Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker
Overview: Morgan doesn't fit into her world perfectly. She feels isolated because of her depression, she feels isolated because she doesn't completely buy the whole God and heaven thing like her Christian school peers, and she feels isolated because she's one of the only Black students at the school. Morgan doesn't know what she wants or what she's working towards. She lacks a sense of purpose. But with therapy and new friends and some soul searching, over the course of senior year her vision of herself gets clearer. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 I love Morgan. Her voice shines through incredibly clear, and she gives a relatable voice to the realities of depression. Her family and friends and their admirable bits and flaws are all well fleshed out. Morgan is one of those narrators who can see lots of different points of view while still being firmly placed in her own reality.
There's a lot of nuance in this book that can be so ea…

How To Eat Review

How to Eat by Mark Bittman and Dr. David Katz
Overall: 5 
As you have all probably noticed, I've gotten really into learning about nutrition, food science, and food policy lately. I've been reading a ton of books surrounding the topic lately, and it's been very eye opening. Even as they all boil down to the same essential advice (because the science is the science regardless of who wants to make a buck off of it), the different approaches to displaying the findings and advice on how to incorporate it into your life fascinates me.
Anyway, I picked this one up on a whim after a co-worker mentioned it to me. I was currently reading Food Fix on audiobooks, so I wasn't particularly looking for a food book, but as I was thumbing through, I got sucked in. This is by far the shortest comprehensive nutrition book I've come across. It's also uniquely formatted. The entire book is written as a Q&A which I personally love. It made me excited to keep reading in a way tha…

Open Book Review

Open Book by Jessica Simpson 
TW for the book: Sexual assault, Discussions of Body Image/Restriction
Overall: 3.5
Thoughts: I'm just going to put it out there before I start that I am not the target audience for the book. I was just over a month old when Newlyweds hit the airwaves. I only really knew Jessica's name. I vaguely knew she sang and had recently found out she had a reality show. While those who had come up in the industry around her are still more forward to the pop culture epicenter like Christina Aguilera, Brittany Spears, or Justin Timberlake, Jessica has moved her focus to her fashion lines and priorities that took her out of the spotlight. I think that made going into her book even more interesting because I had no expectations. My mom already knew a lot of the information I shared from reading, so the book might be more illuminating for people who don't know much about her, but she seems to share quite a bit of new information.
Content wise, I thought the boo…

February 2020: A Month In Review

It's already been another month! If you're new to the blog, every month, it's my resolution to write a reflection about my reading, writing, and blogging activities for the past few weeks. I'm also going to link every post that came out this month so you can easily catch up on anything you missed over the course of the month. If you want to make sure you don't miss a single post, don't forget to give the social media accounts a follow: @readwriteandme on Twitter and @readingwritingandme on Instagram.  And if you haven't already, check out my other blog Music, Musings, and Me and podcast The Empathy Factor for more content.
I want to start off this post by thanking all of you and telling you how amazed I am at this months blog stats. They're some of the best I've seen in my almost three years of blogging. While stats are by far not the most important part of the blog, it does warm my heart and inspire me to keep putting more of myself into the blog.…

Catch and Kill Review

Catch and Kill  by Ronan Farrow 
TW: Descriptions of sexual abuse
Overall: 5 
Thoughts: Before I start on my thoughts on the book, I do want to note that I listened to this on audio and Ronan does a great job reading it. With the book reaching almost 500 pages, I would highly suggest you look into the audiobook as it makes you just want to keep reading it. Also, if you love podcasts, this is read and produced in a very similar way which I really enjoyed.
Anyway, on to the book. Previously, I read She Said which was the book published by the women at the Times who first broke the Weinstein story which I found a great complement to this book. Ronan offers another side to that story as he worked on the reporting around the same time. While She Said had a major focus on producing their specific article and diving into the women who were coming forward with allegations along with their mental process to coming forward, Ronan picks up on threads that were hinted at in She Said and goes deeper.…

The Gravity of Us Review

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
Overview: Cal thinks his life is over when his dad gets a job at NASA and an order to relocate from Brooklyn to Houston. It turns out, his life is only just beginning. Even though he's leaving the city he loves, his best friend, Deb, and his major internship with Buzzfeed, Clear Lake isn't devoid of opportunities. From his cute neighbor, Leon, and his bubbly sister, Kat, who know a thing or two about having to leave their whole lives behind, Cal realizes that maybe it won't be that bad. And, when the famous FlashFame journalist realizes how corrupt the StarWatch TV program is, he sets out to take down the reality show and save NASA. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Cal is an endearing character. Though he has his selfish moments, he tends to put a lot of other people's emotions on himself. He worries intensely about how his arguing parents are going to pretend to be the perfect family for the astronaut reality show. He worries about what will ha…