Yes Please by Amy Poehler ★★★★

Read 1/23/20 – 1/24/20

This amazingly fun read. I read this not long after If you ask me, by Betty White, and I found this to be everything that one was not. Poehler is constantly engaged with the reader. This is as much a story of her life as it is a conversation. Poehler writes in a way that completely pulls you in with he clever wit and charm. In the audiobook, that is magnified by a million, as she brings in voices of family, friends, and celebrity to really bring it home. I highly recommend you check out the audiobook. The book itself has great images too, but the audiobook is a unique performance.

I was very happy with the content. Poehler has the benefit of this being her first book while White had told us about things in past books. That means we get a good outline of her life, and then it is followed by a series of important milestones and aspects of her life. She didn’t shy away from tough topics like her divorce or other problems in her life. It was an interesting story that I enjoyed learning about. Everything flowed well; I think that is an important trait of a great memoir which can appear choppy or moment to moment.

In the end, it was like having an intimate conversation with Amy Poehler. It will likely appeal to any fan of Poehler, but even the casual reader is likely to leave with a smile. 4/5 stars

Rating Break Down
Writing Style: 8/10
Content: 8/10
Structure: 9/10
Summary: 8/10
Engagement: 10/10
Enjoyment: 9/10
Comprehension: 10/10
Pacing: 8/10
Desire to Reread: 0/10
Special: 0/10
Final Rating: 4.05/5
Note, each rating is weighted based on personal importance (see blog for more details).

If You Ask Me by Betty White ★★★½

Read 1/17/20 to 1/19/20

This is the first memoir or book by Betty White that I’ve ever read. I left it with a positive experience overall, but I don’t think I would have if I didn’t have so much love for Betty White. I could say that only Betty White fans will probably like this book, but realistically who isn’t a Betty White? She is an icon for a reason, and that is why I chose to read this book. Unfortunately, I was left wanting. She doesn’t focus on anything specific in her life; it feels as if we’re just getting a stream of consciousness about a few fun facts throughout her life, with a focus on the later years. We get a couple snippets from her early career but not a lot. I suspect that is because her earlier works touch on that part of her life.

In that sense, the book was already at a disadvantage, and then little bit of information we do get isn’t very in depth. I’m a grad student; I know how to fill a page with words, sometimes without much substance. Sadly, that is kind of what it felt like reading this book. It felt like Betty White had a goal in mind which she wanted to write this book, and she was just trying to get the material for them. I think part of it may be that she holds herself back by writing entirely by hand, rather than typing. Writing by hand is far more time consuming task. Now, that’s not to say short books and short essays aren’t beneficial; Ariel Bissett just a video where she gave a fantastic discussion of why she loves short books so much. They require focus and succinctness. What little is there often comes with extreme care.

I wish that was the case here, but I don’t think it is. There just wasn’t much substance. To be clear, I love Betty White even if I didn’t love the book. My experience with the book improved when I switched over to the audiobook. I started this book with the physical copy, but I swapped over because I was short on time and am glad I did. The audiobook added the performance of hearing Betty White talk to the content making it a much better experience overall. For what it’s worth, I doubt I would be able to get this level conversation with her on my own, so I appreciate having it here instead of nothing at all. Nevertheless, I have to review the book with an honest opinion. As a book it doesn’t really stand up against the competition. Sometimes it doesn’t have to, and this might be an example of that. 3.5/5 stars

Rating Break Down
Writing Style (7%): 8/10
Content (15%): 5/10
Structure (15%): 5/10
Summary (1%): 3/10
Engagement (5%): 10/10
Enjoyment (25%): 10/10
Comprehension (20%): 10/10
Pacing (2%): 5/10
Desire to Reread (5%): 0/10
Special (5%): 5/10
Final Rating: 3.72/5
Note, each rating is weighted based on personal importance.

How I Broke Up With My Colon by Nick Seluk ★★★☆☆

Special thanks to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me with a an electronic advanced copy (E-ARC) of this book for a fair and honest review.

Read 12/15/19 – 12/19/19

I was so delighted when the publishers approved me with the opportunity to review this. I am familiar with Nick Seluk’s comics online, so I was very intrigued by this concept. Much like the standalone comics he posts online, these are cute, funny, and surprisingly entertaining. Seluk does not disappoint as he takes every story, from the simple to the extreme, and finds a way to use his existing comic-verse to articulate these oddities of science in an entertaining way. I was also pleasantly surprised when I discovered this was nearly 200 pages long; there is an ample amount of content to enjoy with this book.

I think the biggest problem I had with the book was more to do with my own preconceptions of what I was getting. This is an anthology of medical oddities. Individually, they are great. True, some are better than others, but overall they are each fairly enjoyable. Unfortunately, when taken as a whole, I found myself losing interest. There was no overarching story-line which might have helped me stay interested, but there weren’t. It was just a bunch of random stories that got kind of boring.

That is why I have to rate this at such an average level. However, I think it is important to recognize people want different things from books. I imagine this would make a cute coffee table book, but if you’re a bookish person looking for a fun read, this does not stand out. I’ll probably still buy it when it comes out because it would make a cute conversation piece. 3.25/5 stars.