Written by Lauryn Smith
Memoirs are not usually my thing—especially celebrity memoirs. The story always seems the same. Modest beginnings, anything-but-modest endings and a mix of hard work, faith and luck in between. Cliché.
Naturally I was skeptical about singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles’s “Sounds Like Me,” a book I only learned about when Reviewer Beth Winters had me tag along to a lecture/book signing that was part of Bareilles’s book tour. During the lecture, I learned that Bareilles is delightfully down-to-earth, spunky and relatable. While reading her book, I learned that her writing demonstrates these same traits.
It is worth saying that I did not know much about Bareilles or her music prior to reading “Sounds Like Me,” but I think that was good for me. I had no preconceived notions about Bareilles or her story, and by the end of the book, I possessed a degree of familiarity, which prompted voluntary exploration into her music and ideals, exploration catalyzed solely by pure interest.
I went in with no expectations, and I came out searching for her albums on Spotify.
Written by Lauryn Smith
Everyone knows Jekyll and Hyde. They have been portrayed everywhere, from Broadway’s stage to PBS’s Arthur. The story of Jekyll and Hyde is unprecedented, a tale depicting an omnipresent internal struggle—good versus evil.
Despite its spread, it was not until recently that I actually read Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Heck, I listened to the audiobook before finally venturing into text itself. When they are hanging out in your “to read” pile, Stevenson’s stories can be daunting. Sure, his works are classics. But they are also from the nineteenth century, so the language is not the most accessible to modern readers. Or so I thought. We will talk about that in a moment, but first, let’s get familiar with the story.
Described as both a thriller and an allegory, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is an anecdote that demonstrates the duality of man. Predominantly told from the viewpoint of the honorable lawyer Gabriel John Utterson, the story depicts the struggle of Henry Jekyll, a highly respected doctor with suppressed desires that go against public mores. A man of chemistry, Jekyll concocts a potion that he uses to transform himself, to free his repressed, more wicked self, whom he calls Edward Hyde.
Written by Beth Winters
Yes, it has been a while. But there have been so many new books to choose from that I could barely choose one! No worries, though. I picked. I read. And I… disliked.
I just finished reading “Passenger” by Alexandra Bracken, a book I really wanted to like. “Passenger” has a premise that I thought I was sure to love. It involves time travel, pirates, adventure, musicians—what more could I ask for?
However, so many parts of this book are not what I expected, and not in a good way.
“Passenger” is the first book in a duology. I know that the first book in any series needs to facilitate world-building. That said, though, there is a little too much world-building in this one.
The beginning of Bracken’s story is simple. A musician goes to a concert. A musician ends up time traveling. A musician demands answers. The part where said musician, Etta Spencer, demands answers is about 30 pages in. Then, it feels as though you are reading through 40 pages that detail how Etta and another girl do nothing more than answer each other’s questions.
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