Ashlie’s #CBR5 Review #19: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors and she does not disappoint in this novel. At this point I read it over a month ago so I’m struggling to remember it actually. It was solid, but not one of my favorites from her because I didn’t find it as moving, and it didn’t stick with me like many of her other works. I think it jut because I couldn’t relate as closely to the subject matter, but it’s a great read.

This is the story of Taylor and her journey to adulthood and understanding in the real world. She lives a gritty existence in Kentucky but want to set out on her own, in her own frontier, and just be her on person, and branch out from her small town life. She falls into being a parent and happens upon caring people along the way that change her, and she in turn changes them. This novel is filled with strong and complex female characters which I am always excited to find. I also didn’t realize that this novel was the beginning of a series, so I’m excited to find and read the rest

Unlike a lot of what I have read of Kingsolver, this was a tale of hope and triumph. Although there were several devastating circumstances and situations, it was overall uplifting and a book that upon its conclusion left a smile on my face.

SJfromSJ’s #CBR5 Review #3: Girl Walks into a Bar… by Rachel Dratch

3 girl walks barHave you wondered what happened to Rachel Dratch? Why she’s no longer on 30 Rock? What’s she’s been up to? This memoir will give you a delightful look into her life predominantly post-SNL.

Many know about the casting switch involving Dratch on 30 Rock (For those that don’t: She played Jenna in the original taping of the pilot, only to be replaced by Jane Krakowski before the show even aired). If you’re looking for a bitter and gossipy tell-all, you will not get it from her. She discusses the situation with grace but more so to placate the curiosity of the reader (and random people who ask her on the street), trying to shrug it off quickly as, “That’s show business!”

In fact, her entire history from grade school, through college, her sketch comedy beginnings, and up to her end with her good friend’s sitcom takes up roughly one-quarter of the book. This is not a memoir about her career; this is a memoir about what was happening while that…wasn’t. Continue reading