Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

My Own Two Feet by Beverly Cleary January 23, 2016

Filed under: adult biography,adult memoir,Uncategorized — Bethany @ 12:27 pm
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My Own Two FeetMy Own Two Feet is the second part of the autobiography of beloved author Beverly Cleary. The story begins in the 1930’s as Ms. Cleary is leaving her home in Portland, Oregon to attend college in California. Readers learn about her college experiences, her struggles to fund her education in a post-Depression economy, her relationship with her parents, her early career as a librarian, and her beginnings as a children’s book author.

This book was absolutely fascinating! I loved the Ramona books growing up and have found that they’ve stood the test of time. Ms. Cleary says that she was inspired to write children’s books when, as a young librarian, a group of boys asked her for books about kids like them and she found there was nothing to give them. I really liked reading about her life as a female college student in the 30’s. She was really quite brave and as independent as she could be during an era where young women went from being under the wing of their parents to their husbands. It was also interesting to learn that librarians now face many of the same dilemmas as they did over 75 years ago. Her story of being assigned to further destroy ratty books to justify throwing them away under the watchful eye of tax payers made me laugh. I would recommend this book to adults, especially librarians, who want to know about this strong and interesting woman.

5 out of 5 stars


Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard July 19, 2012

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President:  President James A. Garfield is not as well known as Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy, but the story of his assassination is just as dramatic.  Discover how Garfield became president, the madman Charles Guiteau who shot him, and the doctors who unwittingly took Garfield’s life.  This  is a tale of politics, history, human strength and character, invention, genius, and ignorance.

This was a long but fascinating story of James A. Garfield.  I knew very little of this president, but he had an interesting life and an excruciating death.  His peril effected several important inventions from which we continue to benefit.  The book was well-written, both informative and entertaining.  I would highly recommend the audiobook; the reader, Paul Michael, did an amazing job bringing the drama and suspense to life.

5 out of 5 stars


I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley November 13, 2011

Have you ever worried about what people would find going through your house in the event of your untimely demise?  Sloane Crosley has.  What would her mother think about her unmade bed, her unwashed dishes, the drawer of plastic toy ponies underneath her kitchen sink?

I Was Told There’d Be Cake is a series of essays, in the same style as David Sedaris or Chelsea Handler.

One essay recounts when an old high school classmate contacts Crosley out of the blue to ask her to be in her wedding.  Having never been in a wedding before, she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. “Weddings are like the triathlon of female friendship: the Shower, the Bachelorette Party, and the Main Event.  It’s the Iron Woman and most people never make it through.

Another describes a time after college in which Crosley volunteers for theNaturalHistoryMuseum.  What seems like a romantic experience surrounded by butterflies quickly turns into an uninformed, stuttering series of incorrect answers to kids’ questions and a final encounter with the horrifying Atlas moth.  In her attempt to escape this ill-fated volunteer assignment, she accidentally harbors a stowaway butterfly and must decide what to do with it.

This book made me laugh out loud.  Crosley says the things we are all thinking but don’t say out loud for fear of exposing the bad people we are.


It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather B. Armstrong

It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita is the story of Heather Armstrong’s brave journey into childbearing.  Armstrong called her father after her first date with Jon and told him this was the man she was going to marry.  A few years later, they decided to have a baby.  This meant sacrifice- she had to give up things she really liked- beer, caffeine… and antidepressants.  After 9 long months of pregnancy (which are described in great deal), baby Leta is born.  What follows is Armstrong’s immense love for her child and a bout with postpartum depression so intense she checks herself into a mental hospital.  This is a hilarious and touching story of what it’s really like to have a baby and the changes it makes to your life.

As soon I finished this book, I went to my parents’ house, handed this book to my mom, and said, “Read this and tell me if it’s true.  If so, I’m never having kids.”  The book both made me laugh and terrified me to the core.  It’s not for the easily offended, but if you do like it, Heather Armstrong has a blog with more observations on day-to-day life at


I Love You, Miss Huddleston by Philip Gulley

Filed under: adult biography,humor — Bethany @ 11:38 pm
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I Love You, Miss Huddleston and Other Inappropriate Longings of My Indiana Childhood takes us back to the childhood of Philip Gulley.  He grew up inDanville,Indiana in the 1970’s, the fourth of five children.  His father was a “bug spray salesman” and his mother watched out for the kids, warning them from such dangers as riding their bikes down Main Street and carnival rides.  He grew up Catholic; his feeling in the church was “a cluelessness tinged with a vague fear” and did odd jobs for the Quaker widow next door.  He recalls going trick-or-treating with the goal of hitting every house in town, a long distance bike ride with his friends involving little food and lots of blood, and a big crush on his sixth grade teacher.

This book had me laughing out loud at the antics of boys growing up in theMidwestand the hilarious observations of daily life.


My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler January 14, 2011

Filed under: adult biography,humor,nonfiction — Bethany @ 8:53 pm
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The title of this book says it all; My Horizontal Life is a collection of stories about sex and one-night stands.  Chelsea Handler recollects her mistakes and triumphs in a world of drinking, dating, and sleeping around.  Amidst all of the funny and cringe-worthy stories are Handler’s insights on friendship and growing up.

This was a light, fun read.  Readers will walk away feeling satisfied and a little dirty.  Be prepared to laugh out loud.


Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

Filed under: adult biography,humor,nonfiction — Bethany @ 8:30 pm
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Sh*t My Dad Says is a collection of stories about author Justin Halpern’s time with his dad.  Interjected between each story are snippets of his dad’s wisdom and advice.   Sam Halpern reminds me of my own father-  always knowing how to handle the situation and quick to advise when asked a question- only with a lot more swearing.

This was a quick, fun read.  It was easy to see why it’s a New York Times bestseller.  Not for the easily offended.



Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal December 23, 2010

Filed under: adult biography — Bethany @ 1:23 am
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“I have not survived against all odds.  I have not lived to tell.  I have not witnessed the extraordinary.  This is my story.”  These words lay it all out from the very beginning.  Amy’s life is ordinary; her writing style is not.  This is a biography of sorts, formatted like an encyclopedia.  Entries are in the form of charts, lists, and short paragraphs and are categorized by headings such as Famous, How You Know You Are and Stupid Slow Driver.  A peculiar but entertaining read.


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