Tag Archives: memoir


26 May


Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please by Amy Poehler was one of those delightful surprises you didn’t know you had surprised yourself with until you’re in the middle of it and you can’t go back to better appreciate this gift you’ve given yourself.

I have heard from lots of friends that I “absolutely had to” read this book. So I resisted, naturally. Working as a librarian I come in contact with the “IT” books all the time. You know the ones…..the books that everyone is reading right now. The book everyone is talking about. And because I’ve worked in libraries for so long I’ve learned to discern between “popular” and “good.” Some books are popular, entertaining but not really anything important. Other books are popular, life-changing, and entertaining. And even fewer still are popular, meaningful, life-changing, and full of depth and understanding of the human condition.

So when I kept hearing about this book I made the assumption that it was just popular and entertaining.

I was so, so wrong.

First things first: I read this book as an audiobook from Audible. I checked it out from the library with every intention of reading this book with my eyes instead of my ears but life being what it is, I had to listen to it.

Amy Poehler’s narration was beautiful. I loved hearing her speak her words and it gave me the sense that she’s a natural writer. Some writers don’t read their words very well as if the way they write is at odds with their true inner voice. That’s not true with Poehler. It feels like her written words are complementary to her inner voice and I love that about her.

This book came out around the time I had heard about her divorce from her husband so I had worried this was a “divorce book.” But it wasn’t. Poehler takes time to speak about her painful divorce but she doesn’t dwell on it and the reader and the book are better for it. Poehler’s love for her boys is contagious and made me want children of my own as soon as possible and her devotion to her craft was inspiring. It made me want to quit everything and write my book and do all of the things i’ve always dreamed about doing.

Poehler asks us to be kind to ourselves. To be patient and loving with ourselves. This is a book to read at any moment in your life: a happy time, a sad time, a time of transition, a time of utter boredom. For any moment. I am so glad that I was invited into Poehler’s life for just a little while and so glad she shared my commute with me for awhile.


“Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier.”
Amy Poehler, Yes Please


When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams

24 Jun

I look to books for answers a lot. Maybe I should be looking to the Bible you might say or, maybe I should be looking to God for answers. When I say that I look to books for answers I mean that I’m looking to God for answers. God works through people so why can’t he work through people’s writings in books? 

While I was working on my MA I wrote my thesis on the dead and on birds. So it only made sense that when I was walking through the new bookstore in town before Mother’s Day (a terrible day when you’ve lost your Mother) and saw the book “When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice” by Terry Tempest Williams, I stopped and browsed. When I discovered that this book was also about her own Mother’s death, I bought it.

I loved this book. Williams writes about birds, her Mother, her Grandmother, conservationism, how she met her husband, and her grief when her Mother died. It’s a lot to write about and sometimes I felt like maybe this could have been split into two books (her family and her conservationism) but, I understand that when you talk about your Mother and your experience of her dying, your entire identity is brought to the forefront. 

What I also appreciated about this book is Williams working through the mystery of why her Mother bought notebooks but never filled them. Williams muses on all the reasons why her mother didn’t fill them and what those notebooks represented to her Mother but you get the feeling that these things are more what the notebooks represent to Williams’ perception of her Mother and that’s okay. 

I was expecting to read something to help me on my journey through grieving and mourning and this book delivered. To go further I would also recommend this book to bird lovers, feminists, and conservationists. Williams gets to your heart in a poetic and honest way and you can’t help but want to roam out in the forest somewhere looking for a bird and looking for yourself.


Quotes I loved:

“What is voice? I will say it is so: The first voice I heard belonged to my mother. It was her voice I listened to from the womb….I will say it is so: My mother’s voice is a lullaby in my cells. When I am still, my body feels her breathing.” pg. 17

“To be read. To be heard. To be seen. I want to be read, I want to be heard. I don’t need to be seen. To write requires an ego, a belief that what you say matters. Writing also requires an aching curiosity leading you to discover, uncover, what is gnawing at your bones. Words have a weight to them. ” pg 47/48

“Facing the death of one’s mother puts things in acute perspective. I did not have the luxury of fighting with my mom as other friends did with theirs…A rupture was occurring in me.What mattered most was time with family, time in nature, and time with myself.” pg. 55

“Good friends were traded for good reads. Books became my moral grounding, my way of finding a philosophy that comforted me when church did not.” pg. 55

“Reading has not only changed my life but saved it. The right books picked at the right times–especially the one that scares us, threatens to undermine all we have been told, the one that contains forbidden thoughts–these are the books that become Eve’s apples.” pg 97