Growing up and figuring out who you are

Guy Branum’s My Life as a Goddess was funny and charming and wonderful. It’s his memoir about how his childhood was awful, how it screwed him up, how depression probably runs in his family, and how he eventually became happy. Or at least happy-adjacent.

To a degree, growing up is about figuring out who you are and how you fit into the world. His story is that, but on steroids. He extra doesn’t fit in and takes an extra long time to figure out that he’s gay (or at least that’s the impression you get reading the book) and it resonates. I mean, it’s his story and it’s specific, but it’s specific in that way that makes it also feel very relatable and like everyone goes through something similar, if not this specific story.

And since I like a good YA story – also about growing up and figuring out who you are – this one is also good. Very funny and highly recommended.

Another Sci Fi Classic

What’s it about?
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an absurdist take on the end of the world. It’s also a sci-fi classic. There’s been a movie version and a radio play. The second and third books in the series were good, the fourth book was decent, and the fifth one is eminently skippable. But those aren’t this book. This book is about Arthur Dent. His house gets torn down and then the Earth gets blown up. His friend Ford turns out to be an alien who can help him get off the planet seconds before the disaster. They end up having a big adventure, heading off to a planet that builds other planets – Magrathea. There’s also a depressed robot. You know, for laughs.

Why should you read it? 
I’ve read THGTTG so many times, I can’t articulate anymore what makes it good. I can tell you that this time we listened to it. We were road-tripping to Yosemite for a vacation, and I found an audiobook version read by Douglas Adams himself. I grabbed it, figuring my eleven-year-old was ready. She thought it was weird and funny, and promptly grabbed the book off the shelf when we got home. (This is a parenting win, in my book.) The tale is a classic, and the author did a wonderful job reading it.

A Modern Superhero



What’s it about?
Tigerman is about war and superheroes and what if the Iraq and Afghanistan wars bred a superhero from the British troops? What on earth would he be like? Why would he be created? What does that say about Western society? Plot-wise, there’s a soldier, suffering from PTSD-lite, who’s been stationed on a make-believe island near Yemen that is about to environmentally self-destruct. There’s an attack on a local cafe, and a boy asks the soldier to avenge the cafe owner. How does he do that under the nose of a local UN force, and what are the ramifications?

Why should you read it?
Because Nick Harkaway is a pretty awesome author. He’s got the right amount of swagger and touch for narrating international politics. (John le Carre is, literally, his father. It runs in the family.) His stories are funny and touching and in this book he has a sentence where he uses the f-word as every major part of speech. I laughed out loud a number of times. Recommended.