Review: The Fangirl Life

Fangirl Life

  • Author: Kathleen Smith
  • ISBN: 9781101983690
  • Genre: Non-Fiction/Self-Help
  • Pages: 240

You’d probably know a “fangirl” when you see one, but the majority stay relatively closeted due to the stigma of being obsessed with fictional characters. However, these obsessions are sometimes the fangirl’s solutions for managing stress, anxiety, and even low self-esteem. Fangirling is often branded as behavior young women should outgrow and replace with more adult concerns. Written by a proud fangirl, The Fangirl Life is a witty testament to the belief that honoring your imagination can be congruous with good mental health, and it’s a guide to teach fangirls how to put their passion to use in their own lives.
By showing you how to translate obsession into personal accomplishment while affirming the quirky, endearing qualities of your fangirl nature, The Fangirl Life will help you become your own ultimate fangirl. – Goodreads synopsis

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Fangirl Life was not written with my age group in mind.  It’s targeted for a considerably younger audience.  However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t get anything out of it.  In fact, it was one of the best books for me as I transitioned from college to working full-time and handling it more like the younger me who flailed through everything than the BAMF I had learned how to be as I settled into my 30’s.
Looking back to what happened when I transitioned from the Army to life in college, I wish I had had The Fangirl Life then, too, because somehow, I forgot everything I learned when I was going to therapy.  Smith reminded me of all those techniques I had learned to handle life as an adult, but she also taught me that my fangirling didn’t have to be separate from the rest of me or from those techniques.  Being a fangirl is who I am, and my life works best when I accept it, own it, and apply it to the areas of my life that I want to improve.
The best thing that The Fangirl Life gave me?  In an office full of people I didn’t think I had anything in common with, I found out that one of my coworkers has a major crush on Captain America.  While Bruce Banner is more my type, we’ve had several fun conversations about all things Avengers; something that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t let my fangirl flag flutter in the breeze.

Review: Furiously Happy


  • Author: Jenny Lawson
  • ISBN: 9781447238355
  • Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir
  • Pages: 276

I used one of my Audible credits to get this book after listening to Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.
According to Jenny: “Some people might think that being ‘furiously happy’ is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he’s never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos.”
FURIOUSLY HAPPY is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it’s about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn’t need a bit more of that? – Goodreads synopsis

I enjoyed Furiously Happy even more than her first book.  I didn’t think that was possible, but apparently it is.  This book also solidified me as a fan of Jenny Lawson.  I’m a religious reader of her blog and follower of her Twitter and Instagram accounts.  I got ridiculously excited when I found out she’s coming out with a new book, which just happens to be a coloring book.  I pre-ordered it as soon as pay day, and I was actually anxious about not having the money to pre-order as soon as it was available.  As if, somehow, it would disappear before I could claim my future copy of it?
For the first time, I’ve read of someone else who got so angry about her brain chemistry messing up or getting in the way of her living her life the way she wants to that she decided to give it the finger.  As she says in the first chapter, being “furiously happy” isn’t a cure, it’s a weapon.  It’s also the realization that being “crazy” is ok.  If there is such a thing as the perfect book for just about anyone suffering from Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, chronic medical conditions, phobias, etc., this is the book.  It’s an amazing and wonderful reminder that humor and accepting yourself as you are is the best way to get through the craziness of life.
One day I will own Furiously Happy in paperback so I can re-read with highlighter and pen in hand and also read out loud all the passages that I want the Boyfriend to hear.  Until then, I’ll just re-listen to bits and pieces of the audiobook whenever I need a reminder to be furiously happy.

Review: The World's Strongest Librarian


  • Author: Josh Hanagarne
  • ISBN: 9781592407873
  • Publisher: Avery
  • Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir
  • Pages: 291

An inspiring story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette’s found salvation in books and weight-lifting.
The World’s Strongest Librarian illuminates the mysteries of this little-understood disorder, as well as the very different worlds of strongman training and modern libraries. With humor and candor, this unlikely hero traces his journey to overcome his disability — and navigate his wavering Mormon faith — to find love and create a life worth living. – Goodreads synopsis

Awhile back, Audible was having a sale, and I got The World’s Strongest Librarian for less than $5.  Had I not been looking for inexpensive audiobooks to help me get through my daily commute, I might not have ever come across this gem of a memoir.
Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have even picked this one up if it wasn’t about a librarian.  I’m not Mormon, or Christian for that matter, and though Tourette’s is an interesting disability, I didn’t think it was interesting enough to warrant reading a book about it.  Well, I was wrong.  First of all, his struggles with faith resonated with me because I was raised Catholic, and while I eventually found what I was looking for in Buddhism, the run of emotions, thoughts, and questions Hanagarne experiences throughout the book were similar to my own.  Secondly, I understood in a very clinical way what Tourette’s is, but I never thought about how it could affect every area of a person’s life.  While it’s a physical disability, it seems to have the same stigma attached to it as the majority of mental disabilities.  Just as many people ask those dealing with Depression why can’t they just be happy, I get the impression that the same people probably want to ask why can’t you just stop doing [insert physical/vocal tick here].
To me, this book proves that having a support network of family and/or friends is one of the most important elements in determining how well someone handles just about anything that life can throw your way.  It also proves that books and libraries are just as important because ultimately we each have to find our own way and what works for us.  What better place than the library to find the resources to do that?  If you need convincing, check out The World’s Strongest Librarian.

Review: My Life on the Road


  • Author: Gloria Steinem
  • ISBN: 9780679456209
  • Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir
  • Pages: 276

I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t often read non-fiction, and I’m even less likely to read a memoir.  However, I’ve considered myself to be a Feminist for most of my life, and when I saw Gloria Steinem’s new book on Netgalley, I had to request it.   Beyond a few minor details, I don’t know much about her, and I’ve never read any of her other books.

She’s an excellent writer and story teller.  That alone makes My Life on the Road worth reading.  She’s led a life of travel to the point that I think a better title might be “The Road: My Life.”  So, if you’re looking for a good armchair travel experience, this book is it.  Though the writing style is considerably different, I would say the book as a whole is similar to Henry Rollins’ Smile, You’re Traveling.  The only issue I had with My Life on the Road was Steinem’s very biased portrayal of political events.  Not having known much about a couple of the events she wrote about, I later learned through some research that, though she was factually accurate, she didn’t give the full story, and her incomplete version was a bit misleading.  With that being said, I wasn’t expecting a bias-free book.  This is still a memoir, and, therefore, mostly her personal opinions and observations.  Besides, when have politics ever been unbiased?  Ultimately, the result is that I became interested in learning more about the subjects she discussed, and that’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.

A lot of celebrity memoirs have been released within the past couple of years, and it seems to be the new trend.  Even if you’re not a Feminist, but you love a bit of armchair travel, this one is an excellent choice.