The Round House

UnknownThe Round House
Louise Erdrich
© 2012

WARNING: This is not a book for the faint of heart.

In this book’s Afterword, author Louise Erdrich shares some grave statistics: “1 in 3 Native women will be raped in her lifetime (and that figure is certainly higher as Native women often do not report rape); 86 percent of rapes and sexual assaults upon Native women are perpetrated by non-Native men; few are prosecuted.”

This book is a work of fiction based on those gruesome facts.  But it resonates with the power and emotion of reality. Continue reading


The other day, I had another enlightening conversation with my husband about books.  One of these days, I’ll learn my lesson.

My husband and I are not the type of couple that leads very separate lives.  In fact, we are kind of sickly inseparable.  And I know everything about him (or so I thought):

  • I know his favorite TV show (Breaking Bad).
  • I know his favorite food (pizza).
  • I know his favorite hotel (The Wynn Las Vegas).
  • I know his favorite restaurant (Blue Hill at Stone Barns). Continue reading

Coming Clean: A Memoir

16218778Coming Clean: A Memoir
Kimberly Rae Miller
© 2013

Anyone who has dropped by my house unannounced knows that I am clean.  Like really, really, ridiculously clean.  I’ve been called anal before.  And people joke that I have some OCD tendencies.  I’m fine with all of that.  I am, without question, a neat-freak.

It is likely because I’m so clean that I have a weird fascination with hoarding.  When Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things came out a couple of years ago, I read it immediately (Rating: 2/5).

I also used to watch A & E’s Hoarders religiously.  I would stare at the screen, eyes wide and mouth agape.  But I had to stop during the third season.  What had once been a little confusing and fascinating turned wildly disturbing. Continue reading

Seeking Guest Bloggers!

I will be taking a two-week sabbatical from the blog in late-September/early-October. But I don’t want radio silence while I’m gone!

That’s where you (yes, YOU!) come in. I am looking for a few guest bloggers.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • To spice things up (and make things easier for you), I’d like each guest review to be of the guest blogger’s favorite book.
  • A typical IKWYSR review is about 700 words. That’s the approximate length toward which a guest blogger should be aiming.
  • My preference would be for the guest reviews to be similarly formatted to the usual IKWYSR reviews (title/author/copyright, picture of the book cover, some stuff about the book, who should read it, etc.), but this is definitely open to discussion if you’re feeling especially creative.
  • I need the reviews no later than September 15. (That’s almost a month. You can write 700 words in a month. I promise you.)
  • I will do all the formatting of the reviews on the blog and make sure everything is ready for publication. All you need to do is send me the review in Word format with any pictures, videos, or hyperlinks you want included.
  • I will schedule the guest posts for publication before I leave for vacation, and then let each guest blogger know on what day his/her post will go live. It will then be the guest blogger’s responsibility to hype him/herself appropriately (by sharing a link on IKWYSR’s Facebook page, on his/her personal Facebook page, on Twitter, etc.) when the post goes live.

If you have any questions or are interested in doing a guest post, please let me know by sending me a message here. THANK YOU!!!

UPDATE: My September/October guest-blogger slots have been secured.  BUT if you are still interested in doing a guest post about your favorite book, please contact me.  Assuming the first round of the Favorites Series is a success, I will do more in the future!

The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now
Tim Tharp
© 2008

Today’s post is part book review, part movie review.  It’s a mookie review!

I always get my hopes up for movie adaptations of books I liked.  And I usually get let down.  Movie adaptations are tough to get right.  First of all, if I’ve read a book before I see the movie, I go into the movie with expectations (and lots of ’em).  And the movie interpretations are never as good as the images I’ve created in my mind while reading.  Some examples:

Katniss Everdeen’s girl-on-fire dress was not as dramatic as it should have been (nor was her chariot costume, for that matter.  Or the Capitol costumes, generally).

(photo from

Continue reading

Bad Behavior

Unknown-1Bad Behavior
Mary Gaitskill
© 1988

A couple weeks ago, I saw Bad Behavior on Flavorwire’s What to Read While You’re Missing Your Favorite TV Shows.  The list says you should read Revolutionary Road if you’re missing Mad Men, so I trusted it.  Foolishly.

Here’s Flavorwire’s caption for Bad Behavior, which it suggests you read if you’re missing Girls: “Look, the girls of Girls wish they were the girls of Bad Behavior — who are twisted and confused and sexy and discontent in the most piercing and authentic of ways.”  I immediately added it to my to-read list.

This weekend, I took a jaunt to Vegas for a bachelorette party.  I needed something to read on the plane that wasn’t too brainy or deep, was a quick read, and was appropriate for the weekend.  This short-story collection seemed to fit the bill.  I mean, just look at the cover.  It screams hot mess. Continue reading


Max Barry
© 2013

I wrote a fantastic introduction to this review, telling about my visit many years ago to a certain governmental agency to discuss job opportunities.  But as I was rereading the intro (and patting myself on the back for a job well done), I had a vague recollection that, prior to that visit, I might have signed some sort of confidentiality agreement.  So, in the interest of self-preservation, I decided it would be prudent to erase the entire magical introduction.

Which is why, dear reader, the burden of the introduction now falls on you!  Please use your imagination to create your own interesting, entertaining intro (the premise has been provided above).  Fill it with austerity and secrecy and, for good measure, just a little bit of silliness.  The tone should be light-hearted, a little mocking, and (of course) funny.  Make sure it’s topical.  And then, please have it transition smoothly into this discussion of the book: Continue reading

The Tiger’s Wife

The Tiger’s Wife
Téa Obreht
© 2011

I had high hopes for this book after reading the prologue.  In it, the narrator describes her earliest memory: an “altercation” she witnessed during one of her weekly visits to the zoo with her grandfather.  Listen to the first three and a half minutes of this audiobook excerpt, which describe her memory of that tangle between a zookeeper and an angry tiger:

Continue reading

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
Adelle Waldman
© 2013

I’m sure you’ve noticed: hipsters are ubiquitous.

I live in a true hipster haven.  A short walk from our house, we have the doughnut (not donut, obviously) hipsters right next door to the craft-beer hipsters.  Hipsters are everywhere.  And they come in every variety imaginable.

IMG_0529My all-time personal favorite kind of hipster is the ice-cream hipster.  For me, ice cream is the perfect food.  I could (and often do) eat it every single day.  But my love of ice cream pales in comparison to the passion exhibited by the ice-cream hipster my husband and I encountered at Salt & Straw in Portland, Oregon.

Salt & Straw is a hipster establishment of the highest order.   Here’s how they describe themselves on their website: Continue reading

#tbt, Part 1: Six Books That Made Me Love Reading

It’s #tbt!  (That’s Throwback Thursday, for those of you who aren’t up on the teen hashtag lingo.)  I am not one for posting awkward photos of myself in glasses and braces and tight-rolled jeans . . . but I am going to dedicate this post to some blasts from the past.


My brother and me with our library books

A lot of adults who love reading have loved books for as long as they can remember.  That is certainly the case for me.  I have great childhood memories of books.  My mom took my brother, John, and me to the library once a week.  Our age dictated the number of books we were allowed to borrow (when I was four, I could check out four books).  My parents read to me every night (and day, for that matter), and I loved it.  They are both great read-aloud readers (you know the kind–different voices, good changes in inflection, etc.).  Even when I was a little, bitty kid, I thought books were great.

So, in honor of #tbt, I’m devoting this post to some of my favorites from way back.  In no particular order, here are six amazing books you should read to your little kids (or your grandkids or your nieces and nephews or your friends’ kids): Continue reading