Posted by: nataliereviewsbooks | February 7, 2014

Read books!

There are books out there that can change the way you view your own world.  They can teach, inspire, and motivate you! I have been so busy reading this year!  Since I have my Kindle, iPad, and iPhone I can sync whatever I am reading across each!  I can be reading several books at once… turn off my Kindle… and hours later pick up my iPad and continue where I left off!     At home, I surround myself with books.   Just like dinner… there are times I don’t finish them, they don’t read as well as they look, or their weight scares me off.  But, I find some morsel to savor in just about every book I hold.  Since I know many of you may not be able to read from my library, this blog will give you a little taste of what I learned from some of the books I have read.

Posted by: nataliereviewsbooks | January 7, 2018

Fight Back and Win by Gloria Allred

Over a dozen years ago, Gloria Allred wrote this book, Fight Back and Win about her first 30 years fighting injustice as an attorney.  Of these 50 cases, so many of them were high profile ones. Almost every case has had impact on our lives to this day!  When she started representing clients in the mid 1970’s, I just graduated college and was entering the workforce. My job interviews included questions about whether I used birth control which was a case on hiring discrimination she fought that same year!  Women didn’t have their own credit cards, we didn’t recognize the rights of gay people, and it was still pretty much a society ruled by white men. So reading about these cases I can see how far we have come in our legal and court system to to protect our rights.

Posted by: nataliereviewsbooks | February 19, 2017

Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach


I loved reading this book. Alice Steinbach, a Pulitzer Prize inning journalist, takes off to explore Paris, London, Oxford, and Italy for 9 months in the late 1990’s.  This was before cell phones and mobile computing.  Her kids were grown and all was well with her lilfe, but she had the dream to leave behind routine life and discover what it was like to leave behind routine life and discover her identity away from her job and family.  She also wanted to live and experience these places not just as a tourist.  I have been to a few of the places she visited and pictured myself doing something like that… hmmmm?  It was so well written and a joy to turn each page.

Posted by: nataliereviewsbooks | January 16, 2017

Unforgettable by Scott Simon

fullsizerender Scott Simon’s mother was in her last days in the hospital.  This memoir brings tears to your eyes, but also is so inspiring and even funny.  He is an NPR host and journalist who tweeted during that short time and wrote this tribute to his mother where we learn about her life, her family roots, and his thoughts about life.

It was touching and well… unforgettable!


Posted by: nataliereviewsbooks | January 10, 2017

When in French by Lauren Collins


Lauren Collins, a staff writer at The New Yorker,  moved to London and married Olivier, a Frenchman in her early thirties.  Even with French language lessons, communication can still be challenging with two languages.  “A language carries within it a culture, or cultures: ways of thinking and being.”  We learn how words have different meaning in different languages and a history of words and language.  We also meet Lauren and her journey during those years.

This book was a Christmas gift from my daughter.  How fun it is to immerse yourself into a book that was a gift!

Posted by: nataliereviewsbooks | October 13, 2016

Whiskey Cove by Denise Frisino

whiskey-coveBootlegging  in Puget Sound during Prohibition?!  This was a fascinating look at the past through the eyes of a young woman, Jean, who answered an ad in the 1970’s to clean up a garden on Samish Island just south of Bellingham for Alex McKenzie.  “Mrs. McKenzie, were you really involved with rum running?”

This award winning book, Whiskey Cove, was written by a local author, Denise Frisino, a drama and writing teacher who was raised by a Seattle Times editor.  The story of Alex and Jake and the dangers and the mystery that unfolds with Jean and Nate throughout the Pacific Northwest. The story is told drop by drop with gangsters, murder, the underworld in a setting that few realized was so prevalent in the waters of Puget Sound between Washington and Canada.  Rum running was a dangerous but profitable business.  The chill of the cold salt water, the sound of the splash against the hull of the boat, the shadows at night, the suspense and the connections in a story of mystery that is filled with detail. It was a fascinating read, setting the mystery and romance with the history of this time period in Seattle.  The descriptions made me feel like I was there.. in the garden, on the beach, or in the boat.  Time to raise a glass of whiskey in cheers for this historical fiction book opening up the window to the past here in the Puget Sound.

Posted by: nataliereviewsbooks | October 13, 2016

Chasing the Perfect by Natalia Ilyin

book-chasing-the-perfectI was cruising down the aisles of the library looking for something different to read when I happened to pick out this book, Chasing the Perfect.  It was filed under the drawing and arts section… But, I think it belongs in memoirs!   The author has almost the same name and lives in the Pacific Northwest.  It was part memoir and part thoughts on modernist design.  I found it very interesting.  I’ve always thought modern design was a bit cold.  It does strive for perfection and a crisp and clean feeling.  Modern design, though it originated almost a hundred years ago, continues to define much of our life.  From the plate we might have on the dinner table to the skyscrapers that form the city skyline there is a modernistic feel throughout our world.  I am surrounded with design that fits my own sense of the world.  The author, Natalia Ilyin, writes each chapter so we learn about her life as a designer in New York to how she was planted out here in the Northwest. I love memoir because it is a peek into the real life world of another person.

Posted by: nataliereviewsbooks | March 22, 2016

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown


I sat in my living room watching crews rowing out in front on the lake followed by the coach with the bull horn while I read this book.  The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown is quite popular here in Washington as the crew from UW won gold at the 1936 Olympics.  While reading we are taken back to places all over Washington state in the early 1900’s.

The descriptions and detail about everything from the locations, rowing specs, and the emotions of the characters made you imagine like you were part of the story. You could feel the struggle of the boys, coaches and boat builder and find yourself cheering for them, and especially Joe Rantz, to win each race.

My grandparents from Chicago went to the 1936 Olympics!  So I was fascinated at all the historical detail and I could imagine the Germany that they saw. You could feel yourself walking down the streets and it was like a report from CNN about Hitlers plan for showing the world Germany.  On the train my grandmother was harassed by an officer because he was concerned about the magazine Ladies Home Journal that she was reading. I appreciated learning so much about the Olympics and how Germany was transforming.

The research that went into this book was extensive.  It was amazing how a story that can be told in 5 minutes could be written in such a long narrative that totally captivates the reader from beginning to end.


Posted by: nataliereviewsbooks | February 7, 2016

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

I just loved this book on tape as I drove daily for work.  I thought it was a bit longer that it needed to be becauseHarold Fry I kept thinking that Harold might never reach his destination but I still listened intently.

A man in his sixties in a disappearing marriage gets a note from a past co-worker who admits she has cancer. Though he hasn’t seen her in 20 years, he decides to walk over 500 miles to see her in the hospice writing to her asking her to wait for  him. We learn about his marriage, his son, and his friendship with Queenie.

Many people carry secrets and unexpressed grief that affects their entire lives. I liked this because the story slowly unfolds … through the memories of Harold as he walks and I seemed to walk every step with him

Posted by: nataliereviewsbooks | February 6, 2016

My Favorite Things by Maira Kalman

This was a treasure of a book filled with over 50 paintings by the author detailing objects that the Cooper Hemy fav thingswitt National Design Museum has in their personal collection. Her illustrations of simple, historical, and quirky objects along with a bit of her memories makes this a book you want to pick up again and again.

We are all surrounded by “stuff” but she looks at objects that are simple and often ordinary.

Her books are full of art, but are a sort of memoir because the photos tell a story.

Girls Standing on Lawns was a little treasure also!

I bought her book Pursuit of Happiness for a friend!


Posted by: nataliereviewsbooks | January 23, 2016

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem


Several years ago I sat in the audience soaking in every word as Gloria Steinem was interviewed at Town Hall in Seattle.  She is an icon for the women movement that gave me opportunities I didn’t have when I was young.

Gloria Steinem made a difference in my world and the life of women everywhere. Few of us will ever have that great of an effect on the world!  Gloria was fueled for passion for what is right for women and minorities. This memoir made me realize how far we have come. But I also learned about how she listened, engaged, and pushed for reforms starting when she was young working on political campaigns. I just got to know her better by reading her memoir.

When my daughter was born only 10% of those in US Congress were women…. Made me think of changes that have happened in my lifetime and not that long ago. I learned about how her parents affected her, the behind the scenes on political campaigns, and the many other women that made a difference. I had a lump on my throat as I read her stories starting from her volunteering at a young age.  I salute this woman and am grateful for all she did.

Older Posts »