Guest Resident Blogger’s Book #33 of 2016

Redneck Woman by Gretchen Wilson 62540
A Book Written by a Celebrity

I’ve been wanting to read this for years. Years. My uncle has always said that was “my song” (never mind I don’t keep my Christmas lights up all year long, details, schmetails). So yeah, I sing loud & proud with her when I hear any of her tunes on the radio. I suppose as far as celebrities go, she is one that many people of my “culture”, if you will, can identify with.

I figured I’d enjoy the book, even if it didn’t have a huge impact on my life. I’m sorry to say that it was a struggle from beginning to end. And for me to say I struggled brings on some guilt…Gretchen really struggled in every aspect of her life. She was on the move constantly growing up- from Southern Illinois to Miami & back again so many times I lost count. From someone who attended the same school from kindergarten all the way through graduation, I simply couldn’t imagine that kind of instability. The only steadfast thing was her grandmother, who was so poor they ate possum three times a week. Her great dream involved poisoning her one legged alcoholic husband & taking her dog to a spa. It about broke my heart reading about all her trials! Gretchen followed right along with what was normal: dropping out of school at 15, working as a bartender, turned into a full blown alcoholic long before her 21st birthday.

It was all too much.

What could have been a heart wrenching drama was written in a language suitable for fifth graders (not the content, mind you) & about as colorful as cardboard. It was almost as if she was trying to squeeze in all the names of people who have given her any sort of encouragement over the years but unfortunately she didn’t include much in the way of specific details that would have brought the story to life. Interspersed throughout were lyrics to several of her songs–repeatedly. She needed a better ghostwriter & editor, both. She says herself, “The more of yourself you put in the music-warts and all-the greater the chance that the audience will take that music into their own hearts.” Well, the same goes for writing. The book lacked depth, heart, & soul, all of which I feel GW has in abundance.

Gretchen makes no apologies for what she is: a hardworkin’, good-time-havin’, ballad bawlin’, redneck woman. She loves her daughter unconditionally & music to her core. She is persistent & stubborn & hard. And it’s no wonder. It ain’t the years, it’s the miles. And the hours spent in a bar, most of them past the witching hour.

I wondered what she’s doing now, ten years after her two years of fame, but couldn’t find much. Hope she’s surrounded by 27’s & is at peace with her life. I hope she’s still writing songs. Because an author, she ain’t.

Amy Johnson, Guest Blogger in Residence 2016
Book #33 of 52

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Guest Resident Blogger’s Book #32 of 2016

American Thighs by Jill Conner BrownethL31D66NT

A Book Written by a Comedian

So, seriously, you’ve never heard of The Sweet Potato Queens? Girl. You’ve GOT to get on board. They only represent everything fabulous, fattening, & fun in this day & age.

Based in sweltering Mississippi, Yankees & Southerners alike will find common ground with this snort-carbonated-beverages-out-your-nose series. Yes, this is book 8, but feel free to start with any of them. You’ll fall instantly in love & be grabbing for the rest by chapter 2. JCB embodies every thought you’ve ever had about pretty much EVERY THING. Her only flaw is her propensity to use caps lock on nearly every page, & as you can imagine, gets a little hard to swallow. But don’t let that deter you! Oh no! You have to read about the Queen who let her ex keep all the tv’s in the divorce–but she took all the remotes. *Insert sinister laugh here* So, larva (women under 40), & geezers (over 40) alike have something to learn from this little gem. Kick off your shoes, grab a glass of sweet tea, head to the porch, & get ready to laugh off a pound or two. If you’re like me, you’ve got it to lose. Besides, I think I gained it back reading the recipes at the end.

Amy Johnson, Guest Blogger in Residence 2016 Book #32 of 52

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Guest Resident Blogger’s Book #31 of 2016

11-22-6311.22.63 by Stephen King

A Science Fiction Novel

Now, before you go all anti-Stephen King on me, lemme tell you a little somethin’ somethin’. He IS the King. The King of suspense, the master of mayhem. His writing style appeals to so many because he’s got all the little nuances of every day life down perfectly. It’s like he’s actually in your head. He’s not strictly horror, the man spins this tale of science fiction so convincingly you feel transported to 1958 or wherever he decides to put you. Two minutes. That’s all it takes. All it takes to become totally engrossed in a King book. Now I’m not gonna sugarcoat this & tell you there’s absolutely no gore, or overall creepiness, because that would be untruthful. There’s the Jimla, for starters, & the tale of the hammer. But you can get past it. I generally don’t care for male authors on the whole because it seems they lack depth & character development. I thirst for details. Stephen King is atypical. You get it all. You better, for this particular gem is a handy 740 pages. I should get credit for THREE books! But for the most part, it flies by. I found it a little draggy when Jake is staked out in his hovels in Dallas & Fort Worth, but as I’ve said before, I don’t like to read about misery & poverty. Around page 600 you’ll start holding your breath again & whipping the pages forward & wishing he would just GET TO IT ALREADY. Of course he makes us wait till the bitter end to get it all. All the greats do. So, as far as science fiction goes, I approve. But this didn’t seem like such a long shot, really. Why not? Stranger things happen all the time. So step into the rabbit hole, feel the warm breeze on your neck, & take a long swig of root beer at The Fruit. You won’t be sorry. You might be exhausted by the end, but you won’t be sorry.

Amy Johnson, Guest Blogger in Residence

2016 Book #31 of 52

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POKEMON GO “Gotta Catch Em’ All!”

Pokemon_GO_logoBy Chase Sutton – SCPLS Kodak Branch Library

Pokémon Go is the new augmented reality game from the developer Niantic, the company who made one of the first augmented reality games, “Ingress”. Players can go around looking for pokémon while the game tracks your GPS signal and adults and children alike can relive the nostalgia of being a Pokémon Trainer. There are 151 Pokémon able to be caught at the moment, but the generation 2 Pokémon are well on their way. Use Razz Berries and Pokéballs to catch all sorts of Pokémon, from the adorable Pikachu to the rampaging Ryhorn.

Remember to take the time and just enjoy being outdoors and getting exercise. While the whole goal of Pokémon Go is to catch Pokémon, remember to take the time and socialize with other fellow Pokémon Trainers playing the game. Share location information and see who is able to finish that Pokédex first!

If you need to restock on supplies, be sure to visit a Poke-Stop. All three of our library branches, King Family Library, Seymour Library, and Kodak Library are all three Poke-Stops. Here you can get Pokéballs and tools to catch and hatch Pokémon Eggs that you can also pick up at Poke-Stops

Feeling competitive? Stop by a Pokémon Gym and battle for control! Pick your best two and fight for control by swiping “left” and “right” on your phone to dodge and “up” to attack. If you win, be sure to pick 6 Pokémon you think can stand up to other trainers so you can maintain control of the Gym for your team (Valor Red, Mystic Blue, or Instinct Yellow).

Remember some key safety rules:

Go Pokémon hunting with friends. Not only is it more fun but you are safer in groups. Be aware though, traveling groups of people can still look suspicious so always give indicators that you are playing like “I just caught a Pikachu!” or “Let’s go to the park and see what Pokémon are there!”. That way you make your presence clear to others.

  • Be aware of your surroundings! It is dangerous to play the game around areas where there is traffic or other hazards.
  • Be aware of what is private property! You can be charged with trespassing if you go somewhere you know you are not supposed to be in. A good rule of thumb is if it is unfamiliar territory just skip it all together because you can find the Pokémon somewhere else.



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Guest Resident Blogger’s Book #30 of 2016

Deep Fried and PickledDeep Fried & Pickled by Paisley Ray

A Satirical Book

After shuffling through many choices of political satire, I found this one buried down in the list. I hadn’t paid a dime for it (thank you Bookbub) so I decided it would do. It’s book 1 of the Rachel O’Brien series of 8 novels. Based on a college campus in North Carolina, it promised lots of summer fun with a dash of New Orleans. I was looking for a quickie/easy read for the Fourth of July holiday, & I thought there was no way I could be disappointed. Heavy on the satire (via analogies), I’m not sure that the sarcasm was intended. I’ve never heard a third of these sayings, & I pride myself on local southern euphemisms. The book’s premise wasn’t bad, & the writing wasn’t terrible, but it was a bit repetitive & therefore, dull. I found myself checking how much time I had left on my status bar after I got to 40% (Oh, the sometimes joys of Kindle!) Take home point: you can skim this one & still get the gist. Wish the editor had pared it down by a third or so. There are better books out there, no doubt. If you long for your wild party days at college, with some mystery stirred in, this might be the one for you.

Amy Johnson, Guest Blogger in Residence

2016 Book #30 of 52

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Guest Resident Blogger’s Book #29 of 2016

before we metBefore We Met by Lucie Whitehouse

Page Turners Book Club Selection-July

So here’s what you’ve got according to the flap & countless reviews: a British version of Gone Girl. Now, I don’t wanna spoil it, but you won’t hate this one like you probably did that one. This is a gut-clenching thriller, & you’ll envision twenty scenarios before you come to the conclusion you just want the truth, ASAP. A great summertime read, perfect for the beach or a late evening thunderstorm. Mrs. Whitehouse has brought sibling rivalry to a whole new level. Moral of the story: don’t marry someone you barely know. And listen to your brother.

Amy Johnson, Guest Blogger in Residence 2016 Book #29 of 52

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Guest Resident Blogger’s Book #28 of 2016

kill a mockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A Book You Haven’t Read Since High School

So I lie. I didn’t read this in high school. Maybe I was supposed to… or maybe I chose to read Peter Pan & The Catcher in the Rye instead. Whichever it was, I don’t have the luxury to simply re-read something. I have books stacked here & there, books and more books, everywhere! This novel should be required reading, I’ll agree to that. From the flap I was under the impression it would be dry & stifling with lawyer jargon, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. That Harper Lee has somehow managed to retain her childhood banter to adulthood & capture it so clearly between these covers is nothing short of miraculous. I did enjoy Scout’s voice & I can’t help but wonder what happened to all of them- Jem, Atticus, Scout, Dill, & yes, even Boo Radley. I want to witness Scout becoming a debutante (you know she was destined for it) & see if Jem became a lawyer or maybe a preacher. Did Dill finally quit lying & do something miraculous? Some of the descriptions are so far removed from what is the norm these days, it’s hard to imagine. A kid who only attends the first day of school, not to be heard from until the first day of the following year? What?!? The commonplace language used & accepted by everyone? Nope. And that’s what all the fuss has been about the last fifty years. But still, this classic deserves its place in history as modernist literature, so please do pull up a rocker & pour a big glass of sweet tea. You’re gonna wanna stay awhile.

Amy Johnson, Guest Blogger in Residence 2016 Book #28 of 52

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