Originally published in: 2013- English translation, the original German version was published in 2009.
What’s it about: A graphic memoir tracing one woman’s adventures traveling Italy illegally in the summer of 1984 with a friend as a 17-year-old Austrian punk with no money, no papers, and no plan.
What made me pick it up: This was new to our library and, as always, I couldn’t turn down a graphic memoir.
My favorite things: The author mixes in a few excerpts from her journals and letters that she wrote during the summer she was traveling, which makes her story feel more authentic. I appreciated how frank and honest she was about all of her experiences – no matter how painful or how many laws she happened to be breaking at the time.
Who it’s great for: Fans of gritty travel memoirs; graphic memoirs.
Find this in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).
Originally published in: 2012
What it’s about: A man escapes his nursing home on his 100th birthday and goes off on a new adventure.
What made me pick it up: It was suggested by Amazon when I was watching the film version of A Man Called Ove. Since I hadn’t read the book, I knew I should before watching the movie. I can’t seem to stay away from old men going on adventure novels, so this was right up my alley.
My favorite things: Allan Karlsson is a great character. Both hapless and lucky, he reminded me strongly of Forrest Gump. And speaking of adventures, he sure has had a lot of them – meeting world leaders, affecting key moments in history. I enjoyed tagging along on all of them, including those that took place in the present day. This jaunt was just a lot of fun.
Who it’s great for: Anyone who liked Arthur Pepper or Harold Fry. Those looking to go on an journey through history and around the world.
Pick up a copy of this book at Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library.
Originally published in: 2016
What it’s about: Longtime Florida resident Barry makes the case for his adopted state.
What made me pick it up: Dave Barry is hilarious and I consume his writing voraciously. I was so excited to see he had a new book coming out.
My favorite things: This takes you on a tour of all the best random bits of Florida, in Barry’s opinion, and it’s like going on a vacation. A very funny vacation through all of Florida’s oddball locales.
Who it’s great for: Teens or adults. Anyone interested in laughing while also learning tidbits about our Sunshine State.
Get a copy of Best. State. Ever at Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library.
What it’s about: The life and career of entrepreneur Paul English, most notable as the founder of Kayak.com.
What made me pick it up: Kidder has a wonderful way of writing about individuals that captures their charisma on the page and make you want to follow them on their journey. His previous book Mountains Beyond Mountains did this for Partners In Health founder Dr. Paul Farmer. I have been an avid follower of PIH since reading that book, so I wanted to read this immediately to find out who could have been so compelling that Kidder needed to write a book about them.
My favorite things: I’m consistently impressed with how the author humanizes successful individuals. He shows all of the traits, good and bad, that make them who they are and lead to their success or in some cases their failures before and in the midst of their successes. In this case, the manic side of English’s bipolar disorder is a driving force in his serial entrepreneurship.
Who it’s great for: Anyone who has enjoyed Kidder’s other books. Those looking for a good biography. Fans of Silicon Valley pioneer stories — I was reminded strongly of Creativity, Inc.