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Throwback Thursday Book Reviews!

It’s that time of the week again! Here is a look back at three books I read around this time in 2017. They were all quite different, but I immensely enjoyed each of them. We have a hilarious memoir, a touching YA novel, and a 19th century literary classic. Because I’m nothing if not eclectic!

Giant of the Senate by Al Franken



Oof. So when I read this, Al Franken was the darling of the Democratic party and a beacon of hope. I’ve been a fan of his since seeing him on reruns of SNL and have read several of his previous books, especially the ones relating to politics. He’s always been hilarious, insightful, and a bit of a pitbull to boot. This book only exemplified all that and solidified my opinion of him. It was raw and honest, but also typically comedic in true Franken style.

I listened to this as an audiobook narrated by the senator himself because whenever possible, I like to hear the authors tell us their life stories. Hearing him read his own words was fantastic, although I think my neighbors think I’m crazy because I kept laughing out loud whenever I was listening to this while walking my dog.

His downfall was painful. Not that what he did was excusable, but I think the consequences were extremely hasty, especially when so much of what he was accused of was found to be false. Losing him with American politics being what it is was a true blow. I really wish he hadn’t stepped down before an investigation because we need politicians like him now more than ever.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan


A phenomenally stunning book that should be at the top of all YA reading lists. It also struck a bit of familiarity for me because Esperanza’s journey was very similar to some of my family’s experiences when they had to leave Mexico.

Immigration has never been easy and it’s not hard for some to forget that immigrants really aren’t that different to us. So many of them have no choice but to leave their homes, carrying nothing with them but hope that they will be able to keep their families afloat on foreign soil. With so many displaced people in need these days, reading books like this is important to teach children to be compassionate, not angry or afraid.

The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy


In addition to the Goodreads challenge, every year I try to do a mini-challenge to get me reading books that I’ve been putting off. In 2017 it was 19th century British classics, featuring authors like Jane Austen, the Brontës, and Thomas Hardy. I had read and loved several of Hardy’s books previously, with Jude the Obscure continually featuring on my all-time favorites lists. There are a few of his I hadn’t read yet, so I decided to dive into this one when I saw it at my local library.

It was typically Hardy, in that it was a moving, atmospheric story of struggle and anguish set amidst the English countryside. By the end I was completely destroyed, but I mean is it even a 19th century classic if it doesn’t tear your soul in two?

Have you read any of these books? Do you set yourself reading challenges like I do? Let me know in the comments!

1 thought on “Throwback Thursday Book Reviews!”

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