2015 Book #23 – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling


Title: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Author: Mindy Kaling
Date finished: 3/28/15
Genre: Humorous commentary
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Pages in book: 222
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my “Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “POC MC” square, which I had to ask to discover but this means Person of Color Main Character.  I decided to give this book a try because I love Mindy’s character on The Office and I loved her in that movie with Natalie Portman where they are nurses that live in an apartment together. Unbeknownst Mindy is actually a writer for the show The Office. I had no idea of the extent of her genius! She comes off as cocky in some parts of the book but she should be! She is hilarious! I fought this book to be witty and very entertaining.
This book is a humorous look at the many different parts of Mindy’s life that have made her the Mindy she is today. Its also a commentary on many different things including dating and other general life areas. I thought it was really funny.

The bottom line:  I thought this book was really funny, witty and interesting. Of course I like her sense of humor. I would recommend to people who laugh when the watch The Office. Not that she just talks about The Office or is defined by her work on The Office. But she writes some of the scenes for The Office. So. Whatever.

Memorable Quotes: 
“Going on and on in detail about how stressed out I am ins’t conversation. It’ll never lead to anywhere. No one is going to say, ‘Wow, Mindy, you really have it especially bad. I have heard some stories of stress, but this just takes the cake.” (page 75)
As a follow up to this, your life is always going better than someone else’s at any given point. Unless you’re being murdered. That you should probably get to bitch about.

Link to Wikipedia website about author
Link to Amazon

April reading challenge – #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge


For the month of April I will be participating in the #ReadingMyLibrary Reading Challenge hosted by Caught Read Handed and Read What I Like. This challenge is designed to encourage participants to read books that they obtained from a library. They can be any kind of form of book: e-book, physical book, audio book, etc. The reading challenge runs from April 1 to 30. You only have to read one book to participate but if you decide to read more, every five books you read over the initial one will earn you another entry for a chance to win a prize. For more on the rules for this challenge, you can visit either blog listed above. There is also a handy-dandy schedule that you can use to make sure you stay on track!

One of the things I’m really excited about with this reading challenge is the Library Scavenger Hunt the hosts have planned. Not a lot of details on this yet but it will run from April 15 to 30. Make sure to check back to see more on this fun activity!

I thought this challenge would be especially fitting to participate in since National Library Week is April 12 to 18. I tend to make very good use of my library, though the past couple months I have been buying more books than I have been getting from the library. So I am excited to utilize my local libraries a lot more this coming month! Make sure to check back to see my progress! For anyone else who is interested in signing up, the home page for the challenge is here and the hosts answer FAQs here. Happy Reading everyone!

Gretna Green

Unfortunately, this was supposed to have posted on St. Patrick’s Day but was mistakenly saved as a draft instead of posting. Definitely a user error! Hopefully all you readers will keep in mind that this was posted with Ireland in mind on St. Patrick’s Day. Happy reading!


If you read historical romance novels, odds are you have read one from the Georgian or Regency era. And odds are there’s been some mention of Gretna Green. But for those of you who aren’t aware (and in connection-ish with today’s holiday, St Patrick’s Day!) Gretna Green is part of Dumfries and is a town just over the border of Scotland traveling from England. It is on what was a main coaching route from England to Scotland and is located at the junction of five old coaching roads, the junction being known as “Headless Cross.” And because of its location, Gretna Green became well known for runaway marriages. This tradition began about halfway through the 18th century when Lord Hardwiske’s Marriage Act was signed into law in England. Under this Act, no minor (under the age of 21) was allowed to get married without parental consent. However, in Scotland, boys were able to marry by age 14 and girls able to marry at age 12 with or without the consent of their parents.


This difference in laws created a large influx of young men and women who would flock to Scotland to get married against their parents wishes. And given Gretna Green’s convenient location (right over the border and on the main route from London to Scotland in the 1750’s) many couples would immediately stop here to get hitched as soon as possible. And luckily, in Scotland it was easy to find someone to marry you since, as long as your had two witnesses, almost anyone really could perform a “handfasting” ceremony or a “marriage by declaration.” Since the blacksmith shop was a central hub of towns at this time, most of these runaway marriages were performed over the blacksmith’s anvil, and blacksmiths in Gretna Green became known as “anvil priests.” As noted from the Gretna Green Wedding website “the hammering of the anvil soon became a notorious sound; romantically it is said that like the meals he forged, the Blacksmith would join couples together in the heat of the moment but bind them for eternity.”



To this day, people still flock to Gretna Green to get married, I’m sure some find the concept and tradition romantic (I do). It is mentioned in a lot of books and was even mentioned on the well-known TV Show Downtown Abbey. Even further, Gretna Green marriages have come to represent a general term for marriages that are entered into in a different location than where they live so that they can avoid certain laws or restrictions imposed on them in their home town/country. These “runaway marriage” locations in the United States have included at certain points Elkton, Maryland, Reno, and Las Vegas.


If you’d like further information on getting married at Gretna Green, there is a website you can visit here.

2015 Book #22 – He Wanted the Moon by Mimi Baird and Eve Claxton


Title: He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him
Author: Mimi Baird with Eve Claxton
Date finished: 3/28/15
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Pages in book: 250
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

A mid-century doctor’s raw, unvarnished account of his own descent into madness, and his daughter’s attempt to piece his life back together and make sense of her own.
Texas-born and Harvard-educated, Dr. Perry Baird was a rising medical star in the late 1920s and 1930s. Early in his career, ahead of his time, he grew fascinated with identifying the biochemical root of manic depression, just as he began to suffer from it himself. By the time the results of his groundbreaking experiments were published, Dr. Baird had been institutionalized multiple times, his medical license revoked, and his wife and daughters estranged. He later received a lobotomy and died from a consequent seizure, his research incomplete, his achievements unrecognized.
Mimi Baird grew up never fully knowing this story, as her family went silent about the father who had been absent for most of her childhood. Decades later, a string of extraordinary coincidences led to the recovery of a manuscript which Dr. Baird had worked on throughout his brutal institutionalization, confinement, and escape. This remarkable document, reflecting periods of both manic exhilaration and clear-headed health, presents a startling portrait of a man who was a uniquely astute observer of his own condition, struggling with a disease for which there was no cure, racing against time to unlock the key to treatment before his illness became impossible to manage.
Fifty years after being told her father would forever be “ill” and “away,” Mimi Baird set off on a quest to piece together the memoir and the man. In time her fingers became stained with the lead of the pencil he had used to write his manuscript, as she devoted herself to understanding who he was, why he disappeared, and what legacy she had inherited. The result of his extraordinary record and her journey to bring his name to light is He Wanted the Moon, an unforgettable testament to the reaches of the mind and the redeeming power of a determined heart.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my “Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “Mental Illness” square. I can’t remember where I first saw this book but it immediately caught my interest. Mimi Baird never knew why her father (Dr. Perry Baird) disappeared or what really happened to him, but years later she obtains his manuscripts and discovers that he suffered from manic depression and that his disappearances were due to his staying at various mental institutions during his manic episodes. His manuscripts detail his care and treatments as well as different details of his life after he disappeared from her life. This book combines notes from the mental institutions where Dr. Baird stayed, narratives from his manuscript, as well as letters between Dr. Baird and various peers and friends.
The first half of the book was difficult for me as this is where the bulk of the writing from Dr. Baird’s manuscript was included. As Mimi describes in a later passage, Perry alternates between a clear line of thinking and being eloquent and scientific in thought, and ramblings of delusions. At certain points in his writings it was hard to tell if the scene Perry was describing was one of his own imagination or something that actually happened. Also the differences between what Perry describes of his actions in the mental hospitals and what the medical record notes describe are slightly different, making it difficult for the reader to know what is real and what is not. This did not at all detract from the seriousness or the subject matter discussed within the memoir and only compounded the ways in which a mental disorder can distort reality for the patient.
The second half of the book was mostly a narrative written by Mimi Baird, describing her journeys in compiling this book and also in learning more about the father she never really knew. I found this narrative to be very moving and extremely touching. I thought that this book was well put together and was a very interesting look into the mind of an extremely intelligent man suffering from manic depression.

The bottom line:  I found this book very interesting. While the first half of the book was slightly tough to get through, the daughter’s narratives in the second half added such emotion to the book. Very well done. I would recommend.

Link to Amazon