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I think the best tidbit I took away from Anna Kendrick's book of funny personal essays was not to put too much stock in “nice.” Being nice, as Kendrick explains, usually means being compliant. It means not sticking up for yourself, or knuckling under when people try to push your boundaries. And in order to be a good person, the kind of person you want to be, you might just have to let go of the idea of being nice.

Oh man, did I need to hear that. Not earth-shattering advice, maybe, but absolutely freeing for a chronic pleaser who agonizes constantly about other people's opinions. Even people I don't like. Maybe especially people I don't like. I've already been working on setting boundaries and holding to them, even when people try to push me, but having Anna Kendrick's adorable voice in my head sure reinforces those decisions. Nobody controls me but me! Mind-blowing.

(I should probably give credit where credit is due and point out that Adam has been trying to convince me of this exact truth for years. His kneejerk response when he can tell someone is trying to force him to do something is to dig in his heels and lean all the harder in the opposite direction. So thanks, Anna Kendrick, for reinforcing the recalcitrance my husband has been cultivating in me!)

Of course, there's a lot to like in her book besides that one nugget of wisdom. She tells funny stories about growing up, performing on Broadway as a child, foregoing college to move to LA and pursue acting, all the way up to being nominated for an Oscar. A lot of the stories are geared toward that whole “I'm a regular person, just like you!” shtick, but somehow, in her bright and chirpy voice, it works. Granted, you'll probably enjoy the book a lot more if you're already a fan of Kendrick's movies, or if your childhood was spent singing, dancing, and performing and you can relate to that impulse to be the center of attention. (Not that I would know a thing about that.) (Have you heard my rendition of Someone to Watch Over Me? Let me go put on a spangly dress and do some vocal warmups while you prepare to be wowed!)

Adam and I listened to the audio version on a recent car trip, and it was just the kind of light, fun read to break up a long drive. If you're looking for a little whimsy to help you get through the holiday season, Scrappy Little Nobody should be at the top of your list.

Find it at your library!

I don't know who the hell Bobby Bones is. I mean, I do now, since I read his book, but prior to that, I was only vaguely aware of his existence in that way you are aware of celebrities simply because they are floating around in the ether. But I am in a book club, and Bare Bones was chosen as our October book, so even though I was the opposite of excited about it, I got the audio version, stifled a yawn, and started in, feeling very much like a Book Club Martyr for reading a book that was so obviously going to be terribly boring to me.

By now, I should no longer be surprised with how this story goes, because almost every single time I read a book on someone else's suggestion that I don't think will fit my tastes, I'm blown away by how much I love it. Seriously, this happens to me all the time. Or it would, if I read books people recommend to me on any kind of regular basis. I love giving recommendations, but taking them? Eh, not so much. (I know everything, you see.)

I can't believe I enjoyed a celebrity memoir written by a celebrity I knew nothing about, but I could not stop listening to this book. Bobby's story is just so damn compelling. If you like rags to riches stories, this is one of the raggiest. His childhood, growing up in a tiny town in Arkansas with his addict mom, then somehow making it through college and onto the radio, it was all fascinating and inspiring to me. Yeah, he's a workaholic and emotionally closed off and not always great to women...but it sure makes good radio.

And his stories are hilarious. I won't spoil anything here, but the guy isn't afraid to tell embarrassing stories on himself, even though telling them clearly makes him squirm (his cringing comes through the microphone loud and clear). Listening to him talk is like sitting down with an old friend, which is I'm sure what's made his radio show so successful.

If you like reading memoirs and stories about other people's lives, you'll probably get a kick out of Bare Bones, even if you couldn't pick Bobby Bones out of a lineup.