How Starbucks Saved My Life

Michael Gates Gill had a privileged upbringing that landed him an executive job at a major advertising company as soon as he graduated from Yale. He dedicated his life to his job while sacrificing personal development and time with his family. During the twenty-five years he spent as a top executive he became a selfish man that only cared about himself and was inconsiderate of anyone he thought was not of the same level as himself. One day, when Gill was in his fifties he got fired from his job and he found himself struggling with life. After having an affair that left him with a new son, a divorce and a failed attempt at having his own advertising business, Gill was on the brink of becoming broke when he was offered a job at Starbucks. As unaccustomed as he was to this situation he needed to make a living so he accepted the job offer and started working for Crystal, a twenty-eight year old African American. Gill was very anxious about his job and throughout his experience he wanted to impress Crystal and prove that he was just as capable of doing the job as the other, much younger, employees. From working at Starbucks, Gill learned that his belief that he had it all in his previous way of life in fact didn't mean anything and he found happiness in being a normal guy working in an amiable environment where everyone respects each other. The concept of this book was inspiring and I think there is a lesson to be learned for everyone from it, however at times I felt like there is too much Starbucks propaganda in it. The author keeps mentioning what a good atmosphere Starbucks employees work in that it makes you think "OK we got the point now move on", and is it possible that there is not one negative aspect of working at Starbucks? This is not surprising since Gill himself comes from an advertising background but if you are able to ignore this it has the potential of being a good book.


Maggie is known to be the sensible one from the Walsh sisters and she always does the right thing, so when she walks out on her marriage everyone is surprised. Finding herself hurt and feeling lost she goes on a trip to Los Angeles to stay with her friend Emma, where she lets her guard down and starts to act like she has never done before. She thinks that this is what she needs to find herself and be able to move on. After a few wild episodes, including a fling with Troy which leads to heartbreak yet again, exploring other grounds with Lara and a lot of recollections of the past, she realizes that being the boring one and living a safe life is ok because this is the way she is, and no amount of adventure will make make her happy like Garv, her husband does. While reading this book I kept waiting to be hooked but as I got nearer to the end I realized this wasn't going to happen. Having read three other books by Marian Keyes (Sushi For Beginners, The Other Side of the Story and Anybody Out There?) which I have enjoyed, I found myself a bit disappointed with this one. I felt that the story wasn't gripping enough and I couldn't really get into it, it seemed like Maggie's character wasn't interesting enough and something was missing. As always though, the witty parts are great, I like Keye's sense of humor and I was glad that it wasn't missing in this book. For me it wasn't hard getting through the book, maybe because I kept expecting it to get more interesting as I read on, but in the end I was let down.


A crazy Nevada policeman, Collie Entragian, is going about pulling vehicles over on a desert highway. The people that he doesn't immediately kill he takes to the small town of Desperation and locks them up in jail. The first to be captured are the Carver family whose RV is sabotaged while driving on the highway, and after killing their daughter Entragian locks the rest of the family in jail. The next to join them is Mary which is followed by a once famous writer Johnny Marinville. Already in jail is Tom Billingsley, the only one still alive from the community of Desperation. At first it is thought that the group is fighting against the policeman, however as the story progresses, a much bigger force is unveiled. This is essentially a fight between the good, which is God communicating with them through the young David Carver, and evil, in the form of Tak, which has surfaced from the mine pit, inhibits the bodies of humans and uses its host to perform its activities. I really liked the plot in this book and the fact that there is so much detail and in depth descriptions of the characters, I was immediately drawn in. David Carver's character is excellent and by the end of the book, which also has an unexpected twist, I found myself loving him more and more. I still have much to read from Stephen King but this is one of the best I have read so far and probably the most chilling and gory.

The Yellow Wallpaper

Another short story that I read recently was "The Yellow Wallpaper". This book is written in the form of a diary being kept by a woman suffering from postpartum depression. Instead of getting the necessary medical attention, the woman is taken by her husband to a Summer house where she is required to rest in order to get better. Her husband has forbidden her from writing as he believes that this is what made her sick, however she secretly starts keeping a diary where she writes about her situation, and most of all about the intriguing yellow wallpaper in the room where she spends her time. After a lot of thinking and analyzing the pattern of the wallpaper she starts to believe that a woman resides underneath the wallpaper that wants to get out and she must help her to do so. Before reading this book I read very good reviews of it, and although the story itself is quite captivating, I didn't enjoy reading it as much as I thought I would. I think this book is more about the concept of the story that describes how women, or even anyone suffering from depression, were treated in those days that makes this book so compelling to most people. I generally do not enjoy short stories because I feel that they do not give you enough time to get to know the characters and they always seem to end abruptly whereas I like to get into the book and become a part of the character's lives. After reading such good reviews about this book I am surprised that I didn't feel the same way about it and I am still wondering if there was something that I missed.