It’s been a while! I haven’t posted on here in maybe six weeks? Life and work both got crazy at the same time, which didn’t leave much time to write. Since it’s the end of October, let’s speed through some catch up of bookish news!
I read some books! Quick reviews:
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne – 5 Stars
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – 4.5 Stars
The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker – 4.5 Stars
Where the Water Goes by David Owen – 5 Stars
Unstoppable: My Life So Far by Maria Sharapova – 5 Stars
After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry – 3.5 Stars
I started a book club in San Diego! We read the Animators and had a ton of fun discussing it, while drinking some wine 🙂 Our next book will be Into Thin Air.
I (kind of) started a book club at work! We have a women’s group at work since I work in engineering, and we decided to read books about the work place and discuss it at our next meeting. This will just be a quarterly book club! Our first book will be The Confidence Code.
I had a birthday! I’m officially 28! For my birthday I bought myself What Happened by Hillary Clinton, and received Unstoppable by Maria Sharapova (Already read it! 5 Stars!) and Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.
I’ve been focusing more on #bookstagram interaction and have started messaging more with others on there. It’s been great to get to know more of the community!
I think that’s about it!
Looking forward, I have an ambitious TBR for November
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (2017 Man Booker Prize Winner)
Into Thin Air by John Krakauer
What Happened by Hillary Clinton
The Confidence Code
and of course, my November BOTM book!
Happy Reading! And Happy November! I cannot believe 2017 is almost over!
August was a great month for reading for me. I finished four books – and two of them were over 500 pages (woah). I also made my third trip of the summer to Denver to watch one of my best friends get married, and had a house guest from New Zealand stay with us for nine days. I’d say August was busy, and September’s about to be even crazier!
I thought I’d try a new style of monthly post this month — direct and to the point. This month I wrote a lot on the blog, so instead of rehashing it all, I’ll just point you in the direction of those posts. I hope you enjoy!
American Fire (July BOTM) – 4 Stars – Review here.
July was a great month – for reading and otherwise!
I started the month by reading In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. I read it in three days flat – finishing it right before our Fourth of July barbecue. I loved it as an easy summer read and would highly reccomend it! Review here. 5 Stars.
But I own Ruth Ware’s other two books!
Right after that I picked up The Return by Hisham Matar. It took me a while to get in to this, so I assumed that I wouldn’t finish it on my plane rides to and from Denver. Well, I finished my book on my first flight and thought to myself, now what? So as I walked through the Denver airport I found a bookstore and dropped it for some impulse buys. I told myself I could get one book that had been on my list for a long time – and ended up walking out with Modern Lovers by Emma Straub and The Circle by Dave Eggers. Review for The Returnhere. 5 Stars.
As my travels continued, on a train from the airport to the city, I had such an awesome experience. I wrote about it on Instagram, but I was reading The Circle on the train and a construction worker on his way home from a 16 hour shift, started to ask me about my book. I told him what is was and that I just got it and we ended up chatting about books and bookstores for the rest of the ride. When we got to the station, I was a little lost trying to find my connecting train and he happened to be headed in the same direction as me, so before I knew it the two of us were running for the train and chatting about our favorite football players and other mutual interests. It was so amazing to get out of my comfort zone and talk to a stranger about books and life, all because he recognized the cover of my book.
I spent the following week reading The Circle by Dave Eggers and having some serious internal debates about the state of data collection in the world today. I didn’t end up loving The Circle, but I’m excited to watch the movie and it definitely gave me a lot to think about! Review here.
And now as the month comes to a close, I’m (per usual) rushing to finish my August Book of the Month pick – American Fire by Monica Hesse.
Looking Ahead – My August TBR:
I went on a bit of a book buying binge in the last month, so I actually have a lot of books ready to be read!
The Secret Hisotry by Donna Tartt
Where the Water Goes by David Owen
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
Per Usual – My August Book of the Month Club Pick
Happy end of July and here’s to ringing in the last month of Summer 😀 (although now that I live in San Diego that’s not stressing me out nearly as much!)
Your Turn: What did you read this month? Anything you’d reccomend?!
And all of a sudden it was June and we were on the road.
On the final day in May, my boyfriend and I left on a two week road trip from New York to San Diego. We passed through Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas, Denver, several of the Utah National Parks, and then smashed out a drive to San Diego on the last day. It was an amazing trip, but I almost never got alone time and was always so exhausted at the end of a day!
I had my two May Book of the Month selections to read – since clearly I didn’t get to them in May. Of the two titles, Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood and Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, I went with Into the Water for the roadtrip, as it seemed like it would raise less eyebrows at all of our stops along the way. As I mentioned in the review, I cracked open the book in Pittsburgh, PA, at my parents house, didn’t open it again until we got to Denver. And then read the majority of the book when we got to San Diego, and I had a laid back reading environment once again. The full review is here, but spoiler: I LOVED it (the actual review has no spoilers).
As soon as I put it down I was on to Priestdaddy, and I was loving it – enjoying the tone of the writing, but feeling shocked and sympathetic at their misfortune. And then…. I searched for ‘book club’ on meetup, found one, only had three days to read the book, downloaded Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel and read it in three days. As happens, I got too busy to go to the book club that Sunday, but I read and enjoyed the book, and posted my review here. I gave it three stars out of five.
And now as the month ends, I’m looking forward to finishing Priestdaddy, picking my July Book of the Month, and reading the three paperbacks I got from Barnes and Noble. (I almost never buy books, but I got $30 from Barnes and Noble through their class action lawsuit! Free books please!)
Hope you’re all enjoying summer and especially that summer reading! Happy July!!
You may have noticed that a) I did not post a single post in the month of May after claiming in April that I would read SIX whole books and devote myself to my blog while my boyfriend was away all month, and b) that this is my third post in the last WEEK!
It turns out May was not the month for reading that I thought it was going to be. With my boyfriend being away, my furniture slowly being removed from my apartment, and my living room being a horrible place to spend time because my apartment had some kitchen repairs which required me to empty all of my cabinets into the kitchen/living room area, I never felt in the mood to read. Instead, it being my last month in New York with all my friends, I went out to celebrate approximately every night. (Oops!)
I managed through two books, only by the deadline of my bookclub meeting, but let’s get to the books part of this recap.
I left off in April, saying that I needed to finish Blitzed by Norman Ohler ASAP for my book club – and surprisingly I was able to do so. Book club was held at my friend Lianna’s house on the Upper East Side of New York City. We always goes with a theme and for this book she bought potato pancakes!
Blitzed is an interesting one to host a ‘party’ around because its about Hitler and his meth addiction. Nothing fun or funny or anything you want to put in your body with that theme. But the treats were delicious, and as always there was wine.
We had a great discussion about the book, but the biggest takeaway is that if you’re feeling saturated of WWII stories because you kinda think you’ve heard them all, you have not heard this one! This research is totally new and will give you a whole new light to this crazy time period. I would warn readers that it reads more like a text book than a novel, but am I glad I read this book? Absolutely.
Expert Tip: Read Blitzed with sticky notes nearby. Or on a kindle. You’re gonna want to mark these facts for when your friends don’t believe you.
The weekend after book club I went to Newport, Rhode Island for some quality time with my sister and niece before the move. I don’t have kids so I didn’t totally anticipate this but it is so hard to read with a one year old around! They are moving and they want to play. I tried to read when she was asleep, but of course that only last twenty minutes!
At any rate, the book I was reading was Beartown by Fredrik Backman which came with the disclaimer from the All The Books Podcast “Be ready to read a lot about hockey.” I was prepared, and I love hockey, but I only got through about 50 pages of this book before I put it down. It wasn’t like his others, and maybe I subconsciously just wanted to reread A Man Called Ove, but I just wasn’t getting on board with the book and wasn’t willing to push through.
The following weekend, I did a crazy thing. I took the 7 am Saturday morning flight to San Diego and took the red eye back Sunday night. 10 hours of flying for 30 hours with Cam in our new city – definitely worth it!
I also LOVE to read on planes. So, while I could’ve slept most of the way to California, I got a large cup of coffee and read the first 70% of Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker. I loved this book, and I have a review mostly typed up, but this book was just so much fun. To make it even more fun, I got my whole book club as well as my mom to read it too! And the following weekend, when my mom came to visit New York, five of us went to the Chelsea Wine Vault to take a wine tasting class together. I love love love the Chelsea Wine Vault and this was actually my fourth class there. Highly recommend weekend wine school!
It took me the rest of the month of May to finish cork dork, and my book club in New York managed to squeeze in one final meeting before I left. This one was smaller – I think only five of us actually made it, but most of us brought a bottle of wine and we did a mini tasting while we discussed the book!
This was our first time doing activities outside of casually drinking wine and discussing books, and we just had so much fun with this one. I would definitely recommend it for other book clubs out there!
I seriously can’t believe that it’s the end of April and I’m writing this from my parents porch in Naples, FL, looking out at a clear blue sky. (I should probably sign off and go to the beach, but that will have to wait until later.)
April was a crazy and much anticipated month for me – my boyfriends brother visited from New Zealand for a week, we celebrated my boyfriend’s birthday, I took my test that I’ve been anticipating for YEARS and studying for for months, and I got that long awaited vacation that I’ve been longing for. It’s been a long winter, full of studying and bad weather, and I feel like I’m finally on the other side.
So where did April stand in terms of books? Well, I got three books in Book of the Month box and that is ALL I read. So uncommon for me but as you can tell from the paragraph above I was low on time and full of anxiety! But interestingly, April was also a huge month for me with bookish adaptations!
I started the month with my book club book, Blitzed by Norman Ohler. I read the first fourty pages TWICE. It was so interesting and so jam packed with incredible facts. I read it through once, and the next morning I read it again, and put 10+ post-it notes in to mark things I didn’t want to forget. Then I got so stressed out about life that I couldn’t read such a serious nonfiction and put it on the bookshelf for another time. (Vent session here) My book club is next Thursday (May 4th), so I need to pick it back up soon.
In the meantime I got hooked on two bookish adaptations – Big Little Lies and 13 Reasons Why. I have to admit, I didn’t read either of them as books, but I thought about reading both of them! I heard about Big Little Lies a bunch over the years, and it was recently discussed on one of the BookRiot podcasts, so of course I added it to my TBR short list. However, before I got around to finding a copy, I heard it was coming out on HBO and I got lazy and decided to just watch the show. A similar thing happened with 13 Reasons Why, but I won’t bore you with the details. At any rate, both shows were SO good. If you haven’t seen them, I totally recommend both, although I’m having mixed emotions about the end of 13 Reasons Why. (Shudders). I’m not sure if either will get a Season 2 but I would totally binge watch both if they did!
As it got closer to my test, I started to tell myself that I had reached a good point and shouldn’t be so hard on myself. So I started in to my Book of the Month Club books. This month my selections were: Startup by Doree Shafrir, Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, and one from last June, The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel.
I read Startup over Easter Weekend – I had a lot of good train time on my way to see my grandmother and back. I loved it! It was exactly what I needed in the moment. A lighthearted story with some comedy and some compassion, that was based right in the neighborhood of NYC where I live. Review here. I think this may be generous, but I gave it 5 Stars.
I read most of Killers of the Flower Moon in the days leading up to my test. I got to a point where I couldn’t study anymore but also needed a distraction so this was perfect. The story is 100% required reading if you’re an American, and totally interesting even if you’re not. David Grann has a knack for incredible, otherwise unheard of, stories. I loved all of it, except the ending so I’m giving it 4 stars but with a very high recommendation. You can read my review here.
I finished Killers of the Flower Moon on my way down to Florida, and of course, it then rained for the first two days of our vacation. Luckily my boyfriend and I were just happy to be out of the city/our usual routine, so we took it for what it was and decided to go to the movies. And what was playing, but a book-to-movie adaptation of another David Grann book – The Lost City of Z! Again, I have to admit, I’ve been hearing about this book for years, even bought a copy of it in college that still sits on my bookshelf in my childhood bedroom, but I have never read the actual book. The movie was so well done and for someone who hates going to the theater, I actually loved it. Go see it!
And now, here we are on my last day of vacation in Florida, and I’m making my way through The Veins of the Ocean. So far it’s a slow burn, but I’m definitely, slowly, getting in to it! Excited to read the rest. Review to come!
May is going to be an exciting month for me. It’s my LAST MONTH in New York City after calling the city home for nearly four years! My boyfriend will already be living in our future home on the other side of the country, and the weather will (hopefully) finally be warming up. With my test behind me and my boyfriend far away, I’m hoping to get a lot of reading done!
Let’s see what’s on the list:
Blitzed by Norman Ohler – need to finish by May 4th for book club. One of my book club friends send this link out about how to finish a book in a week.
Beartown by Friedrik Backman – HUGE A Man Called Ove fan over here!
Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker – I won this in an instagram giveaway after I had bought it for a friend for her birthday. Happy to have my own copy.
No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts – this came in my April Muse Monthly box, which I’ll do a post about soon.
My Book of the Month Club pick because I inevitable renewed my subscription…. TBD on the selections
Into The Water by Paula Hawkins (because Book of the Month is letting you get a copy with you May box, and how can I not read this one).
March was… a month. I had a ton going on with work, so I felt crazy busy all month! Somehow I managed to finish five books – I’ll consider that a win. 🙂
I started the month by finishing February’s Book of the Month pick – Perfect Little World. I loved it! I’ve posted on Instagram multiple time about this, but it seriously was a great read. Review here!
Early in the month, I headed up to Boston for a work conference. I downloaded Hillbilly Elegyon to my kindle from the library, and dove right in to it. I read it on the train up to Boston, while drinking Coffee at Barrington Coffee Roasters (highly recommend!), and even while at the gym in the hotel. And then.. it was March 8th, International Women’s Day, and obviously I went back to my kindle library to take a picture of We Should All be Feminists…. and by exiting out of Hillbilly Elegy, I lost my library digital loan! I guess it had run out, but while I had it open it was still letting my finish. I’ll never know what happens in the last twenty pages of Hillbilly Elegy (unless I borrow it again).
To be honest, that was OK with me. The first section was definitely the most interesting. The book discusses the mentality and history of the Hill People in Appalachia, and that was really fascinating to me. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, I’ve been left stumped about who these voters are and why they vote the way they do. Without being a starkly political book, it gives a lot of insight in to the mindset of rural voters.
The second section goes in to Vance, the author’s, time in the military, which was definitely interesting in a different way. The third (and I believe final) section goes in to what is like to be at an elite law school. This part kind of lost me – it just wasn’t the kind of people I was trying to understand. So in leau of a formal review (because I can’t get my kindle notes back from the library), these are my thoughts! Overall I’d give it a 3 stars. 5 starts for the first third, and not a whole lot after that.
With no more access to the book I was ‘currently reading’ and a four hour train ride ahead of me, I flipped through my kindle for something new. I tend to boomerang with books, so after a serious book like Hillbilly Elegy, I went for a light family drama – The Nest. New Rule: If there is a sex scene in the first five pages, and you think to yourself ‘I should put this down’, put the book down. I wasn’t impressed by the start, but I had nothing else to do, so I kept reading and had finished almost half the book by the time I got off the train. Then 100 pages a couple days later. And eventually I was kind of in to it. In the end I’d give it three stars. The plot was really weak, but in the end I didn’t hate it.
When I got home from Boston, midway through The Nest, what was on my doorstep but my Book of the Month box!! I was so excited for this month’s selection – Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. I actually took a break from reading The Nest and read this one in two days. I wrote a full review and I gave it 4.5 stars. I would recommend it to someone looking for a well crafted, well written parable – or interested in expanding their reading genres. It wasn’t an easy read but it was quick and a story that will stay with you. If you’re intrigued check out my review!
By the time I finished those three, I was cutting it close to my book club deadline. We actually met twice in the month of March – albeit 25 days apart – so I think we all felt a little short on time. Our pick for this month was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks! It’s the story of an investigative journalist looking into the immortal cells of a Maryland lady who died of ovarian cancer in the 1950s, and her descendants journey to find answers. The cells have been used for an incredible amount of medical research, but no consent was given to take the cells or to use them – and the family didn’t even know about the cells until about 25 years later! It’s a good balance of science writing and story telling. For a nonfiction book, it was an easy read. I’ll be writing a recap of our discussions soon!
And now, as the month winds down, I’m trying to finish The Unmade Bed by Stephen Marche. It just came out this month, but it think got a little swept under the rug with all the other new releases. It’s full title is “The Unmade Bed: The Messy Truth about Men and Women in the 21st Century.” I don’t often read books like this but it’s meant to be well researched AND full of personality. We’ll see if it lives up to the hype!
Looking ahead –
April is set to be a VERY busy month – full of trips, visitors, birthdays, holidays, and my big test (that I’ve been studying for since January). I’m not sure how much reading I’ll get done with all of that, but I have a lot on my TBR list..
1, 2, and 3. I have TWO free book credits for Book of the Month Club, so I’ll get three books from them this month. I’m thinking one from this month’s selections, Veins in the Ocean by Patricia Engel, and one more impulse buy!
4. I finally ordered my first Muse Monthly box (so excited!). This month is featuring a book called No One Is Coming to Save Us, said to be a modern reselling of The Great Gatsby set in the American South.
5. My book club book is Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich, so be reading that soon! I love when other people pick out books for me to read – I always learn to much 🙂
So little time, so many books to read. Happy End of March and here’s to hoping April is warm and full of good books!
So much of how you respond to a book depends on the context of when you read it. I find I go through phases of loving histories or social commentaries or novels etc. So I thought a monthly recap of adventures in reading would be a fun way to share my context. So here we go!
In the end of January, I was traveling for work on the other side of the country. I always listen to the Book Riot Podcast “All The Books,” and the week I was traveling, I added so many books to my TBR list. I came home anxious to get reading them!
One of them was Perfect Little Word by Kevin Wilson. After hearing the description, I immediately went to Goodreads and added it to my list. I often add books to my list and don’t get around to them because of other books get in the way, but this was one that I thought, OK that’s one I definitely want to read. So fast forward to February 1st (The best day of the month if you’re a Book of the Month Club member! If you’re thinking about joining, and I so suggest you do – use my referral code here!), and imagine my surprise and pleasure when Perfect Little World was one of the choices. I quickly selected my BOTM and confirmed my box. I did check out the other options and Pachinko and The Animators totally struck my fancy! Maybe for an extra book one month 🙂 .
While I was on the same trip, Book of the Month came out the “Bookshelf” feature. It allows you to rate your books using up to three emojis and then add it to one of three shelves: liked it, loved it, disliked it. I’ll be sharing mine in a post soon! Of course, through the process of doing this, I realized I had never gotten around to my December selection, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love. This was #1 on my to do list when I got home.
Shortly after my trip, I got an email that Moonglow by Chabon was ready for me at the library. I found that because of the time limit to pick up and read Moonglow, I was rushing though Whatever Happened to Interracial Love, which just wasn’t working. This is the kind of book that is meant to be enjoyed slowly. The prose is so smooth, it’s almost poetic. I ended up putting this one down so as not to ruin it, and headed to the library to pick up Moonglow.
A dense 400 page library book (2 week loan time), is tough for me… but I did it! I was diligent about reading and finished it just in time for its due date and…… MY VACATION! I enjoyed the book, but would only give it a 3.5/5. (Review here!)
I tried to pack lightly so I only took my kindle with me on my 5 day trip to Southern California. I got The Plot Against America out on loan from the library (NYPL does Kindle Books!) and read most of it on the plane. Our trip was crazy busy and we took the red-eye back, so I ended up putting my book down, for the most part, until getting home. I was able to finish it up this week in time to get my review out yesterday. (Read it here!) This one I liked a bit more than Moonglow, but would still give it a 3.75/5, just shy of a 4 🙂 .
And finally, I’m ending the month with my Book of the Month selection Perfect Little World. I love to finish my BOTM by the end of the month, before I get excited about my next one. (You can see what happened to Whatever Happened to Interracial Love when I put that one off.) I had a commitment this weekend where I just had to be somewhere, but not be too active. It was an absolutely beautiful day in New York, so I was able to sit outside and read allday. So far I am LOVING it! Reading a good book is so refreshing. The writing it fluid, the characters are well developed, the plot is engaging. Kevin Wilson does it again! Will be posting a review soon 🙂 .
I’m so looking forward to March 1st so I can pick my new Book of the Month and Thursday, when I meet with my local book club and will find out what our next book is!