Book Review: My Absolute Darling

Author: Gabriel Tallent
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pub Date: April 29, 2018
Feel Learn Wonder Rating: 5/5

This has to be one of the harder books for me to review because I absolutely ( 😉 ) loved it, but it is so not for everyone. I already recommended it to the one person I knew could handle it, and except for here on the internet, am done recommending it to friends. Not because it’s not amazing, but because it is seriously not for the feint of heart.

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My Absolute Darling is the story of Turtle, a girl living with her father on a massive ranch in Mendocino, California. Her father, an alcoholic and survivalist, is adamant about the importance of preparing for the apocalypse, which he takes to the extreme. His relationship with Turtle is both physically and emotionally abusive, and as other people enter their lives, Turtle must do her best to navigate and compartmentalize all of the relationships. 

There are several things I wanted to highlight but I’ll start with the writing. I was so blown away by the writing in this book. What really stood out to me was the suspense that could be felt when just reading a paragraph about a spider that Turtle saw in the woods. When I realized that I was holding my breath while reading about something that could have otherwise been an extremely mundane topic, I knew I was in for something extraordinary. The danger comes when this writing style is used to describe extreme child abuse, the result is extreme discomfort. I really want to make it clear that if domestic abuse is a trigger for you, this book should be avoided. That being said, the writing is so so good.

As with any story about abuse, you’re always hoping that the abused will be able to escape. I’ve found that it can sometimes be hard to understand why the victim won’t get away, but there was something in this book that made me feel like I kind of understood Turtle’s hesitancy. It is such a complex issue and something I (luckily) will never truly understand, but I thought that this book did a really great job at exposing the reader to the complexities of the situation, as heartbreaking as they are.

Ultimately I thought everything about this book was well done – from start to finish, the plot was well developed, the characters were impeccable, and the writing was some of the best I’ve read recently. While the book is not for the feint of heart, I would encourage you to give it a shot if you think you can handle it. It’s a five star read for me, and not one I will forget any time soon.

 

Who You Should Follow On Bookstagram (A Starter List)

When I made this book blog, and it’s affiliated Instagram account, I had no idea how many wonderful “bookstagrammers” there are out there in the world. I thought I had a pretty great and new idea to share my thoughts of books online. Boy, was I wrong! But a few years later I’m so glad that I was able to join this great online community. I’ve really enjoyed the friendships and connections I’ve made, so I wanted to share my “master list” of sorts of accounts I really enjoy engaging with.

You’ll notice that none of these categories are for people with really great book taste – basically because I think they all do. But what really makes an account stand our is their personality and my excitement when I see they have a new post. These accounts also normally read and receive great books so it’s really two birds with one stone.

And my final disclaimer, choosing one attribute for some of these accounts was really hard. There are accounts on here that make me laugh, have beautiful photos, and promote diverse literature! But I had to choose somehow, so it is what it is. It’s not a perfect list, but I hope it inspires you to follow some new #bookstagram accounts and enjoy all the content that comes with them.

For the Laughts:

  • booksandmargs – costco leggings, drink recipes, and (almost) daily snaps of forgotten beverages
  • jennastopreading– make sure you tune in for #murdermonday
  • shelfbyshelf – from #yogadrama to #drunkbooktalk, Hunter is easily the most spirited person on the gram
  • whatmeganreads – she is a hoot! And her husbands dance moves can’t be beat.
  • katelynreadsbooks_ – I can’t remember the last time she read a book but Katelyn always makes me laugh! Other recent interests include the Curly Girl Method
  • nycbookgirl – I’m not sure if Morgan deserves to be “laughs” category, but she definitely brings the style and personality! I love following her adventures in New York and beyond

For Diversity:

  • readmollyread – an LGBTQ reader from Boston who suffers from a chronic illness. She’s happy to talk about any of her struggles and also happy to re-read Harry Potter (again)
  • thestackspod – more than a podcast in my opinion, Tracy is an activist, and it’s inspiring. She has made me so much more aware of patterns in literature and I really appreciate her take on things.
  • bookstagramballerina – Chelsea is strong and not afraid to show it. She’s a victim of sexual assault, politically active, and not a friend who’s going to sit back and let you settle in to societal norms.
  • sachireads – Sachi reads more Asian literature than anyone I’ve ever read. I really like seeing her recommendations since they’re not the ones you see every day
  • simoneandherbooks – I interact with Simone more on her blog than her instagram, but I always appreciate her stories and posts. She’s a moderater of the Worlds Within Pages book club (with SachiReads) that I always keep an eye on too
  • allisonreadsdc – Allison is a crow-pose attempter, pretzel hater, and LGBTQ reader from D.C. Her stories with Bae are adorable and she is just one spirit I enjoy watching on stories every day.

For beautiful photos (not excluding any of the above!)

  • michellereadsbooks – I love her minimalist photos and style
  • bookish_nel – her photos this winter are so cozy. Just don’t mention her feet!
  • literaryjo – a fellow whale lover! And her coffee shop photos are delightful
  • rynicolereads – I wish I could take photos like Ryan’s. They’re just so beautiful
  • booksonherbrain – this girl. she knows her color and she sticks to it. I love her style

For the new moms who are always keeping it real (again not excluding those listed above!)

  • literberry – a work from home ghost writer with the cutest little baby boy. Mallory is always keeping it real and I love following her stories.
  • booknerdnative – Hannah and her daughter Tillian are the cutest! Hannah also is really open about anxiety and I really appreciate that

I enjoy following so many accounts, so if I left you off this list, it is so not a slight! (Maybe I’ll do another Follow Friday list in the future) But I thought this would be a great “short” list for people to start with. Oh, and if you’re not following me, I’d love to have you follow along! My handle is feellearnwonder_

Book Review: When You Read This

Happy Belated (yesterday!) Pub Day to WHEN YOU READ THIS! And thanks to Harper Books for the free review copy – as always all opinions are my own.

Author: Mary Adkins
Genre: Fiction
Pub Date: February 5, 2019
Feel Learn Wonder Rating: 4/5

This book a cornucopia of contradictions that develop in to a lightly dark, quirky, unique, and entertaining book. To get us started: it’s 400 pages but easily read in 2-3 sittings, and light in writing style but heavy in topics. While the contradictions can lead it at some points to feel disjointed, this is one book that will keep you entertained from start to finish.

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When You Read This is a story told through emails, texts, and blog posts to tell the story of the people in Iris’s life after she has passed away from cancer, leaving a manuscript of her blog for her former boss to publish. What starts as casual communication between Iris’ boss and sister, turns in to a relationship that forms over the internet.

As I mentioned, the meat of the story is quite dark – Smith and Jade (Iris’ boss and sister, respectively), both have complicated lives and past relationships. Additionally, there’s the obvious: Iris has recently passed away. Naturally, the grieving of her death dominates this storyline. To lighten this up some comedic characters are added in – like Smith’s overeager intern and outrageous rapper-turned-country-singer client. (LOL)

In a way, the story felt disjointed because it was both funny and sad. The comedic parts felt thrown in a little haphazardly, without much of their own development, and the epistolary style leads to a non-straightforward approach to telling the more serious parts of the story, which can limit its impact at times. But part of the joy of this story, is that it’s scattered and you have to think a little. At the end of the day, while the story isn’t life changing by any means, you got to laugh and cry and get to know some characters in a short form book.

I’d recommend this book either as a lighthearted vacation read, or a book to read between some other heavier ones. It won’t blow you away, but you’ll definitely enjoy it for a short time it takes you go get through it.

 

 

Book Review: The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

Happy Pub Day to THE CARE AND FEEDING OF RAVENOUSLY HUNGRY GIRLS! And thank you to Berkley Pub for sending me a free copy to review – as always, all opinions are my own.

Author: Anissa Gray
Genre: Fiction
Pub Date: February 5th, 2019
Feel Learn Wonder Rating: 3.5/5

“An American Marriage crossed with The Mothers” is how this book is being blurbed. This was the perfect bait for me – since I loved An American Marriage when I read it last year, I knew I had to read to read it. There are undoubtedly similarities between the books, but I don’t think the comparison did this book any favors. Overall, I liked this book, but particularly given the comparisons, I really wanted more.

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The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls is the story of three adult sisters – Althea, Lillian and Viola. As the book opens, Althea and her husband have recently been convicted of a crime and and are awaiting the sentencing. Lillian and Viola, not entirely stable themselves, are left to deal with the shock as well as Althea’s two children. The days and weeks unfold as the details of each character’s complicated lives are revealed to the reader.

My primary comment on this book is that I wanted more. I wanted more details on the crime that Althea and Proctor had commited. I wanted more details on the length of their sentence. I wanted to know more about Kim’s relationship with Althea, her mother. I felt like there were topics that the book could have explored so much more, but didn’t. And to my point in the intro, I felt the same way when I read The Mothers — so perhaps that was an apt comparison?

As a positive note, the writing in this book was extraordinary – particularly in the beginning. I started the book in a cafe with a friend and after holding my breath for the first ten pages, I declared the book “crazy good.” You could just tell that there was going to be something special there.

Overall, despite really enjoying the writing, I found a lot of the plot a little too surface level for the potential that this story had. I could go from tearing up on one page, to feeling lost and devoid of emotions at the next, but I wanted to feel more consistently engaged, like I have with some other recent favorites.

 

January Recap/February Preview

General Reading Vibe

January was a great reading month. I tore through books in the beginning of the month including the two books I read for my Unread Shelf, Hungover and My Absolute Darling.

My first three reads really lined up with my Dry January challenge I embarked on this month. Hungover featured the hangover, My Absolute Darling featured an alcoholic (ugh), and one featured ill bodies and liver transplant due to alcoholism. I think the combination of reading these books and taking a break from drinking taught me a lot and made me think about my drinking habits.

In case you’re wondering how Dry January went — it was OK! I learned a lot, cheated a little, and am ready to going back to drinking moderately without guilt in February. 🙂

The end of the month slowed down for me since work got busy and I got super sick (it was a bad cold, but for me it felt awful). Overall a very solid reading month.

Books Read:

5 Star:
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
Calypso by David Sedaris

4 Star:
When Death Becomes Life by Joshua Mezrich
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
When You Read This by Mary Adkins

3 Star:
Hungover by Shaugnessy Bishop-Stall
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Unread Shelf Totals

I made a strong showing with my Unread Shelf this month. It really wasn’t difficult because recently my Unread Shelf has been looking so appealing! I have a lot to choose from (for better or worse) and can always find something I’ll like. I recently separated it from my Read bookshelf, so I can look at it like my own personal bookstore.

Unread Books at Start of Month: 22
Books Read from Unread Shelf: 8
Books Purchased: 0
BOTM Selections: 1
Books Gifted/Lent: 2 (Received and read 1 this month!)
Unread Books at the End of Month: 16

Looking forward to FEBRUARY

The theme for the Unread Shelf for February is gifted books! So that’s my main focus. In terms of Unread Shelf books I want to work on books given or lent to me by my friend Christine. There are a lot of these, but I’ll be focusing on Lonesome Dove and Sing Unburied Sing.

I’m also really excited to read a few ARC’s I’ve received from including Parkland by David Cullen.

Lonesome Dove will be my biggest challenge since it’s 945 pages and will be my longest book ever, but the rest of the titles are relatively short so here’s hoping I can squeeze them all in!

It should be a (another) great reading month! ❤

 

Book Review: Hungover

Author: Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall
Genre: Microhistory
Pub Date: November 20, 2018
FLW Rating: 3/5
Goodreads Link

Hungover was a total impulse buy (which is super rare for me these days!) There was something that really drew me to this micro-history when I saw it in the bookstore over the winter holiday. And so as to not let the attraction dwindle I decided to read it right away! It was satisfying, as far as impulse buys go, but probably not something to write home about (unless you have a blog like me 😉 ).

Hungover, as the subtitle explains, is one man’s quest for the cure to the modern hangover. Shaugnessy takes you on a journey of not only his hangovers but his life – his family, his relationships, and his career as a freelance journalist – all while getting drunk and talking about it how it feels.

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One thing that caught me by surprise is that, while the subtitle implies a global journey, Bishop-Stall’s journey is limited to a very small part of the world – primarily the US, Canada, England, and Ireland. To be fair, this is stated on the first page. Apparently I’m not a very good impulse buyer, because I didn’t read any of the book before purchasing it, just the front and back cover. One of the things I was most interested in was how they deal with hangovers in Asia because their medicine is so different from Western medicine, but alas this wasn’t what the book was about.

While I really appreciated a lot of the humor and the book as a whole, in general, I had some problems with the structure of the book. For one, there are “notes” at the end of each chapter, which stood on their own and I never quite understood the flow of them. And secondly, at times the book felt like it was written more for the author than the reader. He often talked about other writing assignments that were unrelated to the book, or other experiences in his life without giving the reader any context. This was particularly present in one of the middle chapters on England. There was a part where Bishop-Stall is recreating an old movie, and having not seen the movie, this overly long chapter did nothing for me, and instead made me question why I was reading this book in the first place and who, if not me, the target audience was meant to be.

I almost put the book down then, but I’m glad I didn’t because after that point, it started to delve more in to the hangover solution and the central conflict of is the best hangover cure, to abstain from drinking excessive amounts?

By the end of the book I found myself surprisingly invested in Bishop-Stall’s quest, and also really feeling for the guy as he dealt with the repercussions of this heavy drinking. While I wasn’t blown away, I was glad I read this book. I learned a bit and was entertained and, importantly, also fulfilled my curiosity that was sparked that day in the bookstore. I have a feeling if I hadn’t taken it home with me, I’d still be wondering about the outcome of his story.

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How I Use Goodreads

I’ve been using Goodreads to track my reading since before I was a really big reader. My mom was actually the first person to tell me about it, and it was before there was a social media app for everything so I remember thinking that a social media app for reading sounded weird. But I made an account like the good daughter that I am, and got to tracking!

My use of Goodreads has changed over the years (that’s one of the great things about it!), but I’ve heard a few people say recently that they’re not sure how to use it, so I thought I’d take some time to discuss my favorite features.

Shelves

This is probably the big one. Every book you “shelve” on goodreads must fall in to one of three categories: read, currently reading, or want to read. After that you can create as many shelves as you want. Common shelves that I’ve seen include: DNF (did not finish), genre-based shelves, rating-based shelves, year read based shelves.

Read

Primary Use: I use the Read shelf for two primary reasons: filtering by date read for wrap up posts (monthly, and annually) and filtering by rating for that time when someone asks what book they should read and they’ve already read all the amazing ones I can think of.

Tips and Tricks: You’re not limited to the categories listed for you. If you want to add or remove columns for sorting, click the settings link at the top of the page

Things that could be better: You can’t see how many books you’ve read in the current year on your read shelf without filtering by date and scrolling back to January. If you want a quick tally, start a reading challenge (the goal can be 0!) and it will then keep track of books you read in a calendar year. You also can’t sort by genre at all. This is why people make those shelves, but I wish it could be more automatic.

Currently Reading

Primary Use: To let someone (or just myself) know what I’m reading! Sometimes I’ll update this with my page number or % of progress through the book, but really that’s just if I’m bored and looking for something to click on

This one’s straightforward so no Tips/Tricks/Thing That Could Improve here!

Want to Read

Primary Use: This one has two purposes for me (which brings me to my Things That Could Be Better…). One is to catalog the books I own and one is to jot down books people recommend to me or I hear about and don’t want to forget!

Tips and Tricks: This is the only list that can be ordered! I use this all the time to arrange my TBR! (Again, mostly if I am bored and looking for something to click on — Goodreads is a great guilt free option for that!)

Things that could be better: There should be two lists – one for books I Want to Read and own, and one for books I want to read and don’t own. It’s important for me to keep the books I own in there so I don’t forget them, but then they get jumbled in with books I’ve heard about and the list just gets so long. Also my boyfriend/family always ask what books to get me and I wish I could point them to my Want to Read list, but then they’d more than likely buy me books I already own. This is probably my biggest pet peeve with the interface! (Goodreads, are you listening?!)

Self-Created Shelves

Primary Use: As I mentioned before this is for you to catalog anything that Goodreads won’t catalog for you. Genre, Author Ethnicity/Gender, Source (library, publisher, purchased), and Ratings are popular lists I’ve seen in the past. I currently only have two additional shelves: Unread Shelf- Fiction and Unread Shelf – Nonfiction. This is helping me with my issue with the Want to Read Shelf, and my goal of alternating fiction and nonfiction this year. When I’m going to choose my next book, I generally check these places depending on which side of the fiction/nonfiction coin I’m on.

Things that could be better: One thing that drives me nuts about these shelves is that you can’t rank them, like you can your Want to Read shelf. Since I use them as a second source of TBR I’d love to put them in order (just me? k.). It also took me the longest time to figure out how to delete one that I had made. I’ll tell you how. Under “My Books” and adjacent to the word “Bookshelves” (above your list of shelves) there’s a link that says “(edit shelves)” and that’s where you do it! Since it was pretty far away from the create your own shelves list, I had the hardest time finding it at first.

Ratings

Ratings on Goodreads are huge in the publishing industry. When I went to the San Diego Festival of Books, author Michelle Gable mentioned that one of the ways she mentors new authors is by reviewing their books on Goodreads. She and the other authors also said they live for the 4 and 5 star reviews on their titles as well. Truthfully, I’m not very consistent when it comes to posting my reviews to Goodreads, but I so commend anyone who does. However, I am pretty diligent about leaving a rating and a few words.

When I go to Goodreads, I mostly look for the synopsis and the ratings, and since I hate spoilers, I won’t read any reviews until after I finish the book.

Newsletter

I may be one of few, but I love the Goodreads monthly newsletter! It keeps me up to date on books coming out that month and has a specific section for books coming out by authors you’ve read. I also find the interviews and blog posts they include are pretty enjoyable too. I’m really not a newsletter person but this one works for me!

Friendship

And let’s not forget the social networking side of this interface. I love seeing what my friends are reading (if you couldn’t already tell that from my blog)! Since I live in California and most of my friends are from the East Coast, one way we stay in touch is by following each other on Goodreads. I love getting a text from a friend I haven’t talked to in a while saying “I saw what you’re reading in Goodreads, what do you think?!”

I’d say most of the conversations that are started from Goodreads take place over text, which probably isn’t what the creators of the platform want, but for me it works, and each of those texts brings me so much joy and connection.

You don’t have to use all the features

Among the things I don’t use are Lists, Browse, and Discovery tools. The only way I’m discovering books on Goodreads is if a trusted friend of mine gives it a five star rating. I totally support you finding books on Goodreads if you’re enjoying that, but I have found the recs don’t totally work for me. I have a ton of other sources for finding books I like (I wrote about that here).

A coworker recently told me that he doesn’t use Goodreads because he tried and it recommended too many books to him. My only thought was “try it again! You don’t have to lean in to the recs!”

So basically, I’m here to say that this platform is far from perfect and far from being what everyone needs, but I find it to be pretty easy to use and a great way for me to track my books and interact with friends. I hope you can find a way to use Goodreads to improve your reading habits, or just have another thing to click through that brings you joy. 🙂

 

Book Review: Becoming

Newest hero: Michele Obama. I always knew I liked her – her clothes, her affinity for health and fitness, her strength –  but I didn’t really know her. That changed entirely while listnening (I highly recommend audio!) to Becoming over the last couple months. I came to know and understand Michelle and her values, and I think I’m a better person for it. Truly, this book is GOOD.

Becoming is the memoir of Michele Obama: former first lady of the United Sates. She’s a Princeton grad, Harvard law school grad, successful lawyer, wonderful mom, supportive husband, and a baller health and fitness advocate. Her story starts and ends in Chicago and her whole life is one wild ride.

I think what stands out to me the most in this book is the tone. This book came across as honest, self aware, satisfied, and humble. I find that a lot of celebrity memoirs try to be funny, witty, or sarcastic, but this book was never that. This truly felt like a desire of Michelle to be understood on her own terms. She never had to write this book – the public opinion of her was already extremely high – but the bravery and self understanding that it took to write a book as beautiful as this stood out on every page.

I also loved the themes – and to me two stood out. The first is the never ending question of ‘am I good enough?’ While it pains me to hear someone explain how they’ve asked themselves this question throughout their life, there is so much honesty in it. I think this is something and everyone should hear:even someone who is perceived as confident, beautiful, and successful struggled with her self worth from time to time. And while this theme is a great equalizer among all the readers, it also allowed me to feel like I was getting to know Michelle on a friend level, really really getting to know her.

The other theme I really liked was that is OK to love children and make that your number one priority. I feel like so often in my life, I’m putting that to the side – whether its due to the desire to not act like I’m ready for children in my relationship, or trying to live up to this persona of an engineer that I have in my brain, or to trying to distinguish myself from the teenage babysitter of years past; I loved that Michelle babysat her way through college, considered leaving the law profession to run a day care and pursue her true passion, and devoted herself to her children without another thought. There wasn’t a huge struggle between her keeping her job and taking care of her children, she just decided to take care of her children because that was her number one priority in life. I just love so much that that was enough for her — and that we all see her as strong, driven, and successful for that.

I could go on for hours about the things that I respect about Michelle, but I’ll leave you with this. This memoir is one of a kind and you should read it. You’ll be better for it and maybe even a little happier too. And if your hold line at the library is 353 people long, I’d reccomend you buy this one. It is one you’ll never regret keeping on your shelf.

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Book Review: Calypso

When this book was first released last summer, many of the reviews included the words “different”, “darker”, or “more serious” in describing it in comparison to his other work. I am a huge David Sedaris fan so these words were major turnoffs to me in deciding to pick it up, but finally I threw it on on audio and I’ve been laughing ever since. What words would I use, you ask? Maybe “same old Sedaris humor, with a little less outrageousness, a little more timely political commentary, but definitely DEFINITELY the same amount of laugh out loud jokes.”

Calypso is the latest short story collection from David Sedaris – a true comic genius in my opinion. These stories are primarily autobiographical and range from conversations with family to observations on his travels. But knowing Sedaris, they’re never just straightforward stories. Each one will have you laughing out loud at the hilarity that can ensue when you view every day situations with the mind of David Sedaris.

In his previous works, Sedaris has let it be known that he’s very liberal, but he’s never totally come out right and talked about the present political climate. This book is different in that regard, and instead of using negative words like “dark” or “serious”, I want to highlight that this is one of the parts of the book I enjoyed the most. The chapter on the 2016 election titled “A Number of Reasons I’ve Been Depressed Lately”, and the chapter on the supreme court decision to legalize gay marriage (A Modest Proposal) are easily two of my favorites in this book — along with the nonpolitical US Travel Guide (Your English is So Good) and story of a man pooping on a plane (I’m Still Standing).


While we’re here, now seems as good a time as any to did a quick review of Holidays on Ice, David Sedaris’s Christmas collection. I was given this for Christmas and I quickly tore through it. The stories have all appeared previously in other collections, but luckily I didn’t remember any of them.  The stories aren’t specifically holiday themed, but they all mention Christmas at least once. These stories definitely contrast to the ones mentioned above. The ones in Calypso are kind of “haha” funny, but the ones in this collection struck me more as “holy crap, did you just say that?” funny. They’re hilarious in their outrageousness and inappropriate nature. I highly recommend them – especially “Season’s Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!”, “Based Upon a True Story”, and “Jesus Shaves”- but please approach this book with your best not-easily-offended sense of humor, or this one may just rub you the wrong way. 🙂


Clearly I’ve been on  a bit of a David Sedaris trend recently, but I have to say I’ve really enjoyed them all. I listened to a lot of the stories in Calypso on audio (which I  highly recommend!), but flipping through the book to find some of the titles, made me want to reread it print sometime soon! I just can’t get enough!

Who I Am as a Reader

I’m writing this post as part of an endless attempt to identify what makes me tick when it comes to books. I wrote in my 2019 goals post, that I want to get back to reading books in the genre of my choosing, ensuring that I’ll like most of the books I read. And while that may cost me points in the realm of diverse readers, I like to think that my tastes are diverse and that reading this way won’t dramatically reduce the diversity of books I read. So without further ado, here are some thoughts.

The #1 kind of book that will make me an emotional wreck and unable to put a book down:

Literary fiction about a strong teenage female, using their own personalities to overcome adversity. I don’t know why but this book is it for me. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, The Great Alone, My Absolute Darling, Where the Crawdads Sing — these all meet the mark and are on my list of all time favorites.

I asked for suggestions on instagram the other week and was told to check out The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis, Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller, and The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne.

I strongly prefer books set in America.

I don’t have a problem reading about other countries, but I feel myself more naturally drawn to books set in the US.

I actually realized this as a preference when I was choosing books for my Unread Shelf Challenge selections. The theme was “a book set in a country you’ve never been to,” and I only had one book: Saigon Kids, set in Vietnam. I think it’s just a comfort thing for me – I love books set in New York since I used to live there (I hated them while I was living there though!), I’ve loved books about the West Coast since moving to California in June 2017, and I love books that take in the wild landscapes of our country. Add in all the complex issue we have here to learn about – racial issues, slavery, the criminal justice system.. and you’ve got yourself a book!

Natural Histories are so cool.

Remember when you were little and if you were lucky, you got to choose what museum you could go to? My favorites were by far the science center or the museum of natural history. That kind of history has always been mind blowing to me – it’s just so much bigger than yourself and its so rarely documented, so if you are able to get a glimpse in to what makes the great world spin, it is always worth the read in my opinion.

Not to make it a rule but Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, and Dystopian Novels are not my thing.

Romance. Ugh. I’m just not here for it. Love? Yes, but I don’t need to know what your hands are doing down there.

Historical Fiction is sometimes fine, but generally I feel bored by the fiction aspect and would love to just dive in to the real history.

Dystopian novels/Fantasy in some cases are fine, but again, I just feel like I can’t relate. That or I get scared by how easily the whole world could just collapse at any given moment.

Thrillers are great from time to time

And finally, thrillers. Kind of my intro back in to reading post college hiatus, and always a fun thing to breeze through these days, I’m generally always down for a thriller!

Above all, I want to learn, feel, and think about things in a new way. The above state my natural preferences, but by no means encompass the books that I enjoy. Many of my favorites fall outside of these lines – and I love that. It’s hard to identify exactly what style of books is my favorite, but I think that’s kind of the point. If I could, then maybe I’d be done exploring and learning, and I never want to be done.

I hope you enjoyed hearing a little more about my reading tastes — and I guess a peak as to what you can expect on this page! I hope you’ll read this without judgement, but offer me suggestions for books I may like — or books that will push me slightly out of my comfort zone! 🙂