Somehow I managed to get some reading done this summer.
Possible reasons why:
- It stayed lighter, longer
- I largely subbed drinking chardonnay for sparkling water at night, leaving my evening attention span more robust
- Save for the Olympics, there was nothing good on TV for the past three months
- I consciously stopped bringing (as much) work home with me
- I stopped giving a f*ck about some things so that I could spend more time giving a f*ck about other things, such as reading for fun (more on this below)
Here’s what I covered:
- You’ll Grow Out of It, by Jessi Klein. Ok, I went big right away. This hilarious book by Inside Amy Schumer’s head writer had me choking with laughter in an embarrassing way on a plane, and near the end there are some very honest chapters on infertility (including a near guidebook for doctors on how not to be) that I may recommend to patients to read. However, one of my favorite essays was “Anthropologie,” which describes the compulsive need to buy into the lifestyle the store sells so well. Guilty. (The only thing that let me race through this and not dole it out oh-so-slowly is that I now have Amy Schumer’s own book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, waiting for me on my iPad).
- Carry On, Warrior, by Glennon Doyle Melton. I’m late to the game on this one, but I heard Glennon speak last month and was very, very interested to hear what she had to say. She has a new book, Love Warrior, coming out next month so I can keep my Glennon fix going.
- Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler. Plot summary: college grad gets job at high-end restaurant in New York City, does drugs, makes friends and enemies. I heard about this when Terri Gross interviewed the author on “Fresh Air.” The best parts are the behind-the-scenes insights into how a fine dining restaurant is run. Foodies would like this.
- Blackout, by Sarah Hepola. Another “Fresh Air” find. This was a scary memoir about drinking, and then not drinking.
- The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. Plot twist in Aisle 12! I see that there’s now a movie coming out about the book…
- The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware. This is what you read when you finish The Girl on the Train and want to read something similar. This was a decent thriller.
- Maestra, by L.S. Hilton. Ok, this was the thrilliest thriller of them all. I did not see this plot coming. The ending leaves a door open for a sequel, too.
- Everybody Rise, by Stephanie Clifford. This is about social climbing. Meh. I was bored. I’d only recommend it if you can find a free copy of this in paperback at a café or in a free library.
- Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll. See above re: social climbing. Then add a Columbine-like tragedy. See above re: Meh.
One more to share:
- The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, by Sarah Knight. I laughed out loud at the title when my friend D. sent this to me as a gift earlier this year. I thought it was primarily a parody, but in the end, there was some real wisdom in this gem. Here’s an excerpt:
Ask yourself the following question: Am I stressed out, overbooked, and/or underwhelmed by life?
If the answer is yes to any of these, then pause for a moment and ask yourself: Why?
I’m willing to bet the answer is: Because you give too many f*cks. Or, more specifically, because you think you have to give those f*cks …
I’ve developed a program for decluttering and reorganizing you mental space by not giving a f*ck, where not giving a f*ck means not spending time, energy, and/or money on things that neither make you happy not improve your life (annoy), so that you have more time, energy, and/or money to devote to the things that do (bring joy).
How’s that for a philosophy? I highly recommend this read.
I forgot to put this coffee table book on my Christmas list, but I still want it.
“Kate Spade New York: Places to go, people to see” is so charming.
The photos are beautiful and transport you to a place/time of elegant travel.
“Things we love” was an earlier book (2013) that’s still fresh and another pretty escape.
Here’s another great story from “The Dinner Party Download” last week, celebrating the glamorous Jet Set age of airline travel.
“Jet Set: The People, The Planes, The Glamour and the Romance in Aviation’s Glory Years,” a new book by William Stadiem, describes the arc from luxury travel in the 1950s and 60s to the cattle car conditions of today.
While I’m definitely considering this for my next in flight reading material, it may prove to be too depressing as I munch my tiny bag of pretzels back in coach.
Remember this book?
It’s the detective story pseudonymously written by “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling that I recently finished.
And now there’s going to be a sequel!
Ok, to be correct, it’s actually the second book in what I’m hoping will be a series.
The U.S. publication date is June 24, only a few short weeks away. This will definitely be on my summer list.
Are you looking for a great gift for a kid?
These personalized books are really cool.
After entering a few details about the child’s life (age, gender, names of family members, etc), a personalized book can be created.
Trixie got this book for Christmas last year, and it’s a hit:
The message is very sweet and the kids love seeing the names of family members throughout the book.
If you’re not in the market for reading material, they also sell personalized placemats, growth charts, stickers and other fun items.
P.S. Sign up for their website and you can get 10% off an order.
A few years ago, my friend J recommended “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson.
We were both attending our friend S’s wedding in Chicago, and J mentioned that this book was a true story about the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and a serial killer operating under the guise of a doctor during that era.
Although I downloaded the book right away (lest I forget), I didn’t get around to starting it until my trip to Chicago earlier this week.
Wow! What a page turner. Although I usually don’t get into true crime or historical non-fiction books, this one is gripping.
P.S. More about the Chicago World’s Fair.
Looking for something good to read?
Consider a title from Amazon’s list of 100 books to read in a lifetime.
I’m not sure I totally agree with their methods or choices, but in Amazon’s defense they make zero claims that these are all important works of literature.
Perusing the list, I identified 35 that I’ve already read.
From that selection, some of my all time favorites appeared:
- “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides
- “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris (which had me choking with tears of laughter on a plane many years ago, much to the surprise of my seatmates)
- “The Corrections” by Jonathan Franzen (my intro to Franzen, but I’d argue that “Freedom” was on par or better than this one)
There were also four transformative works that I read in college:
- “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt (like nothing else, a book that blew me away)
- “The World According to Garp” by John Irving (always wrestling, so much wrestling with him)
- “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe
- “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales” by Oliver Sacks (a book that fostered my yearning to become a physician)
And two I can’t wait to get to:
- “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen,” by Christopher McDougall
- “The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America,” by Erik Larson (one that is on my iPad already and just waiting for a long flight to be opened)