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June Reads

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This month got off to a fast start reading-wise, but things kind of slowed down halfway through. I have my 16-hour round trip train ride to Boston to thank for allowing me to finish several of these! I’m heading to Florida for a few days to spend some time with family for the 4th and have packed a TON of books–I always read a lot down there and am bringing a mix of beach reads and thrillers. July should be a good recap, for sure!

Here’s what I read in June:

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work at the White House, by Alyssa Mastromonaco: This was a great book to read relatively soon after finishing Katy Tur’s Unbelievable a few months ago (you can read my review about it here). This comedic memoir tells the story of Alyssa’s experience working for Barack Obama and is punctuated by her own stories of embarrassment and self-discovery. I always love reading about how people slightly older than I am got started in their field and finished the book feeling inspired by Alyssa and totally missing Barry O. Definitely read it if you love a good liberal political memoir but also have a sense of humor (there are lots of weird stories about not being able to find bathrooms, and the like!).

Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng: Ok, I wasn’t sure if I would like this book or not, but I’m SO glad that I read it. I’d been on the waitlist at the library for months, finally got a copy, and decided to crack it open on a long train ride home from Boston (funnily enough, the girl next to me was sitting there reading it too, and we ended up talking about it for a bit!). While we both had been a little worried that the book would be “boring,” I was honestly so enthralled the entire time. The book tells the story of the Richardson family, living in Shaker Heights, Ohio (which is right near where my mom spent her middle school years!), as well as their tenants, Mia Warren and her teenage daughter, Pearl. After a local family brings an abandoned baby into their home, the town is divided on whether she should be returned to her birth mother or raised in her new family–and Mia is personally connected to the issue in more ways than one. Meanwhile, the teenage children of the book are making their own decisions about what family means to them and how they wish to shape their lives. Without giving too much away, the book prompts the reader to consider how they define family and the complicated decisions we each make as a result of our own familial bonds. The book was a thought-provoking read without pinpointing a “right” or a “wrong” side, and it really encouraged the reader to consider his or her own values and moral obligations. I could see it being read and discussed in a college class (#sociologymajor) across many disciplines and keep thinking about the many issues it raised.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson: This is another book I had been meaning to read for ages. It’s a quick self help read that I think raises tons of relevant issues. When should we care about things, and when should we just move on? There was one quote I really liked (I took a picture of the page, because I had to return the book to the library!). It said, “We should pick our battles carefully, while simultaneously attempting to empathize a bit with the so-called enemy….We should prioritize values of being honest, fostering transparency, and welcoming doubt over the values of being right feeling good, and getting revenge.”

When Life Gives You Lululemons, by Lauren Weisberger: Hear me out, but I remember reading The Devil Wears Prada WAY back when during the summer after my freshman year of high school (I know, I feel old!) and just not loving the writing–I did love the movie, though, and reference it all the time. I was super excited for Lauren Weisberger’s new book to come out (which I hadn’t realized was technically about Andy Sachs’ friend and coworker, Emily) and was even more thrilled when Simon and Schuster included it in a little summer reading package that they sent to me at the end of last month. As soon as I started the book, I was hooked, and I genuinely looked forward to reading it each day because I found it so amusing (and terrifying!). The book follows Miranda’s former assistant Emily (in her new life doing publicity for stars), her friend Miriam, who has quit her high-powered law firm job to raise her children in Greenwich, and Miriam’s friend Karolina, the wife of a senator, who lives in Bethesda and finds herself in trouble when she’s presumed to be driving under the influence. The book celebrates female friendship, the struggles women face, and brings to light the crazy, complicated lives of Greenwich’s elite (you’ll laugh and shudder). Highly recommend it for the beach this summer!

Limelight, by Amy Poeppel: This was another book that I’d been curious about but went into a bit skeptical because I didn’t like the author’s previous work. I thought I’d love Small Admissions, which everyone had been raving about last year (I especially thought I’d enjoy it working at a private K-12 school!), and just could NOT get into it at all. I did keep the book, though, so maybe I’ll give it another chance. However, Limelight totally captured my attention–I loved it! I snagged a copy at my favorite used bookstore in NYC, and the woman working at the register told me that she had just finished the book and loved it. The story follows Allison Brinkley and her husband, teenage daughters, and elementary school-aged son, who have just relocated from Dallas to NYC. Unfamiliar with the city, Allison struggles to find a job and her bearings, but one day ends up with an unexpected gig, serving as the PA for a teen popstar. You can guess that undoubtably tons of ups and downs follow, and all the while, Allison is trying to balance her own family life with basically raising someone else’s kid. I found the book funny and engaging and would totally recommend it for the beach or summer travel.

When Katie Met Cassidy, by Camille Perri: I had loved Camille Perri’s first book, The Assistants, and was excited to read more from her. This book tells the story of Katie, a newly single, traditional girl from Kentucky who is working as a lawyer in New York City, when one day in the office she meets a lesbian woman named Cassidy…and has all kinds of questions. Despite their differences, the two women form a bond which leads to more, shocking Katie and changing her outlook about herself and her relationships. I thought this was a very sweet read that broke the mold but also raised important questions and issues.

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The Big Book Recap

You know when you just feel so behind on something that you keep putting it off because it no longer seems relevant? That’s how I’ve felt with this book post. I’ve been reading a lot more these past few months than I had been in the fall, and my book roundups are always a favorite, but I’ve been so bad about logging everything on here.

Right after I moved, I was also in the middle of a job search, trying to get to know my new neighborhood, and the like, and reading fell on the back burner–I found that I was much happier watching a Grey’s Anatomy episode on Netflix than curling up with a book! My old job was also much more reading/writing intensive, so I didn’t always want to come home and sit down with a book or even craft a blog post.

BUT here we are! I’ve finally taken the time to crank out a monster book roundup for you guys and will try to be more consistent with these going forward. I personally like publishing monthly reading lists on here because it helps me keep track of everything I’ve read in a given year. Note that in some cases, I haven’t thought about a book for months, so the Amazon description may do better justice than anything I could write at this point. (So admittedly, this is more of a list than a full-blown recap!).

In no particular order, here’s what I’ve read:

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The Last Mrs. Parrish – How come thriller characters are always so likable at the beginning and then become INSANE by the end? This is another example of that! I was hooked and absolutely thrown for a loop when I realized what the other characters knew by the end.

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Unbelievable – An amazing depiction of the craziness of the 2016 election and what exactly it was like being a part of the Trump campaign as a reporter. You don’t have to be any kind of political junkie to enjoy this read–I honestly felt like I was there with Katy through every interview, trip, and meltdown.

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Gone Without a Trace – A woman picks up the pieces after she realizes her boyfriend has left their shared home and taken everything with him…but is someone watching her, and is it him? The ending will shock you!

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My Husband’s Wife – Complete with multiple stories in one that all tie back together, this is a great read for thriller-lovers. Again, betrayal is a common theme here…

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Fitness Junkie – This was a fun parody about what it’s like living in a fitness, green juice-obsessed world. It’s the perfect rom-com type of book that will leave you nodding along and laughing. The overall premise about the main character needing to lose weight is a bit ridiculous, but that’s part of the absurdity of the book.

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Still Me – Ugh, such a good read. I love all of Jojo Moyes’ books but especially the Me Before You series, and this was the perfect ending to Louisa’s adventures (plus, this time she’s in NYC, which made it extra fun to read!).

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Text Me When You Get Home – This was a Girls Night In book club read, although I couldn’t end up going to the actual discussion. It’s an insightful read on female friendships and how much we matter to one another–it’s heartwarming for sure!

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Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman – This is a Girls Night in book club read from forever ago. I loved it–but I also love Anne Helen Petersen–so I knew I was in for a treat before I even cracked it open. Each chapter is focused on a famous woman (ranging from Melissa McCarthy to Kim Kardashian) who has been deemed “too” something. Petersen discusses the implications of these labels and stereotypes; the discussion we had as a book club was super gripping!

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The Wife Between Us – I’m putting this on here even though I’m only halfway through it right now, but I’m already enjoying it. Like a lot of thrillers, it switches back and forth between two narrators who share a current/former husband and each have a secret they’re hiding.

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Hello Sunshine – This was a rom-com like read about the difficulty that ensues when a famous chef’s life falls apart after she’s proven to not be as talented as everyone thinks. I loved it when I picked it up but became a little less interested over time.

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Unstuffed – This is a self help book that several people had recommended on Instagram, so I was curious and picked it up. I ended up mostly skimming through because it was hard for me to stay interested in every chapter. It also had a lot of religious messaging that didn’t really resonate with me, but overall some of the tips about managing stress and clutter were useful.

My favorite? I’d have to say The Last Mrs. Parrish. Unbelievable and Still Me were close seconds (and as I’m writing this, I’m realizing I’m really skipping around across genres!). The Last Mrs. Parrish was such a good classic thriller that kept me up late into the night. Unbelievable is a must for anyone fascinated by the outcome of the 2016 election, and Katy Tur is a likable narrator. Still Me = sob city but so good, as are all of Jojo Moyes’ books.

What have been your favorite reads lately?

 

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On My Playlist…

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If it was 2006, I’d call this post “On my iPod,” but let’s be real, who listens to an iPod anymore? I listen to all of my music either on my iPhone or on Pandora at work (#TeamPandora for life…never going to switch to Spotify because I’m stuck in my habits and like all my stations!).

I love sharing music recommendations with friends (actually, that’s kind of a lie…I used to hate it because I feel like music can be so personal! When someone would look through my iPod in college, I’d literally flinch and hope they only saw the “good” stuff…aka whatever was in at the moment. When people would take turns plugging their phones in to DJ newspaper production nights, I always hoped and prayed that no one would ever ask me!). Anyway…weirdness aside. I’ve now gotten over the fear of people “judging” me based on my music choices and do enjoy sharing playlists — especially workout playlists — with friends. I’ve shared some of my latest (and longtime) faves below (leaving out the ones that I only like for weird personal reasons and most people probably won’t like, haha #dontjudge), so write ’em down and download away! I’ve linked to YouTube videos here if you want to try before you…buy (does anyone actually buy music these days?).

Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (Who isn’t listening to the Chainsmokers right now?!)

Bright Lights – Matchbox 20 (ALL the feels)

Growing Up – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (So. good. I think I texted my group chat about how much I liked this song when I first heard it. #notsorry).

The Greatest – Sia (Wooooo)

Somewhere On A Beach – Dierks Bentley (Because…country)

Next to Me – Kendrick Lamar Remix (I’ve officially been obsessed with this one ever since I heard it two years ago in a Forever 21…yep.

Countdown – Beyonce (Another one that never gets old and always puts me in a good mood. So many memories of listening to this during a chaotic junior fall!)

Chained to the Rhythm – Katy Perry (She’s at it again…and it’s kinda deep. Yes, I did see the Katy Perry documentary during one of my magazine jobs, so Katy and I are basically BFFs.).

Send me your music recs, please! Are you a Pandora or Spotify gal?

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