Reading and Reviewing: January

Reading and Reviewing: January

I got off to a good starting reading at the start of January, but it kind of fell to the wayside by the end of the month as my work piled up! Here’s to a less busy second half of February! In the meantime, these are a few of my faves:

Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld: This book is a “modern telling” of Pride and Prejudice that follows a family of four adult sisters and their respective love lives. Each sister ends up making drastically different choices and aspects of the book definitely surprised me a bit! The story was pretty long, but I thought the ending, which focused on the middle sister Mary, was hilarious. Anyone else think so?

Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance: I’ve mentioned this book on here a few times already, but it’s because it was THAT good. I tore through it in about a day and found it so fascinating. As a former sociology major, I was enthralled by the author’s tale of his childhood in Appalachia and how his upbringing shaped his family and the person he became. This is truly a must-read and a book that makes you feel smarter and more informed just by reading it. I was recently in the process of verbally recommending it to someone only to be stopped and told that they’d read it already! Don’t miss out– go add it to your cart on Amazon stat!

The One That Got Away, by Leigh Himes: I LOVED this book! I picked it up at my favorite used bookstore in NYC because the title sounded somewhat familiar (I mean, it’s a common title, but I was pretty sure I had heard of this specific book!). I loved the way the author explored the “what ifs” of a woman’s life and illustrated how completely different things would have turned out had she married a rich, famous man from her past. I also loved that it took place in Philly and talked a lot about Center City, Penn, and the Philly suburbs. #throwback Plus, the ending definitely threw me for a loop!

The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware: As I mentioned earlier, this one definitely reminded me of The Girl on the Train. After seeing it on Instagram this summer and fall, I couldn’t wait to read it. I finished it in like a day and was creeped out–but fascinated–by the storyline.

The Hypnotist’s Love Story, by Liane Moriarty: I love Liane Morarity, and her stories never seem to disappoint (although I like some of her books better than others). I thought this story about a woman dealing with her new love’s stalker (yeah, a bit confusing sounding but I promise it’s super easy to follow, haha) was hilarious and a fun “chick flick” type of read.

Now to tackle the many books on my to-read list…I don’t know where to start! I can’t wait to dive into Small Admissions first, though!

How to Read More

How to Read More

Lately, I’ve been an avid reader, finishing book after book while also creating a gigantic to-read pile. However, while I loved reading growing up, college obviously meant that I had to prioritize “real” books, and there was little room to read for pleasure. After I graduated and lived in New York City, I enjoyed reading the free books I’d pick up at work (advantages of working in publishing!) but I didn’t really go out of my way to read, unless a favorite author of mine had released a new novel.

It’s kind of ironic that graduate school was when I started reading a ton again, but I think I was craving some extra relaxation in my life. Luckily, my pattern of reading to relax has continued into this year (although it slowed down a bit when I first moved).

Reading is kind of a personal thing in that I know people who easily read 10 books a month, while others struggle to read that many in a year. But reading shouldn’t be a competition; it’s supposed to be fun, after all! (Now I sound like a librarian). However, for those of you who are looking to read more and aren’t quite sure how to fit it into your schedule, here are a few of my tips:

-Set a goal. Generally, I’m a pretty goal-oriented person, so if I set a goal to read a certain number of books per month, I do my best to meet it. Obviously, the number may change based on the length of a book. This month, I felt like I was spending a ton of time reading, but many of the books I picked up were a bit longer and took much more time to finish. Now that I have a blog, I like to read as many books as possible so that I can review them for you all! I get a lot of my book recommendations from blogs, so I love to share my recs with others in return.

-Share recommendations with friends. Honestly, all it takes is finding a good book to get you back into the reading groove. If you’re looking for an interesting story that has gotten a lot of press lately, pick up Hillbilly Elegy. One of my friends was reading it and I decided to pick up a copy for myself, and wow. So good! I’ll do a full review on it later in the month.

-Carry a book with you. This tip is kind of obvious, and I don’t really do this myself, but if I had a long commute that didn’t involve a ton of transfers, I would definitely be reading on the train/subway. I have friends who do this and it’s a great way to pass time. Pick up a real book or a Kindle, toss it in your work bag, and you’re good to go.

-Join a book club. Whether its through Meetup, your college alumni association, or even your office, signing up for a book club will hold you accountable to finish that novel! Plus, it’s a great way to socialize and enjoy snacks and wine. 😉

If you have more tips or book recs, send ’em my way…

Reading (and reading and reading)

Reading (and reading and reading)

In New York this past weekend, my friend Allison and I made sure to visit our favorite used bookstore in the city. It’s actually located in the basement of one of the public libraries (Webster, if you’re wondering!) and has the BEST deals on books. Most are between $2 and $4, and new releases run about $7. I picked up $40 worth of books (a great deal when you think about how much books cost at Barnes and Noble, but a little difficult because I then had to transport them all back home!) and now my to-read list is growing and growing.

Above are most of the books I picked up this weekend, but I already have an even bigger pile on my bookshelf waiting to be read. I love to post book reviews on the blog, so keep an eye out for plenty more coming soon! I’m trying to branch out from my usual feel-good books and start more mysteries and obscure novels, but honestly my stack right now is all over the place genre-wise.

What are you reading and loving? I’m all ears.

Beach, Please

Summer may be nowhere in sight, but that doesn’t mean that winter days have to be completely dreary. I’ve spotted such adorable beach-themed home decor lately, and the fun prints and bright colors are sure to brighten up the most blah winter days. I purchased the beachy print pictured here from TJ Maxx because it reminded me of Gray Malin’s work (with a much more manageable price tag!). It’s currently hanging in my living room, but at the rate I move things around, who knows where it will end up next 😉

Happy shopping!

Beach print//Anchor plaque//Flamingo tote//Striped tote//Nautical sheets//Beaches book

On My Reading List

On My Reading List

It often feels like my reading list is never-ending (although I did make a good dent in it over the holidays!). Above are a few books I hope to dive into in 2017, spanning a mix of genres. Have you read any of them? Some of these have been on my list for far too long, and I’ve just been waiting for the right time to start…oops!

Also, since a few people have asked me where I like to buy books on the cheap, I’m going to make a plug for Thrift Books. I’ve already gotten a few friends hooked on this site, and it’s definitely worth exploring. They have great deals where you can rack up points and ultimately receive a discount after spending $50. Also, anytime you order $10 worth of books, shipping is free! Don’t forget to sign up for their emails in order to receive further promo codes (they hand them out frequently). Happy book shopping!

Need a new book? Pick up one of these

 

There are so many good books I’ve read over the years that I’d love to recommend to you all, so I thought I would do a roundup here (inspired by Mackenzie’s list from last week, definitely check it out for further recs!). Now that I’ve started blogging, I plan to continue my monthly book posts, but just consider the below a list of my favorites from the past, oh, two years?!

Nonfiction:

I love nonfiction books (I always say this is because I was a sociology major!). Here are a few of my somewhat recent faves…

Bringing Home the Birkin: Such a cool story about a man who makes a living purchasing the elusive Birkin bags–and other Hermes products–and re-selling them online. It had me hooked!

The Happiness Project: I had this on my bookshelf for the longest time before reading it and am glad I took the plunge! Gretchen Rubin always leaves me feeling inspired.

The Woman I Wanted to Be: DVF’s personal story and background is incredibly moving and she has accomplished so much in her career–you don’t have to live and breathe fashion to appreciate this book.

Mad Women: A good book and a great conversation starter! A fascinating take on what it was like to be a woman at an ad agency during the 1960s.

Modern Romance: Not to be confused with Modern Lovers, ha! This one actually does include sociological research and is an interesting take on dating today.

I Was Told There’s Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number: Sloane Crosley is hilarious. I told a friend to read these and she didn’t love them as much as I did, but I loved the short anecdotes and reflections on random situations.

MWF Seeking BFF: Ok, I outlined this one in my first July book post, but seriously, go read it!

Fiction: 

There have been so many good fiction releases in recent years that it’s hard to keep up! Just a few must-reads below… 

One Plus One: This was actually the first Jojo Moyes book I read and I thought it was a sweet story and definitely funny!

Big Little Lies: I’ve gotten into mysteries more in recent years–let’s be real, who hasn’t?! Lianne Moriarity doesn’t disappoint!

The Underwriting: Addicting- a friend recommended this to me last fall and I read it in a day. That good. I can’t wait to pick up the next books, as this is going to be a series.

…and even more on my Goodreads! What books have you enjoyed lately?

Reading and Reviewing: August

Another month of fun books! While I absolutely loved my grad school curriculum, it is so nice to be able to read for pleasure without feeling guilty! As much as I enjoyed our assigned texts, they weren’t quite like the books I cover below 😉 Still working on The Singles Game (moving has kept me from reading much this week!), but I will include it in my September roundup!

The Hopefuls, by Jennifer Close: I was hooked right away! I loved Girls in White Dresses and The Smart One, which I read in years past, so I couldn’t wait for Close’s next release to arrive. The story focuses on two couples, Beth and Matt (the main characters) and their good friends, Ash and Jimmy. Both husbands have large political aspirations which ends up causing conflict in more ways than one. The four are inseparable while living in DC, but as the couples follow each other across the country for Matt to assist Jimmy with his campaign, fights break out and Beth and Ash’s friendship is also tested.

The beginning of the book managed to weave together parts of DC and NYC life in a way that felt like the author had read my mind while writing! I laughed out loud at the descriptions of DC, such as women wearing socks and sneakers on the subway (#guilty), and I also loved reading about the various Safeways that everyone here jokes about (the Social Safeway is in my new neighborhood!). There’s a huge place in my heart for J.G. Melon and Dorrian’s, and reading about these NYC haunts made me get emotional! 😉 But I also started sobbing when I read the author’s description of living in NYC as a 20-something after 9/11, because I thought of a former magazine editor of mine (who is around the same age as main character Beth) and had told me about how her life and relationship changed greatly after that. I like how the book touched on complex relationship dynamics (both with regard to friends as well as romantic partners) and was very “real” while also being a fun read. I totally recommend it!

The Perfect Neighbors, by Sarah Pekkanen: I have loved Sarah Pekkanen for years–she wrote a brief but hilarious monthly column in my hometown magazine (where I interned twice in college!). When she started writing novels a few years ago I was thrilled, and I couldn’t wait to pick up Perfect Neighbors, which looks at the (somewhat secretive) lives of a group of women living in an idyllic neighborhood. One review I spotted on Amazon called out the book’s Desperate Housewives-esque nature, and as a fan of the show, I couldn’t agree more! Definitely recommend this as a beach read!

In Twenty Years, by Allison Winn Scotch: When I heard that this book was about six former Penn students, I had to read it, and for something that comes across as a beach read (at least from the cover!) it actually had a lot of depth. The book focuses on a group of 40-year-old friends who reunite over a decade after losing a member of their group, who somewhat suddenly passed away only a few years out of school. While some of the reviews I read on Amazon were negative, I didn’t think the storyline was boring in the slightest and tore through the book in only a couple of nights. It made me think a lot about my own time in college both on a deeper level but also literally–although I was at Penn as a grad student and not as an undergrad, I still could picture all of the places and characters Scotch mentioned, which made the book extra interesting! Definitely recommend whether you’re fresh out of college or an older adult–you’ll be able to relate!

Modern Lovers, by Emma Straub: I read The Vacationers (Straub’s first book) while on a plane last summer and basically did the same thing with Modern Lovers (I flew through 280 pages of the book during my wait in the gate and two-hour flight!). My friend who started the book around the same time had warned me that it’s a quick read, but in a good way (we also both put off ordering it until this month for some reason but then were eager to dive in!). I had been anticipating Straub’s second novel since I’d heard about it months ago, and Modern Lovers, which tells the story of a set of college friends, now living in Brooklyn with their teenage children, did not disappoint. It’s a book that I enjoyed but also would recommend to adults of any age–the whole premises behind the book is examining relationships among those both young and older.

Rich and Pretty, by Rumaan Alam: I honestly was sort of confused by this book before I sat down and looked at the reviews on Amazon before I placed my order. The name seemed kind of silly, for one (it reminds me of Pretty Little Liars or something for teens!) and also it was written by a man?! Confusing. While the book didn’t get the best reviews on Amazon compared to some of summer’s other big releases, I enjoyed it and found it interesting to read about two close friends who had known each other for over 15 years but were suddenly facing major adult milestones. I think the book was also more interesting to me because of its setting in NYC. Honestly, so many people are reading it that I don’t regret joining the party!

Love and Miss Communication, by Elyssa Friedland: I purchased this book in a used bookstore (love them) near my grad school campus this past spring, and I only finally got around to reading it BUT I’M SO GLAD I DID. This light read tells the story of Evie, a social media and internet-addicted lawyer who ends up losing her job due to her excessive time on online. Between getting fired and soon after discovering some disappointing findings about her ex on Facebook, she decides to quit the internet for good (well, at least for the bulk of the book). Meanwhile, Evie is also struggling to get into a new relationship, dealing with an illness in the family, and trying to make a positive impression on her new employer. There are certainly some unexpected (and kind of unnecessary) twists throughout, but overall this book had me laughing as well as cringing–and it’s definitely a good read for anyone who thinks they could never say adios to Instagram. Compared to other books I’ve read about similar “social media diets,” this one takes the cake. It kept me interested for all 360+ pages and had likable characters (for the most part!).