Treading Lightly
Treading Lightly

What I Read This Month: March Books

Where did this month go? March flew by, and all of the little books I read certainly helped speed it along. My March books are certainly an odd mix. I have been trying to read more of the books that I put on my Goodreads list from years ago (like One Day and Gulp). It’s kind of fun to go back in time and read the books that had caught my attention, although some of them fall a bit flat. Turns out we’ve both aged.

March Books

In honor of spring, I read books about deep winter, death by indigestion, and parenting. I’m really selling it aren’t I?

March Books 2017 Book Reviews

Difficult Women

I will read pretty much anything Roxane Gay writes. She has a strong voice that comes through whether she’s writing searing essays or stomach-turning fiction. The short stories in Difficult Women were arduous to read. The women in each story face horrors, try to put themselves back together, and seek out destruction. I was’t prepared for it.

It’s a must to pair this with something uplifting. And maybe don’t read the news while you’re working through it either. In internet speak, the whole thing is potentially triggering. Gay doesn’t make the stories go down easily, but her writing will drag you in anyways.

 

One Day

I finished One Day early in the month, and I’m still mad at David Nicholls. I was fully sucked into this book until he started dropping bombs three-quarters of the way through. By the end I didn’t like any of the characters and I was disenchanted with the whole story.

Is the movie less frustrating?

 

The Little Book of Hygge

The Danish concept of hygge (hue-guh or hoo-gah depending on who you believe on the internet) is right up my alley. I’ve been fully into hygge long before it took over the entire world, I just didn’t know there was a word for it.

For some reason I thought The Little Book of Hygge was a list of great ways to create some hygge. Instead it broke down the cultural importance of hygge and the typical activities that Danes consider hygge. I still enjoyed the book and I came away with a great deal of kinship for people in a country I could never survive in.

I hope this concept continues to catch on. I’m much happier sipping a cup of tea in a comfy, warm room than trying to hear people over the cacophony of a loud bar. Can we all just agree to spend more nights at home with a good book or a great friend?

 

Cinderella Ate My Daughter

Pink and I have never really gotten along (not the singer – we still don’t run in the same circles). Even though I refused to wear pink as soon as I could semi-verbalize my distaste for it, I still fell hard for the princess complex and their damn plastic high heels.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter explores the heavily gendered toys that are marketed to children and how they impact their play, friendships, and word view. This book was just as eye-opening and scary as Peggy Orenstein’s more recent Girls and Sex.

I have got to stop reading books about how hard it is to raise intelligent, well-rounded, well-adjusted, socially-conscious children. It makes me feel terrified at the prospect of being tasked with it myself – like keeping them alive and relatively happy isn’t hard enough.

 

The Science Writers’ Handbook

I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to be a journalist or a nonfiction writer. It thoroughly explains everything you may need to know and it answered a lot of my (endless) questions about making freelance work. From what to look for in a contract to the importance of a good home office setup, The Science Writer’s Handbook felt like having a friend and a mentor patiently explain the mysteries behind ‘working for yourself’ full time.

 

Gulp

When I first heard Mary Roach talk about Gulp with John Stewart (way back when he was on The Daily Show), it didn’t grab me. It sounded gross and not very interesting.

Well, multiple Roach books later and it seemed like the right time to bite. It wasn’t my favorite of hers, but it still captured my attention and gave me a few laughs.

 

Eat Pretty

Books like Eat Pretty always remind me to eat better and to pay attention to how I’m treating my body. However, this book was a bit flat for me. It was gorgeous to look at, but I didn’t get anything new or life-changing out of it. None of the recipes in the book grabbed my attention, and most of it was things I had already heard. I would recommend Skin Cleanse over Eat Pretty, but it is a great reminder to eat more healthy fruits and vegetables.

 

Want more recommendations?

Check out what I’ve read so far this year:

February
January
Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

You can see all of my book reviews here.

What I Read This Month: February Books

My February books kept me afloat this month. They gave me a break from my own chaotic, self-doubting mind. The books I read this month were either full of much needed advice and encouragement or they were the perfect escape from my overwhelm.

February was my busiest month ever as a freelancer. I worked more hours than I have at any job in years. I’m not saying this to complain, despite the fact that most of this month was downright miserable, or do a weird ‘I’m so busy’ brag. But rather, I’m trying to explain just how much these books meant to me.

The fact that I read at all this month is something worth celebrating. There were days where my brain had turned to mush and my eyes were deep in the throws of revolt. But without fail I started nearly every morning with at least 15 minutes of reading. Those 15-30 minutes were often the best part of my day.

Despite the tears after going to bed and the ice-cream-after-lunch days and the downright shocking amount of work I powered through, I somehow managed to read five books this month. In doing so I also realized that my dream job might actually be getting paid to read engaging books all day. If you’ve figured out a way to make that a reality, please let me know.

In the meantime, prepare yourself for some long, rambling thoughts on this month’s books.

February Books

What I Read This Month: February Books

Relativity

This fiction was straight nourishment for the heart. I loved the way that 12-year-old Ethan saw the world (both literally and figuratively). The switching perspectives/ narrators kept me hooked and made it even easier to root for them all, even when I felt conflicted about it. Be prepared to have a greater appreciation for physics and a deep desire to watch Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson after reading this one.

 

Voices in the Ocean

For as long as I can remember I have always loved to be in and around water. I used to dream about being an oceanographer (didn’t realize it was mostly about staring at maps on computers) or a marine biologist until the realities of the math/chemistry required and the amount of time I would spend living in a lab set in.

This book was for the 10-year-old marine biologist inside of me. Voices dives into the complex world of dolphins and our fascination with them. It both filled me with a sense of appreciation and awe for our oceans and the incredible animals that live in them, and it also made me feel depressed and helpless about the current state of our oceans and the horrific things we do to their inhabitants.

I loved Susan Casey’s The Wave (and have made just about everyone I know read it). This book didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but I still enjoyed it. Lovers of The Cove and Blackfish will likely enjoy it.

 

Tools of Titans

Another massive tome from Tim Ferriss, Tools of Titans lays out the best lessons, advice, and habits from the world-renowned guests on The Tim Ferriss Show. I read this one in little chunks throughout the month, and I feel like it’s one that might be worthwhile in going back to. It’s packed with great information (and things that will never apply to my life).

While I recommend picking it up, I will say that if you are a regular listener to the podcast it can feel repetitive (you’ve already heard the interviews, and much of it is direct quotes from guests). It’s also, purposely, all over the place. Advice directly conflicts, people disagree on how to get to the same place, and a lot of it may not be helpful at all.

I think I should also say that I’ve generally been cooling on Ferriss lately. I’m not interested in taking adaptogens or biohacking my body, and he seems to be going further and further into quick fixes and magic pills. A lot of the things that excited him the most in this book just didn’t click with my lifestyle or interests.

 

A Man Called Ove

Oh man, I loved A Man Called Ove. It caught my eye on the shelf at the library, and despite no time and lots of other books in my arms, I just couldn’t help myself.

I’m so glad I picked it up. This was my favorite book of the year so far.

This grump felt like an alternate-reality version of me. I cracked up constantly, and the dark humor was top-notch for me. The curmudgeon inside of me felt perfectly at home inside the pages. This book was the highlight of the month. It’s obvious why A Man Called Ove a best seller in so many countries.

 

Scratch

I have yet to learn that books about writing, especially how to make a living at it, are never uplifting. I have not once finished a book about writing and thought, ‘yes, of course I can do this and it will obviously be easy!’

Scratch was real. Cheryl Strayed exposed the debt that was quickly sinking her and her husband before Wild came out. Sarah Smarsh showed that not being able to afford a haircut means that a best-selling novel is right around the corner (or something not even close to that but that’s the version I need right now). Austin Kleon turned ‘selling out’ on its head and made me regret being terrible at visual arts.

The writers in this book talked straight to the voices in my head that have the same doubts, fears, and ambitions. They constantly made me face the reality of what I’m trying to do (not great timing on that one), and also showed me that they all started here too: broke, tentative, unsure, and desperate for someone, anyone, to help them figure out how to make this work.

While the book is great for anyone who wants to know what their favorite writer’s life is really like and what writing looks like behind the scenes, it’s written for aspiring fiction writers. I still found it helpful for non-fiction, especially the general commiseration about the lack of pay across writing and the terror of setting out on your own.

What I read this month: January Books

Last year’s books were all so good that I was feeling a little uninterested in reading for parts of this month. I didn’t want to be dissapointed. (There isn’t anything quite like following an amazing book with a lackluster read. It feels like such a letdown.)

I shouldn’t have worried. While not every book blew my mind this month, I have regained my insatiable hunger for books. Despite not feeling it for a while I still ended up reading eight books this month. Not too bad.

What I Read In January

January Books

No Baggage

I’m all for packing light, but I never considered taking no bags at all. No Baggage is the story of a woman’s (real) travels through eight countries over three weeks. More than the story of her trip, I appreciated her openness about her struggles with depression in the years before her trip and what it was like to finally make it out of that. Also, their extremely light travel made me think hard about what I will pack for my next trip. (Spoiler, I’m definitely still going to travel with layers and tooth paste, even if it means I need a bag. Sorry, Clara and Jeff.)

 

The 4-Hour Body

Tim Ferriss recommends just reading the 150 pages that interest you the most in his massive book. Well I hate being told how to read a book. I read the whole damn thing, index and appendix included. So there, Mr. Ferriss.

I doubt I’m going to “lose 20 pounds in 30 days without exercise,” “increase fat-loss 300 percent with a few bags of ice,” or gain “34 pounds of muscle in 28 days without steroids.” But I didn’t read it for those things anyways.

Things I didn’t like about The 4-Hour Body:

  • It often feels gimmicky and too good to be true
  • It’s based on self-experimentation and the experiences of a select few people
  • The advice is often contradictory depending on what outcome you are going for (losing weight vs gaining muscle vs just being a stronger, better athlete).
  • So many supplements and unnatural substances!

Things I liked:

  • I really appreciate Tim’s self-experimentation beliefs and his encouragement to find your own answers. It’s refreshing to have someone remind you that you know your body best and you are your best hope of figuring out what works for you.
  • His chapter on injury prevention and finding imbalances was right up my ally.
  • The book was a nice reminder to find your minimum effective dose, but things often felt too reductionist. Sure, maybe I could increase my strength or muscle mass in less than 2-hours a week, but that completely leaves out the other benefits of exercise like enjoyment and stress relief.

Bottom line? Tim was probably right about only reading the parts that you are the most interested in.

 

Future Sex

I picked up this book after hearing Emily Witt talk about writing it on the Longform podcast. I expected an open-minded, curious exploration of the ways that people seek out and experience sex. And it was sort of that, but it was also a snaking journey of her realization that she may never have the life she thought she wanted.

Future Sex left me feeling depressed and like her searching was still unresolved.

 

Come as You Are

Through sheer fate of the library request system, this month turned into a bit of an exploration of female sexuality. Overall Come As You Are was interesting, but not life changing. It was definitely geared toward women who were experiencing particular problems or frustrations. It was relatively interesting, and I certainly learned things, but I don’t think this is one I will be widely recommending to my friends.

 

Designing Your Life

Designing Your Life left me with mixed feelings. I expected to feel uplifted and ready to create the life I want. Instead they (unintentionally) destroyed my fall back plan and added a lot of items to my to do list.

Overall, I really recommend it. They lay out clear steps toward creating a life that will leave you fulfilled and happy. Just be ready to do a lot of work and not have them hand you any easy answers.

 

Carry On

So good. If you can set aside Harry Potter and try to forget about how magic works in that world, Carry On will suck you in. I never read fantasy, despite reading it as a child. I only picked this up because I can’t get enough of Rainbow Rowell, and it was the story the main character in Fangirl writes fanfiction about. Even the boy, a master fantasy/sci-fi reader, enjoyed it.

 

Homegoing

This was a rough way to start the year. I finished Homegoing on New Year’s Day, but it stuck with me long after that. No part of this book is easy. I had to take breaks and come back to it when I was ready to absorb more. People do horrible things to each other, and it’s a lot to take.

The writing is beautiful. I love the structure of the book as it follows the decedents of two half-sisters. You hear from so many people, but the story feels like one. Read it, but be kind to yourself and know when you need some space.

 

Female Chauvinist Pigs

In an effort to read some of the books that I added to my to-read list in 2012 (or before…), I picked this up before the holidays. Originally published in 2006, Female Chauvinist Pigs felt almost nostalgically dated and also a little too relevant. It’s a bit too outdated to be a really important read, but in a way it felt like a precursor to Girls and Sex.

December Reads

December was a lighter reading month for me. I spent a great deal of time baking cookies, visiting with friends and family, and indulging in a bit of TV. That said, this month was all about the ladies – all of these books were written by women, about women.

December Reads

December Reads 2016

What’s Not Yours Is Not Yours

This book felt like required reading in high school, only no one ever explained to me what it meant. I just couldn’t figure out what was going on, and the aspects of fantasy felt jarring. Most of the stories left me extremely confused and disinterested in starting the next. Just not for me.

 

Feminist Fight Club

This book earned its place on my list of the best books I read in 2016.

 

The Wangs Vs. The World

After seeing this book just about everywhere, I decided to finally see what the fuss was about. I wasn’t overly impressed, but it was an entertaining read. The characters frustrated me and the story took odd turns. Overall it’s an eh for me.

 

Where She Went

A sequel to If I Stay, this book is junk food for the brain. I didn’t learn anything or have any insightful revelations. But I did sit down and finish it in a few hours on a lazy day after Christmas. Can’t complain.

 

Men Explain Things to Me

Expectation: A hilarious compilation of men talking down to the author and unnecessarily explaining things. Reality: Rebecca Solnit’s collection of essays covered everything from the pillage of the global South and its ties to how women are treated to war to why we should have hope for the future. The incredibly short book was thought-provoking and connected a lot of important dots for me.

Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

I read 70 books this year – that’s more than I have read since I started tracking. It’s more than twice as much as my first Goodread’s Reading Challenge goal in 2014.

This year was the year of nonfiction for me. A whopping 67 percent-47 books-were nonfiction. In years past the opposite has been true, but I wouldn’t change anything. I learned so much and really fell in love with the power of nonfiction.

The books below were some of my favorites from this year, although not all of them were published in 2016. I got a bit carried away with new releases and mostly forgot to pick up books from higher up on my list, but there are a few on the list that have been out for years.

 

Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

Top 12 Nonfiction Books of 2016

Since I clearly went for nonfiction over and over this year, it seemed appropriate to start with this list. It contains some of my favorite books from the year. Please note that these are in no particular order – it seems cruel to rank the books that I spent so much time with and that taught me so many different things.

 

Best Fiction and Non-fiction Books of 2016

 

The 4-Hour Workweek 

Tim Ferriss’ debut book is one of the few books that still impact my behavior today. A lot of the rules I have set for technology and my morning routine have come from The 4-Hour Workweek. I don’t have plans to start a product-focused business or take six months off for a mini-retirement, but his principles have still proven to be powerful tools for me.

 

Meanwhile In San Francisco

Wendy MacNaughton’s illustrations are beautiful. They make you feel like you are there with her. Her insistence on talking to everyday people around the city was inspiring to me. It’s a bit like Humans of New York, but illustrated and about San Francisco.

 

Between the World and Me

I think my original review said it best: “Ta-Nehisi Coates is incredible. His book is gut wrenching, especially in light of the recent shootings and violence.

“I’m a small white woman, and I will never truly know what it’s like to be anything but. Coates’ experience and his criticism of The Dream hit me hard. I know what it’s like to always be on guard, to always be afraid, but I have always had privilege to shield me from the worst. This book is as good as everyone says it is. Read it.”

This book made me re-examine my experience and realize that I don’t spend enough time engaging with work (art, music, books, news articles) from people of color. Ta-Nehisi Coates is the reason many of the books I read this year ended up on my list at all. I also think now might be a great time to re-read it. (PS. You should read his recent article on President Obama while you’re at it.)

 

Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

 

We Should All Be Feminists

Yes, we should.

 

Creative Confidence

This book lit a fire under me and got me really thinking about how I like to create and what is/was holding me back. “A must read! Especially if you are creative or you think you aren’t. Loved it,” according to me from June.

 

Skin Cleanse

This is another one that has changed my day to day life. I still follow the morning skin routine and diet changes that I started when I first read the book. Although I have to admit that December has been awash in sugar. (So many delicious homemade cookies.)

 

Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

 

Shrill

I read a lot of books this year from comedians and culture writers, but Lindy West’s was one of the best. She can easily switch from talking about serious, important topics to telling a hilarious story about her past.

 

Lab Girl

Lab Girl is one of the highlights of my reading this year. This book captivated me and let me see a glimpse of what it would have been like if I had gone into science instead. It was like a taste of an alternate reality for me. Plus, I now have a ton of random facts about trees stored away.

 

Girls and Sex 

Another one I haven’t stopped talking about. This book confronts the way that we teach girls about sex, sexuality, and intimacy through interviews with girls in high school and college. I had many revelations, and I finished the book feeling incredibly thankful for the way I was raised (and the fact that Snapchat and Instagram weren’t a thing when I was in high school).

 

Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

 

Curated Closet

A practical guide to actually liking everything in your closet and knowing what your style is. I still haven’t gotten my style figured out or exactly how I like to dress, but this book is getting me there.

 

In The Company of Women

How many more times can I describe one of these books as inspiring? In the Company of Women felt like sitting down for a quick cup of coffee with incredible women creators from the around the world. I loved it.

 

Feminist Fight Club

I highly appreciate anything that can manage to be inspiring and get a laugh. This book is no joke–I took pages of notes on advice for how to handle common work-place situations and advocate for myself–but it does have a “laugh at your own pain” vibe. Her chapter for men “PSA: A Penile Service Announcement: How to have a dick without being one” had my boyfriend and I rolling.

 

Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

6 Best Fiction Books of 2016

Despite being a short list, these books are the ones I keep recommending to my friends and can’t stop talking about. I read them all quickly and voraciously, much like I would devour a piece of lemon cake. Please enjoy these reading treats.

 

The Lost Boys Symphony

This is one of the first books I read of 2016, and I continued to recommend it to friends throughout the year. The story has stuck with me, and I can still remember how it made me feel. I stand by my (repeated) recommendation.

 

Still Alice

Told from the point of view of a professor who is slowly succumbing to early-on-set Alzheimer’s, this book drew me in and spat me back out paranoid. The insight into the frustration and the fear from Alice’s point of view was heart-breaking.

 

All the Light We Cannot See

This is another book I continue to recommend. It was originally recommended to me by a coworker, and I put off reading it for months. I wish I hadn’t. The story is rich and complex. I couldn’t put it down.

 

Americanah

Americanah languished on my list for months before I read it from start to finish in quick succession. I enjoyed exploring Nigeria and seeing America through an immigrant’s eyes. The story is harrowing, but worth sticking with.

 

Landline

Rainbow Rowell, the author of Landline, made me fall in love with fiction again. I had been on a massive streak of nonfiction before reading Rowell’s (also excellent) Fangirl. I then read through all of her books. I would recommend all of them, but this one really sucked me in and left me thinking about it weeks after.

 

The Unseen World

The Unseen World took me by surprise. I don’t remember where I heard of it, but I wasn’t sold on the premise when I picked it up from the library. But I couldn’t get enough of it once I started reading it. The main character is trying to unearth her father’s past, and the realness of the story made it come alive. Warning: I spent an entire work day reading this book after intending to read only a few pages at lunch.

 

If I could only recommend two fiction books to read from this year, I’m pretty confident I would go with All the Light We Cannot See and The Unseen World.

 

You can see my entire year of reading here.

Instant Inspiration: In the Company of Women

In the Company of Women is everything I want in a book – inspiring, informative, reflective, and eye-opening. This book is the perfect answer to “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

The book features 100 women and their thoughts on their work, lives, mistakes, and inspiration. The gorgeous spreads are loaded with encouragement and the reminder that everyone starts somewhere (not to mention some massive studio/workplace eye candy).

In The Company of Women

Grace Bonney, the founder of Design*Sponge, interviewed so many insightful, diverse, and intelligent women. I loved reading about all of the different jobs these women were drawn to or created for themselves. Their bravery and tenacity shone through. Painters, illustrators, writers, interior designers, musicians, furniture makers – these women do it all.

In The Company of Women

While a few familiar names popped out at me–Hi, Roxane!– there were so many creative women to get to know. I loved hearing so many perspectives and seeing bits of myself in these successful, goal-chasing women.

In the Company of Women Quotes

“You have to be willing to be bad at it to get good at it.” Mary Going

“Throw hesitation and insecurity out the window.” Jasmine Wright

“Success to me is when I am feeling purposeful, authentic, and of service to others.” Christy Turlington Burns

“You can’t sit there and wait for things to fall into your lap. You’re in charge of your life, so go after what you want.” Joy Cho

In The Company of Women

This book is perfect for anyone who wants to work for themselves, start a business, or strike out on their own. I will definitely be borrowing it from the library again when I need a little pick me up or a push forward.

In The Company of Women

In the Company of Women could not have come at a better time for me. I have been freelancing from home for almost a full year now, and it gets incredibly lonely. Without coworkers to bounce ideas off of or brainstorm with, I start to feel stagnant and like a broken record. While it won’t ever replace real live humans and their brilliant ideas, In the Company of Women still gave me some much needed insights and inspiration. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

November Reads

I can’t believe it’s already Christmas time. Where have the months gone? Everything after our trip to Wyoming in August is a complete blur. So much so that I couldn’t have named a single book I read this month off the top of my head.

But after perusing my Goodreads, I can’t see how I could ever forget. My November reads were perfectly eclectic, and I think I’m finally back into the swing of things with fiction again. Well, I might have something to say about that next month given how my reading is going lately, but at least it was true this month.

November Reads

November Reads

 

The Unseen World

Oh man, so good! I really enjoyed the story, so much so that I spent an entire day reading after picking it up at lunch. Oops.

The characters feel real, and the story is rich and engrossing. The book follows Ada’s unravelling of her eccentric father’s past. It was one of those books where I didn’t see the ending coming (and I also wasn’t furious at the end of it like Gone Girl).

If you have an interest in tech or programming, I think you’ll enjoy it even more.

 

The New Better Off

There is something both comforting and off-putting about reading a book that so perfectly aligns with your beliefs. I started to feel weird about it at the end, like maybe I needed to have my views challenged a bit more. Then I realized that’s what every day life is for in Silicon Valley.

Courtney E. Martin believes that while we may not end up wealthier than our parents in the traditional sense, we have the opportunity to be happier and more fulfilled. She argues for discovering what you really want to be doing with your time, and she made me take a hard look at my community and how I could build it.

While I won’t be moving into a co-op anytime soon, it was a nice reminder that I have more control over my life than I often realize. It also made me want to start putting in more effort to my friendships and building new ones.

 

The Curated Closet

I stumbled across Anuschka’s blog a couple years ago when researching capsule wardrobes. To say she takes detailed consideration seriously is an understatement.

After reading the book all the way through, I’ve been slowly working my way through the exercises. My closet is already cut down fairly significantly–I’m still somewhere around my 50 or so pieces in total–but it doesn’t feel cohesive. Before reading this book I couldn’t have told you my ‘style’ or put into comprehendible words what I like to wear.

I can now answer mot of those questions, and I feel like I have a good roadmap to slowly updating my wardrobe, defining my style, and replacing my worn out pieces. If only it involved never having to shop.

 

Today Will Be Different

I loved Where’d You Go, Bernadettebut this one fell flat for me. The narrator does nothing to make you like her, if anything, everything she does makes you dislike her more. This one was just an ‘eh’ for me.

 

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

After walking the aisles of Powell’s for well over an hour in a frenzied daze, I finally settled on Hunger and got out of there. I had seen Carrie Brownstein around here and there, but I knew nothing of her band Sleater-Kinney. Turns out it’s probably important that you know about the band. The book was alright, but I think it would have been way better if I had listened to the music and been a fan before opening it.

 

Little Victories

Please excuse me while I pat myself on the back for (accidentally) perfectly timing this one with Thanksgiving.

This short book is full of stories from Jason Gay’s life and quick tips for modern life. Nothing life-changing, but enjoyable for a lazy Thanksgiving weekend.

 

PS. You can see all of my book reviews here.

October Reads

The best thing about recovering from surgery is ample time to read. I skipped the doctor-recommended Netflix (seriously) and instead read so many incredible books this month. From the new(ish) Harry Potter screenplay to YA suitable for adults to hand drawn illustration, my October reads were a nice mix of things. Despite blowing through 10 books this month, my hunger for books is still insatiable – please send more immediately!

October Reads 2016

Ego Is the Enemy

There were a few great points and a couple things that made me think and reach for my notebook, but overall this one fell flat for me. I didn’t figure out what all of the hype is about.

 

The Kid

I had trouble with this book from the very beginning. After reading Shrill I couldn’t connect with Dan Savage as a narrator. The things he said to Lindy West tainted my view of him, and he certainly didn’t try to make me like him. It also didn’t help that so much has changed since the ’90s.

 

Girls & Sex

Please read this book. Everyone. It made me rethink everything I had learned about relationships, sex, and self-confidence. It also made me so thankful that I was in high school 10 years ago when social media and texting were just becoming a thing. Just hearing girls talk about their online lives and the pressure they feel was stressful. I wish I had this book in high school.

 

Every Exquisite Thing

From the author of Silver Linings Playbook, this YA fiction stood up to the hype. I enjoyed reading it and the story didn’t feel dumbed down or overly simplistic and shallow (my biggest problems with many YA books).

 

Fangirl

Oh man am I a fan of Rainbow Rowell. Eleanor & Park and Attachments were so good that I picked up two more of her books this month. I read them both in a day or two each. I just couldn’t help myself.

 

Smarter Faster Better

Not life-changing.

 

Landline

After reading Fangril where I was constantly reminded of my own time in college, Landline felt like a real glimpse into married life and the struggles of being a fully grown adult and not knowing what to do with yourself. I loved this book, quirky time-travel phone and all.

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Sad: This is not a full J.K. Rowling Harry Potter book. Happy: More story. Eh: Reading a play was not nearly as satisfying.

 

You’ll Grow Out of It

Yes! Just yes. I really connected with Jessi Klein. We have so much in common… minus being Jewish, comedy writing, living in New York and LA, and our daily lives. But everything else was spot on. I laughed, spent a great deal of time nodding my head, and realized we don’t spend enough time talking about women who don’t look like they came from a cover shoot every day.

 

Knives & Ink

I will read anything Wendy MacNaughton publishes. Anything. Also, this one was good. I liked their first book on tattoos, and it was fun to hear about why various chefs got their ink.

 

When Breath Becomes Air

I’m super late to the party on this one – it often seems like everyone I know has already read it or at least knows what it’s about. While I struggled to get into it at first and connect with Paul, by the end I was crying. The kind of crying where snot drips down your face and your eyes are red for hours afterward.

I don’t suddenly better understand life or what it’s like to be diagnosed with lung cancer. I don’t see the world radically differently. I wouldn’t call it life-changing. But I enjoyed it.

 

Do you have any suggestions for what I should read next month?