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may 2019 book club

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Like years past, Dani and I are doing our annual reading challenge with new categories this year! Despite a super strong start to the year with books – maybe it was the gross weather that was driving me inside – I fell off a bit in March and April. This month, I did make a bit of a comeback.

I still love my Kindle – especially the feature that lets you check out library books – and Amazon’s Kindle First Reads have been really great lately too. (They offer six free books to choose from every month, so you can read them before release.)

Amazon also has another ebook hack I’ve found – I purchased a “Great on Kindle” book, which gives you about 75% of that purchase back for a future Kindle book purchase. I’ve been turning those credits for a bit and I’m pretty well stocked on my summer reads now!

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler: One of the recent Kindle First Reads picks, I started reading this while we were in Minneapolis, killing time while Evan was in panels and I was the “conference girlfriend.” It’s an okay book. The main character is a likable heroine, and her relationship with her daughter was great, but I felt like there were some strange plot choices. It was fine for a free read.

No Hard Feelings: A book by best friends about feelings and communication in the workplace, this was a book I DESPERATELY needed to read. The animations are adorable, and since it was a library book, I did what I often do with books I don’t own – I took pictures of relevant pages and passages I wanted to remember. With this book, though, I nearly photographed the entire thing. Pick this up for sure, but if you need more convincing, I did a full review of this book over on!

The Girl He Used to Know: This book was being recommended everywhere, and with good reason. I was completely hooked from the beginning. Split in two different timelines, it’s the story of a woman who reconnects with her ex years later – an ex who was the only person to ever really understand her. If you’re looking for non-neurotypical heroines, put this on the top of your list.

The Stranger Beside Me: Finally, I gave in to the hype and listened to this audiobook on Hoopla. Ann Rule narrates it, and the production of the version I listened to wasn’t great, but it’s a really comprehensive story of all the missteps and near-misses on Bundy’s spree. As a true crime fan, this is one of the best books out there.

Wondering how I read so much? My libraries use Libby – see if your library has a partnership, and check out the mobile app!

Sadie: HOLY COWWWWW I LOVED THIS. I put a hold on it last summer, and I was so pumped to finally get it. It was SO worth the wait. Another split timeline book, one timeline is told in podcast transcripts by a man who is trying to figure out what happened to Sadie. The other timeline is Sadie’s experience. The multimedia put into it is great (the publisher released the podcast parts of the audiobook as an actual podcast) and I’m still thinking about the end of the book, weeks after reading it. Without giving too many spoilers away, I truly hope that Sadie got vengeance.

The Happiness Project: This book was one of the first “want to read” books I added on Goodreads all the way back in 2012! I like to listen to non-fiction books while working (they’re like the original podcasts), and this was a really nice one to listen to, especially in the mornings. Another Hoopla book that’s worth a read, if your library offers it!

The Wild Heart of Stevie Nicks: Rob Sheffield is the king of music journalism, and his love of Stevie Nicks might even surpass mine. This Audible original, narrated by him, is a nice, fast listen – if for no other reason than Rob’s voice is so soothing and his love for Stevie and the Mac really comes through. (I feel like I also need to disclose that I’m lucky enough to call Rob my friend – just one more thing The Hold Steady has given me!)

It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work: Written by the founders of Basecamp, I was hoping that this was going to be a book of tips on how to help implement “less craziness” in your current workplace. To a degree, that’s true, but parts of it just sounded like it was hyping Basecamp as the perfect company (which didn’t help my existing workplace envy!) It is a good, fast listen, though, and I’d recommend it.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: Another super-hyped book, this one took me a LONG time to get into. I wasn’t really hooked until probably 70% of the way through the book, but I’m very glad that I kept on going. Usually I can see twists a mile away, but that wasn’t the case in this one. Another really great neuro-divergent character that’s worth a read.

Do you read non-fiction and career books? What have been your favorites lately?

June 1, 2019

12 books you must read this summer

Posted in Living by
This post contains affiliate links. I was given an advance galley of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by the publisher and a Quarterly Lit box for review, but all opinions are my own.

12 books to read this summer

Summer is for sundecks, cocktails, and lots of books! One of my favorite pastimes is to post up in a comfy beach chair, crack open a book, and stay there until I finish. (Reapplying sunscreen liberally and staying hydrated, of course.) Relaxing with a book and hanging out outside is such a great way to recenter, and I highly recommend it as a regular part of your self-care routine. Since it’s Memorial Day, I thought I’d share my reading list for the summer – along with some all-time favorites.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: It’s no secret that Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorites, so of course her new book (with a sweet dedication to her daughter) tops my list. It’s a book I found hard to put down, which makes it perfect for those days where you just want to lay outside and soak up the sun. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo comes out on June 13, and you can read my preview of it here!

The Animators: The story of two artists who have worked together since their college years, all reviews say this is a fantastic debut with great character development and that readers can’t put it down. My copy came from Quarterly Literary, whose January box was curated by the author. Their author curators annotate their books with Post-Its and trivia about the story, so it’s a bookworm’s dream. I can’t wait to get started on this book.

Attachments: A few years ago, Dani suggested this book to me, and it’s another one I read in one sitting. It’s rare that I’ll want more out of a book, but this is one what I would have read sequel after sequel of. Funny, relatable (especially to me, since I work in the tech industry as well), and well-written, it’s perfect beach read material.

Sweetbitter: This book has been getting rave reviews, and it was suggested to me because I loved both Drinking: A Love Story and Smashed. It’s the story of a college graduate who moves to New York City and gets a job in the restaurant industry, and how the effects of keeping up in her work circle starts to unravel her life.

Swimming Lessons: I love mysteries, so this book seems right up my alley. Ingrid writes letters to her husband about how she really feels – but she never gives them to him. She tucks them away in an unassuming book in the house, and then years later, drowns at the beach. When their daughter moves in to help care for her aging father, she starts to unwrap what really happened, and it’s a book I’m sure I won’t be able to easily put down.

The Nest: Another book on many “must read” lists, this debut novel follows four adult children as they try to keep it together enough to get the full inheritance their father left for them. I think this book will be really interesting as it studies the effect of money on friendships and family dynamics.

The Annie Year: Another novel packed in the Quarterly box is The Annie Year. It has rave reviews and follows Tandy, a small-town CPA who has an affair with big implications. Since I am from a small town similar to the one in this book (and also participated in theater, my own company embroiled in a “scandal” right now!) I’m excited to read this book and think it will be very relatable.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: I can’t let a book recommendation post get by without a YA suggestion. Jenny Han is a bit of a prolific YA series author, but this was the first one I cracked open. It’s a typical teenage love story about being torn between the popular boy and someone off-limits, but it does avoid some of the typical tropes since the girls in this story have more responsibility than most. I’ve added the rest of the series to my library hold list, and hope they come in soon!

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?: This book sucked me right in (even before I knew that author Maria Semple had been a writer on one of my favorite TV shows.) Bee’s mom disappears without warning or any hint as to where she might have gone. I love the mother/daughter relationship in it, and the way Bee is certain her mom would never leave her, feeling like she had to have left some clues out there for her to find.

All Grown Up: The story of Andrea Berg, who enjoys her single life while watching everyone around her lives the “perfect” lives – weddings, babies, dream jobs – and the impact it has on her. This book sounds funny, morbid, and right up my alley – another story about a single lady in her thirties? Sign me up.

Bitter is the New Black: It’s been a few years since I read this, so I’m going to revisit it this summer. The story of a woman who was born into privilege, lands a high-powered job as an adult… and then promptly loses it, finding herself in an unemployment office. Jen Lancaster’s books are easy to read through, and her first book is funny, witty, and perfect for summer.

The Forever Summer: What’s better for a summer read than a book called Forever Summer? Taking place on a Cape Cod beach, a DNA test reveals the story of three generations of women who connect over one summer.

quarterly literary box review

If you can never decide what to read next, Quarterly can help! They have one of the coolest book subscription boxes around. Their subscriptions (choose from either the Literary box or the Young Adult version) and four times a year, they’ll partner with different authors for their shipments. They’ll always include three books, and their author curator will annotate their novel with Post-Its, which is so awesome. They also tuck in other goodies that match the theme of their books (The Animators author Kayla Rae Whitaker added colored pencils and a bookmark) for an extra bonus. It’s also a great subscription box for someone who wants to start reading more regularly again – since a subscription will deliver twelve books a year to your door, it’s an easy way to work toward a “one book per month” goal!

They’ve also released a new subscription box called PageHabit – with a wider variety of genres to choose from, each box comes with a debut novel, plus other fun goods. They also make a donation to support children’s literacy, and give you access to their community of other book lovers. (That’s a slippery slope, though – my “to read” list has grown exponentially since joining.)

What are you reading this summer? I’m always looking to add to my Goodreads list!

May 29, 2017