If you’re reading this, congratulations! You made it through at least four whole months of 2020! You made it through days that had barely enough sunlight and the blob of candy-coated goodness that is Valentine’s Day. You also welcomed the beautiful time change and hopefully, some nicer weather! Yeah, you ‘welcomed’ in a few things we never even thought were imaginable but yet-here we are!
I started 2020 at a good pace but March was a tough one, yet for the first quarter I was able to finish 16 (mostly) wonderful stories!
1. Permanent Record, Edward Snowden (biography): I realize I’m now on lists and how important it is to care I’m on lists even if I “never do anything wrong anyway”. I enjoyed learning more about Snowden’s moral obligations and just how heavy of a burden knowledge can be. I recognize laws are typically archaic when it comes to the protection from, and regulation of, technology but I am mad as hell that we (the public) aren’t holding more folks accountable when it comes to our electronic selves. A+
2. Unpregnant, Jenni Hendriks, Ted Caplan (young adult): So after starting the year pissed as hell, I needed a soft read. I realize I dip into young adult fiction and that may cause some folks to judge me but I don’t mind. To me, a well-written story is a well-written story and this book was just that. This book still had hints of seriousness (like any book about a teenager who finds herself pregnant after precautions would) and pointed out very real scenarios-but also some incredibly outlandish ones as well that just created a funny, serious story. A note this book does talk about abortion access, but does a fair job of exploring the narrative of why access to full health care is a woman’s right. A
3. Evvie Drake Starts Over, Linda Holmes (humor, romance): A light love story that really did draw me in. Yes, it’s a typical love story scenario but the character development is solid enough to make it a light read. A
4. Blood, Bones, and Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton (memoir): I will always love me an intimate look into the life of a chef! Hamilton’s story was far grittier than I expected. Again (remember, I often pick the book on the subject rather than knowing much about the author), I knew very little of her professional accomplishments before reading her story but I greatly respect her work now that I am familiar. If you’re like me and ask yourself, “I wonder how they got to be who they are” a lot about other humans and/or are interested in what it’s like to be a woman in the food industry, you’d probably enjoy this book too. A
5. Rising Strong, Brene Brown (personal development): I love me some Brene, obviously; but this was like the capstone book in her repertoire. For me, this book built off other (awesome) ideas Brown has produced and added those final touches and ultimately asked-how do you rebound when you get knocked on your ass? I still have one or two of her older works on my list that I can’t wait to get through! If you’re wanting to delve into the Brene Brown catalog, you may find this blog post helpful on where to start. A
6. We’re Going to Need More Wine, Gabrielle Union (biography): I wasn’t expecting what I got from this book-it’s a really good read. It was a read I needed to have. It’s probably a read you could use as well. A
7. The Moment of Lift, Linda Gates (memoir): I appreciated reading about how inspiration is a causal effect throughout life and that science can be the carrier of that. This is a book that definitely empowers you to go forth and make changes however you can so you can help others. If you need to be reminded of your power, give it a try! B
8. Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl (memoir ): Yes, this is another book about food written by someone I initially didn’t know much about. Several people recommended this book to me and I finally remembered to add it to my list-and I’m so glad I did! Reichl’s time as a food critic was really fun (and funny) to read about but the polarity she draws to how difficult it can be to be a woman ‘critic’ really spoke to me. I can’t wait til the library opens and I can check out her cookbook! A
9. Save me the Plums, Ruth Reichl (memoir): Why not, right? I’m glad I got the timeline correct when reading these two books by Reichl because this is the ‘after’ of Reichl’s time as a New York Time’s food critic and moved into her role as editor in chief at a fancy food magazine. I’m a big fan of several food magazines but ultimately were birthed from Groumet (and more than likely, I appreciate them because of the incredible work Reichl did to change the course of the industry) and I enjoyed learning more about the rise, fall, and odd rebirth of these types of publications. I also just find Reichl to be pretty down to Earth and wish she was my friend. A
10. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling (memoir, humor): Okay, yes, I’ve read this before. Like, twice-ish before, but hear me out! I love Kaling and I needed humor in my life! This book is funny, relatable, and is like an old college hoodie to me-you put it on when you crave familiar comfort…maybe it won’t be the same for you but I do recommend it if you need to laugh. A+
11. Know My Name, Chanel Miller (biography): Wow. Before I start to talk about the story itself and how difficult it was to read I want to preface by sharing that Miller is a phenomenal writer. I am grateful for her ability to string together words in such a beautiful way especially when writing about a really ugly topic. You may not know her name but sadly you probably know a version of a story from her life. Miller’s ability to articulate her life before, during, and after being an unwilling participant in a sexual assault crime is so poignant. Trying to phrase these thoughts was difficult enough, I can’t fathom actually telling the story. A+
12. The Best of Enemies, Jen Lancaster (fiction): Eh, not my favorite from Lancaster but it was witty enough to keep my interest. A ‘beach read’ perhaps? The story was relatable only for the fact that I know what it’s like to be the ‘middle’ friend. C
13. Dad is Fat, Jim Gaffigan (humor, memoir): I am not a parent, but I do appreciate the humor related to being a parent. If you need a laugh about being a parent here you go. It’s no diarrhea pockets but it’s still funny. B
14. Revenge Wears Prada, The Devil Returns, Lauren Weisberger (fiction): I kept waiting and waiting for this book to crescendo and… *queue sad trombone*. What a let down from the other books I’ve read by Weisberger. It was fine (?) but I don’t really see this living up the title of the book. C
15. Twice in a Blue Moon, Christina Lauren (fiction, romance): *queue a smaller, sadder, trombone* I realize it may because I had just finished #14 but I found this book flat, too. Another ‘fine’ story if you just need junk food in the form of a love story. C
16. Inside Out, Demi Moore (biography): Honestly, I think I’m a little too young to have appreciated Moore in all of her glory (I’ve never watched Ghost, oops) but I did appreciate her story. There seemed to be pieces missing to create a complete picture, though? C
Books that were ‘50ed’:
- Semicolon, Cecelia Watson-it was a cute book that just didn’t keep my attention-but how cute to write a love story to the semicolon!
- Rest, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang- I was just not in the mood to learn about rest.
- The First 90 Days, Michael Watkins-wasn’t in the mood for this one either *shrug*
34 more books to go to reach my 2020 goal!
What are you reading currently? Have any favorites so far this year?