…oof. So, let’s be honest, this quarter was rough and there was quite a lot that happened. I was privileged to pivot into working from home while my state sheltered in place from March 22-May 31 (and was actually at home until June 15th). Because of that, I actually lost a lot of ‘time’ that I usually spend with my audiobooks-driving, getting ready in the mornings, being alone in the house, and work was pretty non-stop with webinars, so no listening while I worked either. And in the spirit of full disclosure, sheltering was emotionally tough for so many reasons that reading really wasn’t a huge priority for me.
Honestly, looking at this list I’m actually shocked I got through 9 whole books. I also spent some time listening to some podcasts (a friend introduced me to Stitcher which alleviates the biggest issue I have historically had with podcasts-I never found a good platform!) maybe I’ll share more about those some time.
Without further comment, here are my April through June reads!
17. Three Women, Lisa Taddeo (nonfiction, feminism): My sister-in-law was reading this book last summer during our family vacation and recommended it. I have to agree with her that it was a really interesting read. It may be the social scientist in me that just loves learning about human relationships but ultimately, I really recommend this one. A
18. The Good Neighbor, Maxwell King (biography): This is a very intricate story of everyone’s favorite neighbor, Mr. Rogers. It was interesting to learn more about his story and that he truly embodied using privilege for good. That being said…the book was repetitive and reminded me of someone who had to meet a word limit on an essay about who they admire most. This book could have easily been edited to half its’ length. I would still recommend spending the time on this book so that you can learn more about Fred Rogers because I just adore that human. C
19. Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris (humor): This was my first David Sedaris book and honestly, I had this book confused for a very serious book in my mind for years. I was really looking for humor at this point in the quarter so I thought this was a great time to try Sedaris, so many people love his work! 😐 Some of it was funny, I guess? But ultimately this wasn’t what I was looking for. Do they get better? C-
20. Girl Walks into a Bar, Rachel Dretch (biography): I like Rachel Dretch and her book was a quick, solid read. It was wasn’t a laugh-fest but it was honest about what it’s like to be a woman in comedy who isn’t ‘beautiful’ by industry standards. I actually have a lot personally to say about being a funny woman (hence the name of this blog) that was reverberated in this book. I liked it! B+
21. A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman (fiction): This book came highly recommended but I wasn’t completely sure what to expect (maybe that’s what you all think with my ‘reviews’, lol). Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan at first but it grew on me. A sweet story reminiscent of the Pixar movie, “Up”. B
22. Hold on, But Don’t Hold Still, Kristina Kuzmic (memoir): Kuzmic is a ‘household name’ for some, but I had no idea who she was-so of course I read it! It was a decent, down to Earth, read. I appreciated the honesty Kuzmic shared about where her life is now and where she’s been. A
23. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson (memoir): Lawson is my favorite author. I have written my love story to her writing before and this is my third (?) re-read of her first book. I needed the comfort of her stories and they still made me laugh til I cried. (Once it’s safe, I can’t wait to go see her bookstore, Nowhere!) A+++++
24. Food, A Love Story, Jim Gaffigan (nonfiction, humor): Gaffigan mentions the town I live in! (Jim, come back, I’ll gladly show you more food!) This is literally a love story to food. It’s funny, and as someone who loves food and funny, I enjoyed this book a lot. A couple of cringes (because food=culture) but overall, a Midwest man who loves Midwest foods is always going to find a special place in my heart. B+
25. Nothing to See Here, Kevin Wilson (fiction, fantasy?): I believe this book was also recommended to me somehow but I really didn’t know what to expect. I haven’t read any other books by Wilson but if they’re in the same vein as this one, I think I would enjoy it! It was an interesting story all around with several arcs (both in plot and in character development) that I found endearing. A
All the Ways We Said Goodbye, Beatriz Williams (historical fiction): I don’t think I was in the right space for this book. I could not get into it at all, so I will go back to it at some point.
Ask Again, Yes, Mary Beth Keane (fiction): I was 100% not in the space for this one, but will go back this one, too.
Oddly, I’m still on track to hit 50 books this year (I’m shocked). Now that I’m back in a better place (and reporting to my office), my reading will get back into learning more about being an anti-racist and I’m really looking forward to some books that I have on hold.
I tend to only give my opinion on books, not a summary of the book itself. My thought is that really I’m just giving folks the opportunity to seek out the story (and not accidently giving away anything) but-should I summarize more?
Does anyone else have a few books you turn to for comfort? Classics that bring you joy? I’m curious if anyone else has a ‘comfort read’ like I do in Lawson’s books, so please, share!