2017 Reading Round Up, Part One
At the beginning of every year, Goodreads asks you to compete in their reading challenge. You tell them how many books you want to read, and then they keep track of it for you.
In 2016 I read 53 (!!) books, which is insane. I've read 16 books so far in 2017.
*As a reminder, these are off-the-cuff reviews that I peck into my phone as soon as I finish the book. A literary critic, I am not.
Here's what I've been reading!
Real Artists Have Day Jobs: (And Other Awesome Things They Don't Teach You in School) by Sara Benincasa
This is a great little book! I love Sara. Highly recommend. It's $1.99 on Amazon Kindle right now.
P.S. If you don't already, follow Sara on Twitter.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Really fun book to read. I couldn't put it down and read it in a little over a day. If you're into murder mysteries, this is a great one. I also really want to go on a boat now, but one where no one dies.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
For sure, the first nonfiction book I couldn't put down. This book was recommended to me last year and I thought, I'm not reading a ten pound book on eviction. But I went ahead and got on the library waitlist for it, and then when it came, I went ahead and started reading it.
This book has re-wired my brain. I'll never look at poverty and housing the same. It's shocking that we allow this to happen. And it basically explains homelessness, which I've always had a lot of unanswered questions about. This book makes me want to know more, and do something.
It's worth noting that the book's not as long as it looks. The whole back third is acknowledgments and notes. I was surprised when I reached the last page because there were almost a hundred pages left.
Kids of Appetite by David Arnold
I liked this book a lot. It took me a minute, but once I got into it, I loved it. It gave me a good, cathartic cry. Highly recommend.
P.S. I met David at SE-YA and he was so, so nice. I'm on the waitlist for his other book, Mosquitoland.
Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
After reading Underground Railroad, I thought, I'm going to read everything Colson Whitehead has written! I might should have started with something more recent. This book is from early in his career and it's too descriptive. Every sentence needs about 4 words taken out of it. Interesting story, could have lived without it.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
I almost didn't read this book because I've heard so many ambivalent reviews, and I get it, it's a sad book. The story orbits around suicide and abortion, plus the central setting is a church. But I liked it. It's touching, well written and I connected with the characters, especially the female friendship between the two main characters. I say give it a chance.
P.S. It's being made into a movie that Kerry Washington is producing.
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
I loved this book so much. I couldn't put it down. I'm renaming it, Mascara Running Down My Face Is All You Left Me.
P.S. I also met Adam at SE-YA and fell in love with him because he laughed at my jokes and told me I look like Amy Poehler.
Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy
I just finished this book and if it wasn't 600 pages long, I'd open it back up and read it all over again. I loved this book. I've only ever read Tara Road, but I guess I'm about to read all of Maeve Binchy's books.
Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet
This is a children's book, and I read it because Ann Patchett recommended it. If like me, Charlotte's Web was one of your favorite books as a child, you'll want to read this really sweet look at E.B. White's life, including his many, many dogs and farm animals. I loved it!
New Year, Same Trash: Resolutions I Absolutely Did Not Keep (A Vintage Short Original) by Samantha Irby
It's 99 cents, it'll take you 30 minutes to read, you'll laugh through the whole thing. Do it.
P.S. Samantha Irby = shero. Also, she follows me on Instagram, which is possibly the most life-affirming thing that's happened to me on social media.
In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi
I can't finish this book. I gave it 100 pages and it didn't pull me in. I can't emotionally attach to this book. It reads more like a history on Hungary and Budapest than a story about a father and a daughter. Everyone loves this book, and maybe it gets better, but I'm giving up.
A Modern Way to Cook: Over 150 quick, smart and flavour-packed recipes for every day by Anna Jones
Meh. This book is above my pay grade. I'm not this kind of cook and I don't buy these kinds of foods. It's a gorgeous book, and I enjoyed reading the intro, and looking at the pictures, but I will never make any of this. It would be a great book for a vegetarian with better than average cooking skills and a backyard full of parsnips.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
I liked this book a lot. It's told in first person, unlike any of Zadie's other books, which gives it a more intimate, autobiographical feel. (It's not autobiographical.) It's the story of blackness, told through the lens of female friendship. I heard Zadie speak while she was on book tour, and she blew me away. If she's coming to your city, go see her. She's amazing.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
Meh. I like the author and love Insecure, but this book didn't do it for me. Watch her show though. It's amazing.
Nashville Eats: Hot Chicken, Buttermilk Biscuits, and 100 More Southern Recipes from Music City by Jennifer Justus
New favorite cookbook! Love Jennifer's intros to each chapter, and the suggested playlists! As always, Andrea Behrends photos are amazing. I want to make everything in this book and I want to meet all of these people!
The Shining by Stephen King
I've been watching the movie, The Shining since I was young, but I never read the book because I assumed they were the same. Wrong! The book is totally different, and better! Now I understand why Stephen King hated the movie/Stanley Kubrick so much. This book is scary as shit. Once the end starts, the end being the last night in the hotel, I couldn't put it down. It's a long book, but the last half reads really fast.