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RECENTLY READ.

June 2, 2014

books

I’ve been reading a lot lately–as soon as I finish one book I seem to order another one, so the stack by my nightstand is constantly evolving–so I thought I’d share some recent faves here today, in case any of you are looking for something good to pack in your beach bag or take to the coffee shop or curl up in bed with.

Save the Date: Don’t be fooled by the cute cotton-candy-pink cover of this book, written by journalist Jen Doll: This is not in any way a cutesy book, nor is it really about weddings–it’s about Doll herself, and the way in which each wedding she’s attended (more than 30 in all) has shaped her life and her views on friendship and romantic relationships. I enjoyed it; Doll’s writing is straightforward and conversational, and her background as a copy editor (me, too!) and her love of wine (me, too!) made me want to be friends. Also, I came away from the book a bit relieved–Doll’s life has not followed a traditional “grow-up-fall-in-love-get-married-have-babies” path, and she made me feel like it’s OK that mine hasn’t really, either.

Delancey: I read Molly Wizenberg‘s first memoir, A Homemade Life, in approximately four hours, and I did the same with her follow-up, Delancey, which is about the highs and lows she and her husband, Brandon, faced when they opened their popular Seattle pizzeria, and also about how those highs and lows affected their marriage (spoiler: Molly’s experience was basically negative; Brandon’s was pretty much positive). Molly is a beautiful writer–I found myself sailing through her prose–and I enjoyed this book and am planning on trying a few of the recipes included therein, but I also found myself wishing that something slightly more exciting would happen in it (you know, other than the launch of Molly and Brandon’s successful eatery). I felt this way about Cheryl Strayed’s Wild in a small way, too–the story is beautiful and transformative as-is, but I wanted something a tiny bit more.

One More Thing: Another enjoyable, quick read. I don’t have a lot to say about this collection of short stories by The Office‘s B.J. Novak, but it’s not because I didn’t enjoy it–in fact, I was really happy to curl up with it in bed each night. My favorite story was “The Girl Who Gave Great Advice,” which you can read in full here and which gives good insight into what the rest of the book is like.

The Goldfinch: What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said? In short: I loved it and it’s one of the best things I’ve read in recent memory. It’s also enormous and requires a lot of attention, so if you’re prone to reading until you fall asleep like I am, be warned. Here’s the New York Times review (written by Stephen King) if you want a much better synopsis than I can write here, but my advice to you is read this book and read it now.

The Signature of All Things: I interviewed Elizabeth Gilbert the other day for work, and her thoughts on creativity and writing were wonderful, so I’ll have to share them here at some point, especially since they are what inspired me to pick up this book, which is a big, sprawling novel about the extraordinary Whittaker family, who make their fortune in botanical research and cultivation. I’m about halfway through it and totally into it; I’ve long been a fan of Gilbert’s writing, and her lovely prose–there’s energy in each sentence–well-developed characters and the extensive research she must have done in order to complete this book are compelling. If you want a real, true, take-you-away-to-another-time-and-place novel, this is a good one.

Next up for me: The Fault in Our Stars, The Secret History (also by Donna Tartt, who wrote The Goldfinch) and The Interestings by Meg Wollitzer.

What have you been reading lately?

  • Reply
    Alicia | Jaybird Blog
    June 3, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    This post is perfect, because I just sent out an email to friends requesting some summer reading recommendations! Save the Date sounds especially good. Right now I’m reading The Satanic Verses and Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Two great books but neither is exactly a tear-through-it page-turner.

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