It can be totally overwhelming to pick a new book and when reading time is limited I want to make sure that my choices are going to be well worth it. About once a month, I share my reading list in the hopes that it makes your reading list a bit easier to navigate and, more importantly, helps you discover books you really love. After all, life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy!
I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share my reading list this month.
On My Nightstand This Month
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I read Laura Dave’s first book, Eight Hundred Grapes, and was looking forward to reading her latest release. Sunshine Mackenzie is an internet celebrity chef who’s on her way up the ladder of culinary success. There’s just one probably…she can’t cook. And when her secret is exposed, she’s forced to return to a place she swore she would never look back on and confront the past. The premise was interesting and held lots of promise but ultimately I didn’t find myself cheering for the characters or loving the various plot lines. I wanted a bit more redemption and less demise. Still an easy read and behinds the scenes look at the “production” of our favorite stars.
Modern retellings of Jane Austen’s classics are always lots of fun. I love the idea of reimagining a familiar story in a new setting and this book places the characters from Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in the heart of modern Austin, TX. When Jane and Celia, two sisters who run a successful San Francisco tea shop, need a fresh start to escape their family’s misfortunes, an opportunity in the Lone Star State presents itself and they work to begin again. The retelling is true to the plot of the original story and is a fun, light-hearted take on a beloved story. Is it my favorite retelling? No, probably not. The writing a bit weak but it sure was a quick read and I appreciate the creativity. Fun for Austen fans who don’t take retellings too seriously.
If you need a beach read, this is it! A gossipy celebrity magazine plus a cultural studies textbook, this novel was an escape to another world for me. When Rachel Chu, an Asian American woman from California, agrees to join her boyfriend, Nick Young, for the summer at his home in Singapore, she has no idea of what she’s getting into as she’s exposed the ultra rich and impressively elite class of Chinese families that Nick’s family hails from. Just the right amount of dishy, family in-fighting mixed with lots and lots of commentary on a culture I knew nothing about. The huge cast of characters and use of footnoted native dialect phrases means you can’t totally zone out like your typical chick-lit but it’s absolutely worth it. The next book is already loaded up on my Kindle for the weekend!
You might recognize Zevin’s name from her hugely popular title, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I haven’t read it but have heard many, many recommendations for it so I was anxious to read her newest release. Told from the point of view of multiple narrators, we learn the story of a young political intern’s affair with a powerful and much older congressman. Rather than fixate on the actual affair, the book primarily reveals the many years after in which a woman rebuilds her life and finds her own redemption from a costly youthful mistake. The writing is witty and quick and doesn’t linger in the regret or melancholy drama that this topic could provide. It wasn’t my favorite read, lacking a little depth, but an interesting read. The writing reminded me of Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.
I am NOT a business book reader but this was recommended as a productivity guide and so I put it on my list. The basic idea is that typically yearly planning is just too big of a time for us to really be able to plan and execute our goals effectively. By shrinking down your timetable to twelve weeks, the urgency you feel and the progress you can measure will lead to increased productivity. It’s certainly written for a business audience but as a blogger that’s self-employed I found many of the ideas really helpful in thinking about structuring my time and making my goals be action-based not results-based. It’s an easy, quick read at less than 200 pages, and the strategies were easy to implement quickly.
What did you read this month that blew your socks off? Anything you hated? I love to hear what you’re putting on your nightstands!
PS. As always, you can find all my book recommendations here.