Books I Read This Week 2020 – 06

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


The New Life of Hugo Gardner (2.5 stars): This is a complicated novel for me to rate or review. I read About Schmidt back when it came out but considering it’s been almost 25 years, I don’t think I remember enough of it to be sure I am accurate, however, this book felt like a similar book to me. Not in sense of plot, in that Schmidt was always very disgruntled and pretty much complained about everything. But in the sense that this novel reads like a character study of an elderly man.

Hugo Gardner is in his 80s and his wife of some 40 years decides to leave him to be with someone else. Hugo is wealthy and well regarded (as an ex-bureau chief of a magazine, etc.) and has two children with whom he doesn’t have great relationships. This is the story of what happens to him post-divorce.

Here’s the spoiler: nothing happens. I mean there’s not much of a plot in this story. Which usually would not bother me at all. I prefer character-driven stories. I love quiet stories where nothing much happens.

But.

But in return I need something to happen to the character. I need the character to grow in some way. To learn something about themselves. To acknowledge or ponder some truths. Something that makes me feel like reading the story was worthwhile because we both learned something from it.

Alas, I didn’t feel that way in this story. There were parts that made me laugh (especially the part where he thanks Gore for inventing the internet.) There were parts that made me cringe. There was so much where I couldn’t tell if the author was trying to be clever or whatever and it just didn’t really land with me. The character seemed both full of himself and I found myself pitying him at parts.

I didn’t hate my time with this story. I think Begley is a good writer and I found the book readable and enjoyable in parts. I mostly felt like I wasn’t sure what the point of this whole story was. What did he learn from the divorce? How did he grow from the experience? It all just felt empty to me. I understand the author was maybe trying to make a point with this character but it just didn’t work for me.

with gratitude to edelweiss and Doubleday Books for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Fifth Risk (3.5 stars): I think I might have filled my quota of books related to this administration. I’ve read way too many of them over the last few years and at this point, I am not learning anything new. Lewis’ book was more interesting because of its focus on the US Department of Energy and I’ve learned a bunch and am now officially worried of course. His storytelling style is always engaging and the people behind the stories are always fascinating so I don’t regret reading this but I’ve liked his other books more.


Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties (3.5 stars): I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I was going to. I am not sure why I didn’t think it was going to be all that interesting but it was well written and well narrated and a thought-provoking story about a woman who is a bit older than I am going through a divorce and having to deal with figuring out how to move through that. It was an enjoyable read.


Things in Jars (3.5 stars): I started this book right in the middle of a major release at work so my brain was completely full and this is one of those books that really appreciates your attention. I loved the characters and the quirky weirdness of the book and I think at a different time it would have rated even higher for me. If you don’t like weird, unusual books, this is not the book for you. But, for me, it was a very enjoyable read.


The Operator (4 stars): I was fascinated by the premise of this story when I read about it. Vivian Dalton, a switchboard operator, eavesdrops on conversations regularly and hears a secret that’s about to change her life. The story starts and moves a little slower than I’d like and when you finally hear the secret, it’s unclear whether it’s actually a big deal or not. The emotions in this story, in fact, all seem muted. You can mostly tell what the characters are feeling by what they do more than what they say (which might be a reflection of the times, I am not sure.)

There are a handful of plot lines in the story and they weave through in and out of each other at times. There’s a small or big surprise in each story and by the end of the book I found myself attached to the characters, hopeful for second chances all around.

I really enjoyed the time I spent with this beautiful story.

With gratitude to edelweiss and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 05

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Say You Still Love Me (4 stars): This was my second novel by K. A. Tucker and I enjoyed it just as much as my first. I like the characters. Just like The Simple Wild, it was a really fast read and it definitely was fun and sweet. It’s light and yet the characters aren’t cartoonish and there are some serious topics to show that they are real characters with complicated lives, making sometimes poor and sometimes wise decisions. I enjoyed the alternating camp scenes and how they were as kids vs now. If this genre of books is your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy this one.


The Better Liar (3 stars): This book kept me reading without wanting to take a break. I think I sort of guessed some of the twists but I still thought it was cleverly done. I am a bit sick of twists to be honest and what I enjoyed the most about this book was that it had a mix of character development and twists. It wasn’t all plot all the time. I also thought the pacing and atmosphere were both really well done and you could almost feel the unease of the main character the whole way through.


The Bookworm Crush (3.5 stars): I went into this book blind and had no idea if it was a series or if it was YA vs adult. I wanted something light and I loved the idea of reading about a bookwork. The book didn’t disappoint. I loved reading about the shenanigans of Amy and Toff. Laughed at the instagram references, enjoyed the more honest conversations and mostly just enjoyed my time with this light and sweet story.


The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavendar (5 stars): Oh my heart. I know that magical realism isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and I know that this book is so so so sad. But it’s also so very magnificent and it’s one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in a long time. There are so many characters in this short book and yet each of them is textured, memorable and plays an important role in the telling of this story. The atmosphere of the book is so pronounced that you can’t help but feel like you’ve become a part of the story as you read it. It’s rare when the writing, setting, characters and plot are all well-done. In this exquisite story, they really are. I loved the time I spent with this beautiful story.


The Wives (2 stars): Oh goodness. I am not even sure what to say about this story except that I read the reviews and knew this was going to be tricky so I am not sure why I decided to read it after all that. The beginning of the book was actually interesting and I liked both the pacing and the characters but then there’s twists and this might be one of the worst ones I’ve ever seen where the entire book just falls apart and you’re left thinking “seriously?!” or at least I was. It felt like the author had the idea for an interesting story but really didn’t know what to do with it so just gave up halfway and made it into a mess. I was so very disappointed in this one.


Home Making (4 stars): “You don’t just get pregnant, suffer the nine months, give birth, and become Mother. You choose this title.”

I was surprised by the mixed reviews on this novel. The writing is unusual and a bit of a stream of consciousness-like, but in my opinion that didn’t get in the way of this beautiful story. I loved this story because it’s the kind of novel I enjoy the most: quiet with characters that are interesting and writing that’s thoughtful.

“Some women do this all their lives. Iron, rear, sweep, wash, fold, brush, wipe. For the entirety of their adult lives, they make homes. They make other people. They make families. This is just to say that what I’m doing is not so unusual. It’s the opposite. This act is completely mundane. But no one talks about how difficult it is. I don’t think it’s any easier for a woman with a pretty husband and a pretty six-year-old daughter. Beneath the prettiness, we are all a mess. We are all struggling.”

I loved the quiet nature of this novel. The characters grew on me as I read, I loved the quiet atmosphere of home making, the juxtaposition of illness, motherhood, friendship and people quietly taking care of each other, needing each other, building lives together.

“In this moment you know that for all the trauma you have suffered, for all the suffering you have witnessed, you know there is no love greater than this and you believe in God.”

I loved the writing. I loved the mother-daughter relationship. I loved the way the whole book grew on me as I read it. I found myself rooting for the characters, rooting for everyone to make the homes they wish to have, to fell full. The find their own homes.

If quiet novels are your thing, too, you will like this one.

with gratitude to edelweiss and Harper Perennial for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 04

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


The Love Story of Missy Carmichael (5 stars): “She marched to the beat of her own drum, whereas I seemed to listen out for everyone else’s.”

I loved and adored this story. This is the story of Missy Carmichael who is living by herself at the beginning of a new stage of her life where she’s lost her husband and is estranged from her daughter and so far away from her son who lives in Australia. She is living a contained life.

“To be open with one’s emotions, to reveal one’s devotion so obviously, seemed reckless, as if inviting a knock?back.”

As she meets her next-door neighbor Alice, her life begins to open up and thanks to a series of small-seeming events she starts building a community around herself. She touches people’s lives and allows them to touch hers. She mends relationships. She learns about herself. She grows up and opens up.

“The magic doesn’t stop the worst happening. The worst happens all the time, every day. And then life goes on. And you just hang on and hope that you can keep whatever crumbs and tiny white teeth are left.”

The magic of letting others help you, of expanding your life, of leaning in and on others is at the heart of this gem of a novel. And it shows you what happens when a person is supported and loved and blooms under the care of that love.

“I’d never seen myself like that before. The first photo summed me up, mostly, but the second had exposed my other self, the tiny part of me that could laugh like that. I wanted to poke my way into that part like I’d delved into the envelope, widen and open it up so that it overwhelmed the stiffness and self?consciousness and all the other weaknesses I despised.”

It’s not possible to read this beautiful novel, full of beautifully rich characters and not to feel your heart growing a size bigger. I have loved my time with it and it will stay with me for a long while.

with gratitude to netgalley and Penguin Group Putnam for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


Big Lies in a Small Town (4 stars): Diane Chamberlain is such a master storyteller. I loved both of the characters’ storylines here and I loved how they came together in the end. I felt both of the characters (and worlds) were well developed and interesting on their own which is relatively rare in novels like this. I enjoyed every moment I spent with this story and if you’re a fan of Chamberlain this one won’t disappoint.


Love Her or Lose Her (3.5 stars): I enjoyed my time with this sweet romance novel. I loved that it was about saving a marriage as opposed to a new budding romance. I loved how each of the characters were flawed and yet also wonderful. They were three-dimensional. I liked the therapist a lot, too. Most of the novel was reasonably predictable but it was sweet and endearing.


The Camera Never Lies (3 stars): The premise of this story was so compelling to me that I checked it out from the library multiple times. I had read that it was by a Christian author and I don’t usually read novels of that genre so I couldn’t decide if I should read this. But I kept coming back to it so I finally decided to just read it. And I am glad I did. The story was interesting and despite several reviews to the contrary I actually thought the characters weren’t 100% stereotypical. I liked the premise and i liked the overall lesson that hiding things are not good for you. I believe it’s really important to live aligned with your values and that when you’re out of integrity with who you are, you suffer. This story was a good reminder. I enjoyed it.


And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 03

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Lost at Sea (4 stars):

“She felt she could get up and dance on it when she realized the beetle was silent. In fact, when she prodded at the back of her mind, she realized it was gone. She no longer cared what the others thought or did or what they thought of her. It no longer mattered to her that Amanda and Chloe were being assholes, that she hadn’t started studying for finals yet, or that who-knows-what chemicals were being pumped through her body that very minute. It wasn’t like she always thought it would be: a sharp hit to her system and she was somebody else. Her body slipped into it easily, naturally, like this was how she was always supposed to be. She felt curiously warm and safer than she’d ever been. She felt gloriously, sparklingly fine.”

I read Erica Boyce’s The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green last year and loved it, so when I saw she had a new novel, I knew I wanted to read it. Just like the previous novel, what made this story magical for me was the character development. Similar to Daniel Green, this book started slowly. I wasn’t sure who was who and how they were related. But just like the previous novel, it all came together.

Each of the characters in this story is textured, complicated, and real. They have their own stories and a series of experiences that led them here to be this person. They are 3-dimensional and rich and I couldn’t help but get attached to them.

There are some surprises in the story but nothing that felt super twisty to me, nothing that distracted from the overall quiet but powerful nature of this story.

The depictions of anxiety are so vivid and so visual and so visceral in this story that I could both see and experience it as I read it. I loved this story as much as, if not more than the previous novel. I cannot wait to read more of Erica Boyce’s stories.

With gratitude to netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Honey Don’t List (3 stars): I am usually a big fan of Christina Lauren books. They are fun and uplifting and the characters are well developed. While this wasn’t a bad book by any means, I felt like it wasn’t one of their strongest. The biggest reason is because the characters weren’t nearly as developed as I feel they usually are. We knew almost nothing about Melissa or Rusty Tripp, especially Melissa. We’re told a lot about how awesome in love they were but it’s a lot of telling and very little showing. Nothing to really explain how Melissa ended up this way or even a bit more of her textured personality. They mostly seem to be cartoonish.

But even with all that, I still read the whole book in a day, got lost in the story and enjoyed my way through it. If you’ve never read Christina Lauren, I wouldn’t start with this one but if you’re a Christina Lauren fan, I am sure you’ll enjoy this one.

with gratitude to netgalley and Gallery, Pocket Books for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.


The Beekeeper of Aleppo (4 stars): I loved this sad but beautiful book. I checked it out of the library many, many times before I finally broke down and decided to read it. The story of Nuri and Afra is completely gut wrenching. The things they must endure to get out of a war ravaged country and how there’s no such thing as a happy ending in these situations is so beautifully depicted in this story. It will definitely break your heart.


Long Bright River (4 stars): For reasons I can’t explain, I didn’t want to read this book. It looked like it was going to be a police procedural and I’ve read enough of those that I am not excited about them. And I’ll be honest the plot in this story wasn’t what drew me to love it. This is a slow cooking book and then by about 3/4ths of the way through, I found I was so attached to the characters and wanted to know how things turned out for them. I loved the writing. The depictions of addiction were so powerful and the brokenness of a family, so real. I am glad I read it but this is definitely not a fast-paced story.


Godshot (4 stars): “Whatever’s happened to you can either make you beautiful, or it will ruin you forever. You decide.”

I have so many feelings about this book. I’ll start by saying that the writing is phenomenal. Such beautiful sentences and such a pleasure to read them. It reminded me of White Oleander many different times. Really excellent imagery in her writing. The atmosphere of the draught was so stifling, so real that I felt parched as I read the story.

“I don’t think they were her ideas. I think they were yours, and then they were the beers’ and then they were that man’s from the phone. I think she learned to ignore her own ideas a long time ago.”

I also loved the character development. I think the characters were mostly well developed, especially Lacey May and her mom. Vern was less so but we don’t really see much of him directly in the story so it would have been hard to do that. I loved Daisy and her daughter. There was so much texture in the characters.

“It was the same way I had. Her belief had accumulated like a tumbleweed and it became too hard to go back once she’d come so far, sacrificed so much.”

But here’s the thing: this story was so sad. So so so over the top terrible. Just one awful thing after another. I am not saying this kind of stuff doesn’t happen. Of course it does. It just was so much that it almost felt manipulative. Horrible things happening to women all throughout this book. So you have to be ready for that. It just felt like I was watching a roadside accident and I am not one of those people who finds that fascinating, I find it devastating.

I’d give this a 3.5 but the writing was so amazing that I felt a strong need to round up.

With gratitude to netgalley and Catapult for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 02

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Willa’s Grove (4 stars): “That’s why I love it. It reminds me how truly small I am every single time. And how wild is the base of the natural world.”

I really enjoyed my time with this story. This is the story of four women who are, for different reasons, at a stage in their life where they are at a precipice. They have (or want to have) left the life they’re living behind and they are trying to figure out what should/could come next.

They all gather at Willa’s home in Montana to spend a handful of days together and see if they can figure out what’s next while supporting each other through their journey of discovery.

“Maybe the reason we’re having such a hard time figuring out what to do next in our lives is because we’re starting with fear instead of love.”

Each of the women have different personalities and different reasons why they are stuck and they open-mindedly support each other as they discuss bits and pieces of their lives and struggles. If you’re close to that place or stage of your life, you might really enjoy this book. If you’re far from it, it might feel hard to connect.

“So it’s a fine bit of irony, really. We don’t want what we have, and then it’s all we want.”

For me, it was a great read. I liked the way the women supported each other. I liked how each character was wildly different and yet they were each struggling in their own story. It reflects how we can each be struggling even if our stories differ and the struggle itself might be something we have in common and something we can guide each other through. It’s a story about community and how we’re built for community.

“That’s why I love it. It reminds me how truly small I am every single time. And how wild is the base of the natural world.”

It’s also a story about beautiful nature and Montana which I also loved.

If you’re looking for a sweet, character-driven story and are wondering your own So Now What? I’d recommend this read.

with gratitude to netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Joy of Movement (4 stars): I am lucky enough to have taken several of Kelly McGonigal’s Psychology classes and I have always been a huge fan. When I saw this book was coming out, I knew I would read it no matter what and I knew it would be fantastic no matter what.

And it was.

It’s chock full of research about how movement can help with depression, loneliness and isolation. How we all need community and how movement can really help with that. It has a lot of inspiring stories and a lot of science. The perfect combination for all varieties of readers.

I have big movement plans for 2020, so I will be coming back to this one again and again to help remind myself of all of its gifts.

If you need any inspiration at all, this is the book for you.


Dear Edward (4 stars): I loved this sweet, slow, quiet and soft book about being the sole survivor of a devastating plane crash. It was written so thoughtfully, with such a good balance between the devastation and loneliness of being this one little kid who lost everyone and the hope of how life goes on and you find your people and you find ways to cope and even pay it forward.

It’s a sad book. It’s a hopeful book. I feel it did quite a good job of respecting the devastation while still reminding us of how much we humans are capable of surviving.


You Were There Too (3 stars): Hmmm I am on the fence about this one. It was a really fast read. The story and the premise was really creative. It had the potential to be a bit silly and I feel like it was never too silly. It did however get melodramatic and I feel a bit like the author wasn’t really sure how to end the story. I really liked several of the characters very much and enjoyed my time with this story.


Come Tumbling Down (4 stars): I couldn’t wait for this book to come out. I have loved every single one of the books in this series from the first one I got my hands on and I loved the creativity of the characters and the plot and the crazy worlds Seanan McGuire dreamt up. She’s just amazing.

This continues the story of Jack and Jill and I will say that it was not one of my favorites. Mostly because there wasn’t much new world building in this one and I find the worlds she creates one of the best parts of her books. I would likely give this more of a 3.5 stars but her characters are so quirky, so unique, so much fun that I rounded up.

I will take any books in this series and I really hope the next one takes us through a new door and we can share more of this amazing author’s unparalleled imagination.


And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 01

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art. I tried to get all the 2019 books last week but I ended up reading two more in 2019. So only 4 of these are from 2020.


A Keeper (3 stars): I have no idea who Graham Norton is but it looks like he is famous (at least the other reviews seem to mention this.) I picked up this book because it got relatively good ratings and I had put off reading it all year. It’s the story of a daughter and a mother years apart. The story of how the daughter came to be. It was sad and heart wrenching and also managed to be touching at parts.


Guests of August (4 stars): “That was what marriage was sometimes like, she thought. Slights and moods, words unspoken, angers contained, toxic combinations that inevitably simmer and overflow. But it is also inevitable, she assures herself, that heat cools, that even caustic stains fade and are wiped away, leaving only the palest of scars.”

It took me a while to read this story and there were so many characters that it was sometimes hard to keep track of them all and their children. But I still enjoyed the time I spent with it and the best part, of course, was exposing all the human-ness we all have. How marriage is hard, how forgiving and being open and vulnerable is hard.

I especially loved the parts where the doctor and his wife kept forgiving each other and wanting to strengthen their marriages at different times when they weren’t together and then something would happen and change everything again. I think that’s such an accurate portrayal of how life and marriage is and how the chances of both people feeling and being in the same place at the same time is such a rare occurrence. It’s so much more often that we feel surges of emotion/love/forgiveness at mismatched times.

It was a lovely novel to end 2019 with.

Thank you to netgalley and Severn House for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Radical Compassion (5 stars): There’s nothing like starting out my year with Tara Brach. I have been a longtime fan and her podcasts have carried me through several very tough years. Tara’s ability to mix methodology, thinking, and storytelling is unparalleled. In her podcasts, she usually also tells some wonderful jokes that have stayed with me over the years. If you haven’t listened to any of her work, I cannot recommend it enough. Her other books are also phenomenal.

This book is focused on compassion as the title states. Specifically in the practice of her version of RAIN:
– Recognize what is happening;
– Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
– Investigate with interest and care;
– Nurture with self-compassion.

There is a lot more about Rain in her site if you’re interested: https://www.tarabrach.com/rain/

The book explains the practice, gives examples and contains meditations that give you the space to do right then. I listened to it on audio which was perfect for practicing the meditations. A great way to start the new year and to hold my intention of more compassion.


You’re not Listening (3 stars): “For example, someone who has a critical inner voice will hear someone else’s words very differently from how someone whose inner voice tends to blame others will. It’s all your fault versus It’s all their fault. In other words, our inner dialogue influences and distorts what other people say and thus how we behave in relationships.”

I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, there was a lot of interesting information and data that explains how we listen, common pitfalls we fall into and why it’s important to listen better. All of which I totally agree with. That’s the reason I wanted to read this book to begin with. I knew I wasn’t listening as well as I could be and I wanted to do a better job.

There were some really engaging bits. For example, I liked learning about the right-ear advantage and how you might be able use (if you’re right-handed) to pick up up meaning vs using your left ear to hear more of the emotional feelings. It was new to me and an interesting concept. But overall, it was a lot of here’s why you’re not listening and here’s what happens if only you could listen better.

The author did a good job of making her case of how we’re not listening as well and why it matters. She had a lot of interesting studies and cited many resources. And if that’s all the book promised, maybe I would have rated it much higher. To be fair, it is the title of the book so maybe that should have been my hint.

“People’s inner voices have tremendous influence in part because they are perceived as louder.”

Even though the title only promised to tell me what I was missing and why it mattered, the blurbs promised that it would also teach me how to listen better. And this is where I felt the book failed me.

The continuous repetition of how phones, internet and social media is killing my listening skills and making me a worse person just got old. I was already bought in, but after multiple times, it just felt like she was lecturing.

I think maybe I could have tolerated that if there was more examples on how to actually be a good listener. She talked about “shifting” and “support” responses which I really liked reading about. Such illustrations around what you do when you listen poorly and how you could listen better were exactly what I was hoping the book had more of.

“In fact, smart people are often worse listeners because they come up with more alternative things to think about and ae more likely to assume that they already know what the person’s going to say. People with high IQs also tend to be more neurotic and self-conscious, which means worry and anxiety are more likely to hijack their attention.”

And in the end, because so much of the how was missing, the book felt more and more didactic to me as I read on. I felt I was being lectured at, scolded, and reprimanded. Her tone started getting to me and I couldn’t let it go. I was going to write: it might just be me but of course it’s just me. Book reading is a personal experience and this was my personal experience. I don’t read non-fiction as often as I read fiction but what I really love about non-fiction is that each time I read one, I learn something new, I grow, and I can look at the world and be in it a little bit differently.

This book did a good job of highlighting the importance of listening better. I’m sold. It did a less good job of how I could help bridge the gap and become a better listener myself. Maybe that can be her next book. 🙂

With gratitude to Celadon Books for an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.


Such a Fun Age (4 stars): This book peppered the internet over the last few weeks so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and see what I thought about it. What I found most interesting about this book is how light and breezy the cover and the narration are compared to the actual story. Well not even the story but the story below the story. On the surface, the characters and the plot also seem breezy, if maybe a bit on the neurotic side.

But underneath it all, this story is saying so much without saying it. This books covers issues around racism, savior complex, identity issues, socioeconomic disparities, choices we make around how we show up in the world and even parenthood. There are deep, serious issues covered without the author being heavy handed and the reader feeling like they are being lectured at.

The best part of the book is how 3-dimensional the characters are. Each of the characters is flawed but in all the human ways. Not a caricature. You can see how they are messing up and how they are making poor choices but you feel for them. You cringe on their behalf. You root for them and get disappointed in them, and expect better from them. Just like you would from real-world people. It’s a feat to pull off in any book, but exceptionally hard in a book like this, covering so many complicated societal issues.

I really enjoyed this one.


Recipe for a Perfect Wife (4 stars): This was a really quick read for me. Once I started it, I just didn’t want to put it down. The audio narration was excellent and I found myself attached to the characters right away. Even though I could see most of the twists coming (except for one) I still enjoyed all of my time with this story.

I liked Nellie’s story more than Alice’s just because I think Nellie was a bit more developed as a character and her motivations seemed a bit more clear. In the beginning of Alice’s story, it felt like she started lying or doing uncharacteristic things for no clear reason. Maybe out of ennui. It made it harder for me to connect with her. By the very end of her story, I did find myself cheering for Alice but still not as much as I would have liked. Alice’s husband was even more under-developed. He almost felt cartoonish to me.

Even though I can find many flaws with this book, I still found myself unable to stop reading it. Unable to stop caring about the characters. Unable to look away from the dark undertones of these housewives’ lives. I found it to be a very satisfying read.


And there we go, first week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.