Reading Lately: April 2020
This month sucked. Here's what I read.
How to Be Fine: 5/5
Kristen Meinzer & Jolenta Greenberg
I've listened to Kristen and Jolenta's podcast By the Book for years and was so excited to hear they had published a book about their experiences. How to Be Fine is funny, insightful, captivating, and uplifting, all in equal measure. The book is brilliantly broken down into 'What to do', 'What not to do', and 'What more self-help books should advise', with each chapter covering a 'tenet' common to multiple books. Each section includes stories of how Kristen and Jolenta learned and applied the tenet, detailing their often hilarious and interesting stories. It concludes with a clear list of takeaways, and how you might apply the tenet to your own life. I loved that this book was so well organized and full of personality. It's rare to find a book that's both helpful and fun to read!
RIYL: Call Your Girlfriend, Reese Witherspoon, actually helpful self-help
In Five Years: 4/5
In Five Years burns slow, then happens all at once. I don't want to spoil it, but it's ultimately about frienship and the unexpected turns life can take (as you might have gathered from the blurb!). My main gripe with this book is that the title gives the impression that the main character's life changes over the course of 5 years, but in reality the book skips 4.5 of those years (literally there's a page that says "four and a half years later"). I wish it had just been one year, or that the story had been drawn out over the five years more. With all of that said, I thought the characters were great - of course I would, I can see parts of myself in both of the young, ambitious, bright women at the center of the story (that sounds braggy now that I read it back, and maybe it is). And honestly, for all the flaws of this book, I never knew what was going to happen next and felt like I had to keep reading. This is a great book if you're looking for something short and bittersweet.
RIYL: TV shows where New York City is a character, Jodi Picoult,
Such a Fun Age: 4/5
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird: 3/5
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: 3/5
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is, in a word, trippy. It's more of a vibe than a novel, expertly weaving magic into reality that you don't realize it's magical realism until you're halfway through. I appreciated the familial love that suffused every page, and the way this book shook me out of my boring old world view. It was a refreshing, if sometimes confusing, change of pace.
The Garden of Small Beginnings: 2/5
This romance is mostly good for passing the time - there wasn't anything particularly good or bad about it, it was just...pretty meh.
Fix Her Up: 1/5
I'm embarrassed to say I finished this book. I needed a romance novel in my life at the time, an escape from reality - and honestly, if any other book had been available at the library I wouldn't have finished this. "What was so bad about it?", you ask? The heroine in this romance novel is an aspiring clown. Aspiring. Clown. Unless you are also an aspiring clown - or are looking for a good hearty "What the fuck is this" laugh - I suggest reading anything else.