book chat

Not sure how, but somehow managed to quickly work through the OPL hold list and just picked up a copy of Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me? I’m saving it for the weekend-can’t wait.  Before too much more time passes, wanted to jot down some thoughts on this summer’s reads.  In no particular order…

Quiet, Susan Cain: Rebecca recommended this years ago and it is excellent.  Want to re-read and mark it all up. Incredible analysis of introverts, our workplaces, our economy and our schools. Her exploration of introverts is fascinating, but I also appreciated her information on highly sensitive people. While I’m not entirely sure where I fall in the introvert-extrovert scale, learned a lot about characteristics of highly sensitive people. Apparently, highly sensitive types can’t handle violent/scary movies or loud music/television sounds-all true here!

The Circle, Dave Eggers:
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius came out in 2001, meaning I’ve spent approximately half my life in love with Dave Eggers.  He’s an awesome writer, but this book freaked me out. Honestly, the first quarter was pretty slow, but then it picked WAY up.  Reading this while watching Silicon Valley is not a recipe for falling in love with the tech-centered Bay Area. I stayed up late one night finishing it and the next morning was the Stock Market/United/WSJ outage.  Still in a post-book haze, I freaked out, and thinking the dystopian Circle-world might be coming true, I made a panicky withdrawal from the ATM-just in case.  So, in conclusion, good book, slightly terrifying.

Girls in White Dresses, Jennifer Close:  Three stars? Decent beach read, tells the story of six friends after college through their mid-30s.  A bit of a sad, constant hangover, undertone.  While I never particularly liked any of the characters, there were certainly moments where Close nailed it with her observations of being a woman after college.

Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter: Also read this on the beach, while we were in Mexico.  Hilarious, bizarre and thoroughly entertaining.  Made me want to visit the Amalfi coast and Rome.  Certainly not the Best Book I Read this Summer, but very fun.

How to Start a Fire, Lisa Lutz: Thought this would be similar to Girls in White Dresses, with the general premise of three friends after college.  However, while the great drama in Girls is dead-end jobs and silly brides, this has plot twists that are straight up disturbing.  Like Girls,  the characters are all pretty selfishly awful and you can”t really understand why they stayed friends. It’s a page turner for sure, but it left me sad.  At the time I thought I loved it, but now that I think about it, not so sure I would recommend it..

tiny beautiful things, Cheryl Strayed: I liked listening to this on auidobook more than reading it (tried both).  Good grief, Cheryl Strayed is a phenomenal writer.  Someday I’ll read Wild. I loved her “tell it like I see it” advice approach.  It’s pretty heavy material, so I wouldn’t recommend unless ready to really reflect with compassion.  Particularly loved her “get a grip!” advice for the reader whining about how difficult her life is because of heer massive student loans.  Feel like Cheryl’s COME ON reality check advice is something I should read every month…

Knowing Your Value, Mika Brzeznski: Mika RULES.  She’s probably one of five celebrities I follow on instagram just because she’s so cool.  There were several “No way! Mika too?” moments reading this where I just could not believe she had ever been so naive/insecure/struggled professionally.  It takes a lot to be honest about mistakes and I so appreciated her frank career analysis.  The interview excerpts were equally insightful.  Highly recommend this book.

Political Fictions, Joan Didion: JOAN! How does she do it? Her writing is just mesmerizing. Had a bit of an Anna Quindlen Thinking Out Loud flashback as I read Didion’s commentary of politics in the 80s, the rise of big money campaigns and the problem of low voter turn out.  With a simple date and name change, much of the book could be placed in 2015, and not 30 years earlier.  A great book and a reminder there’s so much more Didion I want to read!

It’s getting late and the other two books, The Last Love Song (Tracy Daugherty) and Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates) were so profoundly, incredibly, Top of my 2015 Book List, I want to wait to write more and really reflect. So, so grateful for the Oakland Public Library!

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