Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. I listened to this audiobook, partially because it was all my library had available and partially because I find Aziz’s squeaky voice irresistible. It’s basically about how dating, marriage, relationships, etc. have evolved in the modern world. He talks about online dating, how technology impacts the way we date and communicate, and highlights the dating culture in a few international cities. It was pretty interesting, and funny because his personal thoughts and commentary are interjected. It’s a really quick read, too.
Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand. I was excited to read this in general but especially once I found out that it featured recipes from How Sweet It Is. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed. There’s only two recipes from Jess and while they’re both fine, they don’t seem realistic as coming from the main character who is a classically trained celebrity chef. The book is about this famed chef passing away and how his three former wives have to reunite in Nantucket to spread his ashes. Not her best, but I finished it in less than a day.
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. You know this as the Oscar nominated movie starring Saoirse Ronan (my red carpet fave). I haven’t actually seen the movie but I’ve heard great things about it so I decided to listen to the audiobook. It was kind of blah. A nice story, I guess, and I’ll probably see the movie because everyone raved about it, but pretty regular.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. It was an interesting experience to read this right after Brooklyn, because it’s also about a young girl who moves to Brooklyn alone. It just takes place 100 years later. And instead of making sweet mistakes like falling in love with an Italian boy instead of an Irish boy, the protagonist in Sweetbitter works in a restaurant as a glorified busboy and does some recreational drugs. It’s a little dark, but the writing is really incredible.
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood. This is about an 11-year-old Boy Scout who is assigned a service project to help an elderly woman with chores around the house. When the boy passes away unexpectedly, his estranged father takes on the commitment to the old lady. I wouldn’t call it riveting, but it’s a sweet story and I can easily see it being turned into a popular Indie flick. Hopefully starring Jacob Tremblay.
Euphoria by Lily King. This is loosely based on Margaret Mead, who I know nothing about, so I’ll try not to judge the quality of her life from this book alone. Not a fan. It’s about a love triangle between three anthropologists studying native communities in New Guinea in the 1930s. After typing the description, I can’t quite recall why I thought I would like this. But I didn’t.
No One Knows by J.T. Ellison. This was pretty regular. It held my attention but the writing was kind of amateur-ish, and it went from being an interesting suspense/mystery to just completely crazy with secret siblings and drug rings and sex scandals.
Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain. This is about a young social worker in North Carolina in the 1960s who starts working in a rural community and gets overly involved with one of the families. I’ve talked about Diane Chamberlain’s books before and how I love (most) of them, and this was no exception. It’s a little slow to start but then I couldn’t put it down.
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett. This took me forever to finish but I’m so glad I read it because I’ve never read anything else like it. Basically it starts with a guy and a girl running into each other on the street, and there are three different versions of how it turns out (him walking away, him asking her out, etc.) And then there are subsequently three different stories of how their lives turn out based on that first day. It’s definitely a little slow but I kind of loved it.
Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam. This is about two 32-year-olds who have been best friends since middle school and are both living in NYC. It’s not all that eventful, but it just struck me as being very REAL. One is engaged and on track to be a charmed housewife, while the other is single at a crappy job with a crush on the temp. Their lives aren’t really aligned anymore but they try to stay friends for old times sake. Again, not really a page turner but it’s so well-written that I would recommend it anyway.
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud. This is one of the worst books I have ever read or listened to. I was hustling out of a clinic to get in my car for a 5 hour trip to Baltimore and realized I only had about 40 minutes left in Rich and Pretty, so I literally downloaded the first audiobook that popped up in Overdrive. It’s about a 3rd grade teacher who becomes obsessed with one of her students and his parents. The only reason that I kept listening to it aside from being stuck in the car was because I thought she was finally going to crack and kill them all. But she doesn’t. It’s simultaneously creepy and boring.
Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres. I mean, it’s Ellen. I wouldn’t say she’s at her funniest in this and it definitely would have been less funny had she not been narrating it. But it was only about 3 hours long so it kept me company on one of my drives. I think I like her best when she’s on her show laughing at other people.
I have two more books going right now but needed to cut myself off somewhere. What are you summer reading?!