Recent Reads Vol. 5

Happy Book Day, once again! I've slowed down a considerable bit since my summer surge, which I recapped here last month and in my summer reading challenge posts. That's probably why I'm particularly looking forward to all your Show Us Your Books posts today, to hopefully get some great recommendations and love on some fall reading.

Here's what I've peeped since last we linked:

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Preface: I grew up on Judy Blume, like a lot of girls. I've loved everything she's ever written, and even things she's just been remotely connected to. I wanted to continue that trend, but I was nervous when I heard a lot of bloggers say that In the Unlikely Event was a bit of a let down. I wanted to make my own mind up though and went in planning to love it.

But I didn't. I didn't finish this book. I just didn't even care. I'd say I got about 30-40% in and just stopped caring about the eleventy billion characters I couldn't keep straight because not one of them was interesting enough to make me give a damn. I could figure out the plot of the story, but not the point. I just didn't like it and didn't want to keep wasting my time. Sorry, Judy.

Recommend? — You can definitely skip this one. In fact, do skip it, and keep your unshakeable love for Judy in tact.

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
This book has been on my TBR list for years now, but I never really wanted to read it at the moment. Does that make sense? I guess I've always wanted to know what it's about and why it's always on "must read" lists and things like that, but every time I reread the synopsis when trying to choose my next book I just didn't feel compelled to pick it up. It finally became available on audiobook at my library so I went for it, was just meh. I'm glad to cross it off my list and not have it follow me around anymore, but I didn't particularly enjoy it and don't necessarily recommend it. I think Jennifer Egan is a good writer and I know a lot of people enjoy a lot of her books, but I just didn't really find this one all that compelling or interesting.

Recommend? — I don't want to say no, because I know a lot of people love it, but I wouldn't give this to a friend and insist they read it.

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
I've been a fan of NPH as a person for a long time, and a huge fan as an actor since HIMYM. I just think he's a really cool person and have pretty much loved everything I've ever heard him say. His autobiography was no exception. I highly recommend it in audiobook form, because hearing him narrate his own life story and the pieces of recorded audio included just bring this book to life that much more powerfully. His concept for this book is so unique and original and so perfectly NPH, and I loved learning more about him and his life in his own creative way.

Recommend? — Yes, yes, yes!

Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr.
I read this book yeaaaars ago, probably sometime in college I think. But given my inability to remember narrative details, it was like new this time around. I didn't love it as much as I remembered loving it the first time, but I did enjoy it again from a more adult perspective and with the background of literature I've gained since my last reading.

It's a very highly stylized novel, unique and complicated and for some readers, really challenging. It's kind of like how to read Shakespeare—you can't pick it apart word by word or line by line, but try to understand entire passages as a whole. It's a gritty and abrasive look the Brooklyn of decades ago, but it's interesting how little has really changed in our culture. In a scary way. There is a good deal of violence and sensitive subject matter that might make this difficult to swallow—there are definitely passages that made me close the book to look up puppy memes.

Recommend? — For lovers of the classics (not so much Anne of Green Gables, but more like Naked Lunch), it's key. Not for the weary or weak of stomach, but for those who want a challenging and gritty read.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
I used to read this book every summer, but I realized I missed summers 2015 and 2014 and had to remedy it this month. I've talked about it already here, and honestly this book just never gets old for me. I definitely see how some would find it boring or uninteresting, but every time I read it I find a new line that I love. Each time I read it I come to it from a different place in my life and it still reaches me on whatever level I'm at, and it feels significant and important in a new way. In my experience as a re-reader, only the best books do that, and I know On the Road will be on my re-read list for many years to come.

Recommend? — To everyone, at least once.

Roadmap: The Get-It-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do with Your Life by Roadtrip Nation, Brian McAllister (Creator), Mike Marriner (Creator), Nathan Gebhard (Creator)
I'm still in the middle of this and am not reading it in a typical fashion—more like sitting down with it for a few minutes every couple of days when I'm ready to think about my career, my life, my plans, my goals. It's exactly what the title says, and so far I love it so, so, so much. I didn't want to wait to finish to recommend it to people because I know time is of the essence and I wish I had started reading it months ago. It doesn't give you the answers, but helps you write the answers for yourself. Each time I sit down with it I take out my journal and jot down some notes and perform some of the exercises from the book, and I can already feel my perspective shifting in a really positive way.

Recommend? — Absolutely.

Are you also linking up with Steph and Jana?
Show us (all) your books!


  1. I've heard the same sentiment over the Judy Blume book from a few other people too & now that you've said the same, I'm glad I've skipped it! I'm slowly picking back up on my reading, so hopefully I'll have some good books to share soon :) xoxo

  2. Glad to hear you liked the Neil Patrick Harris book - he's such a favorite of mine - but I had no clue he even had a book out! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  3. Ugh yes, whenever there's a children's or YA author that I really like they always bomb their adult novel....J.K. Rowling anyone? So I'm glad to hear this before I read the Blume book.

  4. How did I not know NPH had a book out?! Definitely picking that one up :-D

    Green Fashionista

  5. I'm intrigued by NPH's book, but I'm also a little burned out on celebrity autobiographies, so I think I'll save that for someday in the future. On the Road is on my TBR, mostly because my sister found it very impactful.

  6. In Sept I read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Self-Empowered Woman by Marilyn Murray Willison (ok to skip, obliged to read it because my mom made me), Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (audiobook), Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (loved this!) Bossypants by Tina Fey (audiobook), and The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson (ok, more of a fluff read).

    Both the audiobooks I just felt kind of "eh" about, and then thought maybe it was because I listened to them and so didn't get as deep into the narrative? Maybe?

    I also just finished A Thousand Lives, which is a story about the Jonestown mass suicide. Really interesting stuff.

  7. I absolutely adore On the Road. I've loved it every time I've read it, which is many. Sometimes I just read pieces to pick up a new line to love.

    I feel the same on a lifelong love of Judy Blume and a total inability to get into her latest novel. I am going to give it another try but am not expecting much.

  8. Roadmap?! Dear Lord do I need to be reading that right now! I've added On the Road to my list since we were discussing it before, as well as all the other ones.

  9. I really think I'm the only person who really liked the Judy Blume book! Love On The Road, it's a book I've gone back to a few times. I'm a big fan of NPH so I think I'll give his book a try based on your review!

  10. I knew to leave the Judy Blume book alone. I dont want to taint my love with a crappy book. NPH is on my list to read, I cant wait!!! I am going to go ahead and add the roadmap book to my list!

  11. oh I am so sad that you gave up on Judy's book but honestly it didn't even feel like her. It didn't tarnish my relationship with her, thank goodness, it was a bummer but one I've already forgotten. It was not good.
    I'm not NOT a fan of NPH but I'm not a fan either, if that makes sense. I know next to nothing about him, I've seen him in a few episodes and I feel like something else, but he was in that one tv show / movie that everyone loves, he's a kid doctor or something? anyway, still recommend for me? I will pick up the audiobook in that case.

  12. GRRRR. I borrowed In the Unlikely Event from Steph and it's sitting on my nightstand and I'm sad that so many people didn't like this book because I'm totally going to go into it biased. I feel like I have NPH's book on my TBR.

    Confession: I've never read On the Road. I acknowledge that I probably should.

  13. I keep reading everyone's posts on what they've been reading and now I want to read like 50 books.. I am so unmotivated lately so this is going to be tough! Lol. Thanks for sharing!

  14. On The Road will always be one of my favorites, one of the few books I will re-read. Choose Your Own Adventure is on my list to read sounds so good and I love NPH.

  15. disappointed to hear that you didn't like the Judy Blume book, I've been waiting for ages to get it from the library.

  16. I want to read the NPH book soo bad, but I was afraid of it on audiobook since I heard it was a choose your own adventure thing. I'm currently listening to Rob Lowe read one of his books and he's boring me. I'd rather focus on my running and breathing than listen to him call out celebrities he met when he was growing up in LA. It's bad. Maybe NPH would be better...

  17. Darn about the Judy Blume book. Thanks for letting me know so I wasn't disappointed. I have added On the Road to my TBR list.

  18. I have always intended to read On the Road. Thank you for the reminder!

  19. Shamefully I haven't read On The Road, so that's going on the list. The Roadmap book looks like just what I need, so I'll be trying to pick that up as well. I bought a book called What Colour Is Your Parachute a few years ago and never worked through it properly so I'll have to try harder with this one!

  20. It seems like so many people really didn't like that Judy Blume book. I decided to skip it after reading so many negative reviews.

    I should probably read Last Exit to Brooklyn at some point. The Room (by the same author) has been on my "To Read" list for years, and I've also been curious about how the novel Requiem for a Dream will compare to the movie. A lot of people find that movie incredibly disturbing (and it is), but it's one of my favorites. It's not a movie I can watch often, but when I'm in the mood for a good cry and a beautifully made film, that's usually the one I'll pick.

  21. On The Road has been on my list for years and years and a few people have read it recently, so I feel like I definitely need to move it up! I know I'm in the minority, but I liked In The Unlikely Event. It was hard to get used to ignoring the throwaway characters though. That was so unnecessary.


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