Recent Reads Vol. 7

It's been a while since I had something post-worthy for Show Us Your Books with Steph and Jana, because I was just a slowpoke for the last few months. Here's what I've finished since November...
Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
The good news is that this one didn't squick me out like the last Emily Giffin book I read. There is no bad news, really—it was a good read. Pacing was nice and I liked the characters; they felt real and genuine and true to me. The trajectory was a bit predictable but it was enjoyable and a quick read regardless. To borrow the phrase from Steph, it passed the time just fine.

Recommend? — If you just want to read a nice story, for sure.

Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
This has been recommended countless times over the last year, and I've even had a copy sitting on my iPad and waiting for me for months. I have no idea what made me wait so long to pick it up, but I was so happy I finally did. This story was so beyond what I expected, and it was tender and sweet in ways I haven't had a book be in a long time. Lots of emotions. Beautifully told story.

Recommend? — For everyone, yes.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Hands-down my new favorite by Rainbow Rowell, though I did love Landline and really enjoyed Eleanor & Park. Very sweet characters, a non-traditional format and dual narrative (I quite like those), and a storyline I couldn't quite predict. Slay, Rainbow.

Recommend? — 100%

Beneath the Bonfire: Stories by Nickolas Butler
This is the same author of Shotgun Lovesongs, which I (and everyone else) fell in love with last year. The way he writes is just...magic. It's like being in a song. I find myself pausing to appreciate his sentence structure more than with any other modern author, except maybe Jodi Picoult (who can also turn a phrase like nobody's damn business). This collection of short stories was a little wild, pretty diverse, and always beautiful. Some of the stories were a little too far away from me to really grab me and pull me in, but I enjoyed every minute of reading them nonetheless.

Recommend? — Yes!

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
I think I'm going to require any future potential dates to read this book, or at least pick up the audiobook (read hilariously by Aziz). I'm a fan of his stand-up, his show Master of None, and his character Tom on Parks & Rec. He wrote and researched this book on dating in the modern age with the help of a sociologist, and they certainly did a lot of homework. It was interesting to see some of the concepts he touches on in his stand-ups and his Netflix series rooted in the research he did for Modern Romance, and I really enjoyed it. Also, being that I'm dating in the modern age, I can damn true.

Recommend? — Required reading.

The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
I'll start this review with some context you'll be wondering to yourselves, if not outright asking me: Barack Obama is my president, and I am an unabashed supporter of his administration. With that out of the way, let's continue...
I loved this. Firstly because Barack Obama is a great speaker, and I just love hearing great speakers speak. It was interesting to hear his commentary on America and politics from a decade ago, before he was president and still serving as Senator of Illinois. I loved best the parts about his personal life—his upbringing, his relationship with Michelle, fatherhood. Some other concepts he discussed took shape for me for the first time ever, like economics. I have never taken an econ class in my life, and aside from 101 basic knowledge I have no real understanding of large-scale economics, but his explanations made me feel like I could at least keep up with what he was saying.

Recommend? — For supporters of the president, I do highly recommend. For non-supporters, there's really nothing you'll read that would change your mind, is there? If you're on the fence or like memoirs, it's a yes.

The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis
The Casual Vacancy
by J.K. Rowling

Both of these are in progress. I haven't finished a book in weeks, because I just...can't. My mind has been in a lot of different places lately and I'm trying to let it be everywhere at once...which isn't working. I'm almost done with The Rules of Attraction and hope to be able to report on both of these and a few others next month!

The latter two I'm currently reading as part of Erin's 2016 Book Challenge. Here's my full list:

5 points: Read a book, any book that is at least 200 pages long.
     The Casual Vacancy (J.K. Rowling)
10 points: Read a book that begins with the letter “D”.
     Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (David Sedaris)
10 points: Read a book with a four word title.
     The Rules of Attraction (Bret Easton Ellis)
15 points: Read a book with one of the following words in the title: “mother(s)”, “father(s)”, “son(s)”, “daughter(s)”, or “child(ren)”.
     The Emperor's Children (Claire Messud)
20 points: Amazon ranks their “most popular authors”, and they update this list hourly. Based on when you make your book list, look at the top 100 authors, and pick a book to read from one of those authors, but here’s the catch—it needs to be an author new to you…one of the most popular authors, yet you’ve never read them before.
     The Opposite of Loneliness (Marina Keegan)
20 points: Read a book set in any country in Asia. 
     The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (Haruki Murakami)
25 points: Read a book with a “Season” in the title. 
     Summerlong (Dean Bakopoulos)
30 points: Read a book that will make you laugh from this list.
     The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
30 points: Read a book that is a friend or family member’s favorite book.
     Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
35 points: Read a book published the year you were born.
     The Joy Luck Club (Amy Tan)

What are you reading lately, and what's on deck? Are you participating in any reading challenges this year?


  1. where we belong and attachments sound great - I definitely need a few more books to pass the time on our flights!! xo, biana -BlovedBoston

  2. yay so glad you loved attachments :) so many happy feels. also, AJ Fikry, yay! i loved the words you used, so perfectly spot on. it was so much more than what i expected and was so different and sweet i just loved it so hard.
    where we belong is on my list - i love a good, easy chick lit type book every now and again.

  3. Attachments!!! I love that book so, so much. I've already cast the movie, too :)

    And all the love for Nickolas Butler, too. Man is a magical writer. Fikry and Modern Romance were great, too.

    I haven't read Obama's book. I don't know that I will. I tend to stay away from books written by political figures.

  4. Attachments and AJ Fikry are two of my favorite books!!! I enjoyed Modern Romance too.

    I have no desire to read Obama's book, I am not his biggest fan. Can you believe I haven't read Shotgun Lovesongs yet? I need to get on that to get on that other!

  5. Fikry was one of my favourite books that i read in 2015. so glad you liked it!

  6. I read AJ Fikry this month and loved it, too! And I too put it off way too long. Is that last Giffin book you read the one with the icky father figure relatsionship? I also read that one and it has made me not want to read anything else by her. Ew.

  7. Such good reviews as always... wasn't AJ Fikry, so surprisingly amazing? Attachments is the only Rowell book I've read and it was so cute, but I don't know if I would really like any of the others? I crashed and burned with the scwbc and want to do another one so I should check out Erin's challenge.

  8. I'm almost done with Attachments!! I LOVE IT! Just finished "Yes, Please" audiobook read by Amy Poehler and I'm thinking Aziz's audiobook might be next.. Excited to see what you think of "Casual Vacancy" and whether I should go back to it or not.. Which one should I read next?? AJ Fikry?

  9. I sometimes wish I was a Rainbow Rowell fan. But I'm not and I've moved on. LOL

    I like Aziz a lot.

    LOVED Fikry.

    Curious to see where you end up on the BEE novel.

  10. YAY for Attachments! That was my first Rainbow Rowell book, and a very close second to Eleanor and Park. I'm hesitant on Modern Romance only because I read somewhere that it had a lot of facts/figures/statistics, and that generally doesn't hold my attention, but I do like his comedy so I'm adding it to the list.

  11. I need to get on the Rainbow Rowell wagon! A friend from work has recommended her books to me so many times, and I know that I'm going to love her books I just haven't had the time to read them yet. Attachments is her favorite too!

  12. I'm going to have to read Aziz's book now. Masters of None was epic!

  13. I'm not one for cute, schmaltzy books...but I adored Attachments. I'm so glad AJ Fikry met & exceeded your expectations! And, thanks for the challenge shout out :)

  14. I really enjoyed Attachments! I can't wait to read The Storied Life of AJ Fickery. It recently came on my radar and it looks so good!

  15. Wholeheartedly agree that Modern Romance should be required reading!

  16. I LOVE Attachments too. So, so good. I recommend it to people all the time! And I've had that Gabrielle Zevin book on my bookshelf for over a year and have yet to pick it up, but I'm thinking I need to fix that sooner than later! Have you read Elsewhere by the same author? It's one of my favourites! Which makes me wonder why I haven't picked up A.J. Fikry yet!

  17. I've read Attachments and Modern Romance of your books here. I agree that Modern Romance is so true! I found myself relating so hard to some of the stuff in that book. I loved Attachments, but my favorite by Rainbow Rowell is Fangirl. Check that out if you haven't yet! It's YA, but it's so well done.

    I've heard a lot of good things about The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, so I added that to my "to read" list. Excited to read!

  18. I thoroughly enjoyed attachments when I read it! Absolutely enjoyed it! Im like you and have been so busy since january that Ive barely had any time to read. I probably read 3 book for the year :/

  19. Adding the Storied Life of AJ Fikry to my list!!


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