It’s true. But only sometimes. I maybe read 3-5 grown-up books (you know, books written for adults) a month, which I know still (disgustingly) puts me far ahead of what most people read in maybe a few months–or maybe ever. But given that I read about 15 YA books a month, it pales in comparison.
Here are some books I’ve read lately and liked. If you want to know what YA I’m reading, head over to Teen Librarian Toolbox where I expound on many books each month.
I know I’ve said here, on Twitter, and to anyone who will listen to me that I’m obsessed with the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking. It’s all about honest answers to the question, “How are you doing?” I laugh and cry at every episode. And I adore Nora. In a short period of time, Nora lost her unborn baby, her husband, and her father (the last two to cancer). Her book is funny, moving, and sad.
Once upon a time, dumb people who liked to dismiss women’s writing (especially women’s writing not deemed “literary” and serious) called this genre “chick lit.” You can like that term. You can like anything you want to. But I hate this infantilizing and sneering term. That said, I almost categorically enjoy the books that fall under this umbrella—that is, books by women about women’s lives. You can see why we’d need some term for that–who’d be interested in those stories? Did “dick lit” ever become a term? I’m too scared to Google that.
I love Kinsella’s books and this was a fun one about the reality of life versus how we appear on social media and about how sometimes the reset button on our life is set for us and we just have to roll with it. It’s far better than the rather ugly cover indicates (and yes, of course I judge books by their covers. You do too.)
I enjoy books where people make very obviously terrible choices. I like bad judgment, unlikable characters, and stupid moves. The couple at the center of this story decide to try an open marriage for just six months. It’ll just be a little break—no big deal—and then life will resume as normal. What could go wrong? If you’re like me and you like books where you get to see the drama that goes on in seemingly boring suburban adult lives, you’ll eat this up.
I like nonfiction. I like memoirs. I like funny books that don’t take up all my brain space that I need to reserve for whatever I’m writing and whatever YA books I’m reviewing. Give me something I can pick up, set down, read 3 other books, then pick back up and still find engaging. This book is perfect for that. Do you know comedian Jessi Klein? You should. She’s head write for Inside Amy Schumer. She guest hosted Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me one time. She’s hilarious and weird and a feminist and this book is a great collection of confessional essays on various topics from her life. Good fun.
Here is a blurb from the back of the book:
“Monkey Mind does for anxiety what William Styron’s Darkness Visible did for depression.” –Aaron T. Beck
Okay. Cool. Darkness Visible was a groundbreaking book. Plus, you know, I have anxiety disorder. My kid has anxiety disorder. I speak about mental health issues. The main character in my current WIP has anxiety. And I do like me a memoir. This was a quick read, but hardly groundbreaking, at least to me. Mostly I just felt like, Yep, okay, I feel that way too. Those are my symptoms too. I’m roughly the same age as the author, we’re both well-read on anxiety, both had therapy, both been medicated forever, and so on. It was a compelling read, in the sense that it’s also nice to see someone else’s path toward treatment and help (like misery, anxiety loves company, too. It’s nice to know other people have monkeys leaping around in their brain, throwing shit everywhere). I wasn’t particularly riveted, but I think for someone who doesn’t live with anxiety disorder, this would be a really eye-opening read.
Laditan is the woman behind the Honest Toddler Twitter account, which is hilarious, so I thought I’d pick up her book. It’s a quick and funny read about just barely staying afloat as a parent, especially during that tough first year. Ashley, the main character, is exhausted, her baby wakes up all the time in the night, her house is a mess, she never sees her husband, and she has hardly changed clothes since Aubrey was born (8 months ago). She wins a spot in a contest that will help teach her to be a better mother. She, of course, learns that things aren’t always as they appear and that she’s actually doing pretty okay at this mom thing. A fun and immensely relatable book.
If I wasn’t married to a software engineer (Chief Innovation Officer, if you want to get fancy about it) and didn’t obsessively love Silicon Valley, I probably wouldn’t have picked this up. Tech startups, apps, investors, pivots, disrupting markets, etc are all terms I feel pretty well versed in (and, at this point in Matthew’s career, actually understand). A tech journalist looking for a scoop discovers some secrets that could ruin a tech golden boy on his way to unicorn status. Drama, ambition, lies, and technology made for a fun, quick read. I read the bulk of this on a day one of my dogs threw up 8 times and it was just the distraction I needed as I alternately held him and cleaned up after him.
The awkward thoughts of W. Kamau Bell : tales of a 6′ 4″, African American, heterosexual, cisgender, left-leaning, asthmatic, Black and proud blerd, mama’s boy, dad, and stand-up comedian by W. Kamau Bell
In a previous post, I talked about how I listen to a ton of podcasts. One of my favorites is Politically Re-Active; W. Kamau Bell is one of the cohosts. I like him, I like memoirs, I like funny books, so, go fig, I liked this book.
Up next in my queue:
Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character by Kay Redfield Jamison
Complicated Fun: The Birth of Minneapolis Punk and Indie Rock, 1974-1984 — An Oral History by Cyn Collins
Theft by finding : diaries (1977-2002) by David Sedaris
Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green
The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay