Sunday, October 9, 2016

What I Read: A Belated Summer Recap

Hey Guys! I know I said I was going to post this at the end of the summer, and originally, my plan was to post this the second weekend of school, but then life got crazy. I realized fashion school is exponentially harder than I initially believed it would be. I spent the entire first month staying late  after school every day, trying to learn all the things I was expected to already know, trying to improve and practice SO MUCH! You can say that my life has been a bit chaotic. And then when I do have a spare moment, you can catch me frantically traipsing around the city, trying to take in all the fun things to do around the city with my friends! With that said, I haven't had much time to write, or read for that matter but now we're a month and a half in and I'm finally settling into a routine and I've learned to carve a little extra time for reading at the end of the day. This past week I started Just Kids by Patti Smith and I'm about halfway through it. It's a fantastic memoir and I'm in love with her nostalgic style of writing. It's such an experience to read about the places I frequent, but from several decades ago. I'm sure it will go on to be one of my favorite books. Anyway, this past summer I selected twelve books off of my list of books I want to read and I challenged myself to read one book per week and I wanted to share some thoughts I had about the ones I chose. Surprisingly, I was able to follow through with my goal for the most part, only taking an extra week to finish two of the books.

// Is It Evil Not To Be Sure? - Lena Dunham (not pictured) //
This was the first book I chose to read! This was before I had even decided I would start this challenge and it was definitely a bit of an impulse buy. I saw Lena Dunham's post on instagram about the surprise book released and I jumped at the opportunity since I loved her first book so much. This little pink book is fantastic. It starts off with an essay about journaling, which was a fun one to read since journaling is such a huge part of my life. Anyway, the rest of the book is a series of tweet-like fragments from her personal journal when she was 19. It's all these little feelings and moments captured and a lot of them really resonated with me and what I'm going through currently as a 20 year old. I cried!

// Me Before You - JoJo Moyes //
I had such high expectations for this book. I remember when it first came out and all the bloggers were writing about it and it felt like the whole world was simultaneously reading it and I was probably the lone person who didn't start reading it right away. So I just put it at the top of my list and never quite got around to it, until this past June. Now, it's not to say I didn't enjoy the book, because I did. It was sort of like reading Nicholas Sparks. Good light hearted sappiness and loooooove. Except I was expecting to cry and that NEVER happened, and I wasn't particularly moved either. It made me ask myself, am I becoming a cynic or did I hype it up too much?

// Epilogue - Anne Roiphe //
I remember being so excited about choosing this one. and then reading it during my breaks at work, and I had to stop myself from laughing so much and so hard. I picked it because I had read the loveliest review of it on Cup of Jo. Anyway, I loved this book. I love Anne Roiphe's voice and her sense of humor. It was a very poignant retelling of her experience after the loss of her husband, H, and how she was able to move forward with her life and meet new men. It's interesting because it's all about things I have never experienced personally, since I'm just a 20 year old who is definitely still in the "just casually dating" point of my life, but I was really able to feel connected to Anne. I felt like I understood her. It was heartfelt and sad, but not too serious. I highly recommend this one.

// Perfectly Imperfect - Baron Baptiste //
This one is sort of like a self help book, but also not. I started reading it around the time I got a job at Vivint, probably the most stressful job I've ever had, and I was having a rough time getting adjusted. It was very grounding to have this book that I could reference. It really made me consider the things I was getting stressed out about, whether they were in my control and if they were, how I could adjust my reaction to them. It made me consider my attitude. It was good, but I don't know if I would place it in my favorites.

// My Name is Lucy Barton - Elizabeth Strout //
This book is fantastic! It's about a woman, Lucy, who is in the hospital for an extended period of time, so she reflects on her life - where she is now and where she's been in the past. Her mother pays her a visit, it being their first time seeing each other in a long time, and they talk about the people she grew up with. I read the entire book in less than a day because I couldn't put it down.

// The Bed Moved - Rebecca Schiff //
I have to admit, I was originally attracted to this book because of the aesthetically appealing cover., which is sort of a horrible thing to admit since I don't usually do that. Maybe I should have read more than just one review about it, because this ended up being the first of the books that took me over a week to finish. I almost had to force myself to finish it because I really just wasn't enjoying the stories. I found them pretty boring. So much so that I don't remember any of them now.

// The Lonely City - Olivia Laing //
This was a fun one to read. It's about a woman who is new to New York City and is experiencing loneliness, so in an attempt to understand and process these feelings, she spends a lot of time looking at art and learning about artists who represented feelings of loneliness in their art or simply experienced it themselves. So it consists of several little biographies of various artists. I loved the chapter on Andy Warhol, particularly. I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you love art history. I really enjoyed having my phone with me while I read this, so that I could pull up pictures of the specific works she was referencing as she referenced them.

// Sweetbitter - Stephanie Danler //
oh my god, this book was a masterpiece. This one was life-changing. It's about a girl who moves to New York City and she gets a job at a restaurant. It's about Tess, the main character's, exploration of herself, her feelings as she adjusts to life there in the city as well as the restaurant, and all the different relationships she forms there. I listened to Florist's The Birds Outside Sang album on a loop the entire time I was reading this book because its also about moving to the city and figuring yourself out, so it was a perfect soundtrack for it. I spent an extra week reading this book because I was trying to stretch it out for as long as I could. I fell in love with these characters, especially Simone, and the last thing I wanted to do was leave them.

// The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood //
This novel had been on my list for years. I don't even remember how I first heard about it, but I knew it was often listed as a recommended feminist text. I wasn't sure if I would find it interesting since I didn't know much about it. I was fascinated by this book, however. It was very thought-provoking and relevant.

// Art and Madness - Anne Roiphe //
While this was definitely still an enjoyable book, I didn't like it as much as the other Anne Roiphe book I read this summer, Epilogue. This one was less nostalgic and colorful, and more straightforward. It was still lovely, regardless. It's always so interesting to read about the past and consider how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

// Modern Lovers - Emma Straub //
This one was the last book I read this summer. It's about some college friends and former bandmates who moved to the same neighborhood after school and "grew up" together and raised their kids together. It was a very fun one to read, very interesting. It felt like what it feels like to help a friend, but it was also very light. I remember curling up on the couch and reading it in two afternoons, just a couple days before I moved. It was one of those books where you just never know what to expect. It's very involved, but it's not going to break your heart. I think if I had to pick a favorite character it would be Elizabeth.

Those were all the ones I read! You might be wondering, why I only listed eleven books when I said I ordered twelve, but it's because there was one book I never got around to reading and that was The Year of The Runaways by Sunjeet Sahota. I tried to read it on the plane, when I was flying into New York City, but I didn't get any sleep the night before, so my efforts failed and I settled on watching a movie instead. I do still have the book with me here, but I also just bought a stack of books for the season, so I can't guarantee it'll be the next one I chose to read. Regardless, I'll eventually read it!

I hope you enjoyed this post and have a wonderful week!