Books I read in June and July

Whoops! This post is coming to you late, mostly because I’m ashamed at how little I’ve been reading! There’s a weird combination of settling into a new work routine (although it’s been two months, so I probably can’t use that excuse much longer), and having the hardest time getting into anything. I’m not sure I’ll be able to hit my goal of 52 books this year, but who knows! All the more reason to be glad I hit my travel goal, to be honest. The reading has picked up a bit lately, but for now, here are the books I finished earlier this summer…

The Nightingale and Warby Parker sunglasses

The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah

This is literally the only book I read in June. To the surprise of nobody, it’s World War II historical fiction set in France – aka my favorite very specific genre (I read All the Light We Cannot See while lying on a beach in the Bahamas in March). I was thrilled that The Nightingale focused on the women “left behind” while their husbands were at war, and shed light on everything women did for their families and their countries. I highly recommend it. Four stars

Eleanor & ParkRainbow Rowell

My best friend suggested I read some Rainbow Rowell when I said I was struggling to find anything, and I remembered reading and loving Attachments several years ago, so I got Eleanor & Park on audiobook and listened to it. It’s young adult, sure, but a great, realistic story. And it was SUCH a nice change to read a book with an ambiguous ending – and no promise of a sequel. Sometimes things should be left up to the imagination! But if that would bother you – this isn’t your book. Three stars

Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer

After so many novels in a row I went on a non-fiction kick, specifically non-fiction written by journalists. There’s a bit of controversy over how accurately Under the Banner of Heaven portrays modern-day Mormons, but I found at least the historical pieces to be extremely educational. This book is part history, part crime thriller, and 100% journalistic. Three stars

The End of the Perfect 10, Dvora Meyers

This book came out in the lead-up to the Olympics and I bought it right away. I’m a huge gymnastics fan (and not just every four years!) so it was fascinating to get an in-depth look at how scoring and the sport have changed over time. Even though I already knew the basics of the changes, I loved reading exclusive interviews and getting different perspectives. Highly recommend if you’re a sports fan in general, and if you loved watching Team USA dominate in Rio! Four stars, due to an overabundance of unnecessary pop-culture references

So, that’s where I’m at! Including August so far, I’ve read 27 books this year (52% of my way to 52!) I’m clearly in desperate need of suggestions, so fire away in the comments, and follow me on Goodreads here.

Books I read in May

I wrote this post on May 29, and the intro read…

It was a very average month for me, with four books read and a few others started. Although it feels very slow-going, I’m officially only one book behind on my goal of 52 for the year, with 20 read so far. Considering that not long ago I was only reading 20 books a year, I’m trying very hard to feel accomplished! Here’s what I read in May…

And then I closed my laptop, picked up a novel, and read the whole thing in three sittings, finishing up on May 31. SO, now I am on track and, yes, feeling accomplished!

Reading Bill Bryson in NYC

Choose Yourself, James Altucher

I saw this book on one of those lists (can’t remember where!) of books that millennials should read, particularly if they’re interested in entrepreneurship. Although that doesn’t really apply to me, I’m usually interested and inspired by these kind of reads (I read #Girlboss back in March and enjoyed it), and it was available for free through the Kindle Lending Library, so I decided to give it a go. Unfortunately, despite a strong start, the premise ended up being “just have an idea and then make a million dollars!” which is… more discouraging than anything else. Two stars

Crazy Rich AsiansKevin Kwan

This novel has been on my list FOREVER and I finally decided to give it a go via audiobook – my first time listening to a book that isn’t a memoir or autobiography read by the author. I was surprised that I LOVED listening to it – the reader, Lynn Chen, was incredible at coming up with unique voices for each of the characters. The story was captivating and it was so fun to learn about this world of crazy rich Asians – however embellished the book may be. I’ve already downloaded the sequel! Four stars

Living History, Hillary Rodham Clinton

In my ongoing attempt to be an informed voter in this insane election year, I decided to read (listen to) Clinton’s memoir from her time as first lady. (I read her book about being secretary of state in 2014). Although I generally consider things that happened in the ’90s to be irrelevant to where our country is heading, it was definitely fascinating to learn more about things that happened when I was too young to understand. Four stars

Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe, Bill Bryson

This was my first Bryson book, and frankly, I was disappointed. It was fun to read about different cities in Europe, about half of which I’ve visited myself,  but Bryson came across as whiny and privileged, and the book was more about him than about the places he explored. I’ve since heard that this is one of his less-impressive works, so I do still plan to read more, but it was a bummer of an introduction to a man who is generally considered an incredible travel writer.

Brooklyn, Colm Toibin

The winner for the month, the first time in a long time I’ve gotten so swept up in a novel that I was sneaking glances at the book whenever I could. I’m a huge historical fiction fan, and it was so fun to read about my borough (my neighborhood, even!) back in the 1950s. I really think it would be a relatable read for anyone who’s made a big move – across the world or just across the state – and wondered if it was the right choice. Highly, highly recommend. I can’t wait to rent the movie this weekend! Five stars

To keep up with what I’m reading in real time, you can follow me on Goodreads here.

Books I read in April

I’ve been putting off writing this post because I feel like I flopped again… it’s been very back-and-forth this year, with 6-book months alternating with months when I read about half that. But! In addition to the three books I did read, I also read half of two other books! One will go in May’s roundup, and the other is Eat, Pray, Love. Again. I think it’s time to admit I’m the only person on this earth who’s not a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert.

Here’s what I managed to read in April.

Reading My Paris Dream by Kate Betts

My Paris Dream, Kate Betts

If a book has the words “memoir,” “France,” and “journalist” on the back cover, it’s safe to bet I’m going to read it. My Paris Dream was a fun peek into the life of an American in Paris in the 1980s, as well as a glimpse into the fashion industry, which is a complete mystery to me. It was a quick, easy read. Three stars

Spellshocked, Michelle Monroe

My friend wrote this book! I have a friend who wrote a book! It’s a sci-fi/fantasy novel about a 20-something waitress in LA who wakes up one day in a hospital to discover she has super powers. If you’re thinking this is way outside my usual genre, you’d be correct. I started it to be a supportive friend, and I finished it because it was REALLY REALLY GOOD. Seriously. Download it! It’s free! Four stars

Looking for LovelyAnnie F. Downs

I read this one on the recommendations of my mom and sister, and because I read Downs’ Let’s All Be Brave for a community group once and enjoyed it. It’s mostly anecdotal, the story of Downs’ journey to discover loveliness in the every day – quite similar to my own mission – with applicable tips at the end of each chapter. It’s another quick read, mostly fluffy but with some substance to be found. Three stars

Although it was a slow month, I’m only one book behind being on track to meet my goal of reading 52 books this year! (Goodreads says I’m two books behind, but Spellshocked isn’t on there yet). I went on a book-buying spree last week, so hopefully I get more read in May! Stay tuned!

Currently: May 2016

View of the Empire State Building from Fifth Avenue

It’s been a very New York month

Reading: I’m partway through Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson (my first of his books, believe it or not!) I also went on a bit of an ebook-buying spree this week so I have lots of options for the month ahead!

Wearing: Pink sweatpants, pink sweatshirt, polkadot fuzzy socks. Cute, I know. It’s Saturday and I’m in full-on lazy mode.

Buying: I made it through April without any major purchases – sometimes I just need to remind myself that it IS possible to live in this city and save money at the same time. In May I’m looking to buy prescription sunglasses (Warby Parker here I come!) and plane tickets to Texas for the end of summer!

Listening to: Nothing at the moment! Just the hum of my fan.

Eating: I cooked a big breakfast this morning of spicy jalapeno chicken sausage, fried eggs and cinnamon toast. Usually I’m up super early and don’t have the energy for anything fancier than cereal, so I like to take advantage of the weekends!

Watching: Look out for a post later in the month about my current favorite shows because the list is finally growing! Most recently, I watched the season finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and my current binges of choice are Happy Endings and Gilmore Girls (which I’ve seen in full multiple times, but I can’t resist the media frenzy surrounding the revival!) 

Planning: I’m hoping to make a solo trip to Philadelphia happen this month, or early June at the latest. I can’t believe I’ve never been! I also have an exciting day trip in the works for a couple weekends from now, but I’m leaving my friends in charge of the actual planning for that one.

Excited for: There is SO MUCH happening this month! Team bonding sessions and engagement parties and more friends moving to Crown Heights. Still just loving spring in New York City!

Hoping: for continued good weather – last week felt a little too much like winter for my liking, but today seems to be sunny and warm! (I’ll fully admit to not having been outside yet).

Books read: 16/52, just one behind! I’m so excited this is going well

Trips taken: 5/12 – I didn’t leave NYC in April, but that was intentional, and I’m still ahead on this goal!

How last month’s challenge went: I ate a vegetable every day in April except one, but I had a migraine and didn’t eat anything at all, so I’m calling it a win! I even crave vegetables now sometimes, and have expanded my horizons to include things like broccoli. Yay!

This month’s challenge: Reading my Bible every day. I KNOW I KNOW. I should be doing this automatically. But I’m not, so let’s try to fix it.

And how is YOUR May going?

Catching up via Instagram: 4/17/16

Subtitle: Let us rejoice, for it is finally SPRING!

Spring in New York CitySpring in Brooklyn, New YorkNew York City on a sunny daySpring in New York CityDowntown ManhattanBrooklyn BridgeCity of Dreams mural, New York CitySpring in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New YorkWashington Square Park, New York, on a rainy dayProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetGrand Army Plaza, Brooklyn

Not much necessary in the way of captions for these. I’ve been in New York City for the past three weeks, having made the conscious decision to stay put in April and cherish my favorite month. We’ve had very classically spring weather: Sometimes it’s 70 and sunny, sometimes it’s 40 and rainy. I’m just very, very glad we haven’t had any April snow this year. The city is alive and gorgeous and I am loving every minute!

At the Transit Museum, Brooklyn, New YorkCheering on Syracuse at Houston Hall, New York City

Staying in town on the weekends this month has meant some New York weekend adventures I’ve been putting off: Emmie and I visited the Transit Museum (something we’ve been wanting to do for months) and then watched her alma mater, Syracuse, play in the Final Four!

Sleep No More

This week I joined my friend Amanda at Sleep No More. It’s a totally immersive, interactive theatre experience where the audience dons masks and moves through the (enormous) set at their own pace as the action takes place around them. I had the BEST time and am already itching to go back to see more of the set and piece together more of the story!

Avocado toast

I got fancy with my breakfasts last week when I had mornings off. Nothing special here, but I was proud regardless!

Reading My Paris Dream by Kate Betts

The best part about the above photo? The book’s author, Katherine Betts, re-posted it to her own Instagram and Twitter accounts! You’ll read about it in my April roundup, but I highly recommend My Paris Dream.

Follow me on Instagram here.