We’re two months into the new year and you know what that means: a lot of new years resolutions have started breaking. While I’m iffy on how I feel about the traditional concept of new years resolutions, I did make one this year and shared it publicly on BE. (They say talking about your goals gives you accountability, right?) So this year I vowed to start reading again, and resolved to read 36 books this calendar year.
So now, 2 months in, how am I doing? Well, great actually.I am currently in the middle of my 9th book of the year. Finally, a new years resolution I’m excited about keeping! Of course, I had a week-long beach vacation that really helped my momentum, but even so, with an average of 3 books a month needed, I’m doing pretty well.
Curious about what I’ve been reading? Follow us on Instagram, use #BEdigitalbookclub for updates, and check out my list of mini-reviews here:
1. Murder of a Smart Cookie by Denise Swanson
This was a cozy mystery I picked to ease myself back into reading daily and get a quick book out of the way to pick up momentum. It’s about a school psychologist in Illinois who always finds herself in the middle of mysteries (it’s a series). This one takes place during the town’s huge yard sale tourist attraction. If you like cutesy mysteries, it’s a good read, and super quick.
2. Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
If you like not-so-cutesy mysteries, check out Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels (also a series). I loved Evanovich in high school and college but haven’t read her latest books, largely because I felt like the series wasn’t really moving forward. That’s still the case in 19, but if you like gritty street mysteries narrated by a humorous heroine with a slew of nutball characters–well you can’t go wrong with a Stephanie Plum.
3. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
This is sequel to Shadow of the Wind which is an absolutely beautiful and amazing book set in in the mysterious streets of Barcelona in the 1940s. If you love books about books, intrigue, historical fiction or magically beautiful writing, you should read Shadow right now. Then read The Angel’s Game (though they don’t really need to be read in order). Shadow is by far the better read, but Angel’s is a fantastic Gothic-style mystery with great characters and vivid imagery of Barcelona.
4. Room by Emma Donoghue
This has been on my shelf for years but I figured with the movie out and not enough time to hit the library before vacation, now was a perfect time. I was so much more engrossed in this book than I expected to be. I finished it in about two days. The concept and subject matter are tough–kidnapping, confinement, tough psychological stuff–but it’s narrated by a 5-year-old which made it easier to handle (for me) and so much more unique and different. It tells a story like so many we see on tv (unfortunately) that we may become desensitized to and inserts a child, which really makes you sit up and pay attention.
5. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
I am a fan of pretty much everything Mindy Kaling does, so I obviously really enjoyed this book. If you like The Office, Mindy Project, Bossypants or Amy Poehler, you’ll like this one too.
6. Thrive by Arianna Huffington
This turned out to be a little different than I expected. It’s basically Arianna Huffington’s manifesto on work-life balance, so it’s all about how important it is to get enough sleep and recharge time, how companies should take better care of their employees, etc. I didn’t find it particularly groundbreaking and there were just tons of cited facts, so I found it a bit difficult to get through.
7. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Before reading this book, I had never been to the Nasty Gal website and only knew who Amoruso was because everyone wouldn’t stop talking about this book. After reading it, I still haven’t visited the Nasty Gal website. It was interesting to read about how Amoruso built a huge company from nothing, but given the recent decline of that company, I was a little bit unimpressed. I like the idea of “girl boss” but aside from “give customers what they want” I didn’t really get any amazing insight from this one.
8. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I was a bit hesitant on this one, since I wasn’t a fan of Gilbert’s most popular work, Eat, Pray, Love. But I was interested in the idea of exploring creativity–it’s one of those nebulous, intangible ideas that is so difficult to define, so I was curious about a book-length discussion of it. In the end, I loved this book. Gilbert had so many interesting and unique ideas about creativity, it made me think about it in a whole new way. Her style of writing this time around also clicked with me a lot more–she was funny and light and real and wrote the book like she was speaking to you. And by that I don’t mean just conversationally, but she just explored her own ideas–there were no heavy facts or research studies cited. It was just like having one of those casual philosophical discussions we might have with good friends after a few drinks. I loved that quality in this book–definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to get more in touch with their creativity, or anyone interested in casual discussions of big ideas.
I’d say, so far, so good on the book picks this year. I haven’t read anything really bad yet and have a few that I’ve really loved. Hopefully number 9 (Brooklyn by Colm Toibin) will continue that streak!
Let me know what you’re reading in the comments or on Instagram (to hit 36 books I will definitely need some great recommendations) and if you’ve read any of these books, what did you think?