Reading

Show us your books August 2017

Remember the halcyon days of April when I was all “YEAH! I’M GONNA DO THIS LINKUP THING!” and then two weeks later we got a puppy and in June THINGS happened and I didn’t have time to read? Yeah, me too.

Current TBR pile, paper version.

But now I have some books under my belt again, so here’s the list of things I’ve read since then. I’ll stick with the Goodreads rating system, which is:

One star: did not like it
Two stars: it was ok
Three stars: liked it
Four stars: really liked it
Five stars: it was amazing

Read in July

The Nest — Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
This story about the dysfunctional adult siblings of the Plumb family squabbling over a trust fund kept me rapidly turning pages, despite each character’s trite shortcomings. What I really enjoyed was that the peripheral characters around the Plumb family were also fully-fleshed out humans and not just props for the Plumbs’ shenanigans. You can’t pick your family, but you can choose how you deal with them. Four stars.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue — Melanie Benjamin
This story of giant manbaby Truman Capote and the wealthy society women he sought acceptance from (his “swans”) is definitely a story about a different time and social class. The book was well-written but I emerged being genuinely happy that Truman Capote is dead. What a shitbag. The parts I liked best were the stories of the women themselves, which is what saved this book from two stars. And then Truman would show up being his usual giant manbaby self with his gleeful clapping and weird mother complex. Ugh. Five stars for the ladies, minus 2 stars for Truman Capote the giant manbaby.

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House — Alyssa Mastromonaco
Mastromonaco was Barack Obama’s White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations for 3 years. This a delightful book for people of all ages, not just the YA demographic she was reaching for. I have such issues with the modern worship of YA as a genre. ANYWAY, I’m older than the author and still found her story inspiring because sometimes you have to take chances on employment (and life) opportunities. Four stars.

All the Light We Cannot See — Anthony Doerr
Oh, my heart. Five stars for this gorgeous piece of writing about the effect World War II had on a young French woman and a young German man. She’s the blind daughter of a museum locksmith, he’s an orphan with a uncanny talent for repairing radios. Yes, it gets sad, but my heart was soaring by the end. Loved it. Life-affirming and all of those adjectives you read in the reviews.

Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence — Carol Berkin
This is a very dry and academic take of women’s roles in the Revolutionary war. It was enjoyable because of the subject matter, but hoo boy some chapters were a slog to get through. I did learn quite a lot about the subject and appreciated that the author showed women of different social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. Three stars but if I were the type who read academic books for pleasure, it would probably be four.

Seven Days of Us — Francesca Hornak
Baby’s first “ARC in exchange for an honest review!” This is a “privileged family with secrets who are stuck in close quarters” story. It’s set (mostly) in an English country home over the Christmas holidays. Of course all the secrets come out, hilariously and awkwardly. Of course every family member is insufferable in ways your immediate family members are. And now I realize that I immensely enjoy these stories of rich families and their inane issues.

On Tap
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life — Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Another of my “discover authors right when they’re about to die/have died” series. See also: Discworld.

My Beloved World — Sonia Sotomayor
I saw this in the “HERstory” section of the Cherry Hill library and said “yes, please.” I continue to feel the urge to read about smart, accomplished women.

Smuggler’s Cove — Martin and Rebecca Cate
It’s mostly tiki cocktail recipes but as I age I’m buying more and more into the beach/retirement/island/Jimmy Buffet thing. I’m beginning to think it’s impossible to get that mindset until you have 2 decades of work behind you and 2 decades to go. :/

You can find all of my reviews on Goodreads and more reviews by other bloggers by clicking on the link below!

Life According to Steph

Currently, mid-week edition

A rare mid-week day off, to take care of THINGS. “After THINGS, I’m going to lie out in the yard and get some sun,” I said. “For it has been EVER so long since I’ve had a chance to soak up some mid-day sun…”

Current photo:

Yeah. Rain. Effing Rain.


Bah! Instead, I’m blogging, which is also isn’t a bad thing.

Currently, I’m …

READING: Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation. This has been on my TBR list for years, and it’s interesting reading through events that I was alive for. For example, I don’t ever remember a time that video games and consoles weren’t omnipresent, despite the video game crash of 1983. I’m 8 books behind my Goodreads goal of 50 books read in 2017. Mainly because I’ve been …

PLAYING: Lumines! I played in back in 2005 and long after my own PSP fell out of functionality, Lumines has stayed on my mind. I tried to stream it on the PS4, but there was too much latency. Now it’s an iPhone app and instead of reading on the train like a good member of the East Coast Elite I’m sucking at Lumines. Playing it on a touchscreen isn’t great, but it works in a pinch. Oh, Lumines…I missed you so.

WATCHING: We are working through Archer little by little. It’s hysterical and I become a worse human being with every episode.

GROUSING: Because I bought a dress that, while the size I wear, is a little snug. Time for part 2 of the diet that was abandoned last year. I’ve luckily only put on 5-7 pounds (depending on the day) from where I stopped last year. My biggest stumbling block is that I naturally have the dietary preferences of a raccoon.

SNUGGLING: My dogs. We weighed Murphy this morning and he’s slightly over 30 lbs now. Where did my puppy go? Now I have over 70 lbs of Spaniel on the sofa with me at night and … I’m completely okay with that.

AWAITING: The Yoga with Adriene Find What Feels Good Roadshow in Philadelphia on September 11! I have my ticket and am excited and simultaneously worried about a 90-minute yoga class because sometimes a 30-minute video leaves me wiped. I hope she talks for the first 45 minutes. Do I wear my Yoga Camp shirt? Is that like wearing a band’s shirt to the concert?

Welp, it’s STILL pouring so maybe I’ll kick out some reading.

(Fires up Lumines)

Show us your books: April 2017

During the months that I wasn’t blogging but thinking about what I would do once I relaunched the blog, I realized that I miss the blogging community at large. Most of the people I used to follow and comment on are no longer blogging regularly or at all. I get it, it’s tough to keep trying to tell new stories. I also found myself reading blogs but not commenting on them, which makes me part of the blogging community problem. (I am usually my own biggest problem.)

Found in the Philadelphia Free Library sexuality section. VERY clever!

In that spirit, I’ve decided to start participating in some more bloggy linkups. And rather than dribbling out book reviews as I read them, I’m going to do the monthly Show Us Your Books linkup hosted by Life According to Steph and Jana Says. Two blogs that I read but rarely comment on because I’m a problem.

Read in March:

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Gah. Just … ugh.

I *thought* it was going to be a more restaurant-centric story. Or at the very least, we’d see main character Tess’s growth from New Girl to Server. But those stories which could have been compelling were tucked deep in the background behind all of the characters getting drunk, high, drunk and high, screwing each other, and screwing up. Including Tess, who spends the entire book making very bad decisions. I’m too old for that book.

Nicotine by Nell Zink
This was a batshit-crazy book filled with really troubled people who are just trying to do the best they can in strange situations. It was a fun read, and had a few laugh-out-loud moments with regard to “activism.” It hints at child rape/molestation but not in a violent way, so if that’s a trigger for you, maybe not pick this one.

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
I read this book in almost one sitting, when I happened to be sitting in a plane on my way to vist Dad in Florida.

Imogen Tate is the 42 year old Editor in Chief of Glossy, a popular fashion magazine. Upon return from a medical leave, Imogen finds out that her whole magazine has been turned digital, and the woman who was once her assistant is now her boss. When long-forms are replaced by listicles (spell check wants that word to be testicles), can Imogen hang or will she be forced into early retirement?

After reading Sweetbitter, this book was a balm to my soul. It’s a fun, fluffy, revenge story with a lot of snort-out-loud references to how bizarre new media is.

Currently reading
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
I’m enjoying this so far, which is interesting since I am not a poetry person. If you close your eyes and picture a woman named Edna St. Vincent Millay, you’d likely picture a dour matron. Hoo boy, she was not.

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler:
I have been reading 5 pages at a time since December, which isn’t getting me anywhere because this is a huge book. I think I’m at peak Walt Disney biography saturation, having read at least a dozen of them in the last 15 years.

Where do I find my books?
Savage Beauty was an ebook on sale for $1.99 that I found through the BookBub daily email newsletter. It’s damaging to your pocketbook, but only a little at a time.

I find other suggestions via Book Riot’s All the Books podcast, which I listen to every Sunday while I prepare lunches for the coming week. For books I can’t check out for my Nook ereader, I walk my ass to the Philadelphia Free Library every few weeks from Spring – Autumn.

I keep track of all of my reading on Goodreads.

What are you reading?

Life According to Steph

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