Recent Reads / 05

Hello hello!

Happy Monday, dear friends. What’s new? How was your weekend? On my end, these summer days have been long and lovely; it’s certainly a change of pace from the school year, but I have little complaints about a schedule that includes day trips by the water, lazy movie nights, and homemade ice cream.

To my delight, I’ve also done a lot of reading this summer, in large thanks to a commute during which I can tackle my pile of library books and weekly meetings that have me reading and assessing new plays at work. Two months into my break (and numerous titles now read and adored), I thought I’d highlight some of the books I’ve enjoyed most. I leave you, then, with my highest recommendations, a few brief thoughts, and an important question: what have you read recently and recommend? :-)

Recent Reads 5[1] If French Milk is graphic novelist Lucy Knisley’s story of growing up, Kid Gloves is her delightful ode to parenthood. Chronicling the before, during, and after her first pregnancy, Knisley writes and draws with compelling honesty and humor, even when her journey presents its fair share of struggles. I’m years away from thinking about pregnancy, and yet the larger theme about how we discuss women’s health strikes a chord – and is presented with a welcome care. As a longtime Knisley fan, perhaps what is most exciting about Kid Gloves is the opportunity it presents to trace her growth as an artist and author parallel to her journey of becoming a mother. Needless to say, I have a feeling I’ll be suggesting this one for many months to come.

[2] I highlighted Dig back in January as one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and if my inability to put it down until I reached the end is any indication, it certainly delivers. True to King’s style, it’d told in a surrealist tone as readers are introduced to a “maze of tangled secrets” that connects potato farmers Gottfried and Marla to their children and grandchildren. Though it moves quickly, it remains a quiet read, one whose narrative is housed primarily in the inner (and intersecting!) thoughts of its large cast of characters. Dig’s impact, however, is profound, provoking readers to consider not only the voice of youth in the face of authority but also the hateful legacies of racism and abuse that extend generations. A worthy consideration for your TBR list, without a doubt. 

[3] After listening to author and artist Jenny Odell speak on a recent episode of Hurry Slowly, I was quick to request her book at the library. How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy arrived quickly, and I devoured it at a similar pace, captivated by Odell’s inviting writing as well as her extensive research that spans artistic and scientific disciplines. She is frank from the start that she has no intention of writing a self-help book, and the final product sours far above it. It is both a call to action and an insightful meditation, prompting us to consider the act of “nothing” as an act of resistance. At risk of sounding like a broken record, let me just say that this has already landed a spot on my year-end list – and it’s likely I’ll soon be buying a copy for myself to reference and savor.

 [4] Finally, leave it to a YA veteran like Sarah Dessen to craft one of the strongest and sweetest contemporary novels I’ve read this year. Her latest, The Rest of the Story, finds the protagonist, Emma Saylor, reconciling the family she’s grown up with and the family she’s only now met when she moves in with her mother’s family for the summer. At her fourteenth book, Dessen has clearly perfected the beach town setting (North Lake pleased my Cape-Cod-loving heart), as well as her ability to develop an endearing ensemble of characters. I’ve taken to calling it “summertime bliss,” for Saylor’s coming-of-age is perfectly matched with a breezy romance, lakeside traditions, and imperfect but loyal family relations. A YA beach read doesn’t get much better than that.

Wishing you a wonderful week of warmth and rest.
B

Psst. I track all of my reading on Goodreads, so if you want more frequent updates on my five-star selections, please do come say hi here!

Nineteen Anticipated Releases for 2019

Hello!

Happy Tuesday! How is your week going? Restful and well, I hope.

I’m popping in today to share a post I look forward to yearly: my most anticipated book releases! Drafting the list always feels a bit like Christmas, so giddy am I over the many terrific titles hitting shelves (I’m an easy bookworm to please).

A long post awaits, so I’ll make only a few brief notes. I’ve added to my draft of this post in spurts, so I apologize in advance if any of the release dates below have since shifted -the publishing world moves fast! True to the Top Ten Tuesday prompt, I’ve listed only books that come out in the first half of the year, so there’s nothing here released after June (I’m looking at you, The Map From Here to There). And finally, if you have a list of your own you’d like to link up, you can read about Top Ten Tuesday and do so here.

Here’s to a year of good books and much reading. What 2019 releases can’t you wait to read?

Famous in a Small Town by Emma MillsTo start, I’m counting down the days until Famous in a Small Town, the latest from Emma Mills, arrives in my mailbox (thankfully, there’s only a week to go!). I’ll take cute small-town contemporaries any day, and this one – with promises of tight-knit friendships and humorous revenge plots – sounds like an utter delight. I can’t wait. [Release Date: January 15]

StepsisterAuthor Jennifer Donnelly is known more for her gripping historical fiction than her fantasy retellings, but that just makes me even more excited to read Stepsister, her newest novel, once it hits shelves. Pitched as a “startling, fiercely feminist re-imagining of Cinderella,” the story is told through the eyes of one of Ella’s stepsisters. I’m already hooked. [Release Date: May 28]

Dig by A.S. KingThat I haven’t yet read anything by A.S. King is a fact I hope to remedy in 2019, an easy task with the release of her novel Dig in March. The summary is vague, but complicated family histories, surrealist narratives, and themes of legacy and power sound right up my alley – and, frankly, all more relevant than ever. [Release Date: March 26]

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2017 End of the Year Book Survey

Hi friends, and happy Saturday!

How are you? Can you believe it’s the last weekend of 2017? I love the calls for reflection and organization that come with the start of a new year, and from conversations with friends, I know I’m not the only one. That in mind, I’m hoping to use today and tomorrow to tend to my planner, look ahead to a few 2018 projects, and, of course, read my final book of the year (!!).

Speaking of books, I’m really excited to participate in Jamie’s annual end-of-the-year reading survey. I completed it a few years back, and I enjoyed the opportunity to look over and assess the books I had read. 2017 personally proved an excellent year for reading, and I know I can name numerous titles that I will surely recommend for years to come. There are a number of novels coming your way, so I have only three final notes: I tried my utmost best to name books only once (variety!), I kept to the bookish questions only, and HERE‘s the link if you want to join in on the fun too.

Number of books you read: 52 (but we’ll see if I can fit in one or two before Sunday night!)
Number of re-reads: Just one! I love to revisit Caroline Kennedy’s A Family Christmas every holiday season.
Genre you read the most from: YA contemporary, per usual.

1 Favorite Books1. Best book you read in 2017?
Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno, We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, and How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore | Is it okay if I cheat a bit at this question? Though I read fewer books in 2017 than I would have liked, narrowing down my favorites still proved difficult. I settled on the three above, all of which entered my life at exactly the right time (and I will gladly gush about them to anyone who asks). Literature at its finest.

Runner-ups, because three just wasn’t enough: Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert and The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

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