For me, the absolute best place to read is a coffee shop. It’s the perfect amount of background noise and the best ambiance. Here are the two standouts that I read this month:
“Long Bright River” by Liz Moore I loved this addictive procedural about two sisters navigating the opioid crisis from opposite sides. I couldn’t put it down – it was unglamorous, but compelling and heart-wrenching. “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama I listened to the audio version of this book, which I can’t recommend enough. I like that you can hear him wince when talking about his frustrations or hear the joy and satisfaction in his voice when he tells a corny joke. It made me feel so nostalgic thinking about the 2008 election – which was a very exciting time in my life.
Recently, I did something that has always felt very off-brand for me. Since all branches of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh closed, my access to books has been seriously limited. So I ordered a Kindle. Why did this take me so long? The Kindle has been around for at least a decade and are relatively affordable. I love it for so many reasons: books can be downloaded instantly, the backlight, font, and text size are adjustable, it’s light and comfortable to hold. And the best part? Library books can be downloaded for free using the Libby app. I’ve also started using Libby to download audiobooks, which I love for fiction.
Anyway, here are some of the best books I read this year:
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino – Tolentino nails what it is like to be a millennial woman right now. I read this book in one sitting.
Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener – this is a great peek into the world of tech start ups and hits very close to home for me
Convenience Store Woman describes the life a woman trying to fit in with society, it is wonderfully weird, insightful, and well-written. Vacationland – John Hodgman
Before Rob introduced me to the podcastJudge John Hodgman (where Hodgman settles petty disputes), I best knew Hodgman as the PC in the “I’m a Mac / I’m a PC” Apple commercials circa 2006. I’ve grown to appreciate his wit and commentary. In Vacationland Hodgman pokes fun at himself as a product of privilege when he finds himself owning two vacation homes.
Faithful Place – A 19-year-old man plans to run away with his girlfriend but she never shows up at the train station, he assumes she left him until 22 years later when her suitcase is discovered in an abandoned house. Don’t you want to read this book now?
Small Fry – I am eager to read this memoir about Lisa-Brennan Jobs, the daughter of Steve Jobs. Damnation Island – A history of Riker’s Island and how New York treated the poor, mentally ill, and criminal.
Art Thinking – This book is a practical guide to navigating creative self-employment with advice detailing how the worlds of creativity and commerce collide.
Right now I’m itching to read The Library Book by Susan Orlean. I absolutely love libraries and can’t wait to read her book about the 1986 fire that destroyed hundreds of thousands of books in the Los Angeles Public Library.
This year, I’ve been trying to read more fiction. I’m always more interested in reading non-fiction and have to force myself to pick out novels. But, I never regret reading fiction once I’m actually into the book. I recently heard an interview with Gary Shteyngart that made me curious about his latest book, Lake Success. It’s a story about a someone with a seemingly perfect life losing it all. Here is the podcast episode, which also includes a great interview with Lisa Brennan-Jobs, daughter of Steve Jobs.
I’m currently reading Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover. Westover grew up in rural Idaho and never attended school, but managed to end up with a Phd. After listening to interviews with her on The New York Times Book Review Podcast and Fresh Air, I felt compelled to read her story.
Next on my list is Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I’ve read Jane Eyre, but never Wuthering Heights. I though the gothic themes in the novel would be perfect for fall. I also love reading the classics of British literature, especially at this time of year, because it reminds me of being in school.
I’d like to start off by thanking everyone who has encouraged me to keep this newsletter going. Right now, despite the almost 90 degree weather all week, I’m very excited for plaid, crispy leaves, bonfires, and apple cider. The transition into a new season always brings me creativity and inspiration. This time last year we were planning our trip to Hudson Valley. It’s a great place to spend a fall weekend and I’m working on a travel guide. Look out for that soon.