"One who laughs well at her own expense.”

8.27.2013

I go to the library almost every day. When I lived at my parents' house, visiting it was fun and I could spend hours there. I did do that several times, actually -- because for quite some time my parents still had dial-up internet. It was dial-up without the satisfaction of hearing the screeching AOL sounds, which I think made it worse. It was slow enough that you could type in a web address, go make a sandwich, and by the time you returned the page may have loaded about halfway. It was sanctifying, to say the least.

Now that Bryan and I live in a thriving metropolis, I visit a new library branch. I don't go inside, because it's been under construction for a long time -- and I just don't feel like my library and I have bonded. I request everything online, and then pick it up through the drive-up window. I feel like this cheapens a good library experience, but I like to think that the librarians see my car and think, "Oh, it's the lovely girl that always owes us money in fines." The library gives me the necessary challenge of finishing books quickly because someone else wants to read it, and I feel guilty if I keep it for too long. 

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
Hands down, my favorite fiction of the whole summer. I want to say year, but I am slightly dramatic and I hate people being disappointed by my building something up too much. My nana and I read this at the same time. We'd mentioned it in passing, and then realized we were on the exact same page. NEAT, RIGHT? Anyway, Kate Atkinson is brilliant and the concept she came up with still overwhelms me in its complexity. Ursula Todd is a woman that dies in a million different ways as she grows older. Every time she dies, the story begins again from the snowy night in 1920 when she was born. It sounds macabre like an Edward Gorey book, but it was fascinating, compelling and Atkinson's words were so lovely. 

Favorite Quote: “No point in thinking, you just have to get on with life. We only have one after all, we should try and do our best. We can never get it right, but we must try.”


Bringing Up Bebe, by Pamela Druckerman 
I tried reading this a long time ago and jumped ship. It was interesting, but far from relevant for me and my interests at the time. I listened to the audiobook in the car on the way to and from work, and I enjoyed it. Let it be known that I feel like a fraud saying I read something when I actually listened to it. DOES IT STILL COUNT? Since we visited Paris, and I am less afraid of babies than I have been in the past -- I enjoyed it the second time around. It's still pretty much an anthropological case study for me at this point. I have zero baby cred, so I don't feel like I can make strong claims of what I did or did not agree with -- HOWEVER, I look forward to revisiting it once I am an actual parent. I hope my baby will one day eat asparagus and sleep through the night just like the French babes. Feel free to reference these hopes and dreams when I give my baby mountain dew or something.

For fans of: PARIS, and babies that love baguettes

Favorite Quote: “Yet the French have managed to be involved without becoming obsessive. They assume that even good parents aren't at the constant service of their children, and that there's no need to feel guilty about this. "For me, the evenings are for the parents." one Parisian mother tells me. "My daughter can be with us if she wants, but it's adult time.”

Revenge Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger
What would summer be if there weren't at least one "fluff" book. I feel like since Mindy Kaling is an educated and intelligent women that has no shame about her love of chick lit and flicks, it's okay for me to enjoy in moderation. I read the first book so long ago, I don't even remember anything about it -- but I have seen the movie at least a million times, so I felt required/obligated/inspired to read the sequel. It's such a quick read, and fun to picture the cast as I remember them (Meryl!) in the respective roles. I LOVE epilogues, and "where are they nows" so it was fun to catch up. By the end I was just SUPER annoyed by Andrea Sachs and completely over it, but not so annoyed that I wouldn't go see the film adaptation if it ever happened. UNLESS, Meryl doesn't agree to do it, in which case no one cares.

For Fans of: The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep, and Chick Lit

GRACE: A Memoir, by Grace Coddington
I LOVE THIS WOMAN. I knew that I loved her when I watched The September Issue, so my interest was piqued when I saw she'd written about her own life. I can't really resist memoirs. She has had the most fascinating and jam-packed life, and I couldn't put the book down. She's seventy years old and the creative director for Vogue. She doesn't wear makeup, her hair is incredible, and she speaks casually about her friendships with well-known names without ever sounding pretentious. The book is full of her own illustrations (which I loved). She even has an entire chapter about her love for cats, and has a cat psychic on-call to interpret her cat's feelings. Okay, maybe don't think about that part too much. In spite of the cat thing, she's so confident and blunt and no-nonsense and I was surprised by how much I liked the book. Let's all pretend it wasn't just because about the chapter on cats.

For Fans of: The September Issue, The Devil Wears Prada, name-dropping, behind-the-scenes forays of life in fashion

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
I'd already read this one, but didn't realize she narrated the audiobook, so I decided it was necessary to listen immediately. I did the same thing with Bossypants and loved it even more the second time just getting to hear Tina Fey's voice. Though Fey and Kaling's books are inevitably compared because they are both hilarious, I'd say I related more to Mindy's experiences by our generational commonalities, whereas Tina Fey seems to be on this untouchable level of comedy. I think the greater question is, AMY POEHLER, WHERE IS YOUR BOOK? I will buy ten copies. It's a quick read anyway, but whatever you do, make sure you listen to it, too. Mindy seems so down-to-earth and not dark and twisty, and I would be best friends with her if I could. 

For Fans of: Bossypants (DUH)

Favorite Quote: “My mom’s a doctor, but because she came from India and then Africa, where childhood obesity was not a problem, she put no premium on having skinny kids. In fact, she and my dad didn’t mind having a chubby daughter. Part of me wonders if it even made them feel a little prosperous, like Have you seen our overweight Indian child? Do you know how statistically rare this is?” 

Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles
1937, following one Katey Kontent as she navigates the upper echelons of Manhattan's elite (I'm sorry, that makes it sound like an episode of Gossip Girl from long ago). I loved Katey Kontent. (Kon-TENT, not KON-tent). It's easy to remember the pronunciation, because she was always content. She was maddeningly calm, and I loved that about her. I loved it because I experienced so many emotions (read: I am dramatic) and her steadiness made me like the characters more. Sometimes I would be annoyed by her friends, but she was so patient and loving toward them that I had to coach my inner voice on how to not be a jerk. That being said, it was a great story, with a healthy amount of plot twists without ever seeming soapy. 

For fans of: Old New York? I am tired of writing this post.

Favorite Quote: See post title :)


What should I read next? Tell me what you've loved reading recently, and I shall proceed without delay to my local library drive-thru!


UPDATE: AMY POEHLER IS WRITING A BOOK!