"One who laughs well at her own expense.”


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!



  1. I love these posts so much. I also love love love the public library. I have adored many libraries in my life, and luckily with my last move to Missouri last year, I also found another library to love. It's a little busier than I would prefer, but I still adore it.

    Life After Life got an immediate hold, but I'm #25 on the list so it might be awhile until I get my hands on it. Rules of Civility just went on my immediate For Later list (next trip to the library), and next time I'm driving "home" to Indiana, I'll have to get Mindy's audiobook. I've read the book, but now I must listen to it.

    Thanks for the recommendations.! I don't have many to recommend that I'm guessing you haven't already read. (Z, Where'd you Go Bernadette, Perks of Being a Wallflower). I just finished Cutting For Stone which I enjoyed followed by some summer chick lit. I'm about to start The Firebird so I'll let you know if I recommend it!

  2. I am very fascinated by Life After Life, now. I'm adding it to my Amazon "to buy asap" list! I'll also add Rules of Civility. And Mindy Kaling!? Love her!

  3. I feel the same about library books, I want to read them all, but have to be mindful of my time and feel bad when it's late. I was never one to spend time in the library, so the reservation system is the best. thing. ever. for me. I recently fell in love with the library all over again. Books, everywhere.

    I am so involved in the Vince Flynn books, I inhale them in one night and wake up dying to read more. Alas, work calls. And all day I crave getting back to Mitch Rapp, the CIA assassin.

    I've also started Gone Girl, which so far, I like. Orange is the New Black, The Lost Symbol and The Spy Who Loved are sitting patiently waiting my full attention, as well as their eventual return to the library.

  4. Yes, Amy Poehler...WHERE IS YOURS?

  5. I read Rules of Civility this summer as well and loved it. I thought it was the perfect summer read. I just downloaded Z, A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald that I'm anxious to get into. I also just ordered Khaled Hosseini's newest novel which I've heard great things about.

  6. I've heard so many people loving Life After Life that now I feel totally compelled to put it on library hold. (Completely agree with the deadlines pushing me to read faster, but I also like to spin all my fines as "supporting my local library!" Or something.) Recommendation-wise, have you read the Tana French series? If you're even remotely into thrillers/mysteries, they're fantastic. And also: Girlchild, which I am recommending to everyone in life. Rory Gilmore grows up in a trailer park, basically. SO. GOOD.


  7. UGH I have so many things to say. Book review posts are my absolute favorite. I even just wrote one myself.

    OK LET'S GO.

    - I loved the Devil Wears Prada book, so I will absolutely have to hit up the sequel. I think I've been a little scared of it? I don't know.

    -I've never heard of Grace Coddington, but you've convinced me that I love her. I'll be reading that too. I think I'm falling in love with her hair.

    -I loved Mindy's book. I've never listened to an audio book because I'm convinced it will put me to sleep, but I think I need to listen to this one. AND AMY'S WRITING A BOOK?! I'm gonna need a moment to collect myself.

    -I'm halfway through Rules of Civility, and I love it. Except at the moment I have a total beef with Eve and somewhat of a beef with Tinker. I wish she would date Wallace. I really want to live in the 1930s, minus the depression. However, can you imagine her typing job? I would die. Though her job with Mason Tate is very Devil Wears Prada at first. I'm just rambling now. Goodbye.

  8. I am incredibly jealous of your library's drive-up option! I just moved and haven't yet closed my old account to open a new one...I have quite a few rummage sale finds on my shelf that I haven't had time to open yet, and my challenge to myself is to get to it before seeking new reads.

    So excited to hear Amy Poehler is writing a book! Bringing Up Bebe sounds fascinating as well, though I'm in the same boat as you on read #1 with it not being particularly relevant to my life. It's always intriguing to learn how different cultures approach the same topic.

    Alicia | Jaybird: Home in Motion

  9. I think that Audiobooks totally counts if it is a book where the reading of it is not difficult and/or long (Jane Austen books, memoirs, etc.) But if you want to claim you have read The Brothers K or something, you have to actually turn pages.


    And, let the record show that there are crazy bad kids in France, because I'm pretty sure they were all in my class.

  10. Don't hate me. But I didn't think Bossypants was that good!! I feel like to dislike that book or anything Tina Fey is wrong and can incite hatred from her fangirls. I think I'd like Mindy's better though.

  11. I keep meaning to listen to Mindy Kaling's book on audio, but alas, I have not done so yet! And yes, where is Amy Poehler's book?? I'm excited she's in the process of writing it.

    Life After Life is something I would never pick up off the shelf based on the cover, but your take on it makes me really want to read it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I love book reviews.

  12. you, my friend, make me want to post less often because your posts are like pumpkin spice lattes and mine are just regular old cups of jo at this point. I love this and I may read two of these next.

  13. I'm just getting to the part of Revenge... where I'm starting to hate Andy Sachs. AND I just tried to start listening to Life After Life, but my mind kept wandering to important subjects like WHY IS ANDY SACHS SUCH A TURD?