It’s been a few months since I did a reading update around here, and I’ve read a bunch of great books since then. I believe this is everything I’ve read since last October or so, but I may be forgetting one or two. I usually average a book every two weeks, less if it’s really good! Pretty much everything I’ve read lately I’ve enjoyed (I do tend to abandon books if I really can’t get into them.) I’ll try to do a reading recap every month or two going forward — I love sharing what I read, but also getting book recommendations! So please, please, tell me if they’re something you’ve loved! Next on my list is The Commoner, by John Burnham Schwartz, and then All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.
The Assistants by Camille Perri // This one was good. Like, I read it all in two days and didn’t go to bed until 2 a.m. because I had to finish good. The story follows a girl named Tina, who is the assistant of a Rupert Murdoch-esque mogul. She and a co-worker start an embezzlement scheme through their company’s expense system to pay off their student loans. The book is clearly a little far-fetched. I especially thought that Tina’s position was unrealistic: She’s supposed to be the assistant to the CEO of one of the world’s largest corporations, has been there for years, and has never gotten a raise? That just wouldn’t happen! But if you can deal with a bit of detached reality, it’s worth the read, as it’s an interesting look at the culture of income inequality and student loans.
Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (And Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham // I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan, so I knew I wanted to Lauren Graham’s new memoir. I had to wait a couple months to get it from the library, but read it in about a week once I did. I wanted to like this one, I did, but it just fell short. Her writing style is just a little much, like she’s trying too hard to be cute and funny and quirky, if that makes sense. The best part was reading about the Gilmore Girls revival, and getting her behind-the-scenes take on it. If you’re fan of the show, it’s worth a read, but otherwise, I’d skip it.
Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel // This book is about a recent college graduate, who, after a bad breakup, gets a job in admissions at a prestige NYC private school. The story half focuses on her life (and the life of her friends and sister), and half on the admissions process and a small group of applicants that the main character interviews. I honestly would have preferred more focus on the admissions side of things (I didn’t care that much about the fallout from this girl’s breakup) but I still really liked this one.
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham // Like I said, I love Gilmore Girls, so I thought I’d try Lauren Graham’s novel, too. It’s about Franny, an early-20s actress living in New York in the ’90s, trying to break into the business. In her memoir, Lauren says it’s not autobiographical, but there definitely seems to be pieces of her in the story. It’s a good, light read, and makes me so happy I abandoned my high school dreams of majoring in theater and trying to make it as an actress. That kind of instability seems so stressful!
Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner // I love following Jennifer Weiner on Twitter (especially during The Bachelor) so I figured I’d love her writing, too. It was a good assumption: I do! I read Good In Bed last year, and Certain Girls is the follow-up. The story is told through the perspectives of Cannie, the main character from Good In Bed, and her daughter, Joy. Despite being older than Joy and younger than Cannie, I really felt like I understood these characters and sympathized with them during the ups and downs of life. The book takes a really sad turn towards the end, which I honestly could have done without, but all in all I’d recommend it.
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty // Like I said last time, I adored Big Little Lies and hoped that I enjoy more Liane Moriarty’s books just as much. Sadly, Truly Madly Guilty didn’t live up to the bar that Big Little Lies set. All of Moriarty’s books have a big twist, and this one just wasn’t as compelling as the one in Big Little Lies was. To boot, the characters were kind of irritating and the whole thing moved pretty slowly. Unless you’re a diehard Moriarty fan, skip it and watch the new Big Little Lies miniseries instead.
The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore // Not to be confused with Small Admissions, The Admissions is about a family of five, whose various lives start to unravel as the eldest daughter, Angela, applies for college with the hopes of going to Harvard. This was well-written, but there were a few ‘huh?’ moments. It’s been a few years since I was applying to college, but I know no one who takes applying to Harvard seriously doesn’t have a safety school (really, this is a conversation that she has with her parents!) Like The Assistants, if you can put this out of your mind, then you’ll like the book.
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan // I read Crazy Rich Asians a few years ago and loved it — and I loved this one too! It’s not the deepest read, but both are really fun and exposed me to a world that I was pretty unfamiliar with: Ultra, ultra wealthy Asians who fly private planes, buy out Chanel at a moment’s notice, and have intense social hierarchies. Like I said, it’s definitely a light read, but good for a beach vacation or something a bit more relaxed. Read Crazy Rich Asians first, though, as this is the sequel!
The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close // This was my most recent read, and one I really enjoyed. It’s about a couple who moves to D.C. after the husband, Matt, gets a job in the Obama administration. They befriend another D.C. transplant couple, and it follows their friendship, life working in the White House, on campaigns, etc. It’s a little slow-moving, and the main character, Beth, is a little passive throughout, which got on my nerves. Regardless, it’s a great read if you’re interested in learning a little bit more about D.C. and the political culture. (Also, it’ll make you never want to run for office! Haha.) I wasn’t sure going into this one, because I read the author’s other book, Girls in White Dresses, and didn’t love it. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you a thing about it, and I have a pretty good memory, so I usually retain pieces of the story. This one was way better!
Photo: Robert Wright/T Magazine