Sweet 16- My Latest Reads

In the last few weeks I read whatever felt right at the time. Some are Pulitzer prize winners, some are little known youth literature picks, others are memoirs. I’ve been reading to escape the harsh realities in our country over the last 6 weeks. I am up to 90 books in 2020, one final push to meet my 100 book goal by the end of the year. Here are my recent distractions:

  1. Hillbilly Elegy– J.D. Vance- I enjoyed this memoir about the struggles of poor white Americans in the rust belt. Vance gives an honest glimpse of his upbringing and the struggles he faced to find success and get an education.
  2. Maybe You Should Talk To Someone– Lori Gottlieb- This book is well written, honest and vulnerable. Gottlieb is a therapist who shares stories from her own therapy practice and her patients as well as her own experience in therapy. The book gave me hope about how we can all heal from the things that are painful and crippling.
  3. Becoming Dutchess Goldblatt– Anonymous- This book is a memoir from an anonymous writer who created a fictional character on Twitter to bring humor, kindness and comfort to her followers. It is a surprisingly touching story about connection, compassion and the ways communities our built- I highly recommend it.
  4. Little Weirds– Jenny Slate- True to it’s name this book is a little weird. Fantasy and imagination mixed in with memoir. Jenny is an actress and a comedian who writes about her upbringing, early career and divorce with poetic exaggeration and fiction mixed in- mostly enjoyable… but odd.
  5. Night Boat to Tangier – Kevin Barry- I really wanted to like this book, it got such great reviews, but it didn’t capture me. Two men with criminal pasts in a port, looking for someone, and as they wait, they recall stories of their lives. Solid C+ for me.
  6. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls- David Sedaris- I needed to read this book this fall. It is a collection of hilarious essays and humor writing from David Sedaris- I laughed out loud hearing him describe dentist visits, waiting on the tarmac on an airplane, and more- just the right lighthearted humor about ordinary things to make the 8th month of the pandemic bearable.
  7. Small Mercies– Eddie Joyce- This is a beautiful novel that explores the trajectory of different family members after enduring the loss of Bobby in the September 11th attacks. The writing is beautiful. The pain and grief and complex family dynamics are believable and moving.
  8. The Incendiaries– R.O. Kwon- Again, this book didn’t capture me. The novel was recommended to me because it explores relationships, religion and politics- but I found the story dull and not believable and generally hard to finish. I would give this a C- rating.
  9. Tinkers- Paul Harding- This is a beautiful, Pulitzer Prize winning novel about a man looking back on his life from his death bed. Stories of his father’s life and his are woven through the pages- poetically and beautifully written.
  10. Adrift- Tami Oldham Ashcraft- This is an unbelievable memoir written by a woman who was stuck at sea for 41 days after surviving a hurricane that destroyed her boat and killed her fiancé. It is a story of survival, resilience and strength- I loved every page.
  11. Less- Andrew Sean Greer- This is a lighthearted, touching novel about a writer who decides to accept every single speaking engagement offered to him after a painful breakup. His speaking and teaching tour takes him around the world on a journey building his own confidence and understanding of himself. It was the winner of a Pulitzer Prize- a delightful read.
  12. Greenlights– Matthew McConaughey- A new memoir from the actor Matthew McConaughey, and it’s lovely! He’s lived a fascinating life with travel, adventure and risk-taking. He shares his philosophy on life along with many family stories and funny anecdotes that give readers a sense of who he is- I loved it. Light and fun.
  13. The New One- by Mike Birbiglia and J. Hope Stein- This book is a raw, honest, and hilarious description of a reluctant dad. He shares funny and heartbreaking stories about his own concerns and anxieties about losing his freedom, independence, and his marriage when his daughter was born. I laughed out loud because of the witty writing and I related to so much of what he shared- I am giving Andrew this book for Christmas too so he can enjoy- shhh, don’t tell him.
  14. The House on Mango Street– Sandra Cisneros- I finally read this classic. It is a novel about the experience of a Latina girl growing up in Chicago- and her experience with racism, poverty, and sexual assault. It is beautifully written and powerful.
  15. Long Way Down– Jason Reynolds- This book is haunting. The novel tells the story of a teenage boy preparing to avenge his older brother’s death- and after he grabs the gun and heads down the elevator to bring street justice to his family, different ghosts from his past get on the elevator on all 8 floors and share their stories.
  16. I Killed Zoe Spanos– Kit Frick- This is a teen lit mystery and suspense murder mystery. It entertained me and kept me guessing. I enjoyed reading it to escape. I would give it a solid B rating.

For my last books of 2020, again, I am going to read recommended books, those I have been meaning to read, a few more Pulitzer Prize winners, and maybe another memoir or two. Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any suggestions!

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