Friday, March 25, 2016

What Have I Been Reading Lately?

Well it has certainly been a while since I've done a post strictly dedicated to books. Part of this is because I haven't read anything so amazing that it deserved a spotlight, and the other half is time. But life is slowing down a bit lately and coincidentally, I have been reading some fantastic books. Whether you prefer short stories, essays, or novels, hopefully you're inspired to read one of these (they're all great but for different reasons).

So Sad Today: Personal Essays by Melissa Broder. I think this was the book I was the most excited about it. Melissa Broder runs my favorite twitter account, So Sad Today, and is also a writer. This book of personal essays is written in a similar tone as her tweets (think: cynical yet relatable), but gave more of an insight into her life. As someone also struggling with anxiety, it was refreshing to hear it written about in such a cavalier yet poetic way. She spoke to me in a way that has probably changed or confirmed how I think about the world, and it's such a quick read, I breezed through it in a night.

Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma. As someone who isn't the biggest fan of New York City, this novel did a wonderful job of portraying it in such a realistic sense. Lots of novels with New York City as a main character tend to glorify it, which parts of this did, but also weren't afraid to shy away from the grittiness. The novel centers on five friends dealing with a tragedy (I won't spoil it), and is separated into what I would call mini-novellas. Each "chapter" centers around one of the individuals, letting you peek into their minds. All characters are so unique and richly developed that I felt as if I easily knew them.

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales. I have this wonderful book to thank for making a long flight from LAX to Boston somewhat enjoyable. Sales is such a fantastic author for actually making sociological data interesting--she interweaves shocking facts about social media and all the horrors related to it (sex, drugs, self-esteem issues) with stories, both positive and negative, from teenage girls. I was a teenager just when social media was beginning to come into play, but it's shocking to see how much has changed just in five years. Even if you think social media plays no role in your life, reading this book will give you a new perspective.

Why They Run The Way They Do: Stories by Susan Perabo. Short story collections can be very hit-or-miss for me, because they're all usually amazing or just lucklaster. This one falls into the captivating side, dealing with making the ordinary into the extraordinary. Perabo examines the everyday life of a variety of ages and genders, like middle schoolers blackmailing their art teacher and witnessing a plain crash. If you find yourself unable to make it through a whole 300+ page novel, each of these stories reads like one--albeit a lot shorter.

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad. In a way, this novel reads almost like a short story collection. Each chapter about Lizzie's life is written from a different time, setting, and sometimes even perspective--which of course are the different "ways of looking at a fat girl". It's heartbreaking to see her obsession with weight and how it influences her relationships and life choices, but each is told so matter-of-fact yet poignant that it's hard to put down.

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