18. Molly Wizenberg – Delancey

To make up for my lack of posting, I just flew through another book (it wasn’t very hard to do, though). The book was Delancey by Molly Wizenberg, which I saw a friend post on Instagram a while ago and decided I wanted to read it. Speaking of Instagram, be sure to check out my book account, @beccasbookshelves, and my personal, @becc.adams, if you’re interested too! IMG_1370

Anyway, this book is a memoir about a restaurant, which is not something I’d really heard of before. Basically, the author, Molly Wizenberg, is the author of a food blog and another book, and this book tells the story of her husband deciding he wanted to open a restaurant. She goes through his love for pizza, his various projects he never followed through on, his idea to open a restaurant, the problems the faced in the process, and actually running a restaurant.

It’s a great story.

I flew through the book in a little over 24 hours. It was just the kind of reading I was looking for – easy, entertaining, relatable (although I’ve never opened a restaurant, she writes in a way that makes you feel like you’re there with her).

Right off the bat, Wizenberg, her husband, and all their friends are very likable characters. You really want them to succeed in their goal to open a restaurant.

It’s interesting to hear about the process of opening and running a restaurant in a story form. On top of that, Delancey seems like a restaurant I’d really like to visit (not just for the food, but because of the feel of the place that’s conveyed even on paper).

This book is great, and now I’m inclined to read her other one too – although at this point I have no idea what it’s even about. Her writing style is great, the story is interesting and it just flies by. I’d definitely recommend this book, even though it’s given me a crazy craving for pizza for the past two days ;).

17. Gillian Flynn – Dark Places

Whoa, I’ve been MIA for a while! As I mentioned before, I was on Spring Break last week, and the end of the week was a little hectic. Thursday and Friday I was busy watching basketball all day (how are your guys’ brackets doing?), Saturday I went to New York City for the day and Sunday I came back to school.

IMG_1140Sunday was my sister’s 29th birthday and she lives in Manhattan, so my family went to visit her Saturday. We went to Shake Shack for lunch and then visited the MoMA, which was fun!

Anyway, somehow during all that, I managed to read a book, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn! I have now read all three of her books (I think there’s only three, right?), and unfortunately, this was my least favorite. That’s not to say it wasn’t good though.

First off, this book gave me nightmares. It’s very graphic and I woke up in the middle of the night with the pictures in my head a couple of times.

Also, the book is about a family that was murdered in their home in the middle of the night, so it reminded me a lot of In Cold Blood while I was reading it, even though it really wasn’t that similar.

Gillian Flynn - Dark Places (photo taken by me)
Gillian Flynn – Dark Places (photo taken by me)

The story follows Libby, a 30-something year old who is the survivor of an attack on her family when she was 7. Her brother was found guilty of the crime and has been in jail for over 20 years. Libby finds herself questioning people who might have information about that night in order to figure out what really happened.

The chapters of the book alternate from Libby’s point of view in current day to her brother and her mom’s experiences in the day leading up to the murder. I thought that was a really cool set up for the book and made the chapters end with cliffhangers.

In true Flynn style, the ending was unexpected. Towards the end of the book, I had suspects, but it always seemed like it would be too obvious, so I really never knew who it was going to turn out to be, I was definitely shocked by the ending.

Overall, I did like this book. I’m a big fan of Flynn’s writing and I hope for more books from her soon. As I said before, this is my least favorite of her books, but it’s still good (for the record, I can’t decide if I like Sharp Objects or Gone Girl more). If you’ve read either of her books and liked them, I’m sure you’ll like this one too. My only disclaimer would be the nightmares 😉

16. Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale – Graduates in Wonderland

Finally, I’m home for spring break! I had a four hour train ride on Friday, during which I read a good chunk of my latest book. This is my fifteenth book that I’ve finished this year!

Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale - Graduates in Wonderland (photo taken by me)
Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale – Graduates in Wonderland (photo taken by me)

The book is Graduates in Wonderland – The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults, written by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale. The book is made up of a bunch of emails that the two friends sent each other after their lives went in different directions following their graduation from Brown University.

I really liked this book. I really like the set up of it, with all the emails being around two pages or less, there were plenty of natural places for me to stop when I had to put the book down, which I always like. The two characters (the authors) are really likable and funny – I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit at this book.

Since the emails are exchanged between two best friends, you get to hear each person’s life story the way they tell it to someone they love, which gives the book a personal feel. I began to feel like I knew the characters and was genuinely happy for them when something good happened or sad at their misfortunes.

At the start of the book, one of the girls is living in New York while the other is in Beijing, and throughout the book they write to each other from other places in the US as well as France, England, and Australia.

The book has a really happy ending and it definitely left me wanting to know what happened next – as if they were actually my friends. One thing that I especially liked was the epilogue, where they listed what all the main characters throughout the book are doing today – kind of like an ending of a movie.

Even though there are some sad parts, this is overall a really happy book. While their tales are not very relatable to me, someone who has never left the country, their stories are because this book reflects how life happens.

I came across this book randomly online one day, and I’m so glad I did. This is a great read and I would recommend it to any college-aged or postgrad reader.

15. Janet Mock – Redefining Realness

Guys…. I can see it… the light at the end of the tunnel…. Spring Break is almost here!

I’ve had two midterms and two papers due this past week, but basically all I have to do tomorrow is hand one of those papers in and sit through a few classes and then I get a week off! I have to take the train home on Friday which means plenty of time to read! Yay!

Somehow, along with studying, researching, doing interviews and writing those papers, I managed to read a book this week! It was Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, a transgender woman of color who used to work for People magazine. This book is her story of her life.

Redefining Realness was one of the books I got for Christmas from my sister. I had wanted to read it, but truthfully, I didn’t know too much about her story, I just saw the book once and thought it looked interesting (if you’ve been following along, you’re probably noticing a theme here…).

Janet Mock - Redefining Realness (photo taken by me)
Janet Mock – Redefining Realness (photo taken by me)

The book starts out with a scene from 2009, when she first met her current boyfriend, Aaron. I really, really liked that scene and wish she had included more about her recent life in the book.

Anyway, after that scene, it flashes back to her childhood in Hawaii. The book follows her through most of her young life, including moving to the main land to live with her father and one of her brothers, moving back to Hawaii, being the first in her family to attend college, and eventually getting gender reassignment surgery in Thailand (although she point out that this surgery was not the “end goal”).

Her story has a lot more to it then just “growing up trans”. Besides the adversity she faced in that aspect, she also had a dad who was addicted to crack, a mom who was more concerned with her current boyfriend than her children, and was nearly homeless for a while.

Her story is really amazing. There were so many pieces of her story that totally surprised me. It really is a great read.

One thing that I loved most about the story were her pop culture references. I know that sounds like something so trivial, but it made me laugh when she compared a mascara-stained tear running down her face to that of Lauren Conrad’s on The Hills and comparisons like that made the book all the more relatable for me (although I really can’t relate to her story in any way).

As I mentioned before, I loved the beginning when she described her first meeting with her boyfriend. I’m not sure what about it I loved so much, but it stuck with me. It kind of teased me a bit, and after that when she talked about her childhood in detail, it made me wish she had more stories of her adult life in the book. That’s the only complaint I have about this book, other than that, I really enjoyed it. She has a great way of portraying characters and her story is really stunning.

14. Jennifer Close – Girls in White Dresses

I haven’t been as avid of a reader this past week because my boyfriend’s school had their spring break so he came to visit me at school! Yay! He was only here from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday afternoon, and I still had to go to work and classes (boo!) so I wanted to spend as much time as I could with him, which meant no time for reading.

But I got back into my book today and just finished it! The book was Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close. This was one of those books that I just randomly stumbled upon on Amazon and thought looked interesting, so I bought it without really knowing what it was about.

Jennifer Close - Girls in White Dresses (photo taken by me)
Jennifer Close – Girls in White Dresses (photo taken by me)

The book is about a group of twentysomethings, friends from college and high school, and each chapter focuses on one particular point of one of the girls’ lives. The book follows their relationships, job hunts, and their feelings as their friends slowly marry off and have kids.

I really, really liked this book. I kind of didn’t want it to end, because I really like the way Close writes. The girls all seem so likable, and it makes me wish I had a friend group like they do. I also liked how the chapters jumped from one character to another and focused on their home lives too, not just them with the other main characters.

There were two things that I didn’t love about this book. The first was the way Vermont is portrayed in the book. As a Vermonter, I get pretty annoyed when the state gets portrayed as a total hick-town where everyone is a hippie and/or lives on a farm. Now, I know that is true for some parts of the state (I even have a friend whose family owns a farm), but where I’m from is not like that at all. I just kind of hate when people feed into the stereotype that we’re all weirdos who breastfeed each other’s babies. Yeah. That’s an actual thing in this book.

However, the Vermont scene is just a small part of one chapter of the book, so it really didn’t affect my overall feelings toward the book, just kind of upset me while I was reading that one part. Obviously, people who aren’t from Vermont probably won’t care about that one detail.

The other thing that I didn’t like about the book was its use of the “R” word. The way it’s used in the book is conversationally, which I know is an accurate depiction of people like the characters, but I still don’t like it. It makes me uncomfortable when people use that word so casually, and to see it used in a book that same way just made me upset. I do understand that it was used in a realistic way, I just wish it hadn’t been.

Other than those two things, I loved this book. I actually like that there were some specific things that I could pinpoint that I didn’t like in the book, because it makes the rest of it more enjoyable for me.

Anyway, I think this book is a good read for girls in their twenties to read. One of the main themes of the book is how the girls feel as they go to bridal shower after bridal shower and wedding after wedding, which I could kind of relate to because one of my friends got married last summer and my sister is getting married this coming June, so I know how they feel.

It’s a good book, it’s written well, and I really grew to connect with the characters. Their stories were funny, entertaining, and relatable. I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.