September 11, 2020

What I Read in August 2020

I read 12 books in the month of August! That’s a significant step up for me, and I’m really glad my reading game is back on (rather than me just socializing and never taking time to read). I’m currently at 77 books read in 2020, which is 10 ahead of my goal to read 100 by the end of the year. Going to keep this momentum up in September, for sure!

Rodham was absolutely AMAZING and I can’t recommend it enough!

5 stars:

Rodham, by Curtis Sittenfeld: I love, love, LOVED this book, and stayed up all night reading it – then immediately bought a copy on Amazon to send to my mom. I hadn’t read anything about it in advance, and didn’t know the premise before I got into it, so it was interesting when the timeline diverged from what really happened to what COULD have happened, but then I thoroughly enjoyed all the what-ifs. I loved the first person perspective, particularly because so much of what Sittenfeld wrote as Hillary were thoughts I’ve had myself and could identify with. And toward the end of the book, I thought Sittenfeld did a particularly good job describing what it’s like to be a single woman at the top of your career. Can’t recommend this enough.

4 stars:

If I Never Met You, by Mhairi McFarlane: As with “Don’t You Forget About Me,” I thought this started a bit slow… but then it got good and I couldn’t put it down! I’m not sure what it is about McFarlane’s characters that are initially somewhat unlikeable (Laurie was pretty pathetic at the beginning), but once the book warmed up, I really enjoyed it.

Sex and Vanity, by Kevin Kwan: Not quite as much of a page turner as Crazy Rich Asians, but I still enjoyed it.

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend: A Novel, by Jenny Colgan: This was cute and fun, though not at all like Colgan’s usual characters. Sophie was pretty shallow and unlikeable for at least the first half of the book, and I found the way she treated the guys in the house pretty sad. However, the last half of the book got better as she evolved, and I ended up enjoying it by the end.

The Hideaway, by Lauren Denton: Loved this novel! Denton did a great job weaving together the past and the present, and there were a few surprises toward the end. I loved the old South setting – this made me want to take a vacation to the Hideaway myself!

Happiness for Beginners, by Katherine Center: At first, I struggled to get into this – Helen was so depressing and unlikeable, and the age difference between her and Jake seemed ridiculous. Age isn’t everything, but 22 vs 32 means a VASTLY different lived experience / mindset than, say, 32 and 42. However, as the book continued, I started enjoying it more and more, and by the end I was happily invested in the ending.

Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary, by Louis Hyman: This went really back and forth for me – fascinating topic that was covered in great detail, but at times it was a bit dry, so it took me a while to read the whole thing. I did really enjoy reading about the history of consulting (funny how so much has stayed the same over the years) and would highly recommend this to anyone in the field, as providing great insight on the industry.

3 stars:

The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn: This one started out a bit slow, and when I mentioned that to a friend, she told me that all her friends hated this – which probably colored my view. I need to find out what they hated about it, but I just thought it was rather too long. I thought one of the twists was extremely predictable (I guessed it from the beginning), and I really didn’t like all the classic movie descriptions – they were extremely lengthy and didn’t add anything to the story. Overall, the main character wasn’t particularly likeable, which I think really affected my enjoyment.

Get Lucky, by Katherine Center: This was a sweet book, but not my favorite of Katherine Center’s, and somewhat forgettable. I’m accidentally writing this review a few weeks after I read it and I can’t remember the plot or the characters at all!

#MeToo in the Corporate World: Power, Privilege, and the Path Forward, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett: I’ve loved Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s books in the past, but this one missed the mark from her usual. Too much of the book was spent on proving that sexual harassment happens (which I would hope everyone knows by now). My office book club and I agreed that there was so much time spent on the egregious examples (a boss forcing their staff member to sleep with him/her or risk losing their job) rather than the more subtle examples of sexual harassment that are, unfortunately, all too common. I wish more of the book had been devoted to practical tips to combat sexual harassment. A list was provided of the factors in a workplace that contribute, and lucky for me, it was basically describing life at any big consulting firm. This felt like it was raising the problem but not really providing any solutions.

2 stars:

The Grown Woman’s Guide to Online Dating: Lessons Learned While Swiping Right, Snapping Selfies, and Analyzing Emojis, by Margot Starbuck: This book sounded witty and insightful, but I ended up being really disappointed in it – perhaps just needs better marketing to the right demographic. This was aimed at absolute beginners who have never seen or used an online dating site or app before, and I think could help those who are nervous about doing so. But if you’ve exchanged even a few messages on an app, you’ll already know pretty much everything contained in here. The title and description I read also don’t indicate this, but it’s really focused on Christians and has a lot of Bible quotes / insights as applied to online dating, which I didn’t expect. (Not bad; I just didn’t expect that.)

1 star:

Self Care, by Leigh Stein: This was REALLY weird and boring. The characters weren’t very well-developed, and the story jumped around so much that it was hard to follow. I thought the setting (a wellness startup) was interesting, but the plot didn’t make a ton of sense and felt rather disjointed. It felt extremely cliched when sexual assault came in at the end, and overall, I can’t recommend this book to anyone – I wish I had put it down early instead of trying to push forward in hopes that it would improve.

Any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.


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