Adulthood is supposed to be a time when we get to do whatever the f*** we want. So here I am, voluntarily writing a book report.
The goal of these book reports are to serve as a reminder to myself of wisdom gained, and to help you decide what to read.
Yuck, Book Reports
Thankfully, adult book reports aren’t like the 5th grade version, where you answer templated questions and then have to present it to the whole class.
They can be whatever you want, and bonus- you can choose your own books! My go-to usually fall into 2 genres, self-help and pop fiction.
My self-help kick began 5 years ago, when I started my self-improvement journey after a heartbreak. I love self-help books because of how they can expand and shift perspective, which is the really the purpose of reading.
Self-help books are essentially labors of love. Someone struggled through something, worked hard to figure it out and become an expert, and then summarized their learnings to help others.
I only read one self-help book this month:
The One Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards
- Summary: The One Page Financial Plan is a quick read with easy and actionable advice from a CFP on how to start your own financial planning.
- Thoughts: I loved this one because financial planning is simplified here, contrary to the financial services industry who tries to make things sound more complicated. It’s not easy to give financial advice to the masses but he provides a few rules of thumb that are easy to understand. Example: start with your values- does your financial behavior, like spending match your values? I’d definitely recommend this book if you are new to financial planning.
Pop fiction is my guilty pleasure. These books are designed to entertain and have hit the mainstream, usually through Oprah’s book club or the New York Times bestsellers list. Basically, you know you’re in for a good time with these books.
I love getting absorbed into a good story and leaving reality for a little awhile. I also have a deep admiration for these authors’ writing chops. They can draw a reader in for hours, so much so that people would rather keep reading than fulfill basic needs like eat or sleep.
I managed to get through 4 pop fiction novels this month, mostly because we spent half of the month on vacation. That’s a lot of time for beach reads!
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
- Summary: A family’s home in a wealthy suburb catches fire and you learn the backstory. Center stage: family dynamics, jealousy, nosiness, and a morally ambiguous adoption drama
- Thoughts: Honestly, the main reasons I picked this book out is because 1) Reese Witherspoon is making a mini-series out of it and books picked up by Hollywood are usually decently entertaining and 2) the author is Asian. I really enjoy reading fiction from minority authors because they bring a unique perspective to the story. This books centers around a white suburban family, but features a side story on an adoption drama between a broke and uneducated Chinese waitress, a wealthy childless couple and the opinions of the townsfolk. It’s pretty bingey.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
- Summary: A journalist goes back to her small town in Missouri to investigate the murders of two little girls. Center stage: dynamics with estranged mothers, small town drama, mental health, and murder
- Thoughts: Gillian Flynn is the author of Gone Girl and her books are usually dark thrillers involving missing people/murder. Sharp Objects is no different. It’s also massively entertaining with twists and really f’ed up events. HBO just released a mini-series on this one starring Amy Adams.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
- Summary: About an upper class, eclectic family in Seattle- Dad is an executive at Microsoft, Mom is a genius architect/socially awkward hermit, and daughter is smart and likeable teenager- and what happens when Mom goes missing. Themes are private school drama, family dynamics, and an affair.
- Thoughts: I loved this book. It was recommended by a coworker awhile back, and I just got around to it. The story is captivating and Maria Semple does a great of weaving together different characters and their perspectives. I also love that it was set in Seattle. This book took me 5 hours to read, and I did it straight through while sleep deprived on a 13-hour flight.
Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
- Summary: We follow a group of college friends after graduation, as each person navigates the real world. There are career struggles, dating mistakes, and conflicts with family and friends.
- Thoughts: I got this book off a “Must Read” list for 20-something women. It was in part a desperate attempt to make sure I checked off all boxes before turning 30, which happened a couple of days after I finished reading this book. It’s an easy read though there are a lot of white girl narrators and names (Lauren, Abby, Isabella, Mary, etc.) which gets confusing. There isn’t really a plot but the stories are relatable – turns out a lot of 20 somethings are going through the same challenges!
And that’s it! Please let me know if you have any recommendations. Always to happy to add it onto my never-ending library hold list!