What’s been happening

I’ve been reading! Just not updating!

In the past week alone, I’ve completed three books. That’s considered a tear for me. Especially since there are times when I am not even reading anything (for shame) due to too many tasks to take care of in my other selves. My reading self really doesn’t like when the non-reader takes over. But that self only takes over when other selves get in the way in an annoying way. It’s never a good thing when the non-reading self seems to be in charge.

In any case, I’ve read!

I recently finished:

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

When Breath Become Air by Paul Kalanithi

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

And here’s a bit about each:

A Man Called Ove: It’s a movie so I’m ready to see it now. Fellow reader friends loved it. I just liked it. I do want to see the movie though. Maybe I missed the nuances of the main friendship. Perhaps seeing it rather than reading it will make it feel more heart warming. I don’t know but I would like to find out.

When Breath Become Air: This is so worth reading. I had read about it. A young neurosurgeon diagnosed with lung cancer. A man with intense knowledge about the human body and human brain dying and writing. He was also an English major during his undergraduate days so let’s just say he was skilled. And he put together a beautiful book about last days and the struggle of what to do with them, plus time and philosophy about time. I loved what it taught me and made me feel.

The Nightingale: This was a majorly popular one from last year (soon to be made int a major motion picture). I had avoided it almost purposefully because I just didn’t think I would like it. A good reader friend had told me she read All The Light We Cannot See first and then this book. She felt like The Nightingale didn’t compare to how great All The Light We Cannot See was. She basically shrugged and shook her head “no” when I had brought it up about 6 months ago. Then cut to this month when I was at her house and saw it on her shelf and asked to borrow it. She said I could have it (nice!) and off I went. My reason for wanting to read it now was that I couldn’t even get through All The Light We Cannot See on my Kindle (after three tries – two of them whole-hearted). So here’s this too long story now short – I loved it! For some reason I couldn’t believe how much I didn’t know about France being overrun by Germans in World War II but why would I? And now I do and I plan to read more from this era. The book is a page turner filled with action (and love) and in my opinion, not for the faint of heart. There are scenes that will take your breath away. Not in the love and flowery way but in the dark, terrible way that humans can and have and do treat one another. Next up for me is and try to believe me this time – it’s gonna be difficult to believe me but I’m going in a 4th time for All The Light We Cannot See! Maybe now having read The Nightingale, I’ll ready and into it. Also Eric Larson’s In the Garden Of Beasts. Did you read a great book (fiction or non-fiction) telling stories of World Ward II that you would recommend? Please let me know!



Modern Lovers, Girls and Sex, The Kitchens of the Great Midwest

These are three books I reached for in August.  I finished Modern Lovers by Emma Straub and The Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein was a library book that needed to go back and there wasn’t time to renew. I will take it out again but as non-fiction that takes a back seat. Also if you are interested, I have written about my Peggy Orenstein fandom prior to this over at This is Happening. You can find my post here.

So, Modern Lovers. A good read. Solid. Not a must read. Fun for me because it took place in Brooklyn and there were several extremely micro-detailed parts that made me feel like it was written only for me and a select few. It’s not the case. There are ALOT of Brooklyn-ites, former, future, and current, who know the street, the corner, the shop(s) that are mentioned.  The character development in this one seems uneven. Some strong characters you understood and some that were so broadly stroked that it wasn’t as interesting a read as it could have been. That said, I finished it in just a few days while on vacation and there were parts that I couldn’t put down. So, let’s say, plot driven but not all of the characters were fully there for me.

Now The Kitchens of the Great Midwest is a different story. So rich and full and enjoyable. I loved it from start to finish! There were some subtle twists and turns and the subtle-ness is what I loved the most. It is such a must read for me that it goes on the top lists of must reads. For fun, for thinking, for pure enjoyment. It’s just a story with stories in it and I love that.


The middle of a book. This book.

Just finished: Truly Madly Guilty by Laine Moriarty

Up next: The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

Do some people love beginnings more than endings?

Endings more than beginnings?

The book I just read – Truly Madly Guilty – had the best middle. It was yummy. It was smart. It was thought provoking and sharp.

Now it’s done and while I am satisfied with the ending and in general the feeling of accomplishment of having read a book (hey, you take it where you can get it) it was just okay. I guess I just love the middle of a mushy juicy read.

Who doesn’t?!

Just call me Captain Obvious for now.



Truly Madly Weirdly

Currently Reading: Truly Madly Guilty by Laine Moriarty

The truly madly weird thing about this update from the trenches of my couch from which I read is that my last post was, “Waahhh! Woe is meeeee! I can’t get into anything! I’m not reading! I’m not following my bliss. Not reading for 14 minutes a day to be happy. I’m an unhappy and a sad little thing.” Or something along those lines, maybe?

And then boom! I am inhaling this. Taking it everywhere with me and all around the house too. I don’t want to be upstairs when it is downstairs and I don’t want to be down when it’s up. So I gotta go and finish. . .



An update to say there is no update

Some over communication when there might not need to be any communication at all. I’ve been reading everything AND nothing for the past 4 weeks. It’s cool. It’s all good (as a children’s storybook character, Pete The Cat says). And yes, I have been reading Pete the Cat this summer. Does that count?!

Some of the more adult stuff I have been reading AND ignoring includes:

The Girls by Emma Kline. A friend in the know (she works for a publishing house) read it and love love loved it! (direct quote) I’ve been reading it on my iPhone. Not ideal. And at the beach. Ideal bc I am at the beach but not ideal because my current iPhone is one iteration back. That would make it a 5 and not a 6.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling. This one I will finish first. It’s in play format and I am enjoying it very much! I honestly forgot how fun those books are. I was swallowed into Harry Potter 6 and 7 when they first came out and for me those dragged and dragged. I finished them but I could not tell you what happened. Not one thing  – aside from the epilogue. Who doesn’t love a good epilogue, right?!?

Since this is a blog about reading and I haven’t done much of it over the past few weeks, I am going to stop writing to make some more room for that reading!!



A list for the summer. A finish, too.

Currently Reading: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

It’s my third time into it and in this case, the third time is the charm. I’m gonna go all the way! I have talked about this book with many people and so I am sick of talking about it. Now on to the finish!  Although I am only a small number of chapters in, it’s summer so I know a finish is around the corner.

I haven’t added all of these to my Goodreads list but I will be adding most of them.

20 Fun Novels To Read At The Beach This Summer

I already have The Assistants so that is up next.

Up Next: The Assistants by Camille Perri


Map this!

Currently Reading: Maphead by Ken Jennings

Several months ago a friend visited my house and declared, “Jessbrarian, you are really into maps!”

I had no idea but as she showed me around my own home and pointed out all the map items (a poster hanging on the wall, a magnet puzzle that is a map, a shower curtain that is a subway map and more!) I realized she was right. I really DO like maps.

I also like Jeopardy and over 10 years ago was obsessed with the 74 time champion Ken Jennings. I even met him at a book signing. And I even started a blog that you could say is dedicated to him! All About Last Night’s Jeopardy

I get a weekly email from him with trivia questions and have read most of his books. I hadn’t ever read Maphead and now, I’m into it. It’s filled with interesting geographical facts and finds that are not only about maps (but mostly).

This book is a great break from reading fiction. It’s got history, intrigue, and suspense. Actually, just mostly history and interesting facts to bring up at your next cocktail party! Luckily, I have one tonight.


Refresh, Read, and Run

Currently Reading:  Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

I’ve been reading this tome for a long while and had only read about 5 pages at a time except for earlier this week when I was up at 2 am (yes, 2 am) and I got thru almost 40 pages. I was on a tear. I don’t know why and yes, I am refreshed! After a 2 week break, I am ready to read again.

The question is, am I ready to run?

Talking to a friend at a karate dojo last week while our dojos karate’d I learned she reads sport psychology books and Born to Run by Christopher McDougall came up. This one was on my list for a while but it never got done so it fell off the list. I think it’s time to put it back on there.  And on another note entirely, maybe it will inspire me this summer to run?! That might not be a bad thing.






My Name is Jessbrarian

Just finished: My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Next up: The Assistants by Camille Perri

On these pages I have said Elizabeth Strout is a favorite author of mine. Still is but this book, My Name Is Lucy Barton I have to stew over some more. I didn’t start enjoying it until I was over halfway through. Coming around to the end was a highlight. I might have been tricked a bit to think there would be some larger ending bringing it all together. Alas, there was not. As I stew, I realize that the writing was interesting and very different from her other novels. That in itself makes me glad to have read it. In the “And for something completely different” kind of admiration I have for writers who, in fact, from novel to novel write something completely different than what came before.

With this one, I am going to hit the internet and read some reviews to see what I missed. Perhaps, I’ll see the book in a new light and from a different perspective.