Approval Junkie & Dietland

Sometimes you’re reading more than one book at a time and sometimes it’s so luxurious, right? And sometimes that feeling exists because you are away from home on vacation and it IS luxurious. Your daily to do list is to read. Ok it’s to put on sunscreen, bring your sunglasses and hat to the pool and then read. So that is what I did.

I had the hardcover copy of Approval Junkie by Faith Salie and Dietland on my iPhone kindle app. Two very different books and two very different ways to read them.

Approval Junkie is skinny and wants to be happy the way she is. It’s quasi-inspiring and relatable and I definitely enjoyed the book very much and would recommend. Especially if you are a Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me NPR listener as Faith Salie is often on the panel and she dedicates a chapter with some radio show inside scoop.

As of this writing I am still not finished with Dietland. I’m not so sure about this one though I do want to see how it will end. It’s fictional and a little fantastical and I am intrigued. In this book, the main character is overweight and wants to have surgery to get rid of her fat. I am not sure ultimately what she will do.



So many books have been read

Just not all documented here. Like, not at all.

Important ones:

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Now go read ’em and let me know if you think they were important as well!



My girls

Just Finished: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Currently Reading: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

I feel like these two writers are just part of my squad. It’s wrong but I do.  It’s wrong. We’ve never met. We’ve never hung out. Or have we?!

Ann. Oh Ann!

I’ve read almost everything she’s written and her Truth and Beauty is one of my top 10 books ever read. Bel Canto, too. Truth and Beauty though – that one’s non fiction and well, a non fiction story about friendship really makes you know a person. Hi Ann. I loved Commonwealth! That is on par with Bel Canto. These are your top two novels. The others are wonderful but these two are of a different level. Anyone and everyone should read these. Pure enjoyment. Pure thought-provoking works and stellar story telling.  So pure. Wow.

And Curtis. It’s just that your debut blew me away. You went over the top with Prep. I will always hands down recommend that to a reader. Any type of reader. You like to read? You read a lot? You don’t read a lot? Read this and then tell me you don’t want to read more books?! Then much later I read American Wife. Um. I wasn’t expecting that. It was amazing and page turning and how? Oh, right. You’re brilliant.


Everyone’s Books and Bartelby’s

These are two of my favorite book stores. They are both in southern Vermont and both deserve a visit if you are ever in the area.

Everyone’s Books I have only been to twice but it feels like I always belonged and was always there. It very much reminds me of the book store that is parodied in Portlandia. I can laugh at it and I can love it and I do.

Bartelby’s is just my dream place. I walk in and one of the managers knows me. She knows me! and we shoot the shit. The book shit, that is.

What have you read? What have you heard of?

What are you reading next and

sometimes even “what did you read 5 years ago that for some reason you want to mention and are thinking about right now?”

How about now?

This shop is just the right size for a quick walk through: children’s area, new paperbacks, current hardcovers, bestsellers in non-fiction, the gift & stationery section (yum) and you’ve done the store, you’ve made your selections. You feel satisfied and good!

During my last visit to Bartelby’s, I learned about an independent bookstores of VT loyalty program, so to speak. If you visit 5 or more you get a prize!

I’m planning visits to Northshire in Manchester, the Bennington Bookshop in Bennington and one other shop TBD.



Lizz Free or Die

Just finished last night: Lizz Free or Die by Lizz Winstead (signed paperback copy!)

Bonus: Finished while taking a bath! (TMI?)

I bought this paperback memoir at a Planned Parenthood luncheon in October where Lizz Winstead spoke. She was as expected a wonderful speaker and the event was . . how do you say it about lady lunches. . . it was lovely!

The book has fun essays to take you a bit into the world of stand up comedy, The Daily Show beginnings and Air America Radio. I really would have loved more but at the same time isn’t that a good thing. . the whole leave them wanting more?! The last chapter in my mind was the strongest. It seemed like a stream of consciousness where she just went at it and was like – can everyone stop picking on me for having an abortion which is my right?!

So yeah, it got political and I am glad. It’s not something you read everyday where a woman comes out and says those things. That to me is a great read! It was inspiring and aligned with my political beliefs. It being Lizz Winstead.

Next up is to complete GULP (if I can as it is not as much of a page turner as I want right now). We’ll see because I have a library visit planned in the next 24 hours!




So. . . books!

Recently finished: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley and Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing by Jennifer Weiner

Currently reading: Lizz Free or Die by Lizz Winstead

Next up: Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach

A recent local library visit was a home run outta the park!

Two books on my mind were just there waiting for me on the “Hot Reads, 14 day loaner” Table.

A mere two hours earlier, a friend who I just discovered was a voracious reader told me about Before the Fall and there it was. The book was a gripping, well-written, topical page turner. It was penned by an award-winning writer of the Fargo TV series. I will definitely be checking that series out now. That’s how much I enjoyed the book.

About Jen Weiner’s book I’ll say that if you enjoy her Twitter handle, her blog, her New York Times pieces (Oh I so do!) and her books (oh, those little things! of which there are over 20!) you will love reading her book of essays about her life. There are many laughs to be had and many interesting plot points in her own life. The thing I most enjoyed about it (non-spoiler alert) is her ambition and tales of her early dreams of being a . . . .published author!

As for Gulp by Mary Roach, which is next up for me, my cousin just told me he reads all Mary Roach’s books because she does her research and infuses her book about interesting topics with humor. Truth be told, a very funny person (my cousin) told me this author is funny! I have never read a single page of her work but I have heard her numerous NPR interviews whenever she’s on a press junket run for new publications. Now that I have a true bona fide thumbs up on her work, I’m ready to dig in!

Will keep you posted.





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 into 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.