recent reads + august to-read

Hello!

I can’t believe tomorrow is August – where did 2017 go? In the midst of all of my travel posts, I thought I’d share a little reading update, since I’ve managed to read a few things during my flights and commutes. As of right now, I’ve read a grand total of¬†six books this year – an all-time low for me ūüė≠¬†If you remember, I made a list of five books I want to read before the end of 2017, and I managed to complete it! Well, sort of. Here’s a recap:

28007954The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close // I actually ended up really enjoying this one. I started this one back in March and finished it right before I left for Europe in June. I loved the politics and relationship drama. It was a bit predictable at times because what I didn’t want to happen to the main character, happened. But I do recommend it if you’re looking for a dramatic read!

The Hating Game¬†by Sally Thorne // Oh gosh, I loved this one.¬†25883848This is definitely my favorite book of the year; I bet if I read 100 books this year, this would still be in the top ten at least. I couldn’t put it down! The banter between the main characters is incredibly witty and addicting to read. I highly, highly recommend this one.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg // I listened to this one on audio, and it was just what I expected. Being a business major, I’ve noticed a heavy emphasis on equality in the workplace at my school. I think the professors at my school already iterate a lot of things Sandberg notes, but it was a great reminder to lean in nevertheless.16071764

My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella // What a fun read! I read this one over the span of a month, but Kinsella never fails to put a smile on my face. The plot is a little outrageous, but it’s set in the UK (where I’ll be in a few weeks!) and cute, so I didn’t complain. A great, light read for the poolside or the beach!

30821598And then I didn’t get to¬†The Knockoff – I tried reading it but it wasn’t my cup of tea, so it’s probably not going to be a book I’ll pick up this year. Maybe another time!

For the rest of August, I want to try to finish two more books. My London study abroad program does start this month, but I think I’ll still be able to manage since we’re commuting a lot! I want to try to read…

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The Nest¬†by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney // I’ve been a sucker lately for fiction that entails a ton of family drama – I have no idea why – and even though this one’s been getting mixed reviews, I’m still eager to pick it up, because one of my close friends Hannah said she really enjoyed it (and she’s an avid reader, too).

Sweetbitter¬†by Stephanie Danler // Yet¬†another story that takes 26192646place in New York… can you tell I want to visit NY? If anything, this one’s about food so I really can’t resist. I’ve heard Danler’s culinary descriptions are impeccable, I can’t wait!

That’s all for my reading update – what have you read recently? Any last books you want to finish before the summer is over?

 

xx,

Jen

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 books i want to read before the end of 2017

Hi everyone!

I’m currently in the midst of making my travel plans and realized that I’m going to be on airplanes/ferries/buses pretty much for the entirety of the trip ūüė™ What better way to pass the time than read a few books? And to be honest, I’ve only read¬†one book this year. THAT IS THE SADDEST THING. I don’t know where my time went this year, honestly. I haven’t decided if I want to listen to these on audiobook, but I’ll definitely be bringing my Kindle regardless.

I don’t think I’ll be able to finish more than five books by the end of 2017, so I’ve picked the five that I for sure want to read.

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  1. The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close¬†// I actually started this one during spring break and got halfway through, and haven’t had the chance to finish it yet! From what I’ve read, I really enjoyed it so far. It’s set in Georgetown and has the drama of living near the White House.

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2.¬†Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg¬†// This term, “Lean in”, has been thrown around my community for so long that I really just need to read it. I’m thinking this one will be an audiobook read (I tend to like listening to non-fiction!).

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3.¬†My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella¬†//¬†Confessions of a Shopaholic will always have a special place in my heart, and I’ve heard wonderful things about Sophie Kinsella’s most recent release. It looks right up my alley, and light enough for a travel read. Plus, it’s set in London – one of my study abroad locations!

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4.¬†The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza¬†// I started this one earlier in 2017 as well, and only got 10% through before I got busy again (are you seeing a trend here?). It’s totally got a¬†Devil Wears Prada¬†vibe, and I loved what I read so far. Books/movies set in New York with a woman working in the fashion/magazine industry is straight-up my guilty pleasure.

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5. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne // Competition in the publishing industry? YES. This one sounds like such a fun read, and the rave reviews have me really curious and wanting to pick this one up. Plus, how darling is that cover?

Crossing my fingers I’ll be able to get around to these five books before 2017 ends – now that this list is on my blog, maybe I’ll be held accountable for it?

What do you plan on picking up before the end of the year?

winter break reading list

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Hello!

This past fall quarter, I wasn’t able to pick up a single book to read, what with school, extracurriculars, and social life. I couldn’t even make myself invest in an audiobook.

The cure? I read a ton of books over my winter break (or, rather, starting the day I finished my last final exam), and today I wanted to share what reads they were!

I ended up trekking to the Seattle Public Library with my friend Hannah (who’s also a bookworm ūüėć !) and we picked up a ton of books – we looked so ridiculous walking out, our handbags bulging with the many hardcovers. But hey,¬†indulge.

The first book I picked up was The Vacationers¬†by Emma Straub. I read half of this one earlier in September, but didn’t finish it because sorority recruitment started and by then, i18641982t was too late. I started from the beginning again and read it straight through.

One sentence summary from Goodreads: “An irresistible, deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family‚Äôs two-week stay in Mallorca.”¬†The Vacationers has some pretty mixed reviews on¬†Goodreads, and I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. Straub’s writing style is witty and funny, and the sass in some of her characters really shined through. I thought she did a fantastic job portraying¬†a dysfunctional family and exploring the nooks and crannies of the different types. I’m a huge fan of¬†The Vacationers.

The thing I love about winter break is that once you finish one book, you’re kind of on a grind and you’re allowed to pick up another book immediately. Keep in mind I was still without internet at this point, so it was the perfect time to binge-read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

Going into this one, I had super high expectations: A Little Life was a National Book Award finalist and based on some book reviewers I follow, they had said this would be their favorite book of the year. 22822858

I’m not even going to tell you what it’s about because it’s one of those books to best go in blind. It’ll hit you full-force for sure. I’m not sure how I finished this 700-page book in the course of 6 days, because it is¬†emotional, filled with heavy topics, and will probably leave you a little distraught. It’s most definitely not for the light-hearted – brace yourself. It’s also one of the most depressing but beautiful books I’ve read because Yanagihara somehow – somehow –¬†captured the questions and many nuances of life that I’ve never even wondered about. I love how much¬†A Little Life made me think.¬†I would say it’s my favorite book of the year, but it was just so sad.

Following A Little Life, I returned to another of Emma Straub’s:¬†Modern Lovers.¬†My friend had enjoyed¬†Modern Lovers more than¬†The Vacationers, but personally, I still liked¬†The 27209486Vacationers more.¬†Modern Lovers follows two families who used to be linked by a college band, and now live just a few minutes from each other.

Straub’s stories always take a little while to sink and and become addicting, but once the reader gets past a certain point, the story is un-put-down-able.¬†Modern Lovers has Straub’s same wit and humor, as well as the detailed plot points that all tie in together in the end. For me, the characters were a little less nuanced than I liked, which is probably why I enjoyed¬†The Vacationers more.

My last book I read Рokay, I finished it after winter break ended, but I read the majority of it during my break Рwas The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I love WWII stories, and I had only heard amazing things about it, like how it is comparable to All the Light We Cannot See, one of my favorite (if not my favorite) books of all time. You could say I had high expectations.

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The Nightingale primarily follows the plot of two sisters who grow apart during the war in Paris due to lack of family connection in the past, but the struggles of the war bring them together over time.¬†The Nightingale had its moments: the imagery, the heartfelt moments – but it was just okay for me. I didn’t feel all the emotions I wanted to like I did in¬†All the Light We Cannot See, and Hannah’s prose wasn’t breathtaking like everyone said it was. But overall, it’s still a decent story if you’re in need of a WWII historical fiction fix.

That’s all I read over my winter break! I’d say that’s pretty productive, right? Nothing like my history of reading voraciously, but I count it as a victory. I’m not sure when I’ll be picking up a book next – probably over spring break – but for now, I hope you all pick up one of these reads in the meantime!

Have a great week,

Jen

what i read in august

Happy September!!

Today I’m bringing you the books I read in August. August was a weird reading month for me; in past years, I’ve been able to finish 10+ books in August because it’s like the last final sprint before school starts back up, but I was¬†in school during August, and then when I went home, I wasn’t in the mood to read tons and tons of books like I usually do.

I made some more progress with my summer reading list that I made at the beginning of the summer, though! Check out what I read:

what i read in august

1.¬†Caraval by Stephanie Garber //¬†I ate this one up! This magical realism/fantasy novel reminiscent of¬†The Night Circus was fast-paced and really fun. It’s pretty heavy on the romance, but I enjoyed it. I can’t wait for the sequel! Look out for this one in January of 2017.

2. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland //¬†I was totally in the mood for an angsty YA contemporary and this one delivered exactly that. While I think Sutherland tried too hard to mimic John Green’s style and the characters were a little wonky, this one was just what I needed for a quick fix of YA.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling // I finally finished up my audio re-read of this series and I am SO SAD. But it was just in time for the newly released Harry Potter book that came out on July 31st!

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4. Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven // I never read Niven’s¬†All the Bright Places, but I decided to pick this one up by her because the premise was pretty controversial (read the summary here!). Upon finishing it, I felt pretty conflicted. I think it’s an important read but also some parts of high school and being a teenager just wasn’t captured correctly.

5. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills // Talk about being pleasantly surprised! I wasn’t expecting to like this one as much as I did. Mills has a way with creating really well-developed characters, especially Sloane. This girl has SASS, y’all! Overall super cute and I loved the exploration Mills does. Definitely look for this one in October!

6. Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins // I’m so happy I was able to pick this one up before the summer ended! If you didn’t know, Stephanie Perkins is one of my favorite authors ever, and she also edited the YA winter romance anthology,¬†My True Love Gave to Me. I liked a lot of the stories in this one, and the best part? The diversity of the romances!

7. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and more // Really kind of disappointed about this one. I’m happy to be reading about the wizarding world again, but it just went in a direction that I didn’t like/expect – and it’s not because it was unexpected that I didn’t like it, I just didn’t think this story was even necessary.

8. Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare and more // I had been meaning to read the novellas for a long time, so I’m actually kind of glad I waited for this bind up of all ten novellas to come out! These novellas were very cohesive and were great to read. Clare did a lot more exploration with side characters, which I love! And the appearance of some old characters made me all nostalgic again.

What did you read in August?

 

changing reading tastes

Hi friends!

I hope y’all are getting through the dog days of summer alright! Today is my LAST day of summer classes and as you’re reading this, I’m probably taking my exam or I already finished it! WHEW!

Today I wanted to talk about something that’s been prominent in my life lately. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know that I’m a huge reader and that this blog initially started out as a Young Adult book blog. I started reading Young Adult fiction around 8th grade, and was a heavy YA reader for all four years of high school. I had never been so infatuated with something enough to want to talk about it with anyone and everyone – thus the start of my blogging journey.

But recently, especially after finishing freshman year of college, I’ve noticed something, something so slight that has actually been happening all year. I think I’ve grown out of the Young Adult genre. I didn’t think this would ever really happen. I mean, yes, you grow out of picture books at around 2nd or 3rd grade and move onto Chapter Books, and then you move onto the Middle Grade genre once you hit 4th or 5th grade. You grow out of Middle Grade fiction and move onto Young Adult – all that wonderful romance and teen angst stuff.

But growing out of the Young Adult genre? It seemed like an impossible thing. ¬†I think as young adults, we’re exposed to the Young Adult genre but also to the adult genre simultaneously with required reading at school (the classics). In high school, I read about 80% YA, 10% New Adult, and 10% Adult/Classics.

Now? Now, when I walk into bookstores, I’m always checking out the Adult bestsellers. I’ve been purchasing even¬†nonfiction books. Never in a million years did I think I’d be reading non-fiction for¬†fun.

There’s a lot of reasons why I’ve “grown out” of the Young Adult genre. Once I had started freshman year at college, it was really difficult to relate to a lot of the high school characters in YA books, especially in contemporary. Being back in the high school setting just didn’t give me the same thrill as it had before. In fact, it was actually kind of annoying and just boring to read about high school when my real-life environment had moved on. It gave me the mentality that I had to move on with my reading tastes as well.

It’s a little different with YA fantasy and sci-fi since there’s a lot less emphasis on high school, but even then, sometimes the main character’s narration just feels young or juvenile. It’s a sad but true reality of mine. It’s just more difficult to empathize with 17 year-olds after experiencing college for a year.

Another reason why I’ve “grown out” of the YA genre is something that hit me when I was at a networking dinner a few months ago. I was talking to a professional from a Big Four accounting firm (also my mentor) and another fellow student who was also networking. It was a networking dinner, so people were making small talk while also appearing professional in little groups. My mentor had started talking about these books with my fellow peer, books I had heard of but had never read. These books were adult classics, but mostly financial business-y books, so what did you expect? Of course I hadn’t read these books, I solely read YA!¬†I nodded along after they discussed each book. SO. AWKWARD. One of the most cringe-worthy situations you can get yourself into. Seriously. It went something like this:

“Hey, have you read xx?”
“I’ve heard of that book! I haven’t read it though. It seems great, I’ve heard awesome things!”
“Oh okay. You should read it. You’ll learn a lot.”
“Okay.”

…. And that’s it. That’s where the conversation ends. There I was, nodding along, saying I had¬†heard of the book, but haven’t read it. And then there was my mentor easily chatting up my peer who had read an abundance of business books. The sad truth is, if you want to relate to older adults who will further you personally and professionally (I’m speaking from a business major’s perspective, keep in mind! If you’re an English major, this is probably different), you’ll need to start reading the books everyone is talking about, i.e. the business books.

This is why I’ve recently picked up pretty much all of Malcolm Gladwell‘s books. That’s not all I’ve picked up though – I’ve also picked up a lot of Adult fiction. Another sad truth: a lot of adults who read for fun probably aren’t reading Young Adult fiction. Most likely, they’re reading Adult fiction.

I’m completely against the theory that the Young Adult genre is only for teens, but a lot of adults read Adult fiction more often than Young Adult fiction. As an aspiring business professional, I care about my career first. Therefore, I have the obligation to pick up the books that will benefit me the most next time I’m at a networking event.

Sure, I’ll still pick up YA every once in awhile – in fact, I had just read a super teen-angsty John-Green wannabe book that was just what I needed after reading a series of “intellectual” non-fiction/adult books. I think it’s important to have a great mix of genres under your belt because giving recommendations are always fun, but I think my ratios of reading genres are going to change drastically within the next few years. In fact, looking at the books I’ve read for 2016, only 65% of them were YA/MG. The other 35%? Either Adult Fiction or Non-fiction. Crazy, right?

What I’m curious to know is, do you think you’ll grow out of the Young Adult genre?¬†Have you grown out of the YA genre? I’m also curious to find out if, in a decade or two, once I’ve settled into a well-paying job and have free time and no one I need to “impress”, will I revert back to Young Adult as my go-to reads?