What I Read: August 2019
COOKING FOR JEFFREY: A BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK by Ina Garten – Look, I get that this is a cookbook, but I read every single part that was not a recipe and found it so interesting. I knew Ina was a successful lady, but I learned more about her journey to Barefoot Contessa and ultimately writing cookbooks. The recipes were a little too involved for me, but if Ina ever wrote an autobiography, I would happily read it.
The FARM by Joanne Ramos - Blah, I was so excited for this one. I kept seeing it on lists of “Books You Have to Read this Summer” so I quickly added it to my library queue and waited. The plotline had so much potential and gave me voluntary handmaid vibes. The quick plot is that Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines is trying to make a better life for herself and her young baby in America. Her aunt tells her about Golden Oaks where ‘hosts’ carry babies for the elite. This book was trying so hard to touch on everything – race, immigration, socioeconomic status, and it did so but with no impact. I thought the author did a good job of telling the perspective of each main character but other than that I don’t have too many positives to say about this one.
THE HUNTING PARTY by Lucy Foley – I will admit, I read this only because I was waiting on other books to come in from the library. My colleague gave me this and she didn’t seem too thrilled by it and neither did another colleague that read it. Still, I had nothing to read so I gave it a go. A group of thirtysomething friends from college come together to celebrate the New Year together, a tradition they have done since they were students. The story takes place in the Scottish Highlands but a historic blizzard hits and shuts the lodge off from the outside world. On New Year’s Day one of the group is dead – cue drama of trying to figure out whodunnit. Like The Couple Next Door, the author was trying entirely too hard to put so much drama into the story. This also jumped perspectives too much for my liking and because some characters were not properly introduced it was confusing at first trying to figure out whose POV you were reading. It helped pass the time while I waited on my other books but that was about it.
THE BOOK OF ESSIE by Meghan MacLean Weir -Would y’all believe this was yet another book where each chapter changed POV? I can’t believe I got three of these in a row but at least in The Book of Essie there were only 3. Esther Ann Hicks--Essie--is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon (think that weird Duggar family). She has grown up in the spotlight and is either loved or hated due to her family’s fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. Essie falls pregnant and her mother begins to deal with the situation from a business-perspective showing the reader how caring of a mother she is. While her mother brainstorms on how to handle the pregnancy on the show Essie sets her sights on Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. I read this in 2 days because I could not put it down to see what Essie would do to find out the truth about why her sister left home and what her and Roarke’s next moves would be.
YOU ARE A BADASS AT MAKING MONEY: MASTER THE MINDSET OF WEALTH by Jen Sincero – Like most people, I could be better with my money and would like more of it. I liked this book because it wasn’t all talk about what percent you should be spending on this or that, retirement plans or Roth IRAs. On the other hand, I felt like some of her tips made no sense and she left a lot up to the universe. I am someone who believes in the power of visualization, but I also believe in getting off your ass and working to make your visions come true. I just don’t think ‘self-help’ books are for me!
ROCKING THE SYSTEM: FEARLESS AND AMAZING IRISH WOMEN WHO MADE HISTORY by Siobhán Parkinson – Full disclosure: I had no idea this was a children’s book until I went to request it from my library online and saw it was labelled as so. But you know what? I learned so much reading this and thoroughly enjoyed it. This book (and the gorgeous illustrations) explore twenty essays on Irish women, historical and contemporary, who have defied cultural norms around femininity and achieved great things. The collection celebrates the role of women in Ireland's changing society. Yes, it was written a bit simply, but I loved it! I would have eaten something like this up in elementary school because I have always loved history. Did anyone else read else read those Dear America books when they were little? This kind of reminded me of those and I always checked those out from the school library. I think this would be a great addition to any child’s little library!
WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens – For years, rumours of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. In late 1969, when handsome and popular Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. The locals do not know Kya though; she is intelligent and sensitive and has survived on her own since she was a young girl. As she grows, she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens. This is one of the best books I have ever read. I want everyone (especially southerners!) to read this and I want it to be put on every high school reading list. I really felt like I knew Kya by the end of the book. I CRIED when I was done with this because it was that good. If you read one book from this list, make it this one.
*all images original to Candid Alexandra