I have mostly accepted that I won’t be completing the PopSugar Reading Challenge that I undertook at the beginning of the year. I can’t say that I’m sad about it. The end of this year, and indeed most this year has been odd intense and filled with challenge, not the reading kind. There have been new jobs, travel, health concerns among family members, and an unrelenting pace at work. At second glance I saw that could have completed the regular part of the challenge, without the extended prompts, but there are other more pressing projects where I have decided to focus my efforts.
Now that I’m freeing my schedule of the remaining challenge books, I am free to look at my shelves and fill up my list with some books new and old that I am looking forward too reading. Gayle and I just recorded and aired a podcast on the books we said we’d read but haven’t quite been able to get through. I have copied out a more exhaustive list in my notebook, but here are a couple of the books I would’ve to get through before the end of the year.
Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois
Malcolm Gladwell references the Amanda Knox case in his new book and it got me to thinking about how long I have been wanting to read Jennifer Dubois’s Cartwheel. Loosely based on the Knox case, the novel follows the life of a college student accused of killing her roommate in Buenos Aires.
The Other’s Gold by Elizabeth Ames
I’ve already started this appealing novel about the enduring friendship between four college friends (each of whom is the second born child in their family). I started reading this for the BookBabesNYC Book Club (thanks to Lydia Hirt for my copy!) and I am eager to discuss with Gabe after I finish as she has read it too. The central conceit is that each of the young ladies does something or has a secret reprehensible action that changes the course of her life. Each section reveals the actions of a different friend. As I started reading I felt like the narrative was a little clunky and cluttered as Ames tries to flesh out an establish the intense friendships between the women, but as I get to know the girls and their relationships more, I am settling in the story.
Talking To Strangers: What We Should Know About The People You Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell
It’s been years since I’ve read a book by Malcolm Gladwell. I’ve run into him in our West Village neighborhood in the intervening years since reading his last book. Gladwell says this particular foray into how we misunderstand each other its myriad effects on our lives and interactions grew out of his obsession with the tragic death of Sandra Bland in Texas. I’m curious too learn his findings, though I have my own (probably less forgiving) theories on the same subject.
The Grace Year by Kim Ligget
I don’t read as much YA as I did once upon a time, but this novel that gets a comp to The Handmaid’s Tale caught my attention. I’m so curious about the crop of novels exploring the ways that women (young women especially) are stripped of their powers and otherwise contained for the sake of society. One only has to look to the news and the machinations of certain state governments to see the rampant fear of women. In this novel, young women reaching the age of 16 are banished for a year to release their magic and the lure of their temptation. After that they are brought back, drained of their power, and ready to be married off. Menacingly the jacket copy warns that not all the girls come back from their grace year.
Grand Union by Zadie Smith
Not the biggest fan of short stories, but making an exception for Zadie Smith. The jacket copy proclaims her using “her power of observation and her inimitable voice to mine the fraught and complex experience of life in the modern world.” I love the sound of this.
+ A list of every book I’ve read this year.
+ Go to (mostly) natural skincare products.
+ The most perfect bubble bath (the scent is heavenly!)