My Shelf: Current + Recent Reads

I haven’t blogged about books since March.

But, I promise you, I have been reading a lot of books since March! In fact, I’ve read eleven books since March, and have four more on my “Currently Reading” list on GoodReads (though two don’t totally count – I’ll explain in a bit), and I’m about to go pick up a fifth.

First, you may remember back in February when I introduced my new online book club, Celebri-Reads. This has still be happening and has been SO MUCH FUN the past few months. In fact, the fifth book I’m about to add to my “Currently Reading” list is our July book – Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming.

Here’s what our book club has recently read (or is about to/are currently reading this month):

Covers of six books: Carrie Fisher - Wishful Drinking, Lauren Graham - Talking As Fast As I Can, Trevor Noah - Born a Crime, Neil Patrick Harris - Choose Your Own Autobiography, Misty Copeland - Life in Motion, Alan Cumming - Not My Father's Son.
Celebri-Read Book Club Selections, February – July 2019

My favorite so far was Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. My least favorite, which was surprising to me, was Lauren Graham’s Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between). During our discussions, we realized distance was probably a main factor here. In Noah’s book, he was far removed from the stories he was telling, and the people he was talking about, which gave him the freedom to be very transparent. In Graham’s book, however, it felt like she was playing it a bit close to the vest, and her over-effusive praise of her co-workers felt less genuine and more “I’m a working actress in Hollywood, so I’ve gotta be nice to everybody.” Which is completely understandable, but doesn’t always make for a compelling read.

I’ve also read a handful of fiction since March (Romance, YA, and…”Thriller”?) and two non-fiction/personal development-y books. Most of the books I just felt “meh” about.

I started the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard – liked the first book, felt like the second one dragged, and haven’t moved on in the series. I read Truly, Madly, Guilty by Lianne Moriarty and am strongly questioning why so many people like her books…did I just pick a bad one to start with?

I read The Songbird Sisters by Rachael Herron which showed me that, yes, I do actually like reading contemporary romance (which I’d started to discover late last year, if you remember). This time, The Songbird Sisters had a bit more darkness in the backstory than I was expecting from a fluffy rom-com, but it was compelling and well-written and I enjoyed it.

In the non-fiction/PD realm, I do highly recommend Grit: The Power of Passion and Perserverance by Angela Duckworth. It’s very research/statistics/qualitative analysis heavy, but if the subject interests you (or you’re academically-inclined like I am), I think you’ll enjoy it. Her writing style makes everything easily comprehensible – it doesn’t read like a textbook.

As for my “Currently Reading” shelf, I say two don’t count because one is a cookbook I’m working my way through/learning from, and the other is a book of short stories that I’ve been taking with me when I go to the wineries by myself which, honestly, I just haven’t done much of lately. The other two books I’m reading, though, do count:

A black bookcase with the spines of books and knick-knacks (like candles) visible and a Kindle opened to show two book covers: Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown, and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.

(1) Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. According to my Kindle, I am 48% complete with this book, and I am hooked. I’m also so excited now that I know Hulu is making a mini-series with Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon and Joshua Jackson. Though, it’s funny, because a part of my brain will always see and know and love Joshua Jackson as Pacey Whitter, so the fact that he is playing the dad and not the moody (ha! – if you’ve read the book, you get why this is funny) teenager is throwing me a bit.

(2) Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown. This is my first Brene Brown book, which I decided to check out as soon as I watched her Netflix special The Call to Courage. I’ve heard that this isn’t her best work, but it was the one with the shortest hold list at my library, so I went with what I could get my hands on right away. I’ve only read the first chapter, but much like I felt with her Netflix special, I really like her candor and style, backed by academic research, so I’m enjoying it so far.

And, as I mentioned above, I’m heading to the library later today to pick up my next Celebri-Reads book, Not My Father’s Son.

What have you been reading lately? Anything I should add to my ever-growing TBR pile? Comment below or tweet me at @ThatColette with your ideas and suggestions!

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Writer who loves dogs, wine, and pop culture. First novel in process. She/her.