I have (still) been in a reading slump. I read one book that was so incredible that it kind of feels like nothing else I’ve picked up has really been able to compare! I’m trying to get back into it but honestly, I’m just in a slump overall right now, so I’m not feeling bad about it. All it will take for me is one book that is so riveting that I can’t put it down – I just have to find the right book!
Anyway – here’s what I read in January.
One of my friends told me about this book after a group of us were sharing dream real estate listings, and I knew that I had to read it. It’s a fun memoir that looks at her life through real estate phases, and the journey to finally be whole and feel like yourself just by finding the absolute perfect piece of real estate. It’s funny to think how much emphasis we put on our surroundings and how much we’re shaped by them.
This was a bit of a psychological mindtwist! Tessa is a PhD student at Oxford, where Chris is her advisor. Early on, she learns that Chris has been sabotaging her recommendation letters to keep her at Oxford and with him. The rest of the book is kind of a game of not knowing who knows what, and Tessa hiding what she does know from Chris – kind of an academic cat and mouse. I liked it, but sometimes wanted to scream at Tessa for some of the choices that she was making.
I think of this as a coming-of-age story mixed with a warning against social media. Jenny is a stereotypical millenial – very focused on her online presence and how people perceive her, often to the detriment of her actual, real, in-person life. She becomes obsessed with her posts, and specifically, how they’ll be seen by one specific influencer. The format of the book changes between narrative stream of consciousness to text message exchanges and e-mails – sometimes it was a little hard to follow at first, but I got used to it. Sometimes it felt a little bit too anti social media to me, but I’m sure we can all use a reminder that it’s okay to be a little less online.
This was, by FAR, my favorite book of the month, and I’m sure it will be on my “best books of 2022” list at the end of the year, even though it’s only January. Olga is a wedding planner – a bit of an outlier in a family where her parents were revolutionaries and her brother is a congressman. While she’s amazing at planning weddings for the ultra rich, she has struggles opening up in her own relationships. Olga’s mother left to continue to her work as a revolutionary, and that abandonment did a number on her, though she still desperately seeks her mother’s approval. I loved this book because it’s about so many things all at once – about culture and identity, about family, about politics, and even about love, too, when Olga meets Matteo and has to decide if it’s time to open up and let someone in. You should absolutely read this one!
I got an ARC of this through NetGalley – it’s out on July 19, 2022. If you watched The White Lotus on HBO, that’s kind of what this book reminded me of. Kit and Keith are newlyweds, and are given the chance to have their honeymoon at a super discount at the opulent and infamous “Pink Hotel” in LA, as a sort of rial run for Keith working there. Because Kit and Keith are straddling the line between guests and staff, they see both sides of the hotel – the ultra rich guests living out the wildest, most exorbitant fantasies (often unhappily), and the staff who works hard to make it all happen, seemingly effortlessly. Keith wants nothing more than for this to become their future, but Kit is less sure that this is what she wants in life. When you add in literal raging wildfires right outside the hotel’s confines, it all begins to seem like a powder keg about to explode.
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