50 Books in 52 Weeks (#21-30)

21. How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker

Quick read about an overweight girl who signs up for a weight loss reality show. I picked it up because it sounded like an interesting story line, but all of the secondary characters were completely two-dimensional and the ending was AWFUL. One of the worst I’ve read in a while. My first one-star rating on Goodreads.

22. MFA vs NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction by Chad Harbach

Reading Stephen King’s story on how to write really got me interested in the entire writing culture, of which Harbach identifies two routes to publication, both that come with their own challenges. His book was really an anthology of short chapters written by accomplished writers and publicists. Good insight for any aspiring writers.

23. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

I LOVED Me Before You but was disappointed by Moyes’ sequel, After You. I wanted to believe that it was just a fluke, that she set herself up to fail because some stories aren’t meant to be extended. But I was also underwhelmed by this novel, which means I’ll probably hold off any Moyes books for awhile.

24. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

I’ve seen the movie at least five times, but never got around to reading the book. I don’t know which I liked better. Both were good, but both were different from each other (for example, in the book, Andy is sort of friends with the other assistant). I prefer Miranda Priestly in the movie (Meryl Streep is phenomenal!) but the book includes lots of little details the film cannot.

25. I Just Graduated … Now What? Honest Answers from Those Who Have Been There by Katherine Schwarzenegger

In one of the many moments of What am I doing with my life? since I moved here, my roommate had this book sitting on her shelf and I decided to give it a go. It was a collection of essays from famous people who struggled through the first few post-college years and now are super successful. Not as comforting as I would have liked. Learned very little since each person’s advice contradicted the others’.

26. Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult

I think I’ve read this Picoult book before, but it’s been years, so it felt like I was re-reading it. Does that count for my book goal? I won’t make it a habit, I promise, but I’ve always been a big fan of her books.

27. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food  by Jennifer 8. Lee

Lee writes: “Our benchmark for Americanness is apple pie, but ask yourself: How often do you eat apple pie? How often do you eat Chinese food?” She spends the next, oh, four hundred pages finding out.

28. Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

I had high, high hopes for this one. One of my top 10 favorite books of all-time is another McCreight book, Finding Amelia. This paled in comparison. It had a good set-up: a murer-mystery and a small-town reporter trying to figure it out. But the three different points of view got too confusing. And not enough backstory was provided. I rated it 2/5 stars.

29. The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida

I’m pretty sure this is the first book I’ve read that’s set in second person. I found it interesting, but also exasperating because you want to know more about the character you’re reading, but you can’t really because it’s about you. The plot was interesting — a Florida woman travels to Morocco where her passport and credit cards are stolen, so she has no poof of her identity. (She obviously didn’t take the US State Department’s advice and make several copies of all of her proofs of identification). She senses the hotel and police department are in on the theft, so she assumes several different identities on her trip. Super quick read, like 200 pages, but nothing I will remember or want to re-read.

30. Evicted by Matthew Desmond

A sociologist follows eight families through Milwaukee for a year chronicling how eviction impacts every aspect of their lives. Loved his detail of the city (it made me want to go back so badly!) and how he wove research into the narrative.  Anyone who cares anything about urban policy should read this book because it brought attention to issues that I didn’t even know were policy issues.


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