Spring/Summer 2019 Reads

It’s been a while since I last posted about the books I’ve read but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading whenever possible! Below is quick recap.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer – This was cute. I’m a little surprised it won the Pulitzer Prize but it was lighthearted and funny. Lesson: Be who you are and don’t always fight things because they may be meant to be.
Rating: 3.5/5

Maid by Stephanie Land – Not a huge fan of this one. I get it that it’s really hard working as a single mother without a degree or family support and the system is broken in supporting those people but it seemed like a sob story I’ve heard before. Rating: 2/5

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt – It was your typical psychological thriller. It was a quick read and entertaining enough but nothing too deep or unique. Rating: 2/5

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – Another psychological thriller but I liked this one more. It definitely twisted unexpectedly at the end. Rating: 3/5

Why You Eat What You Eat: The Science Behind Our Relationship with Food by Rachel Herz – I don’t read a ton of non-fiction but I really liked this book. It was interesting to me. I took a bunch of notes and key takeaways, so I’ll do a separate post on this one. Rating: 5/5

Old Baggage by Lisaa Evans – I bought this book when I was in London because I really like British humor. It was a cute book and had enjoyable, strong women protagonists with personality. Rating: 3.5/5

Normal People by Sally Rooney – I LOVED this book. I felt like I got to know the two main characters and the whole time I was rooting for timing to align and for them to be together. Rating: 5/5

Circe by Madeline Miller – I liked mythology in high school so I figured I’d give this one a shot since it was high on the best seller list and I also surprising really enjoyed it. I got pretty into it and sped-read through it. Rating: 5/5

Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak – It was another psychological thriller but of the other two above, I like this one the most. The first half or even three quarters of the book was really good and I didn’t want to put it down, but then it lost its momentum and the ending was only so-so. Overall still a good book though. Rating: 4/5

The Winter Sister by Megan Collins – I’m pretty sure my mom loaned me this one that she got from Book of the Month club. It is a thriller but personally I thought it was a little slow-going and somewhat uneventful. Rating: 1.5/5

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – Hmm I guess I’ve read a lot of psychological thrillers lately though it’s not my fav genre. This one was actually pretty good but it did seem to draw on a bit towards the end. Rating: 3/5

Recursion by Blake Crouch – I loved Dark Matter by this author so I was really looking forward to this one. I still really liked it though it dragged on a bit at the end. I lent it to Kevin to read since he likes Sci-Fi, but he wasn’t impressed. He said it was too much like a combination of 2 or 3 other plot lines we’ve already seen like Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. Rating: 3.5/5

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson – I listened to this one on audio book while we were on a rattling bus for hours at a time in Madagascar and I really enjoyed it. It made me feel motivated to go running and to push myself hearing about all of the studies and personal stories Hutchinson covers throughout the book. Overall it’s a great book on pushing the body to its limits and how a lot of it is mental strength. I know with science it’s all about experiments and theories but that’s the main thing I didn’t like about the book; a lot of the conclusions were like it worked for this person but not proven for everyone kind of thing and I personally love firmer conclusions/takeaways. Rating: 4/5

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – Wowzers. This book was a lot. In more than one way. Not only was the book super long (814 pages to be exact), but it was filled with so much trauma. It was heartbreaking reading it (I literally had a pit in my stomach half the time) and the author did an excellent job of unpacking what happened to the main character, Jude, in his youth and integrating the reader with his very tight-knit group of friends. Despite being a heavy read, I highly recommend it. At one point I did think that the continuing tragedies Jude faced were almost too far-fetched (or maybe he’s one of the most unlikely people out there), but overall still a great novel. Rating: 5/5

Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads On Managing Yourself – My She Runs It mentor recommended this one. Not all of the articles were relevant but overall I’m really glad I read it and I think I took away some valuable lessons/insights. I think almost anyone could take away some good nuggets of info from it so, Rating: 4.5/5

Where did the first half of the year go!?

The beginning of 2019 started off with a bang with a lot of traveling. I spent the first few weekend traveling, and things never really slowed down from there. I’ve been trying to write this damn blog post for months now. Seeing as it’s almost July now, I’m just going to do a summary of what I’ve been up to.

After my awesome holiday in the Amazon (which already feels like a lifetime ago), I started the New Year with a work sales summit in Orlando the end of January, a trip to London, Vegas, and work trip to Philly. I also had a work trip in LA.

Highlights of LA – Kev and I visited both Y7 studios in Melrose and Silver Lake, we ran 5 miles up Griffith Observatory, went to the LA County Museum of Modern Art (LACMA), and had brunch at two amazing spots, Crossroads and Little Pine. I of course had to balance a lot of work out with some indulgences, so I had ice cream at Salt & Straw and Kiddos Creamery which were both delish.

A few weeks later in February, Kev and I spent President’s Day weekend in Aspen with friends. We had a blast skiing. On April 4th Kev and I celebrated our 2-year anniversary and he took me to see To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway with Jeff Daniels. It was SO good.

We celebrated my 31st birthday in Mexico. It was just for a long weekend but it was a blast. We stayed at Mi Amor, a Colibri Boutique Hotel. One day we went scuba diving and one day we explored old ruins.

Over Memorial Day weekend I visited my family in Michigan. It was nice because I got to have dinner with my immediate family to catch up, my dad and I played golf one morning and I went running at the newly redone High School track with my mom, and we celebrated my grandpa’s 88th birthday with the extended family at the lake.

The beginning of June we celebrated a friend’s birthday in Sea Island, Georgia. It was my first time to Sea Island and I LOVED it. He rented a cabana at the adult-only pool one day and we had two nice 3-course dinners. We stayed at The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club, a luxury 5-star resort. Not only was our room huge, they brought large fresh baked cookies by our bedside every evening. One evening we also did a boat ride that left at The Cloister and I’d love to stay there next time.

We’ve also been enjoying the city while we’re in town. We went to a few vegan festivals in the city and tried new foods and products, we’ve been trying out new fitness studios including Precision Run, SolidCore, Barry’s Bootcamp, and Hackd, and 4U Fitness, we went on a graffiti and street art tour in Brooklyn with Graff Tours, and I took Kev to a show at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn to see Cillian Murphy in Grief is the Thing with Feathers which was weird but his performance was great.

Gaga in Vegas

A few weeks ago at the end of January, I fly to Las Vegas for the weekend with Kevin to meet up with my parents. We were only there for less than 48 hours so we had a jam-packed weekend of activities. Kev and I stayed at the Encore in Wynn because it’s nice but also because we wanted to go to the Encore which is our favorite spa.

We landed in Vegas on Friday night and had one night cap with my parents. We had an appointment at the Encore spa bright and early the next morning. We had an amazing, relaxing time. Not only was the massage great it was also nice having my mom there so I had some company while soaking in the Jacuzzi pool. It was also just as rewarding to see how much my mom enjoyed the whole experience.

My mom hamin’ it up

On Saturday night we saw Lady Gage perform at her Enigma tour. That was the main reason we went to Vegas–I bought my mom the concert tickets as a Christmas/Mother’s Day gift. We were general admission but there were seriously the best standing seats in the house because we were so close. Lady Gaga is such an amazing performer and she’s just as good live as on her album or on TV. I feel especially lucky to have gone to her show on that particular night because Bradley Cooper was there and he went on stage at the end to perform “Shallows” with her!!!

On Sunday morning we slept in, had lunch, then walked around for a bit before Kev and I headed to the airport to fly back to NYC. I’m not a huge fan of Vegas because I’m not a gambler and I hate the smell of cigarette smoke, but it is definitely fun for a weekend. I was there for the right amount of time and it was nice catching up with my parents.

London – Jan 2019

Banksy

Kev and I spent a long weekend over MLK weekend in London this year. We flew to London after work on Thursday and got there on Friday morning. I knew we were going to be tired so I intentionally planned a day light on activities, so we just had a relaxing afternoon tea at The Wolseley. The Wolseley was recommended to us by a few people so I was really looking forward to it, but I actually wasn’t very impressed. We’ve been to a lot of afternoon teas that I’ve really enjoyed but I can’t say I’ll go back to The Wolseley. The afternoon tea there wasn’t particularly good–there weren’t many tea selections and the pastries and sandwiches weren’t anything special, and the ambiance was noisy and not particularly inviting.

Afternoon tea at The Wolseley

We stayed at Le Méridien in Piccadilly which was a great location fairly central to all the activities we had planned throughout the weekend. After afternoon tea we headed back to the hotel but stopped in Waterstones Book Store first which is across the street from the hotel. I LOVE Waterstones. It’s seriously the best book store ever because it’s spacious, has a huge selection, and it’s well organized. We had fun browsing and even picked up a few books.

Afternoon tea in Hotel Cafe Royal’s Oscar Wilde Lounge

On Saturday morning we went to find coffee and ended up finding a good doughnut spot called Crosstown in Piccadilly that had tasty vegan doughnuts! We spent the rest of the morning having a blast shopping. I got a nice outfit from Max Mara and a beautiful scarf and corset belt from Alexander McQueen. After our little shopping trip we walked to Hotel Cafe Royal for afternoon tea in the Oscar Wilde Lounge. I originally picked this spot because they’re all about pairing the scents with food but it ended up being my favorite spot because not only was the ambiance amazing with the gold ceiling and mirrored walls and a feeling of regaleness and intimacy, but the tea selection was amazing and the food was good. I even got a little Diptyque candle to take home 🙂 The Celestine was some of the best tea I’ve ever tasted. It’s made of Madagascan vanilla pods and roasted cocoa nibs in a velvety Chinese black tea. I still dream about this tea! It was so good that Kev got a pot as well.

On Saturday night we saw True West on West End starring Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) and Johnny Flyn (Beast). The play was okay. I think the acting was good but the story line wasn’t that exciting, and frankly, I was confused about the ending. I actually heard during intermission that a few people were nodding off because of the slow start. Johnny Flyn surprisingly stole the show in my opinion but that may have been due to the character he played. Kit Harington redeemed himself more in the second half.

One of my fav social commentary artists, Kai

On Sunday morning we took a spin class at Another Space via Classpass which was a nice way to feel like a true Londener while also getting a good workout in. After our workout we sprinted back to the hotel to shower before heading to Shoreditch for a walking street art tour. The street tour was awesome and I liked our guide. London has a lot of street art and it was interesting learning more about the key players and how in certain areas the artists have to pay the property owners to put art on the wall of their buildings (some of the art is so good I feel like it should be the other way around!) Kev and I saw one of Banksy’s more recent street art pieces when we were in Paris last year, but it was still really cool to see some more of his stuff in London. We got to see two of his pieces of work which was exciting.

Afternoon tea at Rosewood London’s Mirror Room

After our street art tour we booked it to afternoon tea at Mirror Room in Rosewood London. I intentionally booked afternoon tea at Mirror Room after the street art tour because their pastries are inspired by famous works of art. As their site says, the “Retro-inspired afternoon tea includes a selection of mouth-watering finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and loose leaf teas accompanied by the creative pastries. Be prepared to discover a sense of nostalgia inspired by Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup can, Malika Favre’s retro twister, and special retro wall art. In addition to the iconic cakes, enjoy a modern take on the classics, such as Ferrero Rocher and Jaffa cakes.”

The pastries at Mirror Room were creative indeed but they weren’t the best tasting. However, their finger sandwiches were the best I’ve ever had–so much so that we ordered seconds which I’ve never done. We also had a special tea pairing option which was fun. After afternoon tea we met up with one of my girlfriends and her husband at Soho House to catch up which was a nice way to end the trip.

Monday morning Kev and I took another class at Another Space but this time a yoga class. It wasn’t as good or challenging as the spin class we took the day before, but it was still good to stretch before our flight back to NYC.

Overall it was an amazing trip. London is one of my favorite places in the world, so I always have a blast there. To me it’s like a more laid-back version of NYC. One of my fav parts of London is the afternoon tea. Of the three new spots we tried on this trip, I would rank Hotel Cafe Royal first for its ambiance and tea, then Mirror Room second for it’s sandwiches, and then far behind The Wolseley. I can’t wait for our next trip back already to try some other spots!

2018 Christmas/New Years Eve in the Amazon

Kev and I planned a trip of a lifetime to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the Amazon Rainforest, the world’s largest equatorial forest on the planet extending into eight countries. We flew into Manaus, Brazil from Miami and stayed the night at the Hotel Tropical Manaus. In the morning we met the group of people we’d be spending the week with on a cruise aboard the Motor Yacht Tucano. The expedition cruise navigated upstream on the Rio Negro as far as a major river called the Rio Jauerperi, about 200 miles from Manaus, Brazil. Below is a map of our route.

The journey took us to many different rainforest habitats which allowed us to see a great diversity of wildlife. We did about three main activities each day each morning, afternoon and evening with our naturalist guides. Each day we walked in the forest and explored small streams that winded their way through into uninhabited interior in order to learn more about the flora and fauna and actually scout for the animals.

I had just as much fun on the day trips as the night trips because it enabled us to see different things. We saw animals including sloths, macaws, festive parrots, toucan, and giant otters during the day and different species of birds like owls, mice, snakes, and caiman in the evening. On the last day of the voyage we traveled to the “Encontra das Aguas”, the meeting of the waters of the world’s two largest rivers: The Amazon River and the Rio Negro. The light colored water of the Amazon and the dark water of the Negro do not readily mix and the two rivers flow side by side for many miles. It literally looked like what black coffee looks like when milk is poured in but not yet stirred.

I’m really glad our first trip to the Amazon was on the Rio Negro. The Rio Negro is a much more acidic river, therefore being home to less mosquitoes. It made it the ideal river to swim in without getting eaten alive. Also, even though there is greater density of wildlife on the Amazon river, there is more diversity of life on the Rio Negro.

After several days on the Tucano, it was nice to be on land. As soon as we got off the boat, we continued on our journey to Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge. It was about a 3 hours drive/110 miles from Manaus back into the thick of the jungle. Even though we were still on the Rio Negro, I’m glad we spent time at the Anavilhanas Lodge because it was a very different experience. The lodge was quite comfortable. My favorite part of our room was the screened sun room with two hanging hammocks. I enjoyed relaxing and reading in the hammock whenever we had a break each day.

My animal highlights from the trip include the following:
– Seeing a boa on a branch looming above a mouse obliviously eating a nut
– Swimming very close to Amazon river dolphins which are endemic to the Amazon
– Seeing an adorable baby sloth very close up on a low brand of a tree in a local village
– Coaxing a tarantula out of its nest
– Reading in the hammock in the sun room and watching a group of squirrel monkeys jump by right in front of us

Learning how to shoot a bow and arrow was a lot of fun too and swimming in the river with the river dolphins were two of my favorite activities. The most bizarre experience I had was getting locked in the zoo at the Hotel Tropical Manaus while waiting for our shuttle to the airport back to the U.S. but that’s a story for another day.

Some of the key animals we saw on the trip: caiman, Amazon river dolphins, sloths, macaws, Anis, howler monkeys, giant otters, hoatzin, kingfisher, sardine, squirrel monkeys, frog, boa, sting ray, vultures, tarantula, osprey, rusty-barred owl, sickle-winged nightjar, toucans, festive parrots, eagle, piranha, capybara

I often reminisce about me and Kev’s honeymoon trip to Boreno, and I didn’t think anything could top it, but the Amazon Rainforest is definitely up there. We both had an amazing time and got to see so many cool animals, and learned quite a bit too. I really appreciate that our guides took care to present the natural history of Amazonia without exaggeration (i.e. no feeding the animals to make sure we saw them). Everything was guided by the principles of minimum impact, responsible tourism and harmony with the local community. I hope we preserve this amazing place so many future generations have an opportunity to see these spectacular animals.

Winter 2018 Reads

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
It was a light easy, read that was entertaining.
Rating: 3/5

One Day in December by Josie Silver
It was a cute romance novel without being nauseating.
Rating: 3/5

No Exit by Taylor Adam
It was a pretty good suspense novel considering there were only a few characters in it.
Rating: 2.5/5

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I really enjoyed this novel; it was unique from anything else I’ve read. I really enjoyed the main character, Eleanor, however aloof. After reading it, I spent some time thinking about loneliness.
Rating: 5/5

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
I had this one downloaded on my Kindle for a few months but kept prioritizing other books before it. I’m glad I read it but it annoyed me. I don’t understand why the main character was obsessed about getting his wife back after being incarcerated even though he slept with other women.
Rating: 2/5

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
I recently read Boyne’s latest novel, A Ladder to the Sky, so when I saw this one in the book swap cabinet on the boat we stayed on in the Amazon, I picked it up. I’m very happy I did because I enjoyed this novel a lot. It was a bit long but entertaining none the less. I also like Boyne’s style of writing.
Rating: 4/5

Golden State by Ben H. Winters
I’ve been more open to sci-fi recently. I really liked the beginning of the novel but it kind of lost me for the last third of the book. There was a lot of build up and not a really exciting end.
Rating: 3/5

Art Basel Miami 2018

I was in Miami only several weeks before over Memorial Day weekend, so when Kevin asked me to fly out again for Art Basel in early December, I was a little hesitant. I’m so glad I went though because I ended up having the best time…and we even bought a piece of art!

We stayed at the Confidante which wasn’t the nicest hotel, but was fine considering we weren’t in the room much. I arrived on Friday night right after work and met up with a group for dinner at The Surf Club. It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. We had an avocado salad to start, followed by truffle pasta, eggplant parm, and then a sundae dessert. We even got to walk through the kitchen and meet famous renowned Chef Thomas Keller.

Saturday was my one main day to experience Art Basel. Me and Kev woke up early to beat the lines and use our VIP pass to be one of the first ones into Art Basel in Miami Beach which is the main fair. The convention center was huge but we did manage to check almost everything out. After that we went to ART MIAMI to check out some more art. C24, the gallery who used to represent Nick Gentry who we commissioned to do two pieces of art for us in the past, got us tickets. It was a completely different vibe at ART MIAMI than ART BASEL, but it was still a lot of fun and the art was much more affordable.

On Sunday morning, we only had a little time before heading to the airport back to NYC, so we woke up for an early morning run before heading to UNTITLED.

There were a few pieces we were seriously considering including (in order of favorites from top to bottom. Also, these pictures don’t do them justice):
1. Jean-Luc Moulène, Monochrome / Echantillon (série 2) – vert
2. Gilles Barbier, Hawaiian Ghost # 10
3. Mike Dargas, Bee Loved
4. Ayane Mikagi, Moon Sounds III
5. Bonnie Maygarden, Aura

Bee Loved and Moon Sounds III had already been sold, Enchantillon was a bit out of our price range, and we were planning on scheduling a trip at a future date to meet with Bonnie Maygarden in New Orelans to see if she could do a commissioned piece with different colors. That was until the Sunday morning before we fly back to NYC. We were at UNTITLED and I had low expectations, but then we came across up-comer Carmen Neely’s work. In her collection of work, Intellectualized Intimacy, she revisits conversations, life events and tactical items in the process of creating work of carefully selected moments of romantic nostalgia.

Kev and I both loved one particular piece, It is love, but even so. We plan on putting it on the large wall in our dining room. We’re so excited to have it in our apartment to look at every day–stay tuned for pictures once we have the art up on the wall.

Carmen Neely, It is love, but even so

Overall, the weekend was a success and I had more fun than I anticipated. I would have left Miami and Art Basel happy regardless if we ended up buying art but it was certainly a plus to find something Kev and I both really liked enough to invest in. I look forward to going again another year!

One of our other favorites – Robert Longo, Tiger

Thanksgiving 2018 in San Diego

I spent this past Thanksgiving in San Diego. Kev rented a car and a comfortable house on Airbnb. The house was within walking distance of what became my favorite coffee spot, Native Poppy, over the long weekend I spent there. It was a cute coffee/flower shop and the rose lavender iced latte and chai cinnamon pudding with fresh cut bananas and strawberries became my go-to breakfast.

I like going to San Diego because not only is the weather nice, but it’s just more laid back in general and I like spending time outside and at the beach. Kev and I had a nice long run on the boardwalk one morning and we came back the next day to take pictures along the beach before stopping for a
Red Bull vodka slushie at Pacific Beach Shore Club. I also like San Diego because it has a lot of great veggie/vegan options. We went to a vegan taco truck called Taqueria Veggie for lunch. I had some of the best tacos ever–the Asada and Merlin tacos were my favorites. The other notable veggie place we ate at was Kindred. I had read a lot of good reviews, so I was excited to try it out, and they did not disappoint. I had a holiday nog-inspired cocktail, a vegan cinnamon roll, and the Benedict.

And of course, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving in Kevin’s family without the post-Thanksgiving family football game. This year we got to play on the beach too which was fun.

Our last activity before heading back to New York was volunteering to walk dogs via an Airbnb Experience. It was through the non-profit, Free Animal Doctor. They partner with various shelters to socialize the dogs and of course give them some exercise. We met at Shelter Island and walked for about 3-4 miles with the dogs. There was an adorable Pekingese that would have been swiped up in a heartbeat had she been in New York that you can see in the picture above. It was a great way to end our trip by doing something good.

Summer-Fall 2018 Reading

I’ve read a ton of new books since my last book blog post. Below is a quick recap. As you’ll see in many of the pictures, Boots is never too far away while I’m reading.

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

This was one of my Book of the Month picks. I really enjoyed it so I sent it to my mom to read right after and she liked it as well. It’s a love story but not too mushy and annoying. A man and woman meet and have an instant connection and then he, as the title alludes, ghosted her.

My rating: 3.5/5

Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

I picked this one up at a local bookstore. I saw it featured at bookstores before and I know it won some awards but the synopsis never jumped out to me. I’m glad I read it but it wasn’t one of my favs. The mother made me so angry because of how selfish she is and I don’t understand why she had a second kid when she’s not even nice to the first one.

My rating: 2.5/5

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

My cousin Jade loaned me this one. I saw this book displayed in many bookstores in the past but the description didn’t jump out to me. I thought it would be too much of a fluffy, frivolous read. I’m glad I finally read it though because it was a hoot. It was a really quick read and I liked the quirkiness of each character. I had some LOL moments and had fun reading this light novel.

My rating: 3.5/5

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams

This was one of my Book of the Month selections too. It sat on my coffee table for a while but once I got a few chapters in I couldn’t put it down. I don’t normally like love stories but this was a good one.  It had me rooting for the protagonist which is always a good sign of investment in a story and strong characters. I recommend this book.

My rating: 3.5/5

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This was one of Kev’s book club books and he recommended it to me after reading it. I thought it was going to be a kick-ass women empowerment type of sci-fi novel but it was kind of weird. Women get a “power’ where they can zap other people. It was interesting seeing the ways in which the power transformed from a defense mechanism to a weapon and the story line was unique, but it was still missing something for me.

My rating: 2/5

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinbourough

This was one of my Book of the Month picks. I wasn’t looking for anything too heavy. This book was just okay. I liked the beginning but then it lost me. The story line wasn’t believable enough and it got too far fetched.

My rating: 1/5

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

I LOVED this book. I picked it up on a whim from an airport book store. I like Tallent’s style of writing and for a dude he did a great job narrating as a young girl. He described the setting wonderfully and I felt like I was in nature exploring with the protagonist.

My rating: 5/5

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

My cousin Jade sent me this one too (she’s the best). I saw it on NYT best seller list for a while but thriller/mystery/suspense isn’t usually my first genre choice so I never picked it up. I’m glad I read it though, it was pretty good. It was a quick read and entertaining.

My rating: 3.5/5

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This was yet another one loaned to me by my cousin Jade. She said she had a hard time getting through it but I actually liked it. It definitely isn’t one of my favorite novels, but I think Plath does a good job of getting the reader in the mind of the main character, Esther, as she starts losing her mind. One part of me thinks that Esther is actually bonkers but the other part of me thinks that the feeling of being lost, not knowing her purpose, and having a ton of intense conflicting emotions is something normal that many college-aged people go through. Since the book is set in 1953, people during that time may not have recognized what she was going through as depression and just put her in a psych ward.

Plath actually committed suicide at age 30, so it’s interesting drawing parallels from Esther to her own life. It was a good book but overall it was a little anticlimactic and dull at times. I do give her props though for writing about a subject matter that was probably considered a little taboo at the time.

My rating: 2.5/5 

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

This was one of my November Book of the Month choices and I loved it. I sped through it. It was fresh and interesting. I really liked the main character, Maurice. He is a scoundrel and I want to describe him as an unaware villain yet he is so calculating in every step of his career, he has to know what he did is wrong. In fact, as I’m writing about Maurice, I realize that he fooled me too because despite the many horrible things he did throughout his life, i’m trying to justify his behavior, and that’s how he got away with what he did in the first place. He is a charming but unreliable narrator which makes the story all the more entertaining.

My rating: 5/5