In March I read five books, and unlike in February, I really enjoyed everything I read! My commute to work is about 40-45 minutes, and about 30 minutes is spent on the Metro. I realized this month I spend far too much time just playing on my phone on my ride, so I’ve started bringing a book with me to read on my trek to and from work. At first I was trying to read fiction books, but I realized it was too hard to start-and-stop them since I can’t always end at a good time. As such, I’ve switched over to reading memoirs on my commute, which I am absolutely loving—and, you’ll see below, I read two great ones this month.
As I’ve mentioned before, my goal is to read 62 books this year—10 more than I read last year—and right now I am on track! That being said, I’ve got a ton of work travel in April so I might be out of my reading routine. Here’s to hoping I can still find time to indulge in a great book.
Like I’ve done over the past few months, I wanted to call out that I’m part of a program where Random House will send me some of their new titles each month. I’m under no obligation to post about any titles I receive, so I really can tell you my own opinion (good or bad!) about them. I’ve starred the books Random House sent me for free below. I’m so lucky to be sent books en gratis and that’s not lost on me!
MORE THAN WORDS // JILL SANTOPOLO
Nina Gregory has always been a devoted daughter. Her mother passed away on Christmas morning when she was young, so she formed a close bond with her father, CEO of Gregory Hotels. When her father passes away, he leaves behind a secret that shocks her to her core. As she is grieving, she begins to see her life and the men in her life—her father, her boyfriend, and her boss—in a new light.
Would I recommend it? Yes! Jill Santopolo is one of my favorite authors, and I really enjoyed this story—her writing is beautiful, as always. Though I will say, I didn’t like this one as much as The Light We Lost.
THE IDEA OF YOU // ROBINNE LEE
I heard about this book on the Bad on Paper podcast, which is a new favorite for me. Solene is a divorcee living in Los Angeles, and she takes her 11-year-old daughter to the August Moon concert. While at a meet and greet, the star of the band Hayes Campbell invites them to an after party. Solene and Hayes soon after begin a secret affair, that eventually turns into more than physical attraction. But can Solene deal with dating someone 20 years younger than her who’s famous around the world? And how will her daughter react when she finds out her mom is dating her crush?
Would I recommend it? This would be the perfect spring break read—it’s basically a fan fiction about One Direction and Harry Styles that sucks you in!
THE UNWINDING OF THE MIRACLE // JULIE YIP-WILLIAMS*
Born blind in Vietnam, Julie Yip-Williams barely survived euthanasia at the hands of her grandmother. After the fall of Saigon in the Vietnam War, her family escapes for a better life, hopping on a boat bound for Hong Kong under the cover of darkness. Later, they end up in Los Angeles, where Julie’s cataracts are partially fixed, allowing her some sight. She then became a Harvard-educated lawyer who’s practicing in New York when she, at age 37, falls ill with much pain while visiting family for a wedding. Her father takes her to the emergency room where a large tumor is found at the top of her colon. Her memoir chronicles her four years in which she bravely battles cancer, and I absolutely loved reading her words. Julie passed away in March of 2018, but through this book, I felt like I knew her, too—and she taught me a lot about what it means to live boldly.
Would I recommend it? 100%—anyone and everyone should read this beautiful memoir.
MATCHMAKING FOR BEGINNERS // MADDIE DAWSON
Marnie is engaged to Noah, and at an engagement for the couple, she meets his great Aunt Blix, who tells her she’s destined for a big life. On the day of the wedding, Noah tries to stand Marnie up, but she forces him down the aisle. Their marriage then falls apart while they’re on their honeymoon, and Marnie moves home to Florida to be with her family. While she’s there, she gets notice that Aunt Blix has passed away and she stands to invest her Brooklyn townhome that’s currently occupied with several tenets Aunt Blix picked up over the years. Marnie doesn’t understand why Noah’s great aunt picked her, until she lives in Brooklyn for three months and it all clicks.
Would I recommend it? This was a really cute read and I don’t regret reading it. That being said, I’ve heard people rage about this book, and I just didn’t find it to be that much of a page-turner. Maybe it’d be more relatable if you recently went through a really bad breakup?
SAVE ME THE PLUMS // RUTH REICHL*
This was another great memoir—Ruth was the food critic for The New York Times when she’s invited to a clandestine meeting and offered the editor-in-chief role at Gourmet magazine. She balks, thinking she doesn’t have experience or what it takes to be at the helm of a once-favorite magazine that’s now stuck two decades behind. That’s when Si Newhouse invites her to lunch and follows up with an offer she can’t refuse. The rest of the story chronicles her groundbreaking tenure at Gourmet and life as a Condé Nast editor. I especially loved the chapter on where she was on September 11, and how she opened the Gourmet kitchen the following day and invited her whole staff in to cook for first responders at Ground Zero—I may or may not have cried on the Metro reading that chapter.
Would I recommend it? I could not put this one down—Ruth’s writing is so engaging, and I loved all the behind-the-scenes look of her time at Condé Nast and interactions with the legendary Si Newhouse.