I thought I was reading a lot this summer when I was traveling nearly every weekend, but now that I have been home for a while and am much more rested, I’ve found a lot of joy in reading for at least an hour before bed every night. It’s a great way to put the stresses of the day aside and escape for a while—without consuming a single calorie ;].
I’d love to know what’s been on your nightstand as of late—here’s what has been on mine.
THE WANGS VS. THE WORLD // JADE CHANG
One of my favorite books I’ve read recently, The Wangs vs. The World chronicles the Wang family, a once-wealthy Chinese family who loses their fortune in the financial crisis. Charles, the father and man who built a cosmetics empire, wants to return to China so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride. Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. The family, along with Charles’ wife and the kids’ stepmother, Barbra, embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with Andrew succumbing to a temptress he meets in NOLA and Barbra frustrated with the lack of luxuries they once knew, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China. A twist on the Horiato Alger tale, this one definitely made me laugh and reminisce on my family’s own road trip adventures.
RELUCTANT HERO // MICHAEL BENFANTE
When I first purchased my Kindle, I purchased several books from the $1.99 section of the Kindle store. This was one of them. I never could work up the courage to read this one before bed, and starting a sad book is never easy. When I was on a work trip recently, I finished the book I was reading and had not yet downloaded a new one. I was poking around my Kindle, and found Reluctant Hero. It was a few weeks after 9/11 so the attacks were still fresh in my mind, and since I literally didn’t have anything else to read, I opened it up. I wish I would have read this book sooner. Michael’s office was on the 88th floor of the North Tower, and he and a colleague carried a woman in a wheel chair down 68 flights of stairs, unaware they were escaping anything but a fire. When he gets to the bottom of the Trade Center, he doesn’t even realize the South Tower had fallen until a reporter approached him and asked for an interview. Minutes later, the North Tower falls and he is running for his life again to escape the debris. After he survives, he realizes the interview he did is all over the news and that leads to a series of appearances. Meanwhile, his PTSD worsens. Although harrowing, I would recommend this book to anyone, especially if you’ve wondered what it would have been like to be at the WTC that September day.
POWER YOUR HAPPY // LISA SUGAR
My roommate is so thoughtful, and saw this book up for grabs at work and snatched it for me. A quick and empowering read, I loved hearing that Lisa also had no idea what she wanted to do with her life in her early twenties but eventually was able to combine her greatest passions in life—shopping, celebrity gossip, and writing—into Popsugar. This is definitely a great read to have in your bag for all those times you find yourself waiting since you don’t need to remember plot details when you pick the book back up. My one critique of the book is that is definitely geared toward college kids, so there were certain parts I skipped over since they were not as applicable to post-grad me.
FANCY PANTS // SUSAN ELIZABETH PHILLIPS
Y’all know I have slowly been working my way through Susan Elizabeth Phillips Wynette, Texas series and Fancy Pants is the one I’m reading now. Essentially, the book series follows a group of characters who are somehow connected to the Texas small town, and each installment focuses on one character’s backstory, with the other characters making cameos to show how they are all intertwined. I stumbled on this series by mistake when I picked up The Great Escape in a Barnes & Noble bargain bin since I was intrigued by the summary that the daughter of the sitting President, Lucy, leaves her groom, Ted, at the alter. Fancy Pants’ main protagonist is Ted’s mom, Francesca. A former European socialite, her mother dies and leaves behind a large debt. To earn money, she comes to the US to star in a small film and ends up meeting Dallie, a superstar golfer on the amateur tour. The book then follows their romance, and is definitely a great beach or cozy fall afternoon read!
I received a free copy of The Wangs Versus the World from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for review. As always, opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep A Touch of Teal’s doors open!