This past summer, for the first time in probably 6 years, I read a book for pleasure. No one had assigned it to me, and there wasn’t a report on it due at the end of the month. It was MAGICAL.
This is the first year of my life where I haven’t had the structure of school telling me what to do and what sort of things to read/absorb. I’ve often mentioned to friends of similar age that school took the joy out of reading for me, and the number of people who have agreed wholeheartedly with that statement is alarming. When I was a kid, I was a total bookworm, sometimes having as many as four books going at one time. I would read in the car, in the bath, before bed, when I woke up, at the dinner table.. pretty much if I could read I would read. But around 5th or 6th grade, the school assignments became more reading oriented. If we were going to read we had to report on it or do a project or something like that. Suddenly, if I had any time to read at all I wouldn’t want to do it, because I’d already read my assigned reading and my brain was fried.
I don’t pretend to know what the solution to this problem is, but I do know that it feels SO GOOD to be able to read for pleasure again. Adult life – what a trip.
Here’s some books I’ve read recently and some that are on my list. Let me know – do you read for pleasure? Do you think that reading for school takes the enjoyment out of books? What have you been reading?
1 // Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
This was the first “pleasure book” that I finished and it was so satisfying. I think you have to be in a somewhat specific head space to really enjoy this book for what it is, which is somewhat melodramatic. There’s a lot of metaphors! Overall, it was a relatable 20-something coming of age story complete with coke, fuckboys, and lots of wine. If you’re easing back into reading like me, this is a good book to dip your toe in the water with.
2 // The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton
I actually got this book back in December and admittedly still haven’t quite finished it. Not because it’s slow (which it is at times), but because there’s so much to think about when reading it that you sort of have to give yourself breaks to absorb it all. I really like how much Dutton references both scientific studies and relatable or well known examples — it helps break up the analytical side of the book into more manageable chunks. Highly recommend!
3 // Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
This is the book I’m in the middle of right now, so none of my thoughts are complete yet. So far, I think it’s written better than her first popular novel, The Vacationers. I love a good tangled, confusing love story (because really, love is very tangled and confusing), and I have a feeling this will deliver. I also love that the book openly tackles some social issues; one of the main characters is a black, Jewish daughter of two lesbians and it’s so interesting to hear that character’s thoughts on how those factors affect her in her high school world.
4 // Calypso by David Sedaris
This is the next book on my reading list! David Sedaris makes me laugh harder than any other comedian (I highly recommend his show recordings for long car drives). I’ve heard several people recommend this book since it was released earlier this year, so I’m hoping it delivers.
5 // I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara
This is another book that I haven’t read yet but have been hearing about everywhere recently. It’s a true crime book by a female investigative journalist, and I first heard about it when I was talking about how much I loved season one of Serial (which if you haven’t listened to yet, you gotta). Apparently it’s very similar in a lot of ways, and is even better to read now that the “Golden State Killer” has been caught in real life.
6 // Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Last one! This book was recommended by Jodi Picoult, an author who’s taste in books I’m inclined to trust entirely. It’s also a Powell’s staff pick soooo… how could you go wrong? From Powells’ website: “This story of families also speaks ruthlessly to the current social environment, in which so many of us are asking, “How could this possibly have happened?,” by illuminating the possible effects of liberal assumptions.” INTENSE.
P.S. A lot of bloggers choose to use Amazon affiliate links, and while I might do that in the future, for now I’m choosing to support smaller businesses, like Powell’s books. When given a choice, I’ll try to direct y’all to the little guys! xo