The Edition: No. 284

Oct 5, 2021

To be a star, you must shine your own light. // Napoleon Hill

+Why burnout is actually a broken promise.

+ Cold? This is the casual puffer for you. I own it in three colors.

+ This TikTok makeup tutorial blew my mind.

+ Everything from this affordable Shopbop line sells out so fast.

+ Can you “de-wrinkle” yourself at home?

+ 30% Off J.Crew Outfit: A cocoon sweater + A square-neck tee + Pixie pants

+ A five-step method to quit procrastinating.

+ I need new luggage; this olive nylon Bric’s bag and matching roller are it.

+ How to really apologize, and why it’s important.

+ These Marc Fisher loafers are so chic, especially for <$50.

+ Ranjana explains ‘face yoga’ and why you need it for anti-aging.

+ Wear sizes 14-28? Run, don’t walk, to buy this sweater dress.

+ How to start saving for retirement at any stage of life.

+ I dare you not to hum Notorious B.I.G. while applying this $5 mascara.

Long Read. Why Jeff Ament, Montana original and Pearl Jam bassist, builds skateparks for kids.

Last week, I actually read a book.  Four uninterrupted, wi-fi free hours on an airplane, and I managed to read an actual book.  I couldn’t believe how long it had been since I sat down to read anything that wasn’t a brief or case notes or an article telling me all the creative ways in which the world is going to hell in a hand basket.  And it got me thinking that we haven’t shared book recommendations in a while.

So if you have a book to recommend to your fellow blog readers, leave it in the comments.

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Workday Reading

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  1. Cait says:

    I read almost entirely fiction and I’ve been on a YA kick lately, which I highly recommend. I found I read more when I got away from the “books must be about Big Important Things” mindset.
    I loved the Selection series by Kiera Cass (h/t Hitha for the rec), the Cursebreakers series by Brigid Kemmerer, and the Gilded Wolves trilogy by Roshani Chokshi.
    That said, some excellent non-YA books I’ve read this year are Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McCaughaney (her first book, Migrations, is also excellent), LaRose by Louise Erdrich (everything she writes is incredible), and all of Samantha Irby’s books (get the audio- nothing better than someone brilliant and hilarious telling you about their life).

    • Katie B. says:

      I’ll second a YA kick. My youngest sister is a YA librarian and has really helped me discover some great YA books. YA today is not the YA of our youths. Lately, I’ve felt like the YA genre has a better insight and understanding of “adult” topics than the adult fiction genre.
      The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a great start. I just started A Great & Terrible Beauty. My librarian sister just put together a spooky YA list that looks so great!

  2. AJT says:

    My pandemic-addled brain has been loving the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny – even though I don’t usually read mysteries, murder mysteries, or series. Each book is a murder mystery, but the murder happens offstage at the beginning of the book and it is really character studies, descriptions of food, and cozy villages in Quebec. It’s very comforting and predictable to come back to the same main characters and plot structure for each book. I’m on book #7 in just a few months!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. Like Abra, it had been forever since I sat down with an actual book (made of paper), and I sped through this in 2 days. It’s being made into a movie by Martin Scorsese – check for the cast list and photos. It’s an important story that illustrates how the world goes to hell in a handbasket over and over.

    • Denise says:

      I second Killers of the Flower Moon, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and I recommend and/or gift it to everyone I know!!

    • Jen says:

      I also fully endorse Killers of the Flower Moon. It was a huge education and shock for me, and I live an hour and a half from where it happened in OK. (The movie was also filmed in Pawhuska, OK this summer.) I can’t begin to tell you how much it has changed my way of thinking and explained a lot of prejudices that I grew up hearing in Northeastern OK.

  4. This year I decided to just be done with dieting. I read “The F*ck It Diet” by Caroline Dooner and “Anti-Diet” by Christy Harrison. Both with great at helping me get my brain of the “ya gotta lose weight” train on on to the “just eat what you want when you’re hungry” bandwagon. Still working on being “okay” with body image, but these two were a great start.

  5. LAura says:

    Recently, I’ve finished Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Infinite Country by Patricia Engel. Both were good! Of the two, Daisy Jones was a bit more of light read.

  6. JGCHOW says:

    The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton- memoir by a prisoner on death row for 25+ years despite clear evidence that he was not guilty. Compelling and very readable story. Inspired that he could maintain hope despite his infuriating treatment by the criminal justice system.

    • DiAne says:

      I just finished this book and thought it was amazing too. Surprisingly funny for the subject matter. And brought me to tears
      So many times.
      I also would highly recommend reading Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson too.
      And heck, if you want to make it a trio of Death Penalty books, Dead Man Walking hby Sister Helen Prejean is also incredibly compelling.

      • jgchow says:

        Yes, after reading “Sun”, I want to learn more about Bryan Stephenson! To add another book in the (kinda) same vein: When Truth Is All You Have”. Hard to put down. I heard the author being interviewed on a podcast which made me want to read the book. He had an unconventional background before helping those he believes are wrongly convicted.

  7. Heather says:

    I read Piranesi by Susanna Clarke earlier this year and I LOVED it. I am not usually a fan of fantasy but this one was amazing. It was the first book in years that I have stayed up late at night to finish. I cannot recommend it enough.

    • Kellie Marie Beargie says:

      I LOVED this book. So fascinating. I couldn’t put it down.

      • Mary says:

        Same, I read it in one sitting! I had no clue what it was about before I picked it up and tbh I’m glad I was able to just let the story unfold, not knowing where it was going.

    • Chelsea says:

      I read Piranesi based on these comments, and wow! (Obviously I couldn’t put it down.) I have never read anything like it.

  8. -Jen says:

    A place for us by Fatima Farheen Mirza has some of the most stunningly beautiful writing I’ve ever read. It is also a deeply moving portrait of an immigrant family.

  9. Nic says:

    I’m reading Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem because Abra’s enthusiasm finally got to me. It’s amazing. Thanks, Abra!

  10. JeSs says:

    Just finished Sparks Like Stars last week – beautiful, and hit a little closer in light of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. My favorite books this year have been The House in the Cerulean Sea and Project Hail Mary.

  11. Pam says:

    I read a few fiction books this summer for the sheer pleasure of it. I loved the map makers daughter ; the 7 husbands of Evelyn Hugo; all the light we cannot see; the silent patient; the boys in the boat; the last thing he told me. Still to read: the keeper of happy endings and Small Admissions.

  12. Louisa says:

    The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

  13. TheLOOP says:

    1) Hunt, Gather, Parent by Michaeleen Doucleff – if you are a parent of littles, you need this book.
    2) Scythe trilogy by Neal Shusterman – if you like YA but not too much sappy romance
    3) Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – a mind-blowing fiction
    4) The Huntress, The Rose Code and The Alice Network, all by Kate Quinn – deeply researched stories of women in WWII
    5) The Mothers and The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

  14. Jenny says:

    I *devoured* The Vanishing Half. So good.

  15. Juliane says:

    Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Absolutely brilliant writing. I heard the author read a passage on Fresh Air and HAD to know the story. All these months later, I still cannot describe this book out loud without choking up. (Anyone else’s tear ducts connect directly to vocal cords that way?)

    • Juliane says:

      I should add a trigger warning: it is about the death of a child due to illness.

    • Olivia B Bauer says:

      I was scrolling to see if anyone else had read Hamnet. SUCH a beautiful book, my favorite this year. I guess I just have a thing for books in this vein – Lincoln in the Bardo is similar in plot and much more experimental in format but SO beautiful.

  16. Evelyn says:

    It’s a little old, but I loved Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

  17. Diane says:

    Some of my favorite reads so far this yea: The House in the Cerulean Sea (about a government worker who inspects orphanages for magical children), Hidden Valley Road (non fiction about a family where half of their twelve children develop schizophrenia), Bad Blood about Elizabeth Holmes and Theronos, This Tender Land by William Kent Kruger (about three children who escape from an orphanage and their quest to find a home), Bringing Down the Duke (a really satisfyingly smart and funny Romance by Evie Dunmore). And while we are on the subject of romance- anything by Courtney Milan.

  18. JLO says:

    Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. I read this for a book club recently and this is a book that will stick with me. Beautiful writing and a story that questions what makes us human.

  19. Kellie Marie Beargie says:

    I loved The House in the Cerulean Sea, and I’m currently reading Anxious People. I find myself laughing at some of the text and reading it out loud to my husband (“…had about a 1 in 4 chance of correctly answering a yes or no question.”)

    Other recent faves have been Ninth House and The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hadrcastle.

  20. eml says:

    These are all a bit old, but Stray, The Great Believers, A Woman is No Man and Writers and Lovers are all incredible (all fiction other than Stray). More recent reccs that I loved are The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, Klara and the Sun and Crying in H Mart.

  21. Lisa says:

    The Pandemic was good as far as inspiring me to read more. I stuck to lighter reading – nothing terrifying or true crime (with a couple of exceptions). Here’s a few that I loved: anything/everything by Elin Hilderbrand, The Midnight Library, In Five Years, The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, The Last Thing He Told Me, The Vanishing Half. Book I’d recommend to anyone (have tissues handy)Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan. The friend who recommended this book to me lost her battle with breast cancer earlier this year. It’s a beautiful read.

  22. Eileen says:

    I am reading the Book of Longings right now – it is a fantastic work of fiction the follows the story of Jesus’ wife. It is not religious per se, though some of the names and references are Biblical. I find myself wondering about the book while not reading it, always rooting for the protagonist who is a fierce feminist in a male-centric world.

  23. Mritz says:

    – Anxious People – already mentioned, but it’s great, so worth saying twice
    – The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett
    – The Great Alone
    Short Story:
    – The Office of Historical Corrections
    – Caste

  24. CP says:

    Others recommended The Mothers and The Vanishing Half, both by Brit Bennett, and I agree!

    Also recommend An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and Mexican Gothic by Silvia-Moreno-Garcia.

  25. Sarah says:

    Been on a major light fiction kick lately and loving all 4 books by Abbi Waxman – The Garden of Small Beginnings, the Bookish Life of Nina Hill. And Beth O’Leary – The switch and the Flatmate. and two by Emily Henry – Beach Read and People You Meet on Vacation. Also Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawthorne about Nancy Wake’s role in the French Resistance in WWII. Nonfiction has been lots of kids books. My fav being The Connected Child and How to Raise an Adult.

  26. Kate says:

    Sometime into the pandemic, a friend started a feminist romance book club and its been a surprisingly delightful bright spot in my life. We read mostly BIPOC and LGBTQ authors- Talia Hibbert’s Brown sisters trilogy are smart, nuanced, and sexy; Casey McQuiston’s Red White & Royal Blue is incredibly smart and funny, like if the West Wing and The Crown had a book baby. I’ve been loving Evie Dunmore’s League of Extraordinary Women series (mentioned already) also. Well written, sexy brain candy was just the thing to brighten up this dark year & a half.

  27. Kristen says:

    “The Drowning Kind” by Jennifer McMahon. It’s the first book I’ve read for pleasure in FOREVER. I love all her books. I also highly recommend her other books, especially “Promise Not to Tell” and “Island of Lost Girls”.

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