Book 1: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, guys this book, I’m honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Up until the 65 page mark I really didn’t have an opinion on it either way, and then it just pulled me in. This book is about a grouchy, pretentious man who owns a small bookstore, who’s life had to completely fall apart before he could realize that not all people and books are always what they seem. He also finds a toddler left in the store but I almost wasn’t going to even mention that part. There was enough book nerd in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry for it to feel familiar and rose colored (plus the added fact I’m fairly certain at some point in every book lover’s life they have fantasized about owning a book store) but then the character development sneaks up on you and suddenly you are invested in the pages to come. There are some dark moments, a nice handful, but oddly it doesn’t over take the tone of the book. Final note; my favorite character was hands down Lambiase, the chief of police. I would totally read a sequel all about how his life plays out.

2017, why you gotta be so awful?

Looking back on the year I am disappointing that I didn’t continue writing about each book I read on here, it’s incredibly helpful when trying to remember what I’ve actually liked since my brain tends to push out one book to make way for each new one. I became a little too caught up in my head, per usual, and was feeling like my only defining trait was the amount I read. While I do take immense pride in what i accomplish in that area, I was also feeling as if there wasn’t all that much else to me beside being “you know Chelsea, that girl who reads a lot”. I attempted to find some balance but am bringing back the blog in 2018. Once again the goal of 2017 was 52 and I succeeded with 53 and am more than proud of all I accomplished.

2017 books read:

1. Burn baby burn by meg medina

2. Read between the lines by jo knowles

3. Every last word by Tamara Ireland stone

4. The last time we say goodbye by Cynthia Hand

5. Little peach by Peggy Kern

6. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

7. The serpent king by Jeff zentner

8. We are okay by Nina LaCour

9. Happening by Annie Ernaux

10. If you find me by Murdoch 

11. With malice by Eileen cook

12. Asking for it by Louise O’Neill 

13. Quiet by Susan Cain 

14. The hate u give by Angie thomas

15. What I know for sure by Oprah Winfrey 

16. My sister Rosa by Justine larbalestier

17. All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr

18. The smell of other people’s houses by Bonnie-sue Hitchcock

19. Hold still by Nina LaCour 

20. The first time she drowned by Kerry kletter

21. Such a pretty girl by Laura wiess

22. Penance by kanae minato 

23. Commonwealth by Ann patchet

24. The memory of light by Francisco x. Stork  

25. Paperweight by meg haston

26. Not my fathers son by Alan cumming

27. Between two skies by Joanne O’Sullivan 

28. When breath becomes air by Paul kalanithi

29. Don’t you cry by Mary kubica

30. After the woods by Kim savage

31. How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran 

32. The perfect stranger by Megan Miranda 

33. Saving charlotte by pia de Jong 

34. American housewife by Helen Ellis will not have my hate by Antoine leiris

36. Where they found her by Kimberly mccreight 

37. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly mccreight 

38. Small great things by Jodi picoult

39. the end of everything by megan abbott

40. everything i never told you celeste ng

41. The museum of extraordinary things by Alice Hoffman 

42. The accident season by Moira fowely-Doyle 

43. The story sister by Alice Hoffman 

44. A head full of ghosts by Paul tremblay

45. The rules of magic my Alice hoffman

46. There’s someone inside your house by Stephanie Perkins 

47. Faithful by Alice Hoffman 

48. A mother’s reckoning by sue Klebold

49. The girls in the garden by Lisa jewell 

50. You better not cry by Augusten Burroughs 

51. One of us is lying by Karen McManus 

52. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara 

53. The Takedown by Corrie Wang

Goals of 2018:

1. Read at least 52 books

2. Write at least one paragraph about each book on here

3. Actually learn how to cook

4. Dance more with my man

2018, I’m ready for you.

2016 Resolution 

I completed my mission in 2015 of reading 52 books, though just barely. I may or may not have read 10ish books in the month of December, whoops. Anyway because of that I’ve decided to do a round two year of 52 books rather than increasing the amount (maybe in 2017 I’ll feel ballsy enough to read 53). So a new year, a new list of books. After a couple days off with no reading, i’m ready to get shit done.

End of the year 2015 round up

After book 38 I was too far behind schedule and far to stressed to continue reading and writing about each book. So I nixed the writing aspect and just decided to just keep my head down and plow through the remaining 14 books. I finished book 52 just before 11pm New Year’s Eve, which left me a little time to freshen up and go out before midnight. Here is 2015’s final book list:

Book 1: Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Book 2: Thing’s I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me by Ben Karlin

Book 3: Byrd by Kim Church

Book 4: Whip Smart by Melissa Febos 

Book 5: The Hottest State by Ethan Hawke 

Book 6: If I am Missing or Dead by Janine Latu

Book 7: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Book 8: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Book 9: Home Game by Michael Lewis

Book 10: Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey

Book 11: On My Knees by Periel Aschenbrand

Book 12: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Book 13: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Book 14: Binary Star by Sarah Gerard

Book 15: I Have Something to Tell You by Regan Hofmann

Book 16: After Visiting Friends by Michael Hainey

Book 17: Missoula by Jon Krakauer 

Book 18: The Fever by Megan Abbott

Book 19: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Book 20: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Book 21: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Book 22: Someone I Loved by Anna Gavalda

Book 23: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Book 24 part 1: The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami  

Book 24 part 2: Lift by Kelly Corrigan 

Book 25: Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes 

Book 26: An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken

Book 27: This Is Between Us by Kevin Sampsell

Book 28: The Sterile Cuckoo by John Nichols 

Book 29: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Book 30: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Book 31; Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates

Book 32: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson 

Book 33: Making the Run by Heather Henson

Book 34: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon 

Book 35: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed 

Book 36: Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields 

Book 37: Insatiable by Asa Akira

Book 38: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Book 39: Give Me Everything You Have by James Lasdun

Book 40: A monster calls by Patrick Ness

Book 41: Gutshot by Amelia Gray

Book 42: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Book 43: Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

Book 44: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Book 45: The Lover by Marguerite Duras

Book 46: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn 

Book 47: Undeleted Dcenes by Jeffrey Brown

Book 48: Beautiful Blemish by Kevin Sampsell 

Book 49: Fresh Girls and Other Stories by Evelyn Lau 

Book 50: Love Story by Erich Segal

Book 51: On Love by Alain de Botton

Book 52: Walks with Men by Ann Beattie 

And now I’m back at book 1, here’s to 2016!

Book 38: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

This was a really excellent book, like stand up and applaud for going there kind of excellent. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (who also wrote Silver Linings Playbook) is a YA novel about a boy who has decided to kill a certain bully of classmate and then commit suicide on his 18th birthday. That right there is the most watered down version of a plot summery; while that is what it is about in the most bottom line terms, it is also about so much more than that. Quick wrote a completely unique, not at all sugar coated story that will break your heart a little more with each page you turn. Incredibly insightful on so many levels. Matthew Quick definitely pushed boundaries when comes to YA themes but honestly those types of boundaries should always be pushed when it comes to identifying with, seeking to help, and inspiring younger generations to do great/brave things and learn what they are capable of. I loved this book. I’m not sure how I didn’t stumble upon it sooner.

Book 37: Insatiable by Asa Akira

Man this book was so great. Insatiable by Asa Akira is a memoir about Asa Akira’s life in and leading up to her life in porn. Disclaimer, it’s about porn so obviously it’s very graphic. With that being said, Akira is a very enjoyable writer who somehow managed to still be incredibly likable and endearing all while talking about things like double penetration and blowbangs. I tend to be an overly serious person when it comes to my chosen forms of entertainment, even on the rare occasion I watch a funny movies I don’t really tend to laugh, but Asa Akira made me laugh pretty consistently all throughout this book. Her voice wasn’t just one of humor though; it was raw and honest, full of passion and love and wit. As a widely acclaimed and award winning woman in porn, I love that she wrote a book that celebrated women’s sexualities all while telling her journey in the most frank and open way possible.

Book 36: Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields 

I’ve been putting off writing this for a few days now for multiple reasons, but mostly because I’m torn between the importance of the subject matter and how much I didn’t actually like this book. Postpartum depression is a scary common mental health issue that still has a stigma attached to it, like most mental health disorders. For some reason mental health disorders are synonymous to weakness, incapability, legit insanity, but in reality most of the time it’s the complete opposite. If you wake up and have to deal with what essentially feels like your mind and body betraying you, you find a way to tap into a strength and determination you didn’t even know you had. When the general public thinks of PPD they tend to think of women who end up killing their babies, but just like the bipolar man who drives 90 some mph in a residential area killing someone in another car because he thinks he is piloting an airplane, these are very rare extremes. Women need to stopped being shamed for PPD. A dialog needs to happen between women, and everyone, so when someone we know is experiencing postpartum depression we as a society can band together and give her the support and resources needed to get through it all. 

Now on to the book, Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields. I wanted so much from this book and it sadly fell very short. Most of my issues with this book stem from the fact that Brooke Shields isn’t a good writer. Sometimes you can overlook subpar writing if the underlying story they have to tell is compelling or the author is just so god damn likable, but Brooke Shields just really portrayed herself as really whiny celebrity. She also spent a lot of time talking in circles without really getting any point across other than the baseline factual things that happened each day. Instead of the overall message of the book being “this can happen to anyone including me”, it seemed to be “how could this happen to me of all people, don’t you know who I am”. Yes she is famous but that really has nothing to do with her PPD story, it felt like way to much emphasis was continually put on her fame which just made her unlikable and hard to sympathize with. Perhaps I put to much hope in this book, which is only my fault, but as a woman with bipolar, who knows statistically just how likely I am to get postpartum depression, I really wanted a woman in the public eye to be able to give a voice to all those women who had their voices taken away through postpartum depression shaming.

Book 35: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed 

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed is a collection of the advice column she wrote as “Dear Sugar”. She received questions about all ranges of topics; from love to loss, sticky family situations to issues with friends, she answered questions from people when they needed extra help in life or a push in the right direction. I had a hell of a time getting through this book. You’d think that because it is just question and answer segments it’d be really easy to speed through, but it oddly enough was the opposite for me. Segment after segment of questions from people that were so short, that obviously don’t have any follow up on each situation, are impossible to become attached to. While I enjoyed reading it, it was like pulling teeth to read it quickly. Though the more answers from Sugar I read, the more I got why so many people loved and wrote in to her. Her answers were a mix of empathy, love, and a swift blunt kick in the ass. Every response she wrote both answered the question posed to her as well as told a small story from her life that sort of blended both the question and her answer together in a real life fable. Strayed was relatable and never judgmental towards her readers. She acted as a surrogate best friend to her loyal fan base as Sugar that we all wish we had day in and day out. 

Book 34: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon 

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is a lovely, unique young adult novel about a girl who has SCIDs or “bubble baby disease”. Yoon tells this coming of age story in a way that is oddly realistic despite the uncommon subject matter. I enjoyed it thoroughly and wasn’t at all irritated by the dialog. Everything Everything is smart, absorbing, and makes you think about human nature and what we are capable of when it comes to protecting ourselves and the ones we love. 

Book 33: Making the Run by Heather Henson

This book is what I get for picking up a book from the library without having done any research on it or reading the first chapter. It was rough. The main character was consistently immature and lashing out in bizarre temper tantrums for no reason but was written like the author thought it was how cool girl behave. Acting entitled because her mom died years ago and because she wasn’t the cookie cutter kind of girl in her home town. Basically just all around annoying. Also she was creepy obsessed with this guy, planning their future together after barely dating, but he seemed to be okay with it. I however was very uncomfortable. I felt like the author had never been a teenager or spent any time with them. Book 33 Making the Run by Heather Henson was a bust for me.