Q3 Book Report: The Best of July – September

Hi Darling Ones,

When I tell my friends or family that I’m bad at watching TV they laugh politely and then go on to talk about whatever show they are recommending to me.

It sounds dumb, but I am bad at it.

For example last night I signed up for a free-trial of Showtime so I could watch the Sinead O’Connor documentary “Nothing Compares.”

It took me three hours to watch the 1.5 hour documentary. I paused it to tweet, to watch the video for “Emperor’s New Clothes” and the 1990 Billboard Music Awards and the Stevie Nicks/Eddie Vedder duet, which I had to text to three different people. I paused it to go to the bathroom, to do the dishes, and for other reasons I can’t remember now.

This is why I frequently have to watch things twice and also why I watch the same things over and over again.

While I’m bad at watching TV, I’m really good at reading books. This quarterly book report feels a little disingenuous because my memory is basically Swiss cheese* since my dad died.

Today I found my kitchen scissors in the Tupperware cupboard. They are usually kept in a drawer or on the counter because I’m lazy and never put anything away.

Anyway. . . onto the best/most interesting books I read from July, August, and September.

The Secret History of Home Economics by Danielle Dreilinger

This was fascinating in a way that I didn’t expect. I love how a lot of home economics was started to give women more time to do something other than housework and how quickly it was corrupted. I love the hypocrisy of the 50s home ec pros who encouraged women to be the perfect stay at home wife while actively not doing that themselves. Also, the author does not at all shy away from the racism in the field. SO GOOD!

The Change by Kirsten Miller

I loved this book about three perimenopausal women coming into their supernatural powers and then wreaking havoc on their town. Some of it is a little predictable, but I didn’t care because reading about 40something women who were full, complicated human beings was a goddamn delight.

Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore

A story about estranged sisters that involves magic and magical realism. This one might suffer if you think about it too much, but I just went with it and enjoyed the journey.

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

I’m always down for a sexy rom-com that stars someone who is not a thin, clumsy white woman who spills something or trips over someone. This one features a young widow and a hottie Top Chef-esque dude. And his son. It was a very hot read.

Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett

I love to do literary math because it is amusing nonsense.

So this one = John Irving’s early work + George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo.

If you are bad at literary math, this is high praise.

The It Girl by Ruth Ware & Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter

I read a crapton of mysteries. They are like Cheetos for my brain. The two were really good and kept me guessing without ever feeling coy or resorting to writerly bullshit to be mysterious.

Happy reading!

P.S. If you’re a longtime reader and want to feel old. Today is my niece Jaycie’s birthday. She is 25.

*This is a reference to My Sweet Audrina, a creepy V.C. Andrews book I read when I was a kid. It left such an imprint on me that in my diary in a list I made for potential children’s names you’d find Audrina. Why I wanted to name a child after a girl who was gang-raped by her classmates and then drugged by her father to forget the incident (hence the Swiss cheese memory) is beyond me. Also on the list: Jory & Catherine from the Flowers in the Attic series. and Elizabeth & Jessica from Sweet Valley High.

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