One of the podcasts I’ve been listening to, “What Should I Read Next?” mentioned a reading challenge for 2017. When I went to the website, there’s a complete challenge with checklists and everything!
In the podcast, Anne (the host), often asks her guests if there’s anything they want to change about their reading life. Because of this, the challenge is set up the same way. There is a specific checklist if you’re looking to add “oomph” into your reading life, or a list for growth, for example.
The website also has free templates you help you track your reading – sometimes I find myself wondering, “Wait, have I read this?” So I’m looking forward to checking out the templates.
It’s free to sign up for the challenge, and once you sign up, you’ll get a free kit! While I’m not really sure I’m looking for my “reading life” to change, I do have a mental list of some books I want to read this year. Here are a few titles I’ve been eyeing:
How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell – Wanna know something NOT so secret about me? I love memoirs about overcoming addiction. Always have, always will, and this one from Cat Marnell sounds basically perfect. Here’s the scoop from Amazon:
From Cat Marnell, “New York’s enfant terrible” (The Telegraph), a candid and darkly humorous memoir of prescription drug addiction and self-sabotage, set in the glamorous world of fashion magazines and downtown nightclubs.
At twenty-six, Cat Marnell was an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in America—and that’s all most people knew about her. But she hid a secret life. She was a prescription drug addict. She was also a “doctor shopper” who manipulated Upper East Side psychiatrists for pills, pills, and more pills; a lonely bulimic who spent hundreds of dollars a week on binge foods; a promiscuous party girl who danced barefoot on banquets; a weepy and hallucination-prone insomniac who would take anything—anything—to sleep.
This is a tale of self-loathing, self-sabotage, and yes, self-tanner. It begins at a posh New England prep school—and with a prescription for Attention Deficit Disorder medication Ritalin. It continues to New York, where we follow Marnell’s amphetamine-fueled rise from intern to editor through the beauty departments of NYLON, Teen Vogue, Glamour, and Lucky. We see her fight between ambition and addiction and how, inevitably, her disease threatens everything she worked so hard to achieve.
From the Condé Nast building (where she rides the elevator alongside Anna Wintour) to seedy nightclubs, from doctors’ offices and mental hospitals, Marnell shows—like no one else can—what it is like to live in the wild, chaotic, often sinister world of a young female addict who can’t say no. Combining lightning-rod subject matter and bold literary aspirations, How to Murder Your Life is mesmerizing, revelatory, and necessary.
Delancey by Molly Wizenberg – I love food. I love cooking it, watching shows about it on TV, taking pictures of it, tasting it, and of course, reading books about it. So, Molly Wizenberg’s earlier book, “A Homemade Life” ranks among one of my favorite reads ever! And so, I’m hoping her second book will be JUST as good. Here’s the description:
The New York Times bestseller from the author of A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette about opening a restaurant with her new husband: “You’ll feel the warmth from this pizza oven…cheerfully honest…warm and inclusive, just like her cooking” (USA TODAY).
When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream–making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive—not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn’t think he would. Before she knew it, he’d signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly’s assumptions about her marriage were about to change.
Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until—in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen—she realized that she hadn’t been honest with herself or Brandon.
With evocative photos by Molly and twenty new recipes for the kind of simple, delicious food that chefs eat at home, Delancey explores that intimate territory where food and life meet. This moving and honest account of two people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together is “a crave-worthy memoir that is part love story, part restaurant industry tale. Scrumptious” (People).
Balancing in Heels by Kristin Cavallari – I will be a fan of “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills” until the day I die. And although I love LC, I also love K-Cav (I especially love her style), and I want to read her book! Here’s the scoop:
For the first time ever, entrepreneur, designer, and TV star Kristin Cavallari shares how she juggles all facets of her busy life with style and grace. From outlining health and wellness, food, fitness, fashion, and her success as a businesswoman to more private matters of family, motherhood, and her relationship with her husband, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, Kristin leaves no stone unturned to give fans of Laguna Beach and The Hills all of the answers they’ve been looking for.
Tracing her journey from reality stardom to real life―the good, the bad, and the ugly―Kristin digs down to the most personal of relationships in her life and discusses how they made her who she is today. She also talks about the amazing effects of her healthy diet and exercise, which have made Kristin and her family the happiest and healthiest they’ve ever been. Kristin shares the family’s favorite recipes and even reveals how her food philosophy has drastically improved Jay’s type 1 diabetes.
Balancing in Heels is a behind-the-scenes, in-depth look at who the real Kristin Cavallari is―unscripted.
Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova – On New Year’s Day, I was wandering around a used book store (I sold a stack of DVDs I never watch and was looking for a splurge from my $6.50 in earnings) and I saw tons of copies of this book, so I at least picked it up and read the back:
From New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Lisa Genova comes a “heartbreaking…very human novel” (Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves) that does for Huntington’s disease what her debut novel Still Alice did for Alzheimer’s.
Joe O’Brien is a forty-three-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s disease.
Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure, and each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.
Praised for writing that “explores the resilience of the human spirit” (San Francisco Chronicle), Lisa Genova has once again delivered a novel as powerful and unforgettable as the human insights at its core.
The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder – I saw this on a reading list for Lauren Conrad’s book club. You know I’m all over that! It looks so sweet, so I added it to my library list. Here’s the scoop:
In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.
Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.
Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.
Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.
But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken…
The Amateurs by Sara Shepard – I saw this title on a list of books said to be read “in one sitting” because they’re just that great. And who doesn’t love to curl up and read a book from cover to cover? I took a look at this description and two words got me hooked: true crime. Here ’tis:
As soon as Seneca Frazier sees the post on the Case Not Closed website about Helena Kelly, she’s hooked. Helena’s high-profile disappearance five years earlier is the one that originally got Seneca addicted to true crime. It’s the reason she’s a member of the site in the first place.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae – I was introduced to the fantastic Issa Rae late in life, through her show on HBO late last year. But I was obsessed, and basically want to get my little fingers on anything she’s putting out. I was D-E-Lighted when I saw she’d written a book! Here’s the deal:
In this universally accessible New York Times bestseller named for her wildly popular web series, Issa Rae—“a singular voice with the verve and vivacity of uncorked champagne” (Kirkus Reviews)—waxes humorously on what it’s like to be unabashedly awkward in a world that regards introverts as hapless misfits and black as cool.
I’m awkward—and black. Someone once told me those were the two worst things anyone could be. That someone was right. Where do I start?
Being an introvert (as well as “funny,” according to the Los Angeles Times) in a world that glorifies cool isn’t easy. But when Issa Rae, the creator of the Shorty Award-winning hit series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, is that introvert—whether she’s navigating love, the workplace, friendships, or “rapping”—it sure is entertaining. Now, in this New York Times bestselling debut collection written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cybersexing in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain, from navigating the perils of eating out alone and public displays of affection to learning to accept yourself—natural hair and all.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is a book no one—awkward or cool, black, white, or other—will want to miss.
Hate List by Jennifer Brown – An Instagrammer I follow posted about this book, and she really enjoyed it, despite its sensitive topic. So, I’m interested. Here’s the description:
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.
Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.
…So, there you have it! Of course, I’ll be reading a variety of books this year, and you can keep up with all of them by keeping an eye out for Blanche’s Book Club, which usually reads about a book a week. Got a book you think I should read? Let me know – I’m always looking for new titles.
In other news, I’m back on Pinterest (Follow me here)! I never really left, but it’d been a looooong time since I logged in. I’m hoping to use it to find more creative ideas to keep things fresh, and as a place to store all of my reading lists and style ideas. I’d love to see you there!