Recently Read Vol. 5

I haven’t done one of these in a while. Probably because reading took a back seat to city life for a bit after we moved. But as the New Year came, I recommitted myself to putting down my iStuff and simply reading before bed. Here’s what I’ve read recently:

Reading Recommendations including Eleanor & Park, Not That Kind of Girl, Yes Please, and The Girl You Left Behind | eastandblog.com

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

I really enjoyed this book. Possibly more than I enjoyed Me Before You, Jojo Moyes most famous book to date. The Girl You Left behind is strange in that instead of either sharing one perspective or bouncing back and forth between two, the first half of the book is set during WWI, and the second half is present day.

For those of you who have read this book, how did you feel about the main character’s choices? I was very conflicted as I could see her attachment but did not feel like she was entitled to what she felt she was entitled to (or owned). That was vague on purpose, so I didn’t spoil anything. But it was the part I had the most trouble with. I don’t know that I agreed with her.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

It’s hard to write a book, at least that’s what Amy Poehler wants you to think while she’s making it look easy. Yes Please is written in such an easy, conversational way that you’ll feel like you’re reading a rambling note from your best friend. I loved reading about her time at SNL and I loved how much she seemed to truly enjoy working on Parks and Rec. Her hilarious and touching insights in to motherhood only endeared her more to me. Plus, we both have sons named Archie so we’re obviously really good at naming living creatures. Right after finishing this book, we watched all of Parks and Rec. It was glorious. In short, I love Amy Poehler.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

I’ve heard mixed reviews on this book, just as people really love or really don’t love Lena Dunham. If you love her, my guess is you’ll keep loving her after this book. If you don’t love her, well I’m not sure why you’d read this book in the first place (but in case you need to be convinced, here are 10 reasons to love Lena Dunham).

I found Lena’s honesty about her neuroses and unconventional childhood to be refreshing and interesting. She is certainly not the norm, growing up in New York City with two artists for parents. But many of her emotional and mental struggles will resonate with anyone who has experienced anxiety. I particularly related to her about her feelings (and paranoia) about death. I basically nodded my head as I read that whole chapter, and when it was over I felt much less alone with my feelings. Isn’t it wonderful that books can do that?

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I started reading this on Sunday afternoon and read straight through until I finished it. It was one of those kind of books. I had heard from others that Eleanor and Park is a bit darker than some of Rainbow Rowell’s other novels (all of which, I have loved) so I was a bit nervous I would not like it as much. To the contrary, it might be my favorite book of hers. Rowell does such a fantastic job of describing that all-consuming feeling of first love, and balanced the mild cheesiness of that with Eleanor’s dark home life. I wanted to hug Eleanor the whole time (and maybe take her shopping). Eleanor & Park made me simultaneously grateful that my teenage years are over and a little sad that my emotions will probably never be that extreme again.

Book I tried to read but failed: Outlander by Diane Gabaldon

Just when I thought the book was getting good (175 pages or so in), it slowed down again. People are obsessed with this series but since I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t force yourself to read something you aren’t enjoying (because that’s the fastest way to get in to a reading rut), I put it down.

Need a book recommendation? Check out Recently Read Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, and Vol. 4.

Now tell me, what should I read next?

*Please note, this post contains affiliate links. The little bit of money I’d make if you buy something from Amazon via my link will probably fund the next round of Recently Read. Books books and more books!

YOU MIGHT LIKE:
  • I loved Me Before You so i really need to give some of Jojo Moyes’ books a go. Last night I downloaded the Book Theif and I’m hooked already!

    • I wish I had read The Book Thief before I saw the movie. I’m sure I would have loved it. I wonder if it’s still worth reading or if all the good plot points are spoiled.

  • I listened to Yes Please on Audible and LOVED hearing her read it herself. And I immediately rewatched Parks and Rec afterwards as well. Have you watched American Ham on Netflix? it’s Nick Offerman doing standup and my husband and I think it’s hilarious. My husband recently read his book and loved it.
    I think my next Audible book is going to be Not That Kind of Girl. I love listening to authors read their own books. Speaking of, listening to Tina Fey read Bossy Pants was the best book on tape experience of my life. I highly recommend it.

    • I haven’t watched American Ham but now that we’ve finished Parks & Rec we definitely will watch it. I heard that Bossypants is amazing read by Tina Fey. I read it and now I want to listen to her read it to me.

  • “Yes, Please” has got to be one of my favorite reads, ever. I read it in like 2 days!

    • It was right up there with Mindy Kaling’s book for me. I loved Amy Poehler before but I love her even more now. I’m so glad that it was the push that got me to watch Parks & Rec. So hilarious.

  • JC

    I was surprised by Yes Please in that I liked it. I’m a wierdo who has a very dry sense of humor (O’m told) so I don’t get most comedy. My fiance and I are now watching parks and rec, and while it’s entertaining enough, he busts out laughing and I just don’t understand it, however I do like the easy way in which she told her story. As for Outlander, I loved it. I totally get that it’s hard to get started, the first book took me a while to actually read the entire thing. I’ve never not finished a book that I started except Life of Pi (it was too painful), so I finished it after months (yes months) and got addicted. The second even longer book I finished in a couple weeks. I’m interested to read Not That Kind of Girl, but theres a long list in front of it.

    • The Outlander series seems to be really polarizing. People either really get hooked or can’t get through it. I wonder if, based on your sense of humor, you’d like Downton Abbey. The humor in the show is subtle and dry but I find it pretty hilarious at times. They just insulted each other in such clever ways back then.

  • I haven’t read Yes Please yet, but I just put it on hold at the library! I am currently finishing up the Harry Potter series for the second time, and I feel like I haven’t read anything else in such a long time (not a bad thing). I am having trouble remembering what I even read before that…Have you read “How to Write a Sentence”? I recently wrote a review of it on my blog. It’s great if you like to read about writing!

    • It’s never a bad thing to re-read Harry Potter. These days I mostly read them out of order. Sometimes I’ll just get in the mood for a specific book.

      I don’t read much non-fiction but it would probably be a good thing for me to read more about writing, since I do so much of it. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • I haven’t read any of these except for Lena’s book (which I loved) and really want to read THe girl you left behind. It’s so hard to find a book you love. If you haven’t read the girl on the train I suggest it!

    • The Girl on the Train was going to be my next read. I heard that if you love Gone Girl, you’ll love that. For someone funny like you, I feel like you’d enjoy Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Mindy Kaling’s books. They all kind of gave me blog ideas too.

  • Bummer about Outlander. I have it on my TBR. Hope I enjoy it!

    • I hope you do too! I might give it another try because people insist that if you get through the first part of the first book, that you get hooked.

  • I’ve read all of these except for Outlander and The Girl You Left Behind. I too enjoy Jojo Moyes and have read her other books but something about this one made me question whether or not I’d like it. Perhaps I’ll have to give it another chance!

    • How are her other books? I’ve been trying to decide which one to read next. I was thinking One Plus One or The Ship of Brides.

  • I’m dying to read Yes Please!

    I’m actually reading the Outlander series, as well. I’m on the second book right now. I have to admit that you are right – when I was reading the first book, it did become somewhat slow and hard to read. But it picked up. I’m glad I stuck to it, cause I really like them! The show on Starz is pretty good, too – the guy who plays Jamie is veryyyy nice to look at 😉

    • I’ve been so tempted to just watch the show instead of continuing to read the books. Maybe I should get the audiobook version and listen to the first one until it picks up.

  • I absolutely love Amy Poehler, I need to read her book! Loved reading your reviews!

    • If you like her, you’ll love her book and you’ll love her even more after reading it. I felt the same way about Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, and Mindy Kaling’s books too.

  • I made it through Outlander but it was a CHORE. I only finished it because of book club. I didn’t like it at all and have no plans to read the rest of the series. Eleanor and Park is on my to read list! Which is so long at this point… 🙂

    • See, it’s comments like this (which is similar to many of the comments on Amazon reviews) that make me not want to attempt to finish it. It was recommended to me by a friend who knows me pretty well so I thought that if she said that I’d like it, that I would. Eleanor and Park is one you could knock off your reading list in 4 hours. I couldn’t put it down.

  • I loved Eleanor & Park. I read The Girl on the Train and loved it. I just started a trilogy. The first book is called Reason to Breathe. I really enjoyed it and just started the second book. I’ve been reading more and watching tv less. Yay!

    • I heard that The Girl on the Train is a great one to read if you loved Gone Girl (which I did). I always enjoy series so I’ll check out Reason to Breathe. I’ve found that when N plays video games, I tend to just mess around on my computer. Lately on rainy weekends, he plays video games while I sit with him and read. I always feel like I’ve accomplished something when I read instead of watch TV.

  • Lena and Amy’s books are next on my reading list! I’ve been hearing/seeing a lot about the eleanor & park book though so I might have to give that one a try!

    • You won’t regret reading Lena and Amy’s books. Eleanor and Park was one I kept hearing about. I’d read Rainbow Rowell’s other books (loved Attachments) and Eleanor and Park lived up to the hype.

  • Books I have not heard of till now

    • I don’t know what kind of books you like but I’ve reviewed a lot of books at this point so there is bound to be something for everyone 🙂

  • I’m finishing up Yes Please right now and I didn’t think it’d be possible, but I love Amy now even more than I did before. I love how authentic and honest it was while still being funny – she’s full of great insights and advice and a good quip!

    • Have you read Mindy Kaling’s book? I think that might have been my favorite among the Amy/Tina/Mindy group.

  • I’ve been listening to Yes Please in the car this month and ITS SO GOOD! I’ve decided listening to the audiobook version of books by celebriteis (read by said celebrity) is one of my all time favorite things. I love hearing her voice every morning during my commute to work. I can almost tolerate bad Chicago traffic now.

    And I feel like I need to try Eleanor and Park again. It was my first Rainbow Rowell book and I think I was expecting something else. I thought it was going to be a light, fluffy, cute story – and it was so much darker. Not that being darker is bad, I just didn’t expect it. So, I feel like now that I know what it is I’ll enjoy it more. But I haven’t goten to re-reading it.

    • In retrospect, listening to the audio version would have been great. I have been told that Tina Fey reading Bossypants is hilarious. I read the book but want to listen to it also.

      Eleanor and Park was definitely the darkest of all of Rainbow Rowell’s books. I put off reading it and read all of her other books (except Landline) because I was worried I wouldn’t like it. It might actually be up there with Attachements for me. Now I’m considering reading Landline.

  • I’m currently reading Mindy Kaling’s “Is everyone hanging out without me?” and really enjoying it as a quick read…. I would recommend it

  • Heather H

    I liked Outlander and read the first few books, but I just found that they were taking me too long to get through and they were way too detailed. I think I’ll check out the show instead though because I did like the plot but just couldn’t handle the lengthy writing. Eleanor and Park is on my list!! Lately I have been on a huge YA book kick, which I am a bit ashamed to admit, but I find it easy to read “easier” books when life is busy in other areas, haha. So I’ve read the Selection series, books by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments) – which I really liked, and a series by Shelly Crane called Significance which I also liked, but the books had TONS of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes that drove me crazy! I’d also recommend the Rosie Effect, I think you had mentioned you read the first one before, and the Girl on the Train was a great read too. I love these reviews 🙂

  • I just read “The Astronaut’s Wives Club: A True Story” by Lily Koppel. http://www.amazon.com/The-Astronaut-Wives-Club-Story/dp/145550324X

    It’s not exactly thrilling or controversial or anything like that. But it has some very real stories about the life of the Mercury 7 and Apollo mission wives and how they reacted to being thrust in the nation’s spotlight during the space race. It’s very thought provoking. I’ve read a lot about the actual Astronauts, but didn’t read anything about their families until now. It’s also going to be made into a series on ABC this summer and I wanted to read it in case the series butchers it.

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