Book Recos February 2020

As my blog is starting to develop more, I’m finding there are other things I want to write about besides just London & NYC. Mostly still travel related though.

I mentioned in my last post that we are heading to the UK this weekend for a wedding. Dave and I are flying back together on Monday, but he is flying out tomorrow night and I don’t fly out until Friday morning. When we’re on a flight together, I usually sleep the first few hours and then watch a movie or two. He is usually awake the whole time, working or watching something as well. However, I was thinking about how much of an opportunity flying is to read a good book over the course of a few hours.

Every year for the last three years, one of my New Year’s Resolutions has been to read more. I wanted to read a book per month, but that proved to be difficult during law school. I did manage to read 10 books in 2018, 20 in 2019, and hopefully will be closer to 30 this year!

I wanted this post to highlight some of my favourites over the past three years. In no particular order, here are some of my recommendations to read while you’re traveling (or not, just trying to stay on brand lo)

  1. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

I’m not sure you can have a book review list and not mention this novel. It’s also not a coincidence this is the first book I read of 2018 when I decided to get back into reading and it has stuck with me two years later. I’ve never written a formal book review so bear with, but basically you should read this. The story centers around the Richardson family, especially their matriarch Elena. They are a wealthy family who decide to lease their extra house to a single mother, Mia, and her daughter, Pearl. All of the members are drawn to the these women for different reasons. But the main crux of the book is when a family in town decides to adopt a baby that has been abandoned. Ng states on her website, “When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.” I think it’s probably cheating to copy prose from the website of the author in a book review, but she just worded it so well. Anyways, it’s good read and captured me immediately.

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman

Another read that will stay with you, Reese Witherspoon recommended this book herself stating, ““Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection.” In short, without giving too much away as I am known to do (I think I’ve told everyone I spoke to this weekend the entire plot of Parasite barring the last 40 minutes), Eleanor Oliphant is a simple woman who sticks to her well planned routines. Her life changes, for the better, when she and a co worker, Raymond, save Sammy, an elderly man from the sidewalk (wow do you think I could’ve used more commas?). Eleanor’s past is slowly revealed in a dramatic turn of events and shows the readers why she is the way she is. The book has funny and sweet moments, but has a darker subplot underneath. Another book that captivated me from the beginning and was hard to put down until I finished.

3. Death of Mrs. Westaway, Ruth Ware

Perhaps I am partial to this one for being set in the UK, and some of my favourite parts of it as well. The Death of Mrs. Westaway follows orphaned Harriet (Hal) as she receives a letter saying she’s inherited a large sum of money from her grandmother. Hal knows her real grandparents died a long time ago, but she is in desperate need of money to pay off loan sharks that are chasing her. Hal decides to go and meet this woman’s family and claim the money she has been told she is entitled to. And that’s where I’ll leave off because #noplotspoilers. As I’m sure you can tell by now, I read a little bit of everything. This was one of the first books that got me into the mystery genre.

4. Miss You, Kate Eberlen

This one is a series of missed connections over 16 years. The story starts in Florence, and follows Tess, on holiday before she starts Uni & Gus, another teenager on holiday with his parents. I think the daily mail said it best here, “wildly romantic, heart-achingly sad, warmly funny and really clever.“-Daily Mail. It’s just one of those books where you’re rooting for the characters the whole time.

5. Nine Perfect Strangers, Liane Moriarty

Writing this book review blog post, which is actually taking years so I hope you all enjoy reading it, has made me realize I am a huge Liane Moriarty fan. This is one of two books of hers I recommend, but probably just because I haven’t read other ones by her yet. I ate this book in like a day and a half. We were lying on the beach in Nice under a cabana with a cute french boy bringing me pina coladas and I was just zipping through the book. The story brings together nine strangers, as the title says, at a remote health/wellness retreat. As with her other writing, Liane Morarity’s characters are relate-able, likable, and there are surprises that lie ahead for them.

6. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty

So I actually read Nine Perfect Strangers first, and didn’t even realize they were the same author until about 15 minutes ago when they were both on my list to recommend. So I read this book after the HBO series came out, and I am the kind of person to read books before I watch things. This was another book I read in under a week. I think it’s a lot longer than Nine Perfect Strangers, but it was just as enjoyable. I went in with #nospoilers and knew nothing about it. I take most of my book recommendations from friends or the Skimm and add them to an amazon list that I am very slowly making my way through. After reading this, I watched the HBO series and was pretty disappointed. The book was a thousand times better. Briefly, it’s about a community in Australia, and specifically the relationships of a few women. It is written lightly, but touches upon deeper issues like domestic abuse, etc. Highly recommend.

7. All the Missing Girls, Megan Miranda

I’m finding it very funny that my books and reading all seem to be intertwined. If you look closely at the bottom of this photo, Ruth Ware reviewed this book saying, “A twisty compulsive read, I loved it.” That is the same Ruth Ware who wrote the Death of Mrs. Westaway. So if you like mystery novels, either one of these books, or just trust me, this book will not disappoint. Have you ever gotten so excited about a book you have to share the entire story with someone that’s never going to read it and they’re just sitting there like yup ok cool? Well that’s this book. I was flabbergasted. And that’s all I’m going to say on that one.

8. Hillbilly Elegy, JD Vance

We are leaving novel land and I’m recommending two non fiction loves I read. I just finished this one last month, and have already recommended it to so many people. JD Vance does an amazing job of explaining a culture and part of America that seems so foreign to me, especially as a girl growing up in the Suburbs of NYC and now living here. I really enjoyed his writing style and I know feel very informed about the rust belt and how most of America actually lives. I feel like I have a deeper understanding of why people make certain political choices and the problems rooted deep in America. Lastly, I enjoyed his take on law school and what his experience was like. It’s a very informative read, but still enjoyable.

9. Educated, Tara Westover

The last little bit of non fiction I’ll recommend for now, Educated was another very unique book. I think I just enjoy reading things that are foreign to me. Tara’s memoir explores her sheltered life in Idaho where she grew up not attending school, seeing a doctor, or even was aware of major world events like the Holocaust. She later goes on to Brigham Young University, Harvard, and eventually Cambridge (no spoilers I swear!). This is a fantastic read about another part of America and way of life I just never thought about.

10. BONUS! Series Recommendation: Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, Rich People Problems, Kevin Kwan

I actually literally do not know where to start with this one. Well first of all, it’s technically a trilogy, but I think I just prefer the word series. Secondly, I read this AFTER seeing the film (which is very unlike me) and I enjoyed both very very much. I will say, the story is a little bit different, in a way that makes me curious as to how the second or third film will play out. But if you’re looking for a light, easy, enjoyable read, this series is it. Kevin’s writing is so good I never even had a moment that was like “A man definitely wrote this because that would never happen.”

Well that’s it for me for now. Leave me all your book recommendations, and feel free to check out my book recommendations highlight on Instagram at jordan_leigh_. Also, my dear friend Zahara has started an Instagram page for her book reviews, go check her out @zaharareads I haven’t read anything she’s recommended yet, BUT I have a bunch of them on my long ass list. Literally to give you an idea, I’m still getting through books I put on this list back in 2017.

My little book update: just about to finish the Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines, but have The Runaway Wife, Truly Madly Guilty (apparently I’m reallllly obsessed with Liane Moriarty) and the Thousandth Floor loaded into my phone to read over the next few weeks!

Ok! Hope you all enjoy scrolling through that for 2 minutes, even though I slaved over it for about four hours lol. No but seriously, thank you to everyone reading, viewing, and especially clicking on ads-I appreciate every one of you.

xx

j

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