Just under the wire, here are the books I read last month—and my honest thoughts about them. Happy reading!
- Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid—4/5
Surf, sand, and siblings: the recipe for a very solid beach read. From the ‘80s to the present day, we learn about the famous Riva family’s secrets—and everyone else learns about them during a huge end-of-summer rager. I totally get why this book was so popular. It’s entertaining, easy, and set in Malibu, after all.
- November 9 by Colleen Hoover—3.5/5
A terrifying fire leaves Fallon with severe burn scars. Ben is the first person to ever look past them. The problem is, Fallon is leaving the state the day after they meet. The novel follows their unlikely—or is it?—love story over years and lots of distance. You know I’ll never pass up a Colleen Hoover original, and this one was as emotional as the rest.
- Overthinking About You: Dating with Anxiety, OCD, and/or Depression by Allison Raskin—2.5/5
As a single gal with anxiety, depression, and mild OCD, this title seemed like it was written for me. While I did relate to a good amount of what the author deals with herself, I was hoping for more of a solutions-based guide. It was nice to feel “seen,” but it didn’t really address how to handle my anxieties in the dating world.
- My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh—2.5/5
Ok, so I can see why this is a bit of a cult classic. After all, it’s scandalous and unapologetic. But I felt like it was trying too hard. It follows a young woman who holes herself away in her NYC apartment for months on end and dulls her depression by abusing prescription drugs, having sex with terrible men, and being straight up mean to her only friend. It didn’t really deliver on plot for me.
- You Are More Than You Think You Are: Practical Enlightenment for Everyday Life by Kimberly Snyder—2.5/5
Damn, I’m being harsh this month, huh? I wanted to like this one more than I did, but the author delved way too deeply into the ancient teachings of yoga and meditation than what felt modern and/or practical to me. There were certainly some positive and enlightening tidbits, but it didn’t feel relatable enough. If you have the time and resources to go through the suggested activities, go for it. But if you’re an everyday person with a normal, busy life? Eh.
- Startup by Doree Shafrir—3.5/5
If you work in or have followed the tech industry in the last few years, this novel will feel on point. It’s a bit of a caricature of the space and follows several different characters in the orbit of Mack McAllister, the founder of a new mindfulness app. However, a single uncovered text message threatens to bring it all crashing down. Told you it’s on point, didn’t I?
- The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.—4/5
I’ve been wanting to read this one for years, but I knew it was going to be heavy and I wasn’t ready to commit. I’m so glad I finally did! The first half is admittedly fairly textbook-like, but I found the stats and info interesting nonetheless. The second half is when you hear more about the practical examples of psychotherapy. I will say that this book makes it seem like “trauma” is only experienced by victims of sexual assault, war, and abuse, which is absolutely not the case—most of us have some sort of trauma! But if you put that aside, it’s very eye opening.
- After This: When Life Is Over, Where Do We Go? By Claire Bidwell Smith—4.5/5
Loved this! I often find myself torn between the logical and spiritual views of death, and it turns out the author has the same conundrum. She sets out to research tons of different theories on life after death, from religious beliefs to psychic experiences. It was so interesting to me and she displays the information in such a digestible, relatable way.