What I'm Reading | One More Thing & How Did You Get This Number

So of course I'm done with grad school and the first two books I pick up during the summer are totally things I would have read while I was in grad school. And by "pick up" I mean purchased on Audible, and by "read" I mean listen to. But whatever. I have real plans to get a public library card (gasp! So retro!) and actually browse through the library and get shushed for giggling or what have you and come home with a stack of books that I can't possibly read in the alotted time and get late fees and continually keep re-checking out the same books all summer. And by that I mean I have real plans to actually bring home a book and lay my eyeballs on it and actually read it. Not physically lay my eyeballs on the book like physically, like taking them out of my head and just laying there like some corny horror film, but...we understand each other, right?

True story: when you go to grad school for an MFA in English, you read a whole heck of a lot. Student papers and the work of your peers and your advisors and feedback on your work and the feedback you've written for others and it's a lot of writing and reading and reading for pleasure becomes not so much a thing. Because these eyeballs can only take so much strain in one day. So all of the pleasure reading. Recommendations please!

B.J. Novak has a book, and it's surprisingly delightful. Joanna had lovely things to say about it, so I was like okay, I'ma give this a go, but I honestly didn't have high expectations for it. The audiobook is great because the author actually narrates most of the book, and he has great guest readers like Katy Perry and Mindy Kaling. There are really short microfictions, there are longer stories; all of the stories are a little funny, smart, somewhat ridiculous, and at the end of each story, I had to think, did I like that? What conclusions can I come to? Is this a story? And I loved that it was fun and also made me think. When you pick up this book, you can expect to read about a rematch race between the tortoise and the hare, what kind of music people listen to in heaven, how to get over an ex, the greatest advice in the world, the best way to utilize missed connections, and much more. Also, check out the book trailer.

I'm about halfway through this book by Sloane Crosley and so far I definitely feel like I liked I Was Told There'd Be Cake better. Did anyone else feel this way? I like this book, but I was definitely more taken with the other one. This is an interesting problem/question for personal essay writers: do you inevitably use up your best stories in your first book? But shouldn't you also be better at writing a book of essays, since you've already done it before? Are subsequent books less interesting because the style of writing is no longer new and fresh and exciting and we start to recognize all of the ticks in your writing and how weird your metaphors are? When I finish this book, I'll check back in. But this is how I'm feeling now.

What's on your summer reading list? And/or what have you read lately that's super good? I have a pretty long reading list, but I'm actively searching for recommendations to add to it. Tell me everything I'm missing!

Yours Truly, Jen


  1. One of my favorite books so far is "Me Before You" by JoJo Moyes. It's been months since I've read it, and I still think about it. I'm obsessed! hahah Right now I'm reading "The Husband's Secret" but I'm having a hard time actually getting into the book and wanting to read more.

  2. i'm so glad you're reading How Did You Get This Number. i just finished it--finally--after a couple of months of trying to get through it. i think the chapters are too long and are in the wrong order, personally. i think instead of telling stories about her life, she got too caught up in trying to make statements about life/the world using her experiences. it got a little...preachy? a couple times. i'm sad because i LOVED her first book, and i felt like i was reading a completely different author with this one.

    also, you've convinced me to get my first audio book. i've heard great things about One More Thing and i think i might even enjoy it more in an audio platform.

    xo nicole

  3. I have been meaning to read BJ Novak's book -- it's on my to-read list, but I may have to get the audiobook now that I know he narrates it. I love when the writers read their own audiobooks, especially when it's a celeb or well-known person.

  4. Me too! With essays that's usually the case, and since he did his own book trailer and stuff, I shouldn't have been surprised that he narrated. It's a really fun read/listen!

  5. Yes, I'm so glad! I was totally resistant to audio anything at first because I never really liked people reading to me when I was a kid, but it's just so convenient when you're so busy and I love it when the author reads their own book. You just really get the full effect of how they intended for it to be. I agree that the stories are too long in this one. They seem to keep swirling and spiraling and then she gets to the point at the end and you're like huh?

  6. I love books that you still think about afterward! Definitely adding that to my list.


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