Educated: A Memoir

This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s a memoir about a girl who grows up in a family of survivalists who believe the world is going to come to an end. They don’t believe in public school education, the medical establishment, and Tara didn’t have a birth certificate or a record of her birthday. Tara and her siblings work on her father’s junkyard where they get injured often and Tara’s brother is physically and emotionally abusive. After Tara’s older brother takes the ACT and goes to college, she decides to study and teaches herself enough to do well on the ACT. She goes to Brigham Young University and learns about things like the Holocaust and the Civil War for the first time ever. Her professors realize how talented she is and she studies abroad at Cambridge, where she dazzles her tutor and ends up getting her Ph.D. there and also studying at Harvard. She becomes estranged from members of her family and the book is about family, education, and becoming independent. I found myself crying multiple times. It’s so well written and such an interesting view of a dysfunctional family.

The Interestings

I loved this book. I became invested in all of the characters, in part because I got to learn about them throughout the course of their lifetime, and in part because Meg Wolitzer described each character in such a thorough way that I felt like I knew them. The book spanned forty years and it was interesting to read about the societal changes – especially since a lot of it occurred in and around New York City. One of the biggest themes of the book is envy and how people’s lives change over the years, while they try to keep their friendship the same. I highly recommend this book!

The Darlings

I highly recommend this book. The Darlings is a captivating thriller and I could not put it down. The author was excellent at profiling people at the very top of the one percent, the financial industry, the recession, and family loyalties. One thing that really stuck with me was the author’s ability to make all of the characters feel real and relatable at some level. I found myself empathizing with certain characteristics of each character – given the nature of the book and the frauds committed, this is a really remarkable achievement! I did a bit more research and learned that the author actually grew up in Manhattan – she went to Chapin like the daughters in the book. She also studied at Harvard and NYU Law and worked as an analyst at Goldman and a corporate attorney at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr. There are a lot of parallels to the character Merill. One part of the book that I found really poignant was the storyline about a character who lost her father on September 11th. I was amazed at how raw and realistic the character’s emotions seemed and later learned that Cristina lost her father on September 11th. I don’t want to give up more of the book, but read it!

The Engagements

J. Courtney Sullivan has been one of my favorite authors ever since I read Commencement during the spring break of my senior year of college. I had the pleasure of hearing J. Courtney Sullivan speak at one of Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s Happier Hours. Courtney spoke about her tips for writers. One thing she said that really stuck with me was that writers are always working on their stories and collecting memories and experience that might be put to use years later. Courtney explained that the storyline with Evelyn and Gerald was actually inspired by a story shared by a couple she’d met at a wedding years and years before she wrote the book. Courtney also shared how much research and time went into understanding Mary Frances Gerety, the ad writer who is responsible for the ad slogan “A Diamond Is Forever.” She interviewed Mary Frances Gerety’s living friends and family and even went to her former home. She and the new homeowner looked everywhere for more answers about Mary Frances Gerety’s life and finally, on Courtney’s last day, she found a box of her notes and belongings in the attic. I was so excited to read the book after hearing from the author and I highly recommend it!

Rules of Civility

This is another book that I couldn’t put down! I loved reading The Great Gatsby in middle school and this book is the most similar thing I’ve read to Gatsby. I never read books more than once but I could see myself reading this book once a year.

The Chaperone

I love reading historical fiction and loved learning that this book was based on a real trip taken by a chaperone and the movie star Louise Brooks. I loved that the book spans six decades—the reader gets to witness a drastic change in societal norms. There are a lot of unexpected twists and turns—read it!

The Big Life

There isn’t a textbook or college class about navigating your twenties and thirties. But Ann Shoket has written a guide for taking ownership of your personal and professional life and crafting a life you love. As editor-in-chief of Seventeen, Ann helped hundreds of thousands of people traverse their teenage years. Ann realized there wasn’t a similar space for big questions — like how to choose the right career path, negotiate a raise or find a partner whose eyes light up when you talk about your goals — so she decided to do some research and write a book. Shoket hosted Badass Babes dinners — think candid conversations over fancy frozen pizza and rosé — with dozens of women (and a few men) and incorporated their insights and her own into her book, “The Big Life: Embrace the Mess, Work Your Side Hustle, Find a Monumental Relationship, and Become the Badass Babe You Were Meant to Be.”

Fitness Junkie

I recommend this to everyone. It’s an absolutely hilarious satire on the wellness scene. Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, receives an ultimatum from her best friend and business partner, Beau. She can either lose thirty pounds or lose her job. Janey takes a leave of absence from the company and starts going down the wellness rabbit-hole. Of course, there is also a love story thrown in for good measure. I recognized some of the people and places that are “fiction” in the book.

Rich and Pretty

“Rich and Pretty” is about two best friends for twenty years, Sarah and Lauren. They have been best friends through high school and college, first jobs and first relationships. (They overheard someone saying that Sarah is rich and Lauren is pretty.) Sarah is engaged and Lauren is the maid of honor even though they have started to grow apart because their lives are different. It’s about the way close childhood friendships evolve and change. The book is a bit slow, but I thought it was a perceptive read about female friendship which is especially interesting because it was written by a man.

Reconstructing Amelia

I literally couldn’t put Reconstructing Amelia down. The book was a combination between Gossip Girl, Gone Girl, Pretty Little Liars, Private and Twelve. Reconstructing Amelia was a thought-provoking and emotional mystery exploring the heavy topics of losing a child, school bullying, elite institutions, parenting, adolescence, secrecy, adultery, and entitlement. Read it!

Before the Fall

Eleven people leave Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed back to New York when the plane dives into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs, a painter and the four-year-old boy he rescues from the crash. The boy is the heir to a media empire similar to Fox news. The book switches from past to present as we learn about the people on the plane as well as what unfolds for Scott and the boy as people investigate the crash. It was so good!

The After Party

Joan and Cece have been best friends since childhood. Technically they are both named Joan, but when they were in the same class in elementary school, their teacher decided that Joan should go by Cece to make it easier. Cece lives with Joan and her family after her mother passes away and her father goes off with his mistress. Cece is protective of Joan and overly involved with her life and their relationship even though Cece is married and has a young son who is struggling. Throughout the book, you know that a few pivotal things happened when Joan and Cece were teens and that those things have shaped their lives and relationships now. The Skimm called it a vintage Gossip Girl.

The Singles Game

The Singles Game is a fun read about Charlie Silver, a famous tennis player. She gets injured on the Wimbledon court and decides she needs a new coach to work with her. She becomes Todd Feltner’s first female client and suddenly she starts to become famous. She starts getting endorsement deals, magazine covers, and starts dating another high-profile tennis player. It’s an easy read with some insight into the competitive tennis world.

The Women in Cabin 10

I love thrillers and this was no exception. Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, gets her first big assignment. She is reporting a luxury cruise trip with some very wealthy guests. At first, the cruise is elegant and beautiful but then a woman is thrown overboard…but no one knows what happened. There are some major twists and turns and I read it so quickly!

The Good Girl

I was in the mood for a good thriller, and I’m so glad I picked this one up. Mia Dennett goes to a bar to meet her boyfriend but ends up talking to a handsome man named Collin Thatcher. She goes home with him and finds out that he was hired to bring her to his employers who will likely use her to bribe her father, a well-respected judge. Collin ends up kidnapping her and you find out about their life together in a secluded cabin. The book is also in her mother’s perspective and the detective’s as they try to find Mia. I don’t want to give more away, but there are some very surprising twists and turns!

Scrappy Little Nobody

I love Anna Kendrick so her book of autobiographical essays was a fun read. The essays were so personal that it felt like getting to spend the day with Anna. (Which I would love!) It’s a funny and fast read.

Startup

The Startup is about a sexual harassment scandal at a high-profile startup, Take Off. The young founder starts to date one of his employees and things go awry when she moves on and starts dating someone else. A journalist at a tech publication gets the scoop and, as she reports on the story, her boss and his wife who works at Take Off get involved. I read The Startup so quickly! Although the subject matter is something that happens far too often, the startup has some hilarious points and it’s fun to spot the real companies that are an inspiration for some of the ones in the book.

Dead Letters

Dead Letters is a dark novel about a twin who has been pronounced dead but sets up a scavenger hunt of sorts for her twin sister. It kept me guessing until the very last page and I immediately gave it to one of my best friends because I knew she would love it too. The book was smart, well-written, and the epitome of a good thriller.

Beautiful Ruins

This book was fantastic! I really enjoyed how all of the seemingly unrelated stories were woven together—in the end, it all made sense.

Watch Me Disappear

Watch Me Disappear is about a mom, Billie Flanagan, who vanishes while hiking alone. Her body was never found but her husband tries to have her pronounced dead even though his daughter, Olive, starts to get visions of her mom and thinks she is alive after all. Olive and her dad try to solve the mystery of what happened to Billie and uncover a lot about her past in the process. I liked this book and was surprised by the ending.

The Perennials

The Perennials is about best friends who return to their beloved summer camp as counselors. It’s about the next generation of campers, growing up, and trying to maintain close friendships even as you inevitably change. I gave my copy to a good friend who loved summer camp and even met her fiance at their sleepaway camp.

Saints for All Occassions

J. Courtney Sullivan is one of my favorite authors. I loved The Commencement and The Engagements. Saints for All Occasions is about two sisters who share a major secret that makes them estranged for years. They reunite years later at a wake for a family member. The book changes perspectives between both sisters and other family members and, as with all of J. Courtney’s books, the characters are relatable, nuanced, and memorable.

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

I bought this book to read while I was in Montauk and I ended up finishing it by the end of the first day. I thought that the author did a great job of transitioning between Thea’s life at school and slowly unveiling the tragedy that sent her there. The book discusses money, sex, love, scandal, tradition, guilt, growing up, friendship, and family. The guilt and family plot reminded me a bit of Spring Awakening and the friendship, school, and boarding school tradition plot reminded me of Prep.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

I ended up really liking this book. At first, I thought it was a bit slow but once Bernadette went missing, I had to know what happened. I liked that the book was written through various pieces of correspondence between characters. It was fun to read emails, faxes, FBI reports, and more. Bernadette’s daughter, Bee, narrated throughout the book and it was interesting to read from her perspective. The book was funny, satirical, and exciting. I recommend it!

Before We Were Yours

I have always loved historical fiction and this book is no exception. It’s inspired by firsthand accounts of the stories behind a notoriously corrupt adoption agency, the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. A successful politician’s daughter meets a woman who looks just like her and her grandmother at a nursing home. She is curious about the woman and starts to investigate to find out who the woman is and if she is, in fact, a relative. The book switches between the present and the 1930’s when the woman at the nursing home was a girl. The book exposes the horrors that occurred at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. It’s about family, secrecy, with an added love story for good measure!

The Nightingale

The Nightingale takes place during World War Two. Vianne and Isabelle have a close relationship as sisters but they end up living together again when Vianne’s husband, Antoine goes to war. “The Nightingale” chronicles their relationship and life throughout the war and afterward. This is one of the best books I have ever read. I felt such a strong connection with the characters and didn’t want the book to end. I found myself in bed crying multiple times.

Me Before You

This book was hauntingly beautiful. It was a story about friendship, love, family, wealth, sickness, and adventure. The book is thought-provoking, emotional, raw, and exceptionally well written. If you liked The Fault In Our Stars, you’ll love this book.

The Knockoff

The Knockoff is about Imogen Tate, editor in chief of Glossy magazine, who finds her twentysomething former assistant Eve Morton plotting to take over Imogen’s job and turn the magazine into an app. This book is so on-point and hysterical…especially if you work or have ever worked at a startup. I did some digging after I finished reading it and people say that it might be based on Rent the Runway. There are a lot of parallels like an extravagant wedding called off at the last minute and team bonding exercises to Beyonce songs. And not to judge a book by the cover but…

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is about a classic film star who tells her life story to a young, relatively unknown journalist, Monique Grant. Monique thinks she has been selected to write a cover story for the magazine she writes for, which is odd because she is not one of the top writers, Evelyn is very private and hasn’t disclosed much about her life, and Evelyn will only be featured if Monique is the writer. When Monique gets to Evelyn’s apartment she learns that Evelyn wants her to write her memoir. I liked Evelyn’s story and the unique way the book switched from past to present. My only critique is that you knew there was a reason Evelyn chose Monique but it took forever to get there. While the rest of the book was an interesting story about movie stars, marriages (for love or arranged), and Old Hollywood, I thought it took too long to get to the really intriguing part of the book.

Eat Beautiful

I have always been interested in the role food has on your skin. I recently majorly decreased soy (after years of daily soy lattes and lots of tofu!) and gluten and my skin became much clearer. When the publicist for the book reached out, I was so excited to get a copy. It’s full of expert-recommended skincare tips and homemade remedies, as well as an encyclopedia of knowledge about the impact certain foods have on our bodies. Eat Beautiful is also filled with recipes for healthy, skin-friendly foods. Yes, please!

Eligible

Eligible is a modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Liz Bennett is a magazine writer in her late thirties who lives in New York City with her older sister, Jane, a yoga instructor. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help and learn that their parents are having financial difficulties and their house is in terrible condition. Their three younger sisters are somewhat self-absorbed and are not very helpful. Mrs. Bennet has one main focus: marrying off her daughters. When Chip Bingley, a handsome doctor who recently appeared on the reality TV dating show Eligible (read: The Bachelor) starts falling for Jane it seems like Mrs. Bennett will finally get to plan a wedding. And, as you probably know if you read Pride and Prejudice once or a hundred times, Liz meets Chip’s friend Fitzwilliam Darcy and they don’t hit it off…yet. It’s a funny modern-day satire on a classic. Take this quote for an example: “My dear,” said Mr. Bennett, “if a sock puppet with a trust fund and a Harvard medical degree moved here, you’d think he was meant to marry one of our girls.” Noted.

The Hopefuls

I loved this book so much. Two married couples’ lives intertwine due to a political campaign. Beth and Matt move to DC for Matt’s job and they meet a charismatic White House staffer named Jimmy, and his wife, Ashleigh. They become inseparable…and even more so when they all move into Jimmy and Ashleigh’s house to run Jimmy’s political campaign. The relationships are all threatened by jealousy, competition, and rumors. I worked in the government throughout my time at GW, so I love reading anything about politics and DC. They even referenced places and events I remember. The author, Jennifer Close, teaches creative writing at GW now, and I wish I could go back in time and take her class. (And go back to college for a bit!)

My Not So Perfect Life

If you are looking for a fun, light-hearted, funny read pick up My Not So Perfect Life. It’s about a young woman who starts an entry-level job, then gets let go, and ends up working back at her family’s farm. But on her carefully curated Instagram feed it looks like everything is perfect…when it’s so not. There is a twist that is like a reverse Devil Wear’s Prada. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s good and so relevant to our “like-obsessed” culture.

Build Your Dream Network

I have known the author, Kelly Hoey, since 2012 when I worked at Levo and she shared the office space. She is a true connector and she explains how networking has helped her career, how to network in the digital age, and shares actionable advice from people she knows. I found myself highlighting a lot of parts of the book!

The Regulars

I absolutely loved The Regulars! It’s about three twenty-something friends who get a drug called Pretty that transforms them into stunningly gorgeous people. They learn first-hand how “pretty” people are treated differently in society. The book is funny and satirical, but it also has sincere feminist undertones.

Power Your Happy

I read this one awhile ago, but didn’t write a review. If you read one business book this year, it should be Power Your Happy. Lisa Sugar, founder of Popsugar, shares anecdotes and practical advice about building a life you love. She talks about starting a successful business, leading with compassion, feeling confident at work and at home, and more.

First Comes Love

First Comes Love is a family-focused book that is primarily about how two now adult sisters work through their complicated relationship and their brother’s death years before. The primary themes are guilt, love, forgiveness, family, and friendship. I liked the book but didn’t love it as much as Emily Giffin’s other work like Something Borrowed and Something Blue.

Walk Like a Buddha

Walk Like a Buddha applies Buddhist principles to modern day scenarios like online dating, social media, and work. It’s written by Lordo Rinzler, one of the cofounders of my favorite meditation studio, MNDFL. If you’re interested in mindfulness and meditation, you’ll really enjoy it!

Modern Lovers

Modern Lovers is mostly about marriage, friendship, dating, and growing up. Friends and former college bandmates, Elizabeth, Andrew, and Zoe have stayed close friends even as they’ve grown and evolved. Andrew and Zoe are married with a high school aged son and Elizabeth and Jane have a high school aged daughter. The main plot twists are that Andrew and Zoe’s son and Elizabeth and Jane’s daughter start dating and Zoe signs the rights to a movie about the band…without telling Andrew.

The Girls

The Girls is about Evie Boyd, a teenager who becomes friends with a girl named Suzanne and ends up becoming part of an infamous cult with a charismatic but dangerous male leader. Evie becomes entangled in the cult and her obsession with Suzanne. The book was very well-written, but it was slow paced and I kept hoping for more to happen.

The Woman I Wanted to Be

The Woman I Wanted to Be is Diane von Furstenberg’s memoir. The Woman I Wanted to Be is a memoir infused with a life’s worth of lessons from an esteemed business woman with a very successful career. If you like autobiographies of strong women, you’ll like this book.

What She Knew

What She Knew is an engaging psychological thriller about a mom whose young son suddenly goes missing. This is one of the best thrillers I have read in a long time. I found myself telling everyone that they had to run out and buy it right away. There were so many times when I suspected that the wrong person had taken him. You’ll be just as shocked as I was.

You are a Badass

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life is a relatable, action-oriented self-help book. It’s full of money, relationship, and career advice that seems like it’s coming from a cool older sister. It’s funny, engaging, and filled with inspiring advice.

How to Love Yourself

I picked this book up at MNDFL after a breakup and it was so helpful. The authors talk about their own relationships as well as what they’ve learned from their religious and spiritual studies. I found myself highlighting so many passages. The main point is something I already knew, but something they eloquently described, you really have to love yourself in order to truly love someone else. Do yourself a favor and read it.

The Nest

The Nest is about a somewhat dysfunctional family that is arguing about their inheritance, which they call “The Nest.” I liked the book but didn’t find myself feeling a true connection with any of the characters. I liked it and thought it was very well-written but had wanted to love it. What I did love, however, was getting to hear the author speak at one of Aidan Donnelly Rowley’s Happier Hours. I learned that the author always wanted to be a writer and finally got her MFA once her kids graduated from college. It was so great to see someone follow their passion and end up finding so much success. The book was quickly a New York Times Bestseller.

The Assistants

The Assistants is about an assistant to a media mogul who pays off her student loans with a check she accidentally gets from the company. She has a choice — she can return the check — or use it to finally pay off her loans. She gets caught by another assistant and they end up banding together to help other assistants pay off their loans. As you can expect, things get tricky. The book is dry, sarcastic, and laugh out loud funny. I heard the author speak at the same event and it was great to hear her talk about how her own experience (minus the whole stealing thing) was the inspiration for the book. She was an underpaid assistant with a huge student loan from NYU. And she ended up using the money from the book to finally pay off her loans.

The Guest Room

Kristen Chapman’s husband, Richard, hosts his brother’s bachelor party (complete with hired entertainment) at their house. The two women stab and kill their bodyguards and we realize that they are victims of human trafficking. Kristin and Richard’s life becomes a nightmare. Their home is a crime scene, Richard is on leave from his job, everyone knows what happened at the bachelor party, and Kristen isn’t sure she can forgive Richard for the time he spent with in the guest room with one of the women. One of the women is finally free…but she is in danger. I read this book so quickly. The book deals with some challenging topics, but it is an interesting read. You’ll be surprised by the ending.

The Ramblers

Clio Marsh, Smith Anderson, and Tate Pennington are all college friends navigating their thirties in NYC. Clio Marsh is a bird-watcher dealing with her first serious relationship while learning to understand and deal with her past. Her best friend, Smith Anderson is the daughter of one of New York’s wealthiest families. She has a organization company and organizes the lives of others as her prior engagement has fallen apart…and her younger sister is getting married. Tate Pennington has returns to the city after selling his app and dealing with a divorce. The book has been called a love letter to NYC. I couldn’t put this book down. You’ll feel like you are best friends with all of the characters. It reminded me of a grown up Gossip Girl.

The Kind Worth Killing

Ted Severson meets the mysterious Lily Kintner at an airport bar. After having one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing dark details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage and his wife Miranda, who has been cheating on him. Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda and Lily says she’d help. They come up with an elaborate plan as you learn more about Lily’s past. You have to read this thriller. It’s one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read in a long time.

Eightysixed

Eightysixed is a memoir by twenty-something, Emily Belden. She wrote the book after breaking up with the man she thought was “the one.” Emily starts dating again and meets a mix of drug addicts, embezzlers, perverts, chefs, and finally her now husband. The book is hilarious, fun, and real. I met Emily and she is even more fun in person!

Pretty Happy

Kate Hudson’s book Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body discusses fitness, nutrition, health, and insights on boosting self-esteem and confidence. The book is packed with quizzes, information from experts, and action-oriented advice for living a healthy lifestyle. I really enjoyed it and found myself taking the quizzes and using Kate’s self-care advice.

The Husband's Secret

The Husband’s Secret is about various families dealing with an unsolved murder that had happened thirty years earlier. The main character, Cecilia Fitzpatrick, reads a letter her husband wrote that was only supposed to be read after his death. She reads it and has to question everything she thought she knew about him and their relationship. Tess O’Leary’s husband, Will, and her cousin and best friend, Felicity, fall in love, so Tess takes her young son, Liam, and moves in with her mom. She starts dating an old boyfriend, Connor Whitby. Rachel Crowley, the school secretary, thinks that Connor got away with murdering her daughter. I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll be surprised by the ending.

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies is a mystery about parents and children at a prestigious elementary school. At the beginning of the book we know that police are investigating a murder, but we don’t know who committed it or why. The main characters are Madeline, Celeste, and Jane. Madeline is one of the queen bee moms, Celeste is a gorgeous mom with a very wealthy husband, and Jane is a young single mom. Celeste’s life seems perfect…but it’s not. Their lives become intertwined culminating in a parent at the school’s murder. I was surprised by the ending. I liked The Husband’s Secret better, but this was still a very good read. I want to read another one of Liane Moriarty’s books, What Alice Forgot.

All The Light We Cannot See

All The Light We Cannot See is an excellent book that recently won the Pulitzer Prize. It’s about a blind French girl and a German boy whose lives collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History. When she goes blind Marie-Laure, her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and they move to Saint-Malo, to live with her reclusive great-uncle. Her dad brings the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. The orphan Werner is an expert with radios. He is recruited for an academy for Hitler Youth. He and Marie-Laure meet in Saint-Malo, where he goes to fight. The book has beautiful metaphors for light and is exceptionally well-written. The author, Anthony Doerr, spent ten years writing All The Light We Cannot See.

The Wild One

The book is about a few twenty-something best friends living in Brooklyn together. The main character, Coco, quits her job and decides she wants to be “wild” for a summer. She starts bartending, falls in love, and “steals an education” by attending classes at NYU without actually being enrolled. At first I thought the book was junky (the girls call each other things like “sugar tits”) and I almost stopped reading. But I ended up getting drawn in and wanted to finish it before it was due back to the library! Although everyone’s twenties is different, I found myself nodding at some of the job/dating/life crises the run into including the desire to have it all figured out.

She Makes it Work

Reading She Makes It Work is like getting advice from a friend — a very smart, ambitious, driven friend. Whereas some personal help books will focus on either professional or personal life, She Makes It Work focuses on both. Katie and the women she features understand that you can’t just focus on one aspect of your life — professional or personal — happiness happens when you thrive in both areas. I learned so much actionable advice from Katie and the women featured and was able to close the book and actually start making changes. Katie’s book is a great read for entrepreneurs and other young professionals who want to succeed in their personal and professional lives. I recommend that all young professional women (and men) read Katie’s book.

Luckiest Girl Alive

Luckiest Girl Alive is about Ani FaNelli, a woman who thinks she is about to have everything she wants — a glamorous job at a magazine, expensive clothes, and a wealthy fiancé — but then she films a documentary about her past. Ani, aka the Luckiest Girl Alive, was the only person to survive a horrific school shooting. And many people think she was an accomplice. She wants to clear her name and show that she has come a long way from her past as an outsider at a ritzy private school. There were a lot of twists that I didn’t see coming. I want to see the movie when it comes out!

The Red Leather Diary

The New York Times’ journalist found Florence Wolfson’s diary in a dumpster. Florence had kept a diary every day from 1929 to 1934. The journalist was able to track down the journal’s owner, a woman in her nineties. The book includes passages from her diary as well as information from interviews between the journalist and the woman. I loved reading about Manhattan in the 20s and early 30s. It was interesting to read about some of the places I walk past every single day. It is amazing that author, Lily Kopel, found the diary and was able to track down the owner who was so touched to be able to relive her youth through the pages of her old journal.

Why Not Me?

I loved Mindy Kaling’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, so I was so excited to see that she published another book. Mindy’s essays are funny and candid. I especially liked her piece about confidence. I recommend it!

The Girl You Left Behind

This book tells two different stories: the story of Sophie Lefèvre and Liv Halston. Sophie’s husband painted her portrait before leaving to fight in World War I. Sophie’s town is invaded by the Germans and she has to serve them at her hotel. A Kommandant admires the painting and Sophie gives up the painting with he promise that the Kommandant with reunite her with her husband. She ends up spending much of the year in concentration camps. The second half of the story takes place in modern day. Liv’s late husband gave her the painting as a wedding gift. After his death, she takes comfort in the painting. She begins dating again and dates someone who helps to return art to family’s that had art stolen by the nazis. A court battle over the painting begins and we learn more about it’s history and meaning to Liv. I really enjoyed the way the author weaved the two stories together. It was also interesting to learn more about the process of art restitution.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

This book is a novel about Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The book is as detailed as a biography, but it reads like a novel. I read it so quickly! It was like stepping into another era and getting to see the lives of Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and more. Although outsiders may have thought Zelda’s life was perfect, it’s clear that it was far from true.

The White Rose

The White Rose is about a forty-eight year old married professor, Marian Kahn, who falls in love with the twenty-six-year-old son of her oldest friend, Oliver. Marian’s older cousin gets engaged to a student in Marian’s department and their relationships all get entangled. The book is about wealth, status, love, and education. It’s also a modern day reimagining of Strauss’ opera, Der Rosenkavalier. I’m a big fan of the author, Jean Hanff Korelitz and this book did not disappoint.

This is Where I Leave You

I was really skeptical about this book because of the premise. I wasn’t sure how an author could make a shiva into a funny and sad novel. I somewhat reluctantly began reading it for a book club where we are going to read books then watch the movie version. I ended up liking the book a lot. The book effortlessly switches from funny to sad and back again. I usually read books with a female protagonist so I enjoyed reading a book from a male perspective. I recommend reading the book before you see the movie!

Not That Kind of Girl

I enjoyed this book. It was interesting to learn about Lena’s life. She is, unsurprisingly, very candid and willing to be vulnerable. I wish she had written more about her life now and less about her past relationships. She has such a fascinating career – acting, directing, and writing a show – and I would have loved more insights into that. That being said, I would recommend it to friends.

Seating Arrangements

I enjoyed this book. It was a really interesting glimpse at an elite family and the secrets and imperfections that hide behind the gates. The book was extremely well written and I felt connected to the characters. The book was funny, poignant, and suspenseful. If you liked The Darlings, you’d like this book!

Crazy Salad & Scribble Scribble

I have been a fan of Nora Ephron movies for as long as I can remember. You’ve Got Mail is one of my favorite movies because of the love story and, of course, because it took place on the Upper West Side. My younger sister and our babysitter were actually walking the in park when they filmed the famous last scene. I loved reading Crazy Salad and Scribble Scribble: Some Things About Women and Notes on Media (here) because it was a perfect combination of two things that I’m passionate about, feminism and writing. Nora Ephron wrote about what could be known as the height of the feminist movement and it was really interesting to read her perspective and see how far things have come. In addition to having an expansive film directing career, Nora also wrote for publications like the New York Post and Gourmet Magazine and I enjoyed reading about her career path and advice for writers. Nora is such a talented writer and the essays in the collection are fast, fun, funny, and informative.

The Girl on the Train

I stayed up way too late for a few nights reading The Girl on the Train. I recommended the book to so many people. It was suspenseful, engaging, and fun to read. I thought the author did a really good job with the character development and creating unexpected twists. I’ll admit that the book was a bit slow in the begging but it got a lot better after the first few chapters. It has been compared to Gone Girl frequently and, although it wasn’t quite as elaborate, I thought that it came close. I absolutely recommend The Girl on the Train.

You Should Have Known

This book had mixed reviews but I thought that it was a worthwhile read. It’s a psychological thriller. It was very interesting to watch the true story about Grace’s husband unfold. I enjoy love reading books about NYC and it was interesting for me to read about NYC schools from a parent’s perspective. I liked watching Grace become independent and confident about being on her own.

A Hundred Summers

This book is the epitome of a good beach read. There was a lot of scandal and secrets and it actually kept me guessing at what would come next. If you liked the Luxe series, you’ll like this book.

The Heiresses

If you’re looking for a light and engaging book, you’ll like this one. It reminded me of the Luxe series by Anna Godbersen except set in a modern time. I enjoyed seeing the mystery unfold. There were a lot of twists and turns. I didn’t love the ending but I think that it is because Sara Shepard intends on it being a series similar to Pretty Little Liars. This is a fast read and I recommend it if you’re in the mood for light reading.

The Opposite of Loneliness

This book is incredible. Marina was so talented. In the forward, Marina’s professor and mentor, Ann Fadiman wrote, “Marina wouldn’t want to be remembered because she’s dead. She would want to be remembered because she’s good.” She was extremely talented and was such an incredible writer. The fiction and non-fiction writing is detailed, eloquent, mature, and well-written. Marina wanted to be a writer and she definitely was one. Marina’s friends, professors, family, and parents put the book together by recovering her computer from the crash and editing some of her best work. Her essay, The Opposite of Loneliness gives me shivers every time I read it. It is a great reminder that it’s not too late to make a change, pursue something you love, and make an impact.

The Art of Fielding

This was one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time. My friend highly recommended it so I bought it for my trip to the shore. The book was incredibly well-written, emotional, and engaging. It is about family, finding oneself, and the immense pressure to be successful. I didn’t play sport in college, but I was in a sorority and learned a lot about myself. I gained confidence and a great group of friends so I could relate to the impact of Henry’s college experience.

Thrive

We read this book for book club at work. Arianna discussed what she’s learned though out her personal and professional life. She discussed that our society defines success as money and power but that there should be another factor. The Third Metric is made up of well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. Arianna tells her personal anecdotes and friends’ stories about The Third Metric and why it is important. Arianna had the ability to interview and talk with a wide array of people so it was interesting to hear their stories and opinions.

Work It

Work It is an essential read for any woman navigating her career path. I worked with Carrie at Likeable Media, where she is CEO and cofounder, and her passion, enthusiasm, and warmth is evident on each page. She shares stories and advice from her personal and professional advice as well as advice from women she has met throughout her career.

Wheat Belly

I started reading Wheat Belly when I decided to be better about being (mostly) gluten-free again. It is about the benefits of eliminating wheat from your diet, but it isn’t overly scientific or boring. He has treated thousands of people and shares some of the key ways that wheat affects people, even if they aren’t Celiac, like feeling lethargic, carrying extra weight around your stomach, stomachaches, rashes, and high blood sugar. He also gives suggestions for how to become wheat-free. I have much more energy and feel better when I’m gluten-free and, while I do “cheat” from time to time if I am really craving something or are out and see something I really want on the menu or am at a friend’s house, but for the most part I’m gluten-free!

Bon Appetempt

I read this book to inspire me to cook more this month. Bon Appetempt is a memoir by Amelia Morris, the author of the blog Bon Attempt. She began recreating the intricate, styled recipes from food magazines like Bon Appetite and ended up getting a book deal for a memoir while working on a novel. Each chapter reads like a short story about a period of her life and each chapter has a corresponding recipe. She's open about her struggles, and her family's, and the book is emotional and engaging. I really enjoyed it!

10% Happier

Nightline anchor Dan Harris had an awful panic attack on-air when he was on Good Morning America because of depression, cocaine and ecstasy usage, and anxiety from being a war reporter. He starts meditating, researching meditation, meeting with meditation experts, and finds that mediation makes people 10% happier. I enjoyed it!

White Houses

White Houses is an intimate glimpse of The White House during and leading up to Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency through the perspective of Lorena Hickok, Eleanor Roosevelt’s girlfriend. The book chronicles her difficult childhood in South Dakota, her career as a prominent reporter, and her relationship with Eleanor. She lived in The White House as the “first friend,” gets to know President Roosevelt (and his mistress) well, and has an on-and-off relationship with Eleanor for decades. The author, Amy Bloom, read letters and books by Lorena as well as her writing. I highly, highly recommend it.