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Olive by Emma Gannon | Book Review

Already set to be the literary community’s latest darling (Eat.Pray.Love's Elizabeth Gilbert has given it glowing reviews!), Olive is like a refreshing mint julep on a hot summer day. Easy to jump into the story, easy to become attached to these women's special friendship, and easy to feel Olive's predicaments with her life stage as strongly as she does. Although there were many times I disagreed with Olive's reactions to the people in her life and at times felt she was self-obsessed and unable to truly visualize her friends' positions, I nonetheless enjoyed the story of a different perspective: a child-free woman.  Synopsis   Olive, a thirty-two-year-old feminist magazine exec finds her life—up until this point predictable and on track ...

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Begin Again by Eddie Glaude | Book Review

In the weeks following the intense geopolitical events in the United States, Begin Again seems like the perfect antidote to the systemic racism that has plagued the country since its founding. A curious look into the mind of one of the Civil Rights Movement's most beloved figures, this book offers a different way of seeing and interpreting the actions of society and government that seem at times reluctant, or downright unwilling—to relinquish a way of living that informs a worldview.  Synopsis  Begin Again is neither biography nor literary criticism nor societal commentary. It's all of those things in one—and that's what makes the premise so exciting! In it, we learn much about the life of James Baldwin and his inner struggles during ...

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The Beautiful Fall by Hugh Breakey | Book Review

Disclosure: I received this book for free as an advanced copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. Entertaining, well-written, and a whole lot of confusing fun, The Beautiful Fall was a pleasure to read. Coming off from a litany of non-fiction books, this return to fiction sucked me in upon the first sentence. No, literally. Check the book's description and see what I mean—it quite literally pulls you in, practically compelling you to read more to satisfy your curiosity. Intrigue and interest go hand in hand in this one.  Synopsis  This story is centered around Robert Penfold, a 31-year old recluse with a neurological condition that causes him to forget his identity approximately every 179 days ("the forgetting") and his highly ...

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Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan | Book Review

It's been a long time since I've dove into a really good book, and Friends and Strangers was that for me. It's sharp, piercing and, at times, self-deprecating. I tore through the 400-some pages in three days. Friends and Strangers is the kind of book I wish I could give every young, college-aged grad on the cusp of leaving behind the cocooned ivy walls of university and entering the real world. It's a compilation—a manual—for how real life in your 20s and 30s often plays out and what becomes truly important as you move through life. It's the book version of your older sister telling you not to worry about being single and taking a big, impressive job in the city, because in ten years everyone's going to be pregnant and throwing gender ...

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Top 10 Picks for 2021

2021 Must-Read List With the New Year upon us, 2021 is already giving us plenty to look forward to. I'm excited for a new crop of books to be inspired by, and to propel me forward in the discovery of new ideas and a deeper understanding of the world around me. And also travel. Lots, and lots of travel (when safe to). Bien sûr. To kick 2021 off with a bang, here are my favorite picks for the new year. 2021 presents a slew of debuts, new arrivals and picks from familiar authors that guarantee you to find your next story. I don't know about you, but I'm certainly finding my next bedtime reads!  Without further ado, let's jump in. And be sure to let me know: what caught your eye—what will be on your reading list this new year?  The ...

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Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi | Book Review

Transcendent Kingdom is the kind of book I would've liked to say I loved. I'd expected to rip through it, devour every page and revel in the kind of existential, philosophical questions the author posed throughout this sad, baffling tale. Sadly, that didn't happen. But two things were true: I did blow through it—reading the whole thing in a day and half —and I did drink in each word. Gifty's words were true, honest, an anchor, and her reflections of her past and present felt like I was spending my time reading her journals, where she withheld nothing. It was a perfect foray into a different kind of family life, getting to see a different example of locality and life and all the sad things that come with it. Synopsis  Gifty, a ...

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How to Read During a Global Pandemic: Lessons Learned

Reading during a pandemic? There are stranger things. But seriously, how can one possibly find the concentration to read—and then enjoy—reading a book for prolonged periods of time when the world outside often feels like it's burning? How can you lose yourself in a story when your own problems are so glaringly present? May I submit to you that one of the absolute joys of reading fiction is the ability to tap into your child-like creativity and lose yourself in a story? Similarly, non-fiction allows us to plunge deep into a new subject and learn, allowing us to emerge better off than we were before.  In my own struggle to take back reading for myself after months of drudgery reading books I was obligated to, here are five of my ...

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Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid | Book Review

Such A Fun Age is an irresistible read. I stayed up till 4am to finish it, and had no absolutely qualms about it. I just had to get to the end, and had zero regrets once I did. The end came quicker than I expected and washed over me in waves of slow realization, as I looked back and mentally pieced together parts of the book together with the end revelation in mind.  It's no surprise that Queen & Slim writer/producer Lena Waithe picked up the film and TV rights to this story before publication. I expect this book to stay with me long after I begin picking up other reads. It took me on a journey, constantly leaving mental breadcrumbs to mull through while I was away from the book, keeping the story and its characters continually in my ...

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