reading list – volume: 5

It has been a while, hasn’t it? Life has been crazy between multiple classes, the Sixers season, work, and dog-momming. I wanted to share what books I’ve been reading when I can find the time! (Shout out to Hannah – I know you’ve been waiting for some book reviews)

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Guys, if you need a good cry, this is the book to do it. It tells the story of Eleanor, the new girl from a broken family, and her slowly developing romance with Park, the kid who has been there all his life but hasn’t really found his person or his place. Through sharing a seat on the bus, Eleanor and Park develop the kind of romance that you only have the first time you fall in love – when you don’t yet know what it is like to have your heart broken. The two of them bond over their love of music and comic books, and through the two of them, you can re-experience all of the awkward firsts that come along with your first relationship. I didn’t want this book to end, and when it does it delivers on the suspected gut punch that you are expecting throughout. Cue the waterworks.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

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I wanted to love this book, having always been fascinated by the Roaring 20’s and the Jazz Age but, I didn’t. I think I found Zelda to be unlikable, or unrelatable which prevented me from really committing to the story. I did feel for her as the story described her battles with mental illness and an alcoholic husband, all while having to quell her ambitions as a woman in an age where the man should be the breadwinner. I found myself wanting Zelda to just leave her marriage, and take their baby home to Alabama, where she could live a comfortable if less exciting life.

There is an Amazon show based on the book and starring Christina Ricci that I still may check out (when I finally finish Stranger Things 2). The book may not have gotten me, but I don’t know that I can turn down a period TV show!

Fitness Junkie: A Novel by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

Fitness Junkie

I wanted a quick, fun book and Fitness Junkie fit the bill. It tells the story of Janey, a 40-something recent divorcee, and bad-ass girlboss. She runs a wedding dress line with the dresses being designed by her best friend Beau. When Beau gets a little too big for his britches and tells Janey that she has gained weight and can’t be the face of the company anymore, Janey decides to go on a fitness journey. I love that you can draw parallels between actual fitness crazes and their fictional counterparts in the book. There is definitely some commentary on Goop, SoulCycle, Fitbits and Tracy Anderson not so subtly sprinkled throughout the book. If you’re looking for a fun, light read – I’d recommend Fitness Junkie.

I’d love to hear any recommendations that you guys have! You can always find me in the comments or @third_and_girl on Twitter!

all images from Amazon.com.

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reading list-volume: 4

Due to a massive reading undertaking (see the last book), it’s been awhile since my last reading list. I’m back on a reading kick, so let’s check out what I’ve been reading since we last talked books.

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Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales

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I’m a sports nut, so this title has been on my to-read list for a long time. The book is an oral history of the creation of ESPN, from the beginnings of the idea all the way up to its 30th anniversary. I loved reading some behind the scenes stories from my favorite on-air personalities! My favorite part was reading how some of the on-air talents were so difficult (shout out Olbermann and my guy Bill Simmons) to work with but also so popular, that there wasn’t anything ESPN could really do. I wish there was an updated version that I could’ve picked up that would’ve given me all the juicy details of Bill’s ouster from ESPN, but I guess I’ll have to put the pieces together myself.

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham

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So as I said in the last (and as of now, only) Box Score (I really need to bring those back – maybe this month!), I semi-recently finished binging all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls and the Netflix series. I had never seen it before and I absolutely loved it. As soon as the credits rolled on ‘Fall’, I ran to my bookshelf and grabbed Lauren’s book. I had ordered it a while ago, as I’ve always thought she was super relatable and funny. I knew the book would have spoilers of Gilmore Girls in it, so I had to wait until I was done watching to read it!

The book is a pretty quick read and is full of personal anecdotes and stories. She doesn’t shy away from embarrassing photos or experiences and seems very authentic. It’s not surprising that Graham is so good on Gilmore Girls or Parenthood, it’s like playing a slightly different version of yourself. I loved the few behind the scenes stories and pictures that she shared from both of those shows. This book is pretty much, what you see is what you get. If you like Lauren Graham, Gilmore Girls, or Parenthood, you’ll like this book.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

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It’s been a while since I’ve had a ‘reading list’ post and this book is the reason. It is a behemoth. Ever since my boyfriend saw Hamilton in Chicago, without me I might add, I’ve been obsessed with the soundtrack. I wanted to be able to talk to him about the show, so I listened to it while he was seeing it. I think I have listened to it approximately 179 times since then, and he has listened to it 2 – both times in the car with me. All that being said, I wanted to read the book on which it was based. Hamilton is well written and packed with information about the first Secretary of the Treasury. I found myself way more interested in the parts of the book that correlated to parts of the musical. Since I already had a slight background on the story, I was eager to get all the details that the musical couldn’t possibly put in. If you’ve seen Hamilton, or are just dying to see Hamilton like me, this book is worth the read – just be ready to put aside a few months to get through it.

Since finishing Hamilton, I’ve already gotten through 1 1/2 more books, and have 2 more waiting for me at the library! Can’t wait to ramp up my reading once again! I’d love to hear any recommendations you guys have, you can always contact me on Twitter @third_and_girl or on Instagram @thirdandgirl.

all images from Amazon.com

reading list-volume: 3

I’m back for another edition of the reading list! I’ve got a couple more book related posts coming, so look for a drop down menu on my blog header soon! Getting that all set up is on my to-do list for this week. Until then, you can check out the previous editions, here and here.

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  1. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynnsharp-objects_gillian-flynn

I finished Sharp Objects on a flight from Philadelphia to Orlando (well almost, I had to finish it while waiting in line for my shuttle bus). It is the story of a young reporter, Camille, who is reluctantly sent back to her hometown in order to cover the recent murders of two young girls. She is forced to stay with her mother, step-father, and half-sister, who all have secrets of their own. Through the story, Camille discovers connections between her family members and the victims, which culminates in a last-minute surprise ending. The book examines the relationships between mothers and daughters, as well as some of the emotions we feel when we go back to where we grew up.  However, it addresses these things in a decidedly dark and twisty way.

I’ve read all of Flynn’s books, and would recommend all of them if you like a good female-driven psychological thriller.  However, if you haven’t read (or seen) Gone Girl, my favorite of Flynn’s books, drop what you are doing and read it now.

2. Settle for More by Megyn Kellysettle-for-more_megyn-kelly

I’ve always admired Megyn Kelly as the type of woman who “has it all” – a kick-ass job, beauty, and I assumed a great family (although her kids and husband are largely kept out of the spotlight). In her book, Settle for More, these things were confirmed, but I also learned about the great deal of work that Kelly puts into her life in order to have it all.  She doesn’t shy away from the hard topics like the dissolution of her first marriage, her father’s death, or wishing she would get in a car crash due to unhappiness in her career path. By using these roadblocks, Kelly explains how a chance viewing of Dr.Phil led her to “settle for more”, and begin her career in broadcast journalism.

An interesting thing about the book that I didn’t expect was the amount of focus that was put on the most recent presidential election. Admittedly, I didn’t follow the election as closely as many people.  I followed the issues, but I tried not to be influenced by the media circus that surrounded it. As I learned, much of the circus was built around Donald Trump’s treatment of Megyn Kelly in the debates and on Twitter. The book gives Kelly’s side of the story, as well as behind the scenes details that weren’t previously reported in the media.

Politics aside, if you like books about strong women, I would recommend Settle for More.

3. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gainesthe-magnolia-story_chip-and-joanna-gaines

As someone with two x chromosomes, I have a deep affinity for Chip and Joanna Gaines’ show Fixer Upper.  Ever since I watched the first episode, I’ve been inspired by their lovely family, and Joanna’s farmhouse designs. I’m guilty of selecting ‘Fixer Upper’ whenever it shows up on my TV Guide, and used to queue it up on Netflix while I’m falling asleep (Sidebar: WTH Netflix, getting rid of all the HGTV and Food Network shows?!).  When I learned they were putting a book out, I was quick to put it on my Christmas list, eager to learn more about two of my favorite television personalities.

If you like Fixer Upper, you will like The Magnolia Story.  It is written from both Chip and Jo’s perspective, with the text changing font to identify their changing viewpoints. The book focuses on their life as business partners and husband and wife, but branches into other areas of their life. I thought it was refreshing that they didn’t shy away from any of the non-glamourous parts of their story, whether it be financial trouble or Chip being arrested. Chip and Jo tell their story with the ease you would expect after watching them on television, and the book is just as authentic as they are.

If you want to learn more about Chip and Jo and don’t want to commit to the book just yet, Texas Monthly did a great piece on them that you can read here.

I went on an Amazon shopping spree the other month when the Lilly Pulitzer After-Party sale crashed (does anyone else ever just get a spending itch? Luckily I had Amazon gift cards), so I have a lot of books sitting on my bookshelf. Not sure what I’m going to pick up next, but I’m excited to share with you guys! As always, I’m always looking for recommendations so feel free to share what you are reading, either in the comments or you can find me @third_and_girl.

xo
Em

(all other images from Amazon)

 

reading list – volume: 2

Wooo! I’ve finally read 3 more books.  As hard as I try to make reading more of a priority in my life, I always end up looking through the DVR instead.  It’s definitely one of the goals I’m working on, and I’m hoping if I make it quantifiable it will help. Look out for a post about goals in the future.

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1. The Girls by Emma Cline

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I had been hearing a lot of hype about this book around the time of its publication from many of the websites and magazines that I read.  Unfortunately, I don’t think it lived up to the hype. As a lover of true crime stories, I was intrigued by a fictional account of a Charles Manson-like cult, but the book just could not hold my attention.

I didn’t go into the book thinking any of the characters would be particularly likable (it is about murderous cult members after all). I guess I just didn’t realize how much I wouldn’t enjoy a book in which I’m not invested in the well being of any of the character. One of the easiest way to gauge my enjoyment of a book is how quick I finish it.  With this book, I never wanted to pick it back up, and when I did, I read fast so I could get through it and on to the next book.

2. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

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As I said, when I like a book I will tear through it, and this was a prime example of that. After my girls’ night last weekend, all I wanted to do on Saturday was chill, and ‘Me Before You’ was the perfect companion. I know I’m a few years behind on this book, but I’ve always wanted to read it.  With the movie starting to arrive OnDemand, I decided it was time to read it so I could watch the movie the next rainy Saturday that comes my way. To be honest, it took me a little bit of time to get hooked, but once Will and Lou’s (I always want to call her Emilia, as she is played by Khaleesi in the movie) relationship really picked up, I was all in. I’m sure many of you have heard that the book is a real tear jerker, so I’d advise not finishing it on a plane or train.

3. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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My favorite book of this set is ‘Big Little Lies’ which I finished yesterday, after starting it Saturday.  I had a lazy weekend at my parents’ house, and a juicy novel was a great pairing with the puppy snuggles I was receiving. The book is set in modern day Australia, and follows the politics and friendships between the kindergarten mothers in a wealthy suburb.  Doesn’t sound like your cup of tea? Add a murder that is being investigated at the school’s annual trivia night and hop on board. The book has a twist ending (don’t they all?) that delivers, and as I finished I wanted to run to the store to pick up another of Liane Moriarty’s books ASAP. ‘Big Little Lies’ has been developed by Reese Witherspoon’s production company as a mini series for HBO. You can watch the first teaser trailer here.

Have you guys read any good books lately? I’m thinking of picking up ‘Sweetbitter’ next, but I’m easily distracted at Barnes & Noble (and as soon as I log onto Amazon).

Hope everyone has a good week! Happy Halloween!

xo
Em

 

reading list – vol: 1

One of my favorite parts of summer is the idea I have in my head every year that I’m going to do a lot of sitting outside and reading. Unfortunately, that happens far less than I would like, but I’ve still managed to cross three books off of my “to read” list so far this summer.

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1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling & Jack Thorne & John Tiffany

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If you’re a Potter-head like me, I’m sure you’ve already read or heard of this book/play.  Going into it, I didn’t realize the book wasn’t actually a novelization of the play but the play itself. I hadn’t read a story in play form since college, so it took some getting used to.

The story brings back many familiar names and places that J.K. Rowling introduced to us, but some of the magic (pun intended) is missing. The plot revolves around Harry and Ginny’s son as he tries to make a name for himself other than just “Harry Potter’s son”. I don’t want to spoil any parts of the story, but the plot seemed too easy, too familiar. In the height of Harry Potter mania, I read a lot of fan fiction, and this seemed like a story I would have read then, not one that came from the mind of the brilliant J.K. Rowling. All that being said, most fans are going to read the book, and I can’t suggest that they don’t. As Harry Potter fans, we ache for any new information, and this book gives us some of that.

2. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project

I’ve been meaning to read the Happiness Project for a while, as I’ve gained an interest in mindfulness and the power of habits and positive thinking. I really enjoyed following Gretchen Rubin’s journey to become a happier person. One of my big takeaways from the book is that being more mindful of your happiness is a big first step to actually being happier. If you focus on the good things in your life, instead of the bad ones, and live in the moment of joy, you’re bound to live a happier life.

I’ve taken a few of the tools Gretchen used in her own happiness journey and have applied them to my own life. I’ve been tracking my goals and keeping a gratitude listing in my bullet journal (have you heard of them? I’m obsessed).  I’ve also been trying to make time for things that I enjoy and not to get caught up in the constant FOMO that seems to envelop our generation. My friends may look like their having fun on Snapchat but that doesn’t mean I’m not having just as much fun with my Fixer Upper marathon. If you’re interested in the concept of happiness, this book is a great introduction to some of the science behind happiness and includes some practical applications to try and create your own happiness project.

3. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close 

Girls in White Dresses

Girls in White Dresses is a quick read that I found to be very relatable as a woman in my mid-twenties who is trying to figure it all out. The book follows a group of friends from college as they try and navigate their love lives, careers, friendships, and finances while living in the big city. It’s a good look at a group of friends who don’t lose their bond with each other as they progress through stages of life at different rates. Based on my experiences, that is a more realistic look at this stage of life than the token single friend who gets left behind. If you are into books with a clear intro, climax, and resolution, this may not be the book for you but if you enjoy reading about characters you can relate to I’d definitely check it out.

Have you guys read anything good lately? I’m currently working my way through The Girls, and I have Me Before You on my nightstand as an ‘up next’ book.

xo
Em