Read Well: The Goldfinch

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It's been about a month since I finished it, so I figured it was high time I write about The Goldfinch.

As a disclaimer - with every passing year on this earth, I get more and more reticent to recommend books to people I know. I've found that a person's taste in books is one of the absolute hardest things to predict - I'm constantly surprised by my nerdy friends who have not-so-secret loves for chick lit, creative types who love books about business, and casual readers who unexpectedly appreciate fine literature. So please, take all of my book recommendations with a grain of salt - these books just might not be for you.

That being said, I'm also the kind of person who tends to think that the things I like are the best things. I'll leave it at that.

The short version here is that I loved The Goldfinch. It's easily the best book I've read so far this year. It also recently won The Pulitzer Prize, so I feel like my opinion has been validated in a very real way.

However, books about the dark, sad, and terrible parts of love are totally my thing. And The Goldfinch is definitely dark and definitely sad. Death is a central, ever-present topic in this book. There are sections about drug addiction that will make you feel like your world is spinning. And the resolution is anything but traditional. If those things sound like things you don't like, then the 750-page investment is probably not for you.

For those of you willing to give something new (and something good!) a shot, I would totally recommend it. The story itself is very unique - I struggle to think of any other books similar in character type and plot progression. Well, I can think of one - Harry Potter. That assertion will make more sense if you read The Goldfinch (or maybe it won't, if I'm making all of this up) but I'm convinced that Donna Tartt draws deliberate parallels to Harry Potter throughout. Literary folks - can you let me know if you got that too?

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Since it has been quite awhile since I last wrote about books, and since I'm sure many of you will be traveling and relaxing and reading this summer, I thought it would be a nice time to recap some of my all-time favorite books. Enjoy!

Literary

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

A Visit From the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan

Short Stories

How to Breath Underwater by Julie Orringer

Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy

Mysteries

In the Woods by Tana French (+ its sequels)

Funny girls trying to deal with being girls:

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

Poser by Claire Dederer

Nonfiction

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (seriously, EVERYONE likes this book)

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Live Well: Back in the Swing of Things

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Friends, I wasn't lying when I said my trips would interfere with my blogging consistency. Thanks for sticking with me.

On Sunday night I got back from a fantastic trip to Texas. In one visit I somehow managed to 1) go wedding dress shopping with my sister [and have the honor of watching her find a PERFECT dress!] 2) meet with two LOVELY readers of this blog at Rice [hi Sam and Charlotte!!] 3) catch up with one of my best friends from high school 4) catch up with not one, but TWO of my best friends from college 5) spend lots of quality time with my four wonderful siblings [who I love more than words can describe] and 6) celebrate my mom's birthday. That's doesn't even include all the time I got to spend laughing with my family, drinking great wine, rambling around my old haunts, and just generally enjoying myself. It was a great trip.

And while it was a fantastic trip, it was the second weekend in a row that I spent away from my husband. That's the first time we've been apart for back-to-back weekends since we got married. Reuniting with him in the airport Sunday night was like celebrating the end of long distance all over again - I don't want to be apart for that many days EVER again!

The craziness isn't quite over - my husband's parents come into town on Thursday! It's been a series of tiring, fun weekends, and this upcoming one will be no exception. I can't wait to show them some of our favorite spots around town, and even take a trip up to Sonoma!

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Other random thoughts for your Tuesday morning:

1) I started reading The Goldfinch on my flight back to San Francisco, and so far, it's fantastic. I'll of course dedicate an entire post to it once I finish reading it, but if you've been considering starting the book, I would jump right in!

2) I've been using the Songza app to listen to music at work, and its "Today's Singer-Songwriters" playlist has been rocking my world.

3) Does anyone else feel like an alternate title for the How I Met Your Mother finale could be Worst Finale Ever ? Did you enjoy it?

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We'll be returning to normal programming after today's messages :) See you tomorrow, y'all!