Summer Reading

on
Sunday, July 9, 2017
My summer reading has been minimal at best but I’ve tried to squeeze in a few books on road trips and trips to the lake. This summer has been busy for both Mike and I. He’s on a new program with mandatory thirty percent overtime and I’m freelancing more than ever for four different places (which I love!) so when I’m not at my day job, I’m writing through the night. Busy, but a great busy, right?

I started the summer with a full reading list and lofty goals, so we’ll see how I do. Here’s to finishing strong.

What I’ve read so far –

Settle For More by Megyn Kelly

Whether you like her or not, I think most would agree Megyn Kelly is one hardworking, smart gal. This was the best book I’ve read this year so far. I took it with me on a long road trip and couldn’t put it down. Megyn’s story is really inspiring. She grew up in a middle class family in Albany, New York, and at just fifteen she experienced the traumatic loss of her father (that’s a tough chapter to read).  Her upbringing and experience of losing her father gave her a strong combination of ambition, drive and just a little bit of a chip on her shoulder to “settle for more” from the get go. After being declined from Syracuse’s school of journalism (who’s laughing now?) she majored in political science and then decided to earn her law degree from Albany Law School. She goes on to be a powerful corporate defense lawyer in Chicago, when suddenly in her early thirties she decides her true love is journalism. To the dismay of almost everyone, she quits her job as an attorney (and gives up a very nice salary) and starts working toward broadcast journalism from the ground-up (she started in an unpaid, intern-like role).

Megyn provides a lot of insight on what it means to be a successful woman in today’s workplace and world. She shares the highs and lows of her career, how she fought stereotypes, faced workplace sexual harassment head on, and deals with the struggles of being a working mom. The chapters detailing the infamous and very public feud with Trump after the debate are fascinating and will make you respect her for how she survived such an ugly time full of personal attacks and threats to her family.

I remember always being so struck by Megyn Kelly when I was working as an intern at Fox years ago. She exuded beauty, smarts, and confidence when she entered the room, and I always admired her. For me it was awesome to see such a kick-butt blonde in the newsroom.
 I really loved this book, and learned the importance of settling for more in life. 

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler 


Sweetbitter was an incredibly well-written book, but for me it was a bit unsettling to read. Sweetbitter made me realize I’ve lived a sheltered, Midwestern life. The book follows Tess, a twenty-something who comes to New York City in a search to find herself and/or reinvent herself. She scores a job as a backwaitress at the city’s most celebrated, fine dining restaurant, but life for Tess and other restaurant staff is far from glamorous. You follow Tess through the grueling “training” (almost hazing?) of being the new girl at the restaurant, nights of drugs and drinking, starving from not being able to afford to eat, and living in a basically uninhabitable New York City apartment.  Oh, and there’s a frustrating love triangle, too. I was hoping for a happy ending with that but….again naïve Midwestern gal here. #spoileralert

The writing is absolutely fantastic, and it’s obvious Danler experienced this world first hand. Her years as a waitress in the city give the book it’s truthful and eye-opening edge. I flew through it but it didn't leave me with a feel-good feeling, which is fine. I finished the book feeling a bit how Tess often felt throughout the book – exhausted, empty, used, and jaded.

The Book of Hygge by Louisa Thomsen Brits

The only good thing about this one is it reminded me that if I’m not enjoying a book I should just stop reading it and move on to something I do enjoy.  I was really excited to learn more about Hygge (which my cousin Victoria first introduced to me) but this book was super slow and repetitive for me.  If you aren’t familiar with Hygge (say it “hue-guh”), it’s the Danish word for coziness and comfort – mostly regarding the home. Hygge is difficult to describe but it’s that feeling you get when wrapped up in your blanket in front of the fire on a dark, cold winter evening, or when you enjoy your favorite meal with your favorite people. There’s really not a good word for it in the English language. I was excited to learn more about Hygge and how to bring more of it into my home, relationships and workplace, but the book didn’t do much for me. It just wandered aimlessly through various descriptions of Hygge, and I got really bored. At least I’ve got a great grasp of what it is now. Who else is ready to hygger??

What I'm reading now: 


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I’ve seen the movie multiple times but have never read the book. I thought I should give it a read. (It’s written by a fellow Jayhawk journalist! Rock Chalk!) So far it’s supporting the old cliché, “The book is so much better than the movie.”

Flower by Elizabeth Craft and Shea Olsen – Who else listens to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, Happier? If you do, you’ll know about this book.  Rubin’s sister and co-host, Elizabeth Craft co-wrote this young adult book. I’m excited to get into it!

A Night In With Grace Kelly by Lucy Holliday – This was one of those finds that you pick up when you go to the library for another book, but then get sidetracked once you spot another one. I love Grace Kelly so the title totally caught my eye as I walked by the ‘new book’ section.

Also on my probably-way-too-ambitious-because-summer-is-ending-soon book list:

My Southern Journey by Rick Bragg – I love Rick Bragg’s funny commentary at the back of each month’s issue of Southern Living. I’m sure this will be just as hilarious.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – As a bonafide  introvert I’m looking forward to learning more about my “type”

Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza -  This one just sounds fun. Excited to read it!

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
– Can’t wait to check out this one by the “Girl on the Train” author

The Farthest Away Mountain by Lynne Reid Banks – A childhood favorite that I’m super excited to reread as an adult.

A Night in with Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday

A Night in with Marilyn Monroe by Lucy Holliday 

We’ll see how it goes. What were your favorite summer reads?

Happy summer, friends! 
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