Recommended reading


Read this if you're looking for a book recommendation!

When I tell people I like to read I always get the feeling they take it with a grain of salt and assume that I'm reading the news, random crap on the Internet, or next trendy novel. Sometimes I have to justify my hobby by saying how many books I've read recently or listing off some impressive titles.

I love the New York Public Library and my to-read list is always longer than my have-read list. Here's a list of some of the books I've read recently. I've kept the reviews and recommendations short. Ask me if you want more details, a shorter list of my must reads, or the unabridged list of what I've been reading.

Non-Fiction

I've sorted this list by order of recommendation (kind of). Highly recommend the first three, optional on the last four.

  • The Defining Decade - If you're 20-something years old read this book. It's a good compass to check yourself against and motivation to do better, be better, and try harder.

  • Modern Romance - I can't decide if this book gave me hope about being single in New York City or made me so cynical I've lost hope. Either way, Aziz is hilarious and his anecdotes will have you nodding your head in agreement if you're single or shaking your head in fear of becoming single.

  • Creativity Inc. - An inspiring eye-opener about Pixar's founding, evolution, and struggle to maintain a thriving creative culture. If nothing else, Ed Catmull shares some of the original storylines for Pixar's best movies and it's shocking to hear how much they changed and the collective efforts that's needed to produce good creative work.

  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me - Mindy Kaling's book is a fun, light-hearted autobiography that takes on a topics that range from personal stories to social commentary.

  • Others: The Happiness Advantage, The Tipping Point, and Contagious: How Thing's Stick

Coming up: Madison Avenue Manslaughter & The Wisdom of Crowds

Classics that I should have read before

  • 1984 - No explanation needed. It was long over due and I'm glad I read it. I'll say though it wasn't as impressive as some of the post-election hype was making it out to be.

  • Tuesday's with Morrie - If you have to read one book on this entire list, I recommend this one. It's hands down my favorite book. It summarizes life's lessons to live by and the importance of perspective. It's the only book on this entire list that I bought a copy of after reading.

  • Five People You Meet in Heaven - It's by the same author of Tuesday's with Morrie so I think I really like his style and over all genre/message.

Coming up: To Kill a Mocking Bird (I've read it but I think I need a refresher)

Novels

  • The Rearranged Life - Okay, this is a shameless plug and a major bias toward the author who just happens to be a friend and a wonderful human being (Hi, Annika Sharma!) BUT for real, it's a great read with a plot themes that can resonate with everyone. (P.S. I'm still hoping to get a part in the movie when it happens. Practicing my barista moves for ya!)

  • The Rosie Project - This book was from a Buzzfeed list something along the lines of "books you'll enjoy based on TV shows you like." This one was reminiscent of The Big Bang Theory. I think the plot gets a little too complex at the end just for the sake of drama but it's a fun read if you want something light!

  • The Widow - I read this when I was coming off of a suspense/mystery/thriller phase and it did not disappoint. Hoping it inspires a script writer enough to turn it into a movie.

  • Defending Jacob - Definitely one of my favorite mystery books. I like it because it's based on a family with a teenager at the center of the plot verses the other thrillers I was reading which were between husband and wife.

Coming up: Handmaid's Tale (I just watched the show and I'm intrigued. I read Oryx & Crake, another Margaret Atwood novel and I consider to be the OG of dystopian writing.)

Books that became movies I've seen

This is a personal favorite section of mine. I love it when some of my favorite reads become movies (kind of) and sometimes I'll go out of my way to read certain books before I watch the movies. Of course the films never have the same level of character development but I'm glad that the movies have a larger audience and can be widely shared.

  • Still Alice - Alzheimer's is one of my biggest fears in life and both the book and the movie tell the human side of the disease in an emotional and compelling way.

  • The Girl On the Train - One of the "trendy" books I mentioned earlier. It was a great read but I don't think the movie was able to build the suspense necessary for the story which resulted in a lot of emotional disconnect towards the end.

  • Gone Girl - Also another "trendy" title which a movie that got a lot of praise. I try not to compare the movie to the book but there were so many intricate plot pieces that were left out, I don't think the movie did justice to the author.

  • Room - There are certain scenes that are omitted from the movie that I think makes it a better film but the book really benefits from. It felt like there wasn't enough build up to the ultimate plot point in the movie but such an important message and amazing acting. I highly recommend reading the book before if you haven't seen the movie yet.

Coming up: Glass Castle

Books that became movies I haven't seen

These are the books that I've read and refrained from watching their movie replicas. Commentary is based on why I chose to skip the movie.

  • Fault in Our Stars & Me Before You - I put these two in the same bucket because while I enjoyed the stories they're both emotional stories that made all the readers I know cry. I didn't shed a single tear and it didn't move me in the same way, I figured the movie would just be an over dramatized version of the same plot hoping to be a tear jerker.

  • The Circle - I really wanted to watch and like this movie but heard terrible reviews. I love Emma Watson but I didn't want to ruin a great book with an eerie plot because of a bad movie.

  • The Millennium Series: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - I'm on the fence whether I want to watch these movies. This book series is my current obsession and the only books on this list I'd consider to be true "page-turners". But, they're so sadistic and twisted and don't know if I can watch movies with such a dark plot.

Coming up: The Girl in the Spider's Web (Also in the Millennium Series)

Don't bother reading these

I figured I should clarify that I don't recommend all the books that I've ever read by including a list of a few that I did not enjoy and would not recommend spending time with.

  • Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake - The plot of this is so abstract. You either need a lot of drugs or need to buy into some serious symbolism to enjoy.

  • Catcher in the Rye - I know, I'm dissing a classic I didn't enjoy the story but story telling was alright.

  • Queen of the Tearling - Couldn't buy into the storyline, felt like a twisted fairytale with adventure for the sake of adventure. Disclaimer - I know three or four other people who were obsessed with this.

This list includes some cliché titles and hopefully some you hadn't heard of. If you have any must reads let me know, I'm always open to recommendations.