2017 Book Roundup Part 2

Happy New Year’s Eve! It’s been a minute, huh? (Also my favorite podcast—check it out!) Earlier this year, I published a list of the books I had been reading since I decided to take a break from exclusively reading Harry Potter. A lot of people seemed to enjoy it, so I thought I would finish out 2017 with a list of the rest of the books I’ve read this year.

(Part 1 is here if you want to catch up.)

If you are on Instagram, I try to document everything I’m reading. You can follow me or look for the hashtag #lindseysbookshelf ❤

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

This book. I hate to start a list off with a book that I hated, but here we are. I heard about this series on a podcast and thought it sounded interesting. Thursday Next is a detective in a futuristic world (that actually takes place in the 80s), and the book has a lot of literary references. I just could not get into it. I was kind of bored and had to trudge through. As much as I love mysteries and references to classic literature, I just don’t love sci-fi…especially in books.

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

This book was an impulse buy at Target one day. It’s a super short, cute little book that explains the Danish concept of hygge (kind of like cozy living). I read this in the summer, but I have big plans for putting some of the tips in practice this winter.

The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

Oh Jenny Colgan, your British chick lit can do no wrong. I’ve read almost all of her books, and they are all lovely, quick little reads. Always taking place in the UK, usually involving a single woman baking something and falling in love. Enough said.

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

This is the first Nick Hornby novel I’ve ever read! I actually have had this sitting on the “to read” shelf for a long time, and I just kept putting it off. I’m so glad I finally picked it up this summer. Funny Girl is about a young actress in England in the 1960s who wants to be the next Lucille Ball. The story follows her career, from her first auditions to her becoming a major star. It’s a really fun story and made me want to read some of his other books.

The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World by Kristin Rockaway

I picked this up randomly at Barnes and Noble one day, not knowing anything about it other than the title was cute and the back cover seemed like it would be a perfect book to end summer with. So, like a lot of chick lit, it’s not very deep and you can pretty much predict what will happen from page 1, but it’s a fun story about a single girl who meets a guy on a solo trip to China, and adventures ensue.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible had also been on my list for a long time, and I finally bought a copy this summer. WHY did I wait so long?? This is probably my favorite book I read all year. It’s a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice and takes place in Cincinnati (in Hyde Park, the neighborhood I lived in when I lived there). It is so fun (unless you are an Austen snob, then don’t even bother—you’ll hate it) and I had a hard time putting it down at night.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Immediately upon finishing Eligible, I picked up my old Norton critical edition of Pride and Prejudice. I think the last time I read this book was my first year out of college (creeping up on 10 years now!). It’s such a timeless story—I loved reading it now just as much as I did the first time. Also need to watch the Keira Knightly movie version ASAP.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

The first Agatha Christie novel I ever read was last year, when I read And Then There Were None. I remember that I liked it, but nothing about it made me particularly interested in anything else she had written. However, I had seen the previews for the new movie version of Murder on the Orient Express and thought it would be fun to read the book first. I am so glad I did. First of all, this book is SO good. I honestly had no idea what the resolution would be. Secondly, the movie was only OK. As per usual, the book was much better. (If you haven’t seen the movie, I’m not NOT recommending it, but I don’t think it is a must-see for the big screen. It will be a great lazy winter Sunday movie.)

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest Hemingway

I picked up this vintage copy of The Snows of Kilimanjaro on a girls’ trip to Nashville a few years ago, and have never gotten around to reading it. It wasn’t my favorite Hemingway—it’s a collection of short stories, and some were good, some were depressing as hell. I honestly don’t think I was in the mood for this book. I would love to go back to it later and see how I feel about it.

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

After loving Murder on the Orient Express so much, I decided to read another Agatha Christie. I had heard that Death on the Nile was another great mystery with a twist ending (and they also are making a movie out of this one). While I didn’t love it as much as Orient Express, it still was very good—it takes place on a ship on the Nile (duh). I had my suspicions about what happened, but wasn’t exactly sure how it would pan out in the end. Definitely recommend if you’d like a good, classic mystery.

Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

I finished out 2017 with the last book in Jenny Colgan’s Little Beach Street Bakery series. They are all so good and I really hope she decides to do more. This Christmas story was so cute and romantic, and the perfect ending for my reading for the year.

True confessions, I started reading a Harry Potter book the other night. I do have a few books lined up for the coming year, but the Freeform #HarryPotterWeekend marathon made me nostalgic.

I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season and a safe and happy New Year’s celebration. And please try to read something good if you have a few days off work. ❤

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2017 Book Roundup Part 1

Earlier this year, I made a public commitment to read more—ahem—variety. You see, I LOVE to read. My first degree is actually in English literature. I read pretty much every night before bed; in fact, if turn the light off without even flipping through a magazine, you know I’m exhausted.

But for the last couple years (while I was juggling school and work and life), I started having a lot of anxiety. (This would take a much longer post to get into, so this is a very abbreviated version.) With all the stress and anxiousness in my life, I wanted comforting things before I went to bed, so for the last 2+ years, I pretty much exclusively read the Harry Potter books. Over and over.

I was feeling much better at the beginning this year, and so in February, I decided I was going to put HP down for at least the remainder of 2017 and begin reading other things. A lot of people ask for book recommendations, and I love seeing other people’s book lists, so I thought I would share what I’ve read so far on here.

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

I picked this book up at Target on a whim—I was drawn to the cover art and title, and then the description on the back looked good. The story is kind of literary mystery-romance, and it was a quick read that I really enjoyed. (Note: if you were an English major, you’ll probably love this book.) It’s the author’s first novel (she’s younger than me WHAT.), and I’m looking forward to what she’ll write next.

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

OK, I am a total sucker for chick lit that is set in England, and Jenny Colgan has some of the best of that. Her Little Beach Street Bakery series is one of my favorites. This is probably my favorite book that I’ve read this year: it’s about a woman who moves to rural Scotland and starts her own mobile bookshop. I can’t wait to reread it.

Hemingway in Love by A.E. Hotchner

The last few years on my birthday, my best friend has gotten me a Snoopy birthday card and a book about Hemingway. I hope this tradition never ends. This is a super-quick memoir written by one of Hemingway’s friends who had a series of conversations between him and Hemingway recorded (at Papa’s request), and he published them after Hemingway’s last wife, Mary, died. It’s a really beautiful book and a great companion to A Moveable Feast (my actual favorite book).

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

I personally don’t really care for nonfiction or self-help books, but nutrition books and books by Gretchen Rubin may be the exception. Her book The Happiness Project was really interesting and helpful, and I feel the same way about Better Than Before. It took me a bit to get through it, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I feel like I really learned a lot about myself and have begun to form ways to break not helpful habits and form helpful ones. Personally, I think everyone should read this book (or at least the Four Tendencies framework), and I’ve already loaned it out to one of my friends.

The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig

I was really excited about this book (probably because of the cover), but to be honest, it was kind of a hot mess until about halfway through. I was interested in the story, but also was kind of unsure where it was going and whether or not the author had control of it. In the end, everything was wrapped up pretty satisfactorily, and I did find myself getting more intrigued in the second half of the book. I would say I liked it, but it’s definitely my least favorite book I’ve read this year.

I’m currently reading The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, the first novel in the Thursday Next series. So far I really like it, and I’m sure I’ll include it in part 2 of this roundup (which I’m assuming will be this fall or summer). In the meantime, you can check my Instagram for what I’m reading (@lindseyholder) or look up the hashtag #lindseysbookshelf ❤

Summer, So Far

Oh my goodness, you guys. I don’t even know where to begin. It’s been so long!

So a little over one month ago, I finished my first semester back to school. I’m now officially on “summer break” (I guess people who work full-time jobs can still call it that?). How have I been enjoying my summer so far?

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Books I’ve Been Reading: Angry Conversations with God

Confession: I love to read books, but for some reason, if a friend lends me a book, I probably won’t read it. I don’t really know why, but the more someone tells me I’ll love something, the more effort it takes me to actually read it (or watch it, or listen to it, etc. etc.). But a friend had recently read this book, Angry Conversations with God, thought it was good, and let me borrow it. And for whatever reason, I actually read it.

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Books I’ve Been Reading: The Sun Also Rises

I was an English major in college, and I prided myself on thinking I was a better person than most people because I liked to read (anyone relate?). I mean, I didn’t actually think I was better than most people, but I really believed that because I liked to read—read good books, not trashy chick lit—I was somehow…smarter? More well-rounded? I don’t know, it sounds so gross to actually type out.

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