November 2019 Reading List

Happy Friday! Hope everyone is enjoying their last full week before Christmas! I wanted to share Ashby's reading list for November as the break is upon us and this is the best time to catch up on some reading!

Happy Holidays! Is everyone loving this instagramable season thus far? Who doesn’t love curling up with a good book in front of a working fireplace in a cabin in New England with fuzzy socks, twinkle lights and a mug of hot chocolate!? 

Too bad my reality is being squished on an NYC subway trying to read my latest book in peace while surrounded by crazy commuters. Equally relaxing I would definitely say! I have had the pleasure of reading a few fantastic books lately, so without further ado, here they are: 

Three Women (A) 
If you haven’t heard of this book, it is possible that you live under a rock since everywhere I turn this is being talked about. In fact, it was just nominated for the Goodreads Best Book of the Year in the nonfiction category. Over the course of 8 years, author Lisa Taddeo spent time with 3 different women from around the country, interviewing them about their sex lives. It is pretty groundbreaking to read a book about female desire in such a journalistic and real way. 

While these women live seemingly very different lives, Lisa is able to tease out similarities between them, especially with how they value themselves in relation to men. While on the surface, these 3 stories seem very specific and maybe unusual, I truly think that in some way or another, anyone who reads this book will find an experience or interaction that they can relate to. I couldn’t believe how many times I thought to myself, “ah yes I know how she feels” etc. Highly recommend! 

City of Girls (A+) 
Oh em gee you guys this book was so good! This was written by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love and since that was an instant smash hit, I couldn’t wait to see how she is as a fiction author. I was not disappointed! This is a story about a young girl in New York City during the roaring twenties, which is my favorite era (if anyone was wondering). 

After Vivian gets asked to leave Vassar, she is sent to live with her aunt who owns a playhouse in NYC - which honestly doesn’t sound like the worst punishment ever. She gets thrown into the wild lifestyle of the showgirls, nightclubbing, dancing and drinking night after night until, of course, disaster strikes. I fell completely in love with the characters and kept trying to guess where everyone would end up. I won’t spoil anything but just do yourself a favor and read this! 

Cilka’s Journey (B) 
This is the sequel to the Tattooist of Auschwitz, following the story of one of the female prisoners, Cilka Kline and the events following the liberation of the camps. This is a true story, with the author interviewing those that knew the real Cilka in order to piece together a loose narrative of her journey. 

Unfortunately and maybe not surprisingly, things did not go well for her after the war ended. Cilka was accused of being a collaborator, despite doing what she had to do to stay alive and instead of enjoying freedom, found herself on a train to Siberia and in yet another camp. This was definitely a tough and very heavy read but I find myself drawn to incredible stories of survival during that period of time and this was definitely one of them. 

This Tender Land (A) 
This is a very entertaining historical fiction book that had serious Hucklebery Finn vibes. My sister and mom also read this and we all absolutely loved it! It follows the story of 4 orphans living in Minnesota and their escape from a terribly oppressive boarding school. It is a cat and mouse plot, with the kids traveling down the Mississippi in a canoe with the school’s superintendent in hot pursuit. 

The various people who the meet along the way truly capture your heart. I did have a hard time reading about the abuse that the students had to endure at the school, especially knowing that it was most likely a realistic portrayal of schools during that time. Overall, I laughed, I cried – everything that you’d want in a very well written book. 

True Places (B) 
It is amazing how many books that I have read in the past year about girls who were raised off the grid (The Great Alone, Where the Crawdads Sing, The Marsh King) but add this one to the list! Iris is a 16-year-old girl who was raised in the wilderness of North Carolina by her mother and father. When we meet her, she is severely malnourished and sick, laying on the side of the road. We are also introduced to a stressed and underappreciated housewife, Suzanne who is very disenchanted by her currently life. 

Suzanne spots Iris while driving and immediately pulls over to help her, opening up her home and ultimately her heart to the poor girl. Suzanne’s family and friends struggle to understand her motives and welcome Iris into their world. Some of the characters were very hard to relate to, like the bratty teenage daughter but overall, it was so heartwarming to read about how Iris was changed by Suzanne and her family but also how Suzanne and her family were changed by Iris.

You can read more/past book reviews HERE!

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