Book Reviews: Catching Up, Part 1

Somehow, it is October. And somehow, I completed six books since we last talked about books. And ridiculously, I have completed twenty-nine books thus far this year. I didn’t set a goal for myself or expect to read so much, but I did, and I feel like I’ve had such a fulfilling year when it comes to reading. I have no intentions of slowing down, with many books sitting in various formats ready for me to devour.

Here are a few book reviews to let you know what I’ve been up to.


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A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan – When I worked at Barnes and Noble, this book was released and had received tons of accolades. I kept the book in my head as a book to read, but never really got around to it until two years later. The book is a little weird. Following the trajectories of two people who work together, Bennie Salazar, the has-been music producer and his assistant Sasha, we learn a little bit about music culture from the early seventies to a decade beyond our current time. While the book’s purpose is a little bit of a social commentary on rock culture, it gets all wrapped and convoluted with the introduction of too many characters. There are too many little perspectives that don’t tell us much about the supposed “main” characters. The whole thing just gets muddled and, again, weird. This one just wasn’t that great for me. 2/5


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The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger – Amina is new to America. She has just married George and moved to Rochester, NY from poverty stricken Dhaka. She’s had to leave behind her parents and follow all the steps of her careful plan to have them come live with her and George. The plan will take at least three years. She really loves George and George loves Amina, but both of them have to overcome some significant cultural differences to build a happy marriage. This book was intriguing to me because of the Bangladesh connection, but I honestly just found it a telling picture of a new marriage. New is the important word because everything is so new to Amina, but she adjusts well, thanks to her education, determination, patience, and sacrifice. 3/5

lean in

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Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg – I’m sure you have heard all the buzz about this book. I was skeptical going into this book. I tend to be put off by “self-help” books. I was also concerned the book would be victimize women. But this book really challenged me and didn’t talk about how women are at a disadvantage in the workplace, but rather why. And the answer is pretty simple. We do it to ourselves. This book made me think about how I conduct myself in business, how I can advance, and how I hold myself back from many professional achievements. I walked away frustrated, but also optimistic. A thought or anecdote from this book pops into my head almost daily. I now know which questions to ask and which conversations to have (with myself, work, and with my husband). I encourage anyone (Yes. Anyone.) looking into professional achievement to read this book. 4/5

Have you set any reading goals for yourself this year?


5 responses

  1. Good for you on getting through so many so far! I haven’t set any reading goals this year either (other than reading through the Bible), and so far I’ve powered through 36. I don’t know how that happened. I also didn’t like A Visit From the Goon Squad. Pretty much for the same reasons you did. And plus, there just wasn’t a POINT. I like books to have a point. (I just quit reading The Interestings because it didn’t seem like it had a point either.)

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