Conversations with Friends – Sally Rooney

Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed, and darkly observant. A college student and aspiring writer, she devotes herself to a life of the mind–and to the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi, her best friend and comrade-in-arms. Lovers at school, the two young women now perform spoken-word poetry together in Dublin, where a journalist named Melissa spots their potential. Drawn into Melissa’s orbit, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman’s sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband. Private property, Frances believes, is a cultural evil–and Nick, a bored actor who never quite lived up to his potential, looks like patriarchy made flesh.

But however amusing their flirtation seems at first, it gives way to a strange intimacy neither of them expect. As Frances tries to keep her life in check, her relationships increasingly resist her control: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally even with Bobbi. Desperate to reconcile herself to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances’s intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new: a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

I’ll be the first to admit, I definitely don’t understand the hype around Sally Rooney’s books. With all the coverage Normal People has received since it came out, I thought I’d begin with her first book as a primer.

It turned out I kind of hated it!

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The Last Five Books I Didn’t Finish

You never want to DNF a book, but sometimes it happens anyway. The book isn’t as good as you’d expected or heard, or maybe your attention just gets captured elsewhere and before you know it, it’s been weeks or even months since you last abandoned that book and now have a funny guilty feeling whenever you see it lying on the counter because deep down, you know you won’t be coming back to it.

But DNFs aren’t anything to feel guilty or bad over! I used to feel this internal pressure to finish every book I started, as if it was reflection on my character – like it meant I was persevering or loyal or something. But gradually I moved away from this mindset. There are so many amazing books in the world that if I’m not enjoying something, I leave it! What’s also comforting to me is knowing that even if I DNF something today, doesn’t mean it’s DNF forever. I can always come back to it later in life – maybe when I have more time, or perhaps more ready to appreciate it.

Below, three books that I recently put down…but plan to finish at some point 🙂

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In Five Years – Rebecca Serle

Where do you see yourself in five years? When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future. After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind. That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was so excited for this book that it was one of my most anticipated reads of early 2020, but it turned out to disappoint 😦

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Books on my TBR I’m Avoiding

I don’t know about you, but I’ve discovered recently that there’s normal TBR avoidance, and then there’s quarantine TBR avoidance. Namely: I don’t want anything too involved or sad or intellectual…or long, or upsetting, or too emotional either. I know, I’m really outing my pandemic self as an insufferably lazy bum 🤣 In all seriousness, I’ve been SO restless lately and can’t seem to sit through anything that requires too much dedication, which is the opposite of what reading is all about. Here are a few books that have been on my list forever but am strenuously avoiding because of any of the reasons above.

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No Time to Spare – Ursula Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin took readers to imaginary worlds for decades. In the last great frontier of life, old age, she explored a new literary territory: the blog, a forum where she shined. The collected best of Ursula’s blog, No Time to Spare presents perfectly crystallized dispatches on what mattered to her late in life, her concerns with the world, and her wonder at it: “How rich we are in knowledge, and in all that lies around us yet to learn. Billionaires, all of us.”

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I’ll be honest: this wasn’t exactly a voluntary pick. I usually never choose books like this for myself, being a fiction lover all the way, but as things go, it was an accidental selection from the NYPL ebooks page. I’d been impatiently looking for Wizard of Earthsea for weeks, saw a Le Guin book scroll by, and without thinking, checked it out. Then I opened it up and – surprise, it was actually a collection of her blog posts from the later years of her life! Quarantine being what it is, I gave it a shot and settled in.

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Would You Rather // Book Tag

HAPPY MAY!!

Rose over at Novels & Teacups recently posted this book tag and it seems so fun! I liked reading her answers, and now here are mine below…


Would you rather read an amazing book with a disappointing ending, or a book that is lackluster but gets really good at the end?

I have to go with the amazing book with a disappointing ending. At least the majority of the book still holds up! Who wants to suffer through a majority-bad book just to get to the good stuff? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

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Books I Wish I’d Read As a Child

I was a voracious reader as a kid, but there were some notable books and series that somehow slipped by me – we couldn’t always afford new copies so my reading was limited to my school library and whatever we picked up at local yard sales (a surprisingly great source of books, and usually only 50 cents each at the time!). And so while I had a pretty wide variety of books under my belt, these were three that I never got around to reading and wish I had…

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