Posts Tagged: Ladyville Book Club

Ladyville Book Club: ‘Friendship’ by Emily Gould

friendship emily gould

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been reading Emily Gould’s writing since I was in college. I’ve always loved her voice and sense of humor, even though I live in Ohio and she writes a lot about very New York specific things. So of course I was super excited to read her new novel Friendship, and guess what, guys? I was not disappointed!

One of my least favorite things that people say about books (even though I’m guilty of saying this, even in this week’s HelloGiggles column) is “I really related to the characters!” I mean, yes, sometimes it’s really great to read a character’s thoughts and think, “Whoa, that’s me!” But, at the same time, I don’t really think that whether or not you relate to a character has anything to do with the quality of the book. This is all my way of saying that, although lots of the reviews I’ve read have praised the relatability of the friendship between Gould’s characters Amy and Bev, they didn’t seem like any friends I have. This is probably due to the fact that I’m a boring person living in the Midwest, not a hip person living in New York. All of my friendships are very Midwestern.

So I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to relate to these characters to really love this book. I didn’t agree with basically anything Amy said and I still loved reading every single thing she thought. I really loved Bev. This was a pretty short book, but honestly, it could’ve been twice as long and I still would’ve enjoyed reading it. It’s so funny and compulsively readable. Emily Gould is very good at writing dialogue that flows naturally and at making you care about flawed characters.

It just felt good to read a book that was primarily concerned with the relationship between two female friends. There isn’t really a romance in this book (I know, it’s not like me to read a book without a driving romance, but whatever)..it’s just about, as the title implies, friendship.

If you’re still on the fence, first of all, get off that fence. That’s dangerous. Then listen to this great interview with Emily Gould on Julie Klausner’s How Was Your Week. It starts off with a lot of cat talk, so you know it’s good.

Ladyville Book Club: Adulting

adulting book
So after I interviewed Kelly Williams Brown for my Creative Ladies series, it dawned on me that I should really read her book. I knew it would be funny and smart and helpful–I mean, you guys read her interview, right? She’s the best! But what I wasn’t prepared for was HOW AWESOME the book would be.

There are a lot of books out there that are sort of like this one, in that they’re intended to give advice to young-ish people. But Adulting stands out from the pack because it’s actually helpful. I mean, I’m not even all that young, but I still found plenty of things I didn’t know. Some things are definitely geared towards younger people who are living on their own for the first time, not married ladies who cook their own dinners most nights of the week, but there were a few sections that seemed specifically designed for me. Like, ahem, cleaning. Guys, I am so, so, so bad at cleaning. I hate it. And while I’ve accepted that I will never be a neat person, the truth is that I need to maintain a base level of cleanliness so that my home doesn’t actively turn people away. This book outlines the things you need to do daily and weekly to keep your house at least presentable.

Also, there are just some great tips for everyone strewn throughout the book. Like, for example, before I read Adulting I was throwing away my bacon fat like some sort of foolhardy idiot. “Why not cook your vegetables in bacon fat?” Kelly suggested, and I cursed my stupidity. Why wasn’t I doing this before? How could I have been so stupid? Anyway, we had brussels sprouts cooked in bacon fat last night and it was glorious. That alone was worth the price of the book.

If you’re looking for advice about work life, relationships, cooking, and cleaning with 100% more Young Jeezy lyrics than any other advice book I’ve ever read, then you definitely need to pick up a copy of Adulting.

Have you guys read it? How much did you love it? Will I ever be able to eat enough things cooked in bacon fat to make up for the years I haven’t been doing this? Probably not.

What I’ve Been Reading

I always love reading (duh), but over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading even more than usual. Here are the books I’ve read and loved over the past month or so:
Tenth-of-December
Tenth of December by George Saunders
It’s no surprise that this was good. I mean, George Saunders is always good. I read the last story one morning before work, and the whole walk there all I could think was, “Everyone is just trying their best!” It was pretty emotional.

no one else can have you
No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
Okay, sorry to be annoying because this book doesn’t come out until January, so you can’t read it right now. BUT IT IS SO GREAT! It’s funny and weird and I actually got scared near the end.

someday someday maybe
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
Obviously if Loralei Gilmore writes a book I’m going to read it. Fun fact: I decided to wait out the library hold list for this one instead of buying it, and it took a couple of months! So just reading it felt like a small victory. Anyway, this was a fun, feel-good book, and y’all know I love a feel-good book.

tapestry of fortunes
Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg
Everything I love: a house full of women who learn something from one another, a road-trip, and copious amounts of pie. So much pie. I made a pie after I finished this book, actually.

open road summer
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Now I’m being even more obnoxious because this book doesn’t come out until April, but YOU GUYS. I loved this book so, so much. There’s country music, a dreamy dude, and so. much. romance. Seriously, I loved it, and it’s definitely going on my Best YA Romance list.

case_histories
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Somehow this book managed to be slow and interesting. Also sad and hilarious. Kate Atkinson is some sort of miracle worker, apparently. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and I’ve already ordered the next Jackson Brodie book from the library. Basically, if you like British detectives then you’ll probably be into this book (although I seriously didn’t understand ANY of the references in this book…I might as well have been reading another language).

What have you guys been reading? Let me know, and have a great weekend!

Ladyville Book Club: Rainbow Rowell

attachments-by-rainbow-rowell
Now that I’ve finished all of Rainbow Rowell’s books (even Fangirl, which doesn’t come out for a couple more months, because being a book blogger sometimes leads to awesome perks), I’m sort of depressed. Okay, really depressed, because she doesn’t have any more books I can read. However, I want to channel that reading-related depression into something positive, which mostly means I’m not going to stop until I’ve convinced all of you to read Rainbow Rowell’s books, even if it means I have to literally push them into your hands. Don’t think I won’t do it!

My first foray into the wonderful world of Rainbow was her YA novel, Eleanor & Park. Just like everyone else who read it, I loved it. It was real and romantic, smart and funny, and full of music. Also Park’s dad was repeatedly compared to Tom Selleck, which was a detail I just really loved. After I posted my review, I got a copy of Fangirl and fell in even deeper love. I mean, it might be one of my favorite books ever. It’s about a girl who writes fan fiction. And is a twin. And is in college but really bad at being social. And is in l-u-v with a ridiculously friendly guy (not a brooding guy, not a sensitive bad boy, not a rebel). It’s hilarious and just plain wonderful.

So, naturally, after all that I needed to pick up her adult novel, Attachments. YOU GUYS. IT WAS JUST AS GOOD! Good romantic comedy books can be difficult to find. I’m not saying they’re not out there, because they are, but it’s difficult to sort through the cliches and the generic smut (not that there’s anything wrong with generic smut). It’s always a delight to find a book that’s like a Nora Ephron movie, one that gives you hope and comforts you while also being clever and smart and creating unique characters. That’s what this book does (not to oversell it). Also, Lincoln is great. Oh, Lincoln.

One of the things I really like about Rainbow Rowell’s writing is that she always sees overweight women as people. Yes, sometimes they complain about their weight (just as we all, no matter what we look like, can always find SOME element of our bodies to complain about) but it is not the defining factor of their lives and it CERTAINLY doesn’t make them unattractive or undateable. They don’t have to lose weight to be happy or to get a guy; their weight is just another aspect of who they are. There aren’t a ton of other authors that can do this (although, if you want some recommendations, I would suggest Meg Cabot and Jennifer Weiner).

Also, Rainbow Rowell just gets what makes people attractive. It’s not their perfection or their movie-star good looks; I mean, when you’re in love with someone, you love the weird little imperfections in their face. Their slightly-too-big nose, their ears that stick out, their hair that doesn’t lay flat ever. Rainbow Rowell’s romantic leads have weak chins and widow’s peaks. They feel real in a way that many leading dudes just don’t.

Basically, Rainbow Rowell writes perfect books and I just want you guys to love them the same way I do. Go buy Eleanor & Park and Attachments right now, and FOR SURE get Fangirl when it comes out! And after you read them all, come talk to me about how great they are! Until then, I’ll just be rereading Attachments and getting overly emotional at the ending.

Image via Novel Sounds

Ladyville Book Club: The Smart One by Jennifer Close

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I’ve already written about how much I loved Jennifer Closes’s debut, Girls in White Dresses (and if you don’t trust me, you can read Rachel Fershleiser’s opinion). Her newest novel, The Smart One, is just as good. It’s funny, clever, and, well, smart.

The Smart One follows several women in one family: Weezy, the slightly smothering matriarch. Claire, the newly-single, newly-jobless daughter. Martha, the drama-seeking, needy daughter. And Cleo, Weezy’s son Max’s girlfriend. We read about their lives, their struggles, and their relationships with each other while discovering which characters we relate to (probably Claire and Cleo) and which characters are sympathetic but also incredibly annoying (Weezy and Martha). Just as in Girls in White Dresses, nothing totally big or crazy happens in The Smart One. The interactions between the characters are the stuff of everyday life, the conversations and arguments we’ve all had a million times. Weddings, hookups, babies, fights, parties. But somehow (and I wish I knew how, so I could harness this power for myself!) Jennifer Close manages to make these little mundane moments sparkle with wit and and intelligence and interest.

Also, Martha. Martha! Read this book so we can all talk about Martha, because I can guarantee all of us have known someone exactly like her.

I’m always interested to hear what you guys are reading, too! Let me know and give me your recommendations!