Good Reads | On the Nightstand Lately

After reading a measly 12 books last year, I've really been making an effort to spend some quality time with more books this year.  I truly love reading.  I daydream about vacations where I can just sit around in a lovely exotic place and read book after book after book all the livelong day.  And yet, as much as I know I love it, I always seemed to struggle when it came to fitting quality book time into my everyday life.  So this year, I started keeping a Reading Wish List board on Pinterest and a notebook on my nightstand to track all the books I read in 2013.  I try to squeeze in little 10-minute breaks throughout the day and read a few pages here and there, but my favorite time to read is right before bed.  It's the perfect way to ease the day's stresses and distractions and prep my mind for dreamland.  Here are a few of the books that have been living on my nightstand lately.

Chelsea Chelsea, Bang Bang

Hilarious.  I mean, I really don't know what else there is to say about this book besides that.  Chelsea gives you a little glimpse into her childhood, her ascent in Hollywood, and the general quirkiness of her relationships and family life.  This is the first book I've read by Chelsea Handler and I am definitely interested in reading more.  If you've seen any episodes of Chelsea's show, you'll definitely recognize her voice in the writing.  Sometimes I even imagined her voice in my head as I was reading the book.  I know, weird.

From the book: "My boyfriend is similar to a large toddler, the only difference being he doesn't cry when he wakes up.  He's very animated and has lots of energy and wants to exert it all at the same time on a variety of activities, which can be incredibly annoying.  Coming from a family that specializes in making plans that will most likely never materialize and then being so exhausted from the prospect of an actual outing that we all have to take a nap doesn't really prepare you for the type of person who gets excited by a tide change.  Plus, he's twenty years older than me, which makes his behavior even more suspect."

A Place of Yes

I'm actually a bit undecided on how I feel about this book.  I'm a big fan of Bethenny Frankel and I admit, I was curious to learn more about her personal life.  Still, knowing she recently divorced made it a bit heartbreaking to read about how happy she was with her husband and how confident she felt in her marriage at the time she wrote the book.  As fascinating as it was to read about things like how she got on Real Housewives and how that led to her own reality show, the book still felt a little too "self-helpy" for me.  There are gems and bits of wisdom here and there but, for the most part, it's very much an "I have it all and you can, too!" kind of read.

From the book: "Do each thing you do to the best of your ability.  Be passionate and committed, and go for yours.  It's the only way to get your life moving.  It's how I popped out of obscurity and into the life I wanted."

The Gravity of Birds

The Gravity of Birds is a recently released novel by Tracy Guzeman about two sisters and the myriad of family secrets and painful memories that drive them apart.  It took me a long time to read this book and a while to really get into it but once I did, I was hooked.  The story shifts back and forth between two related plot lines that eventually come together but the jumps back and forth -and the jumps from past to present- made it a bit difficult to get follow at times.  The plot unfolds almost like a puzzle - at first, it's hard to follow where it's going but eventually the full picture comes together.  The characters are complex, layered, and filled with depth of emotion and experience.  I felt like I was reading an in-depth family memoir rather than a work of fiction.  Overall, the book was great.  Have patience as the story unfolds.  It's worth it.

From the book: "Alice sank back in the chair, her spine settling into the familiar curve there.  Could she hate her own sister?  Wouldn't that make her every bit the monster she accused Natalie of being?  She remembered Thomas's attempted warning and the way she'd cut him off, refusing to hear anything negative about her family.  It was one thing to number their faults in her own head, quite anther to listen to an outsider recite them."

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

This book fascinated me.  I went to both Catholic and non-denominational Christian schools so I only ever thought of Jesus as the biblical figure.  I never thought about Jesus the man.  Jesus was a pretty radical guy when viewed in the context of history and learning about him from a historical, factual perspective rather than purely religious, was quite intriguing.  He seems to be a man of great courage, passion, and contradiction.  The purely peaceful spiritual teacher we know from the Bible is only a small part of who Jesus the man actually was.

From the book: "The common depiction of Jesus as an inveterate peacemaker who 'loved his enemies' and 'turned the other cheek' has been built mostly on his portrayal as an apolitical preacher with no interest in or, for that matter, knowledge of the politically turbulent world in which he lived.  That picture of Jesus has already been shown to be a complete fabrication.  The Jesus of history had a far more complex attitude toward violence."

Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Foods That Love Me Back

I found this book after searching the internet for any material on living a gluten-free lifestyle.  Shauna's blog is filled with loads of recipes, information, and inspiration for those living gluten-free so I had high expectations for her book.  It did not disappoint.  In fact, my new attitude towards unknown foods is largely inspired by her book.  Shauna shares her journey through feeling ill, being diagnosed with Celiac disease, discovering a new way to eat and live, and eventually finding love.  (Seriously, the story of how she and her husband met and fell in love is fit for a Hollywood movie.)  Not only does she have an amazing knack for describing food in a way that actually makes you taste it, she also includes loads of practical information about gluten-free foods, gluten-free recipes, and other gluten-free resources.  As someone who's been living 100% gluten-free for a mere two months, I'd be lost without this book.

From the book: "Eager to eat it, I placed the chocolate on my tongue, and then I closed my mouth.  Solid and liquid at the same time, melting on the corners of my teeth, the chocolate filled my mouth with its sensations.  Bright with darkness, no bitter patches, smooth and slowly dissipating.  My tongue probed around it, trying to find all the tastes.  And there was time, because good chocolate takes long minutes to melt.  But soon, too soon, there was only a tiny bit on the tip of my tongue, and then it was gone."

As you can see, I usually like to mix it up with my books but I'm kinda in the mood to read a good series next.  Something I can really get into.  Any suggestions?




  1. Percy Jackson is a young adult series, but it's fun if you like mythology. I really enjoyed reading them.

    I also really like anything by Madeline L'Engle, and she has several different series of books to read through.

  2. The Gravity of Birds sounds so wonderful. I'm going to check this out!

  3. I love mythology and have been know to read a few young adult books in my old adult life. ;) Definitely checking that one & a few Madeline L'Engle books to my reading list. Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. I've read a couple of these books. I read "A Place of Yes" and I liked the ideas in the book but what's hard about reading the book is you can hear Bethenny's voice as you're reading but overall I think it's a good book about taking that gumption of you can do anything. Oh and can Chelsea Handler do any wrong? too funny.

  5. Lovely little space. I always try to read as much as I can, but I have to admit the busy life gets in the way. I find keeping a book on hand all the time is the best remedy for that! I hope to read more next year :)

  6. I thought the same thing about A Place of Yes. I just heard Bethenny's voice and her rhythm of speaking in my head the whole time!

  7. Thanks for stopping by! Keeping one on hand at all times is definitely a good idea. I've even been carrying my current one with me from room to room in the apartment, just in case I get the urge to read a few pages. :)


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