5 books you'll start & won't be able to stop
Three rom-coms and two very-much-not-rom-coms.
It’s been a hot minute (or a month) since my last recs because honestly, April was mostly full of starting books and then not finishing them — I went through a bunch of duds. But this week was a big one for publishing and my Kindle is now loaded with stuff to read — so before I dive in to the next big round, the few books I read and genuinely enjoyed in the last few weeks.
It Had to Be You - Georgia Clark - Love Actually-esque but centered around wedding planner in NY who ends up working with her dead husband’s mistress.
Other couples/conflicts include a caterer who falls in love with a celebrity guest at one of the weddings, the florist and his non-committing boyfriend, the mistress herself discovering her sexuality, and the wedding planner/widow finding love again. Super delightful.
Life’s Too Short - Abby Jimenez - Vanessa, YouTuber/travel vlogger, gets stuck in her apartment after her addict sister leaves a baby with her. She meets her landlord/neighbor, the hot lawyer Adrian, when the baby’s crying all night — things escalate.
Little does Adrian know, Vanessa has a secret… A very PG-13 romance but the chemistry between Adrian & Vanessa is off the charts.
Hana Khan Carries On - Uzma Jalaluddin - A twist on You’ve Got Mail. Hana is a 20-something wannabe radio producer/host who anonymous hosts a podcast between waitressing at her family restaurant and her internship at local Toronto public radio and keeps up a friendship with a longtime commenter on her show.
Meanwhile, Aydin, the son of a wealthy developer, has shown up to try and open a rival halal restaurant in Hana’s immigrant neighborhood. Despite her best intentions, they fall for each other. (There’s a twist, you obviously see it coming, it’s still very charming.)
Turning Pointe - Chloe Angyal - A deep dive into the dark underbelly of ballet, from the racial tensions to the gender bullshit to the mental and physical turmoil the art inflicts on its performers to the labor and class issues.
Chloe loves ballet and desperately wants it to survive; her deep reporting and tender affection for the art/sport come through vividly. Super compelling, even if you never did ballet or have seen the Nutcracker.
Empire of Pain - Patrick Radden Keefe - I am a sucker for books about (1) wealthy people being weird/problematic, (2) grifters, and (3) the ways in which philanthropy is broken. This hit the spot.
First, it’s a biography of Arthur Sackler, the OG Sackler who started as Jewish immigrant in Brooklyn and rose to a very wealthy businessman by “innovating” pharmaceutical marketing and creating/selling Valium, while using his wealth through philanthropy and art patronage to cement a legacy. The second part is how the other two Sackler brothers and their kids took the next step and created Oxycontin, then made even bigger fortunes and killing people in the process. Like any book about the opioid epidemic, this was infuriating to read. These fuckers knew exactly what they were doing. And, it does seem like there is at least some reckoning with their legacy… This book is long but I gulped it down.