Recent Reads

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It, by Stephen King: I decided to read It after loving On Writing…I kind of got the idea in my head that I would maybe read through all of Stephen King’s books. I downloaded it for Audible and thus, didn’t realize what a monster it was (over 1,000 pages). I enjoyed it, but I did think it could have been edited down by about a quarter (or more). Aside from the unnecessary length, it was really a great book. I always knew of It as being about the scary clown, but there’s actually a lot more to it than that. What stuck out the most was how much it was about childhood. Childhood friendships, childhood fears, childhood versus adulthood and how we change. Many scenes took place in the woods when the group were children – playing, building things, fighting with a rival group…it reminded me of that movie Now and Then almost.

This Was Not the Plan, by Cristina Alger: Loved this book! A perfect summer read. Easy to get through, interesting story, likable main character that you cared about, and enough to it that it didn’t feel vapid or anything. The story centers on a single dad who’s very successful until something happens at work and he needs to reprioritize things. Well-written and engaging – I definitely recommend this one.

The Admissions, by Meg Mitchell Moore: This was another one I really enjoyed. It’s about a family in California who seem pretty normal and simple from the outset, but as the story progresses you see that they’re all cracking under all of these crazy pressures – the daughter trying to get into Harvard, the mom trying to maintain a career and the family, the dad I won’t say because I don’t want to ruin it. I really enjoyed following their stories and it actually felt very true to life. The author created scenarios and situations that could have felt trite or formulaic, but she made them feel real, unique, and original. Their were parts that were funny and found it charming and surprising at times. Another one I definitely recommend, and a good summer read.

Fool Me Once, by Harlan Coban: Meh. This was just okay for me. Nothing wrong with it, but I wasn’t super into the military angle that shaped the main character and the whole thing felt really far-fetched to me. That said, it was a fine thriller and I didn’t guess the outcome or anything (but that’s not saying much, I rarely do!). If you’re into thrillers this one isn’t bad, I just think you could do better.

The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman: – Absolutely amazing. This is one of my favorite books of all time, possibly. A truly heart wrenching story that kind of tears you in two – you can really see both sides. It’s about a lighthouse keeper and his wife – they live on an isolated island, and one day a baby washes up on shore…I don’t want to give anything away, but there are major emotional consequences and it all felt very real and believable. It was beautifully written. It’s going to be a movie with Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander soon (real life couple alert!), and I cannot wait. I think that’s perfect casting and I can’t wait to see this wonderful book come to life. It’s going to take some serious acting chops!

The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney: Very much meh. This got so much hype but it turned out to be pretty mediocre in my eyes. It just wasn’t very meaty – there were a lot of characters and you didn’t get deep into any of their heads or their situations. The story felt kind of thin, I didn’t care about any of the characters, and the book was billed as being about a super dysfunctional family but they didn’t even seem that dysfunctional to me. They didn’t feel real to me either, and overall the story just wasn’t that interesting. It was fine, just not great.

Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld: Liked this a lot. It was fun to read a re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice and see it updated for the modern day. I’m definitely not a Jane Austen scholar by any stretch so I can’t really compare the two, but I found this enjoyable. I did think the end could have been a little stronger but throughout I kept looking forward to coming back to it, which I think is as good an endorsement as any!

PS – my favorite bookstores in NYC.

image via my Instagram

NYC Guide: A Met Museum Tour with Museum Hack

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A few weeks ago I was invited by Museum Hack to take their Behind the Scenes tour at the Met Museum, and it turned out to be a really fun experience! Museum Hack runs tours that are unconventional, irreverent, and outside the box – not your typical art history tour. I bought my friend Lori along and though at first we weren’t quite sure what to expect, we wound up having a great time. It was funny, interactive, and slightly wacky, but at the same time I learned so many interesting facts about the museum and the art. The thing about the Met is that, amazing as it is, it’s just absolutely gigantic and filled with thousands and thousands of pieces – it can definitely be hard to take it all in, so what I appreciated about the tour was that they pointed out various pieces and even whole sections that typically I would just gloss right by without seeing. Meanwhile, those pieces and sections had all of these absolutely fascinating attributes and stories behind them that you just never would know about!

For example, they showed us this small little piece in the beginning of the tour that I just wouldn’t have noticed at all, and it turned out to be the oldest piece of intentional art in the entire museum (intentional meaning not a tool or other artifact, which the Met is full of, but rather a piece made as actual art). Pretty big deal, huh? You would think the piece would have a big sign and to-do around it!

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We learned about the eccentric personalities of both various artists and museum personnel (Bashford Dean, the guy who created the Arms and Armor Department, was quite the character!), and all about the connection between Jacqueline Kennedy and the Temple of Dendur, one of the Met’s most famous acquisitions.

Our guides, Bex and Zack, were funny, entertaining, high-energy, and totally knowledgable about the Met. It was a really fun and different way to see a museum that I’ve been to many times (plus there was a little wine break in the middle, which didn’t hurt!). Overall, I definitely recommend Museum Hack if you’re up for a funny night full of surprises, silliness, but also an interesting dose of art education.

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So pretty at night.

By the way, if you do find yourself over at The Met anytime soon, don’t forget to pop up to the rooftop and check out the Psycho Barn (on view through October 31st).