I’m going to experiment with a new format to my blog – let me know if you like it! My theory is that readers might be a little more interested in a deeper dive of a book from the past couple of weeks that I really enjoyed, as opposed to a few sentences about each book I read. Many books I read are good (not great), a few are trash, and a few more are just terrific. I’ll try to focus on those terrific ones!
Skincare by Caroline Hirons
I’d heard some good stuff about Skincare, but knew nothing about it other than the author gives specific product recommendations and hates cleanser wipes. Well, I’m rapidly (SO rapidly) approaching 40 and LOVE skin care wipes, so I knew I’d better grab his book and grab it NOW. I love the idea of serums and moisturizers and creams and potions but I’ll be honest – not only couldn’t I remember the order of when to smear all of that stuff on my face, I rarely want to take the time to mess with it. When it’s bedtime, more often than not I climb the stairs and brush my teeth and pass out on the bed. Usually with my makeup on, sometimes I go full spa and rub a cleanser wipe on my face. Goodnight.
Would you believe that this book now has me going the whole nine yards with cleanser, toner, serum, retinol, and moisturizer and drinking loads of water? Listen, Hirons is British, she’s no-nonsense, she’s hilarious, and her skin is what dreams are made of. Plus, the whole process really only does take 5 minutes.
Additionally, I really appreciate her lists of suggested products for various ages and skin conditions. I now know why the Clean & Clear I had my teens using wasn’t working for anything, and exactly which brands are going to be on my Sephora wish list going forward. She also totally debunks the “clean” skincare industry, which was glorious reading for this cynical old fart who doesn’t care to dole out extra cash just because a company can *say* it is “clean.”
Therefore, Skincare is the book I’m going to be recommending to anyone looking for some guidance or just some inspiration for their skincare routine. Trigger warning, though – she does suggest avoiding alcohol. Sorry, I have my limits.
Whenever I feel like the world is in shambles (and right now, it is) - I just zoom in. I zoom in as close as I need to and remind myself that in my own little world, things are good (and right now, they are). Lately I've zoomed out no further than my house and my family, but appreciate some good reading for both fiction and non-fiction glimpses of the outside world.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Book Club is currently reading this, so I don't want to give too much away, but.... LOVED. Really good. I've been thinking about it a lot.
Shiner by Amy Jo Burns
I'd heard really good things about this one and I could certainly see why people would love this religious cult Appalachia mountain moonshine book and while all of the characters certainly had layers, it very much struck me as good (women) vs. evil (men) and frankly that story is getting old for me. On the other hand, the writing was incredibly and the author did spin an interesting story. I'd be interested to hear what others thought.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
This novel had a few bright spots, but ultimately I didn't love this story about a sister and brother and the crimes with which they were connected. I'd advise skipping it.
With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace by Nikki Haley
I hesitate to make note of this, because I don't want anyone - not even my six blog readers - to align me with any political party. My goal is to read memoirs of people who interest me, despite political affiliation. At any rate, I believe Nikki Haley will be someone to watch in the coming years and I enjoyed this account of her time in the UN. But her editor should've cut out some of her repetition - she was certainly trying to hammer home some points that made me feel a little like she was speaking from a podium.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Morena-Garcia
So much buzz about Mexican Gothic! Plus, I think this counts as a horror novel, which is not a genre I have spent much time in since my high schools years. This was pretty alright for what it was, but kind of gross and frankly I was ready to be done with it.
The Answer Is...Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek
Oh, this was good! Very up to the moment and bittersweet for sure. Trebek had an interesting job but he wasn't a fascinating person, and yet this memoir is therefore a compilation of all that made him who he was - someone we felt comfortable inviting into our homes every night as we scooped up potatoes and grabbed the chicken legs while marveling at how much useless trivia our mom has in her head. This is a quick read and while the end didn't have me sobbing, I definitely would've been had I been PMS-ing at the time.
Next up - I'm reading some non-fiction about how to deal with my skin (because I'm almost 40 and I still go to bed with makeup on more often than not) and I'm about to dive into a big stack of awesome that I just picked up from the library that includes Seinfeld's new book.
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.