Monday, February 6, 2017

February Reading List

February Reading List | Kayla Lynn

Depending on the time of day, I commute anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour-and-a-half one way on the bus, which means that I spend a lot of time just sitting around. So naturally my commute is the perfect opportunity to bring a book or magazine along and do some reading. I've finally gotten through reading a lot of the books that have sort of just been laying around at my place for months (I'm a compulsive bargain book shopper; Only $4 for this book? Sold.), which means that I'm in the market for some new reading material. Below are some of the books I'm really hoping to get my hands on this month! Check them out:

February Reading List | Kayla Lynn


Bryn Greenwood

All The Ugly And Wonderful Things: A Novel


I recently read an excerpt of this book on Amazon and I'm super eager to get my hands on the rest of this book! You can rest assured that I will be ordering this book on Amazon very soon.
A beautiful and provocative love story between two unlikely people and the hard-won relationship that elevates them above the Midwestern meth lab backdrop of their lives.
As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It's safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold.
By the time Wavy is a teenager, her relationship with Kellen is the only tender thing in a brutal world of addicts and debauchery. When tragedy rips Wavy's family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. A powerful novel you won’t soon forget, Bryn Greenwood's All the Ugly and Wonderful Things challenges all we know and believe about love.


February Reading List | Kayla Lynn


Gloria Steinem

My Life on the Road


Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. When she was a young girl, her father would pack the family in the car every fall and drive across country searching for adventure and trying to make a living. The seeds were planted: Gloria realized that growing up didn’t have to mean settling down. And so began a lifetime of travel, of activism and leadership, of listening to people whose voices and ideas would inspire change and revolution.

My Life on the Road is the moving, funny, and profound story of Gloria’s growth and also the growth of a revolutionary movement for equality—and the story of how surprising encounters on the road shaped both. From her first experience of social activism among women in India to her work as a journalist in the 1960s; from the whirlwind of political campaigns to the founding of Ms. magazine; from the historic 1977 National Women’s Conference to her travels through Indian Country—a lifetime spent on the road allowed Gloria to listen and connect deeply with people, to understand that context is everything, and to become part of a movement that would change the world.

In prose that is revealing and rich, Gloria reminds us that living in an open, observant, and “on the road” state of mind can make a difference in how we learn, what we do, and how we understand each other.


February Reading List | Kayla Lynn


Erin Loechner

Chasing Slow


Unwrapping photos of this book by beauty, design, and lifestyle bloggers abound on Instagram, so naturally I feel like I should join the club and pick up a copy of my own. Not to mention the beautiful minimal cover that will make for an excellent coffee table book. 

Viral sensation and HGTV.com star Erin Loechner knows about the chase. Before turning 30, she'd built a fan base of one million women worldwide and earned the title “The Nicest Girl Online” as she was praised for her authentic voice and effortless style. The New York Times applauded her, her friends and church admired her, and her husband and baby adored her. 
She had arrived at the ultimate destination.
So why did she feel so lost? 
In Chasing Slow, Erin turns away from fast and fame and frenzy. Follow along as she blazes the trail toward a new-fashioned lifestyle—one that will refresh your perspective, renew your priorities, and shift your focus to the journey that matters most. Through a series of steep climbs—her husband's brain tumor, bankruptcy, family loss, and public criticism—Erin learns just how much strength it takes to surrender it all, and to veer right into grace. 
Life's answers are not always hidden where they seem. It's time to venture off the beaten path to see that we’ve already been given everything we need. We've already arrived. 
You see?
You'll see.


February Reading List | Kayla Lynn


Amy Gustine

You Should Pity Us Instead


In vivid, searing prose, the stories in You Should Pity Us Instead explore the complex and often contradictory impulses of love, obligation, and morality. An Israeli woman who sneaks into Gaza to reclaim her captive son from militants finds finds herself assisting in a stranger's difficult childbirth. Two families- one atheist and one Christian- confront the limitations of their beliefs. In nineteenth-century Ellis Island, a doctor marks life-changing verdicts on the backs on immigrants in blue chalk. You Should Pity Us Instead announces Amy Gustine as an artist of dynamic, capacious vision and generosity. 


February Reading List | Kayla Lynn


Helen Oyeyemi

What Is Your Is Not Yours


Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret—Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. In “Books and Roses” one special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers’ fates. In “Is Your Blood as Red as This?” an unlikely key opens the heart of a student at a puppeteering school. “‘Sorry’ Doesn’t Sweeten Her Tea” involves a “house of locks,” where doors can be closed only with a key—with surprising, unobservable developments. And in “If a Book Is Locked There’s Probably a Good Reason for That Don't You Think,” a key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason). 
 
Oyeyemi’s tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation? What Is Not Yours Is Not Yourscaptivates as it explores the many possible answers.


February Reading List | Kayla Lynn


Matthew Desmond

Evicted


Working in downtown Seattle, the plight of the unemployed, the disabled, and the homeless is an incredibly visible and heartbreaking dilemma. Seattle is quickly becoming the number one city in the country in homelessness, and it's an issue that Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond calls a uniquely "American" problem.

In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.
The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.
Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced  into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.
Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.


February Reading List | Kayla Lynn


Jung Yun

Shelter


Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can’t afford. For years, he and his wife, Gillian, have lived beyond their means. Now their debts and bad decisions are catching up with them, and Kyung is anxious for his family’s future. 
A few miles away, his parents, Jin and Mae, live in the town’s most exclusive neighborhood, surrounded by the material comforts that Kyung desires for his wife and son. Growing up, they gave him every possible advantage—private tutors, expensive hobbies—but they never showed him kindness. Kyung can hardly bear to see them now, much less ask for their help. Yet when an act of violence leaves Jin and Mae unable to live on their own, the dynamic suddenly changes, and he’s compelled to take them in. For the first time in years, the Chos find themselves living under the same roof. Tensions quickly mount as Kyung’s proximity to his parents forces old feelings of guilt and anger to the surface, along with a terrible and persistent question: how can he ever be a good husband, father, and son when he never knew affection as a child? 
As Shelter veers swiftly toward its startling conclusion, Jung Yun leads us through dark and violent territory, where, unexpectedly, the Chos discover hope. Shelter is a masterfully crafted debut novel that asks what it means to provide for one's family and, in answer, delivers a story as riveting as it is profound.


February Reading List | Kayla Lynn


Torre DeRoche

Love with a Chance of Drowning


With Valentine's Day coming up shortly, it would't feel like a proper February reading list if I didn't put at least one love story on it. 

City girl Torre DeRoche isn't looking for love, but a chance encounter in a San Francisco bar sparks an instant connection with a soulful Argentinean man who unexpectedly sweeps her off her feet. The problem? He's just about to cast the dock lines and voyage around the world on his small sailboat, and Torre is terrified of deep water. However, lovesick Torre determines that to keep the man of her dreams, she must embark on the voyage of her nightmares, so she waves good-bye to dry land and braces for a life-changing journey that's as exhilarating as it is terrifying. 

Somewhere mid-Pacific, she finds herself battling to keep the old boat, the new relationship, and her floundering sanity afloat. . . .

This sometimes hilarious, often harrowing, and always poignant memoir is set against a backdrop of the world's most beautiful and remote destinations. Equal parts love story and travel memoir, Love with a Chance of Drowning is witty, charming, and proof positive that there are some risks worth taking.


February Reading List | Kayla Lynn


Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door


This book has been on my reading list for months, and I'm hoping that maybe this will finally be the month that I get around to picking up a copy.

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.
Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years.
What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a familya chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.


What books are on your reading list this month? Let me know in the comments below!

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