Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Five: Favorite NYC Reads (Contemporary Fiction)

I've mentioned before that I wanted to start reviewing and recommending more books here, largely because reading is such a huge part of my life.  As I write this I just finished book #70 for the year; it's obviously something I spend a lot of time on.  I get a little restless if I go through an entire day without reading a book and it's my favorite way to relax and have some "me" time.  I can get pretty excited about going to the library for some new books, especially ones that I've been waiting months to read or on a topic I'm excited about.  I like to read.

I hope to start sharing more book recs in different categories because while not every book I read is good enough to make a Things I Like post (I try to save those for my absolute favorites) many are good without being over the top amazing. (This is also a good time to mention that I have links on the right side bar to all the grown-up and kid books I've mentioned.  Scroll past all the page links and Instagram feed and there they are!)

I have a whole shelf on GoodReads for books set in New York.  It is, by far, one of my biggest categories.  I'm obviously a fan of the city and since I'll never live there, reading about other people who do is the next best thing. (I don't know that I'd really want to live in New York at this point in my life but I keep thinking it'd be fun for a little while, like 6 months to a year.  Also, I want to live in Hawaii for that long.  If one of us could get a job that would pay enough for our whole family to move and live different places, that I pick out, that would be ideal.  Let me know if you have that job to offer me.)  I narrowed down my favorites and this is the first of a few lists.  I love making lists, ranking things.  Although, if I was asked to pick my top 5 favorite books ever I'm not sure I could do it.  Just the idea is daunting (top of my head...Harry Potter series and Christy Miller & friends series as two picks (in my head, a series, even with 30+ books, totally counts as one pick) and I have no idea for the other 3.)

1) The Late Lamented Molly Marx
I first picked out this book to read before our first trip to New York, it was a completely random Target buy, something I never do now.  I've realized lately how much the circumstances of my reads and around the books I pick can greatly influence what I think of them.  For instance, I read this book back when I wasn't reading as much or, probably, as high of quality as I generally read now.  We hadn't been to New York and the idea of just visiting the city was so appealing to me.  I have very happy memories from that time and from reading this book around that first visit.  Also, one of the main-ish characters is named Luke this was right after we had picked that name for our first son.  All things combined makes for good memories with this book.

It's the story of Molly who, you can tell by the title, has died.  It's told through her perspective as she watches from some version of heaven, watching over the daughter, husband, sister, parents, best friend she left behind.  Also, the detective who is trying to figure out how she died.  Part of it is heartbreaking and makes me want to hold tight onto Luke and never leave him because the thought of him growing up without me is just horrible to think about.  But besides those heavy topics, it's not a very dark read.  You do find out the circumstances around her death and I almost cry at the ending every single time I read it, which has been more than once.

2) The Knockoff
I've mentioned this one before and so won't recap the whole thing again.  I just remember it being a really fun and enjoyable read.  It's a similar setting to The Devil Wears Prada (a book I've actually never read since I really like the movie and I've heard that's better than the book), a women's magazine in New York.  But the circumstances and characters are different.  It's one of those books I was happy to make time to read and didn't have to slog through the beginning to get to the enjoyable parts.  Just a good, satisfying read.

3) Last Night at Chateau Marmont
You may realize that the Chateau Marmont is a hotel in LA and I'm including this book on a list of NYC reads.  I know that.  The book does have some scenes at the Chateau Marmont but primarily takes place in New York.  It's about Brooke and her husband, Julian, who is a struggling musician who becomes at least minorly famous after one of his songs hits it big.  There are, of course, struggles with balancing their personal life and Brooke's career as a nutritionist with his burgeoning fame.  Life changes very quickly for them.  It's a little bit behind of scenes of the music industry and life in New York.  It's one I've read multiple times and even though I know where the story is going, I still enjoy it each time.

4) Something Borrowed 
I think I picked up this book after seeing trailers for the movie ~5 years ago.  I guess it's not the best story...Darcy and Rachel and have been BFFs since childhood and are now in their early 30s (I think it starts on Rachel's 30th birthday?) living in New York.  Darcy is engaged to Rachel's best friend from law school, Dex, whom Rachel has has long had a thing for.  Then Rachel and Dex kinda start having an affair behind Darcy's back.  Ok, I said it wasn't the best plot but Darcy comes across as pretty unlikable (which I know doesn't justify anything) which makes it easier to read.  Things get a little complicated and even though you don't want to, you start rooting for Rachel & Dex.  It's an enjoyable book and, again, one, I've read multiple times.  (And there is a 2nd, Something Blue, told from Darcy's perspective that takes place after this book, and I also enjoy that one but it's set in London so it doesn't qualify for this list.)

5) The Life Intended
Another one I've mentioned before and now rereading what I wrote the first time, I want to go reread this book too!  It's about Kate whose husband died suddenly 10 years ago.  She is now engaged but isn't super enthusiastic about her fiance and the life she is leading.  Her husband starts appearing to her in her dreams, showing her the life they could have had together (just go with it) which then sparks changes in her actual life.  Books about multiple timelines, multiple "this is what could have happen" seem to be a real thing right now (I've read many) but this one is one of my favorites.  It's enjoyable and you are really rooting for Kate.

Any great NYC books I've missed??  I can always add more to my (already always growing) to read list!

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