In Life, What I read

What I read: The End of Winter 2019 Edition

If you want to browse other posts on other books I have read they are all here – What I read.

I like books that are interesting. The topic could be economics, but it better be interesting and grip my attention.

I gravitate towards money and style books (obviously!), but will read all types of fiction or non-fiction if interesting enough.

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Family Trust – Kathy Wang

FREAKING. FANTASTIC.

She blew me away. Her writing is beyond what I expected. I did not go into reading it expecting another Crazy Rich Asians which apparently is the hot new thing to emulate in reading circles BT dubs, but I went into it thinking: Okay, let’s see what comes out of this. Asian family in Silicon Valley? I’m game.

I was not expecting much (sorry KW), but she just knocked it out of the park.


I’d call this more of a dark fictional drama than chick-lit. Don’t get it twisted, it’s not chick-lit, there aren’t descriptions of expensive sexy clothes and fancy things, okay? This is real life and it is so well done I really felt pangs when I read it.

I’d liken it more to Joy Luck Club than Crazy Rich Asians but then I am just being f*cing stereotypical trying to match it up to other “Asian-esque” books. Sorry.

Anyway, I related and saw all the characters as actors in my own life. Frankly, Stanley has a few things in common with my own father… and the descriptions of going to a prestigious school, the pressure to always be on top, to be a certain way, to act a certain way and then to not be penalized for it. She nailed it.

LOVE. THIS. BOOK.

I will read anything by her.

The Female Persuasion – Meg Wolitzer

Side note:

I am sorry, but I really dislike the name “Greer”. In any shape or form. It is only because it was the name in a series of books by Anne Bishop where the character did horrific things, and I have forever associated the name with that character. 🙁 I cannot help it. I absorb things deeply.

That aside, the book was very well done, and a little painful for me to read to be honest.

As a mother and someone who had grown up on the fringes of school cliques, I cannot say it felt good reliving all that and feeling emotions I should not have to feel because they aren’t real.

I liked it. The writing is great. I just can’t deal with the plot and themes.

My life is complicated enough with #FirstWorldProblems, I need escapist literature that doesn’t bring up dark memories and make me feel sad.

That is definitely a sign of a good writer who can twist fiction to make you FEEL the words and events days after you finished the book, but it didn’t really brighten my mood. I was a bit down the whole next 2 weeks after the book.

But if you are okay with depressing themes, but top notch writing and deep characters with vivid scenes, pick this up.

How to Accessorize – Micaela Erlanger

This book is better in print. Flip through it or buy it in person, but even in black and white, I got lots of fun ideas.

I don’t really get stuck on accessorizing or styling so I wouldn’t necessarily add this to my library, but you can!

American Dreamer (Tommy Hilfiger)

(P.S. have you seen his incredible penthouse? OMG!)

Listen if you know anything about fashion, you will have known that there is a bit of a rivalry between Tommy Hilfiger and accusations that he was copying Ralph Lauren and was just an upstart.

There are always two sides to the story.

I loved reading his memoir of how he grew up, how he started, failed, started, failed… it is truly an entrepreneur’s dream to read such a memoir.

I felt inspired at the end, and I really felt like I was there in his mind as everything was happening. Fantastic, truly. He taught me a little more about branding, marketing, exposure, and being careful in contract negotiations.

No matter what you say about whether he is a copycat, you simply cannot deny his SUCCESS.

I call all of this copycatting nonsense sour grapes, because you can try and pretend to copy great brands (look at all the mainstream knockoffs and high street shops), but you can never reach that level of success by just copying alone. That’s all I am going to say.

It looks easier than it really is, as everything does.

I find his logo iconic even though I don’t really wear any of that clothing – Ralph Lauren, etc — and I do think they made a huge mistake in growing too fast and become overexposed and therefore, cheap, during the 90s, but lesson learned!

I am actually more interested now to look at these clothes when I go to Europe to see the differences.

This will only hurt a little – Busy Phillips

This was a memoir from the actress and how Busy tried to break into the industry.

She NAMES CELEBRITY NAMES!!!!!! And is very honest.

I cannot say I love the emphasis CAPS all the time because it seems overused in many parts of the book and I just keep hearing her voice emphasizing it each time I read it, but I’m being a hypocrite because I write like that as well.

I guess I’m a pickier reader than a writer.

Anyhoo. She says exactly how she grew up, how she felt so awkward and so on. I feel like every celebrity says this even though they’re smoking hot, they pretend they were bullied in school and such a nerd. Please. You don’t know bullying. I went through it and actually looked the part for most of my awkward teen years and it is not just being left out of parties.

It is being ignored, teased, singled out… anyway.

A good read especially if you like celebrity gossip and dirt with actual names and I found it to be a nice fun read. Would I read it again? No.

Did I regret reading it? Not really. But it isn’t a book I would rave about to everyone. And she does come across a little abrasive and full of herself but then again who doesn’t. I’m a bit like that, myself and I call that confidence.

The woman who stole my life

I will read anything by Marian Keyes because she’s lovely on Twitter, and I have also read her memoirs which I find great as well.

This book was an okay read (sorry, MK), but I think it is because the plot wasn’t something I could get into.


Of course, true to form, she had funny bits all over the place and references to European things like “Jaffa Cake” which I realized was chocolate and orange biscuits that I have never eaten nor tried but now want to.

Would I recommend it? If you are a MK fan, yes. If you want to read some chicklit, yes. You might enjoy it more than me — I have very particular tastes in books and cannot really decipher when I think something is good or not great (hate to say bad unless it is really trash).

Would I personally read it again? No. But don’t let me stop you, I have loved books in the past that people have found terrible….

WHAT I COULDN’T READ

Why?

YAWN.

  • Proust’s Duchess
  • The Merry Spinster
  • Asymmetry

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Here are all of my other What I read posts.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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6 Comments

  1. Xin

    I also loved Family Trust. There really aren’t a lot of books like it, in terms of depicting the contemporary Asian-American experience in a very real, non-cliched, more than surface-level way. When I rack my brain for a good comparison, Joy Luck Club is also kind of the only one that really comes to mind.

    I read so much Anne Bishop when I was in middle school/high school (mainly the Black Jewels trilogy). Some of my friends and I loved the stuff, though ack, it’s really dark and has a lot of violence and sexual violence. I don’t think our parents would have approved!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I only just started reading Anne Bishop in my 20s so I guess it didn’t scar me. I mostly read David Eddings trilogies, and those really shaped me. And graphic, violent manga like Lone Wolf and Cub … and to a lesser extent, Usagi Yojimbo.

      Family Trust was a great book. I want more.

      Reply
  2. Kat

    Hi! Thank you SO MUCH for the wonderful review, I messaged you so don’t want to gush too much here but it means so much. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. yettie

    Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren actual both design for my favorite aesthetic and so have always been on my list of favorites. I’ve never seen them as similar enough to be copy cat though. I guess being a big fan of both going on 20 years from my college days, it’s easy for me to see a shirt and identify it as a Tommy vs a RL.

    Having said that, I’ve spent more on Hilfiger in recent years because they still make 100% cotton items and their sizing is more realistic than RL. I gave up on RL because the waist and arms of most items are cut too small for me.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Interesting. There is a lot of hoopla in the fashion industry that TH copies RL but honestly I think everyone is inspired by others.

      Reply

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