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What I read: The March Break Edition 2021

  • January: 41
  • February: 24
  • March: 25ย  24 (I already read one of the books before in December 2014)

Dress your best life


The title is misleading because this book, if you have ever wanted to learn about fashion, spending and why it is important for women, women of colour, as social status markers and so on, this book is for you. The first half is fashion psychology and very interesting, but the second half is where I started to really sit up because she nailed all these things that we are now finally addressing and struggling with such as:

Karen also goes into talking about how your childhood memories affect the way you see yourself, and the way you dress now, and I ABSOLUTELY dress for the group I am in. If I go to the park, I dress a certain way, to work, another way, going home, another… and so on. I have different personas of myself – here are all my different style personas and style overview.

Leftover in China

If you ever wanted an in-depth look into the struggle of being a young Chinese woman, this book is it. The deep look into how men treat women there, the ageism, the sexism, the pure…. shock I had when I read this book, has not yet gone away. I highly recommend it.

Autopsy of a Boring Wife

I did not to expect to like this book AT ALL. It’s about a woman going through a divorce and my goodness I couldn’t put it down. It was funny, so well-written and absolutely a surprise. I LOVED IT.

Dear Mother

These poems made me cry. I teared up reading them because they touched my heart so deeply, and were so well-written. I highly recommend them to everyone, they’re truly gems. I savoured every word.

The cult of the luxury brand

I had low expectations for this book and it blew me away with the history of each major Asian country and how they have come up through the ranks of luxury awareness and buying. I very much appreciated the whole history, background, interesting insights, how their stores work in general, anecdotes. It was truly a book (for me) worth re-reading again because I am sure I did not absorb everything. It is very well done if you are interested in luxury retailing, particularly in Asia and their thoughts/backgrounds into why they’re into it.

The American Plate

An interesting food history book about why we eat turkey, the origins, and I ESPECIALLY enjoyed the factual bits in here about things like bannock being a food that was forced upon the Native Americans because they were driven to starvation and couldn’t eat much that was in line with their values and culture, and then they co-opted by them as a food that they now have as part of their culture.

I liked that she did not shy away from mentioning these pieces of history, and steroetypical foods that categorize Southern cooking and pure racism that drove all of that.

The One Hundred

A standard-issue style book. Nothing particularly interesting except she lists her 100 favourite things (they’re all on these standard cookie-cutter lists like “White shirt”) and has avoided professing her love for REAL fur and pooh-poohing faux fur and PETA. It’s okay. Not amazing to read. Kind of ho-hum.

The only thing I liked was that she gave SOME history behind each piece where applicable, like how Diane von Fursternberg popularized the wrap dress, but failed to mention it was not her truly original invention, though she skirts the issue of “who invested what” and says DvF took her ballerina wrap tops and was inspired to make them into dresses.

Short Stories from Hogwarts: Of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists

Fun short stories from Pottermore. There are more, and it makes me want to re-read Harry Potter all over again.

How to look expensive

A really boring, cookie-cutter, oatmeal advice style book about beauty standards and so on. The advice is ho-hum and not at all in line with how I want to be style-wise as it doesn’t fit my values, my style and the way I dress today. I am not into these terrible snippets of advice of what looks good/not. Sorry. Move on.

Who’s that Girl?

I REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK. Wow. I had very low hopes from the start, but midway through the plot picked up and was far more interesting than I initially expected. I found (another) new writer I love, clearly. I like the plot twists.

You had me at hello

I rather liked this book. I finished it in an afternoon, it was fun, witty, and I will read her other books with pleasure! I like her way of writing and thinking, and I like that it isn’t quite so cut and dry in its writing because it always seems like a foregone conclusion but this one left me hanging.

Here’s Looking At You

This was an .. okay book. I mean I read it all the way to the end and it was good, but the beginning of it is questionable, the guy is questionable, I mean a lot of it made me go “ick”. Would I highly rave and recommend this book? Absolutely not.

After Hello

The sequel to You had me at Hello, and a satisfying one at that, now we know what happened.

Would like to meet

I didn’t think much of the book when I first started reading it. I was actually quite disgusted by some parts of it being really strange or odd. To be honest, the plot is terrible, too outlandish which I know is a rich thing to say about a chicklit book as they’re all unrealistic to some extent, but when the plot goes off the rails, I sort of lose interest because it doesn’t seem as believable. I think that’s where chicklit writers go wrong.

Nevertheless, I didn’t have high hopes and then it ended satisfactorily. I wouldn’t say amazingly, because there was very little in way of character development (it was imbalanced), but what do I know.

You deserve each other

What a feckin’ horrible book this is. I mean, I read it, and I really just hated reading 50% of it which is the whole point of the book is it not? It has the idea of two people not meant for each other, planning a wedding and finding ways to hurt each other.

Was it funny? Not at all. I found myself upset, sad, frustrated, disgusted… rather than laughing at ANYTHING they did to each other. I don’t get this kind of hating humour. If you really hate each other that much, call it off and move on. End of story. No need to drag it out like this.

(The protaganist also sucked.)

I will give another book of hers a try before writing her off. You never know.


A different.. take? On chicklit, but interesting nonetheless. I liked the protagonist but also felt annoyed by her as I am used to stronger female characters, and this one seemed to not be in that style. I didn’t dislike her which is saying something, but I wouldn’t have called her an icon of any kind.

Front Row

I am fascinated by Anna Wintour not because of the purported “bitchy”-ness of the editor, but how prescient and sharp she is to be able to cut through the noise and see what can be done to make things as perfect as possible. I watched her briefly in action in a documentary and admired her greatly. This book goes into her background and maybe why she’s seen as so icy.

The Lost Letter

A thoroughly engaging, interesting, satisfying book that is an enduring story for the ages, based in modern day times and in the start of the Holocaust. It’s so well done, I couldn’t stop reading it.


The Paris Key

I LOVED THE BOOK SO MUCH… but I need a bloody sequel. I squealed in frustration at the end of the book so loudly that my partner started and I told him I needed answers to a few endings/questions, but he told me maybe the book was meant to be open-ended so you can choose your own adventure. I glared at him because I enjoy tying up loose ends, which sparked a discussion into what “loose ends” meant in English.

Long story short, GREAT book, slightly dissatisfying ending because I need a sequel please.

The Red Address Book

This book is absolutely not what I expected, and not what I would have chosen (it’s quite sad in a way), but I absolutely recommend it. It’s essentially a memoir of a dying woman, and WELL WORTH THE READ. I was almost in tears near the end (good tears), and a bit stricken at the ending (as well as it finally ending…)

Things I wish my mother had told me

I keep feeling like I’ve read this book before but the words are unfamiliar. I agree with the sentiment of the book that all women can feel beautiful no matter what, but some of it reads a bit patriarchal. Maybe I have been too feminist for too long now, but I thoroughly enjoyed this style book but I firmly see it for what it is – fluff reading for fun, with a few gems here and there.

UPDATE: Removing this from my count, I apparently read it in December 2014. HAHAHAH!!!! Thank you S ๐Ÿ™‚

Sorry not Sorry

An excellent read as always by Sophie Ranald, my new chicklit author.

The truth about Gemma Grey

Another good book about Gemma Grey. Very relatable and interesting.

It’s not you it’s him

WOW. I love this book more than her other ones. Actually, that’s not true, I love them all but this one was very empowering.

No we can’t be friends

Loved this book. As usual. Her writing is fun, interesting, with realistic-esque plots that are truly interesting.

FAQ about my reading

I get these questions a lot here, and also via Instagram, etc so:

What else have you read?

Here are all the other books I’ve read in the past including mini reviews of each. I also very recently started doing a do a book roundup at the end of every year.

Here they are for the 2 years I did the summaries:

A lot of the books I read, I interspersed into the things I bought or watched. I finally started separating it out in 2019.

How do I read so quickly?

I don’t know either. I’ve been reading books for as long as I can remember. I feel like my sibling is the one who patiently taught me how to read one book, and from there, it exploded.

So, lots of practice? I have been reading for so long that words come easily to my brain, it’s like I see a picture of the word rather than reading the word individually. So “disastrous” would be a word that you read “dis-sas-trous”, but in my head it’s disastrous“, just one word, meaning imprinted. Makes sentences go a lot quicker.

Save for my parents, my entire immediate family is a family of voracious readers.

We read while eating, we read while walking, we read in bed… I guess I just followed what my older siblings did as they always had their nose in their books, and a few going at the same time (you know, the disrespectful way we read through half a book than leave it half open facing the table, spines cracked, no bookmark?).

I used to read 30+ books from the library a week – all young adult, easy stuff. I can read 2-3 books of young adult fiction in a current work day to give you an example, and as a child I had way more time than I do now, so I burned through books like a firestorm.

Our partners remark that they’ve never seen a family read so much, and I guess it’s true.

Where do I get my books?

A lot of you have asked and I generally don’t buy books unless they’re secondhand and in ebook format, for many reasons – price, environmental, space, and even then, I don’t buy books. I borrow them.

I read them on my Kobo ereader (also secondhand), and check out books from the library from Overdrive. If the book isn’t there, I generally don’t read it, UNLESS.. it is a book I REALLY REALLY want to read, then I MAY consider buying it if I cannot wait for it or find it. So far, I have only done this for Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.ย Libraries are a gift, and we pay for them in our taxes yearly even if you don’t personally use them, so thanks.

How do I know what to read?

I don’t. I see recommendations and make notes, or put it on my Wishlist / On hold. I sometimes go into bookstores and browse, then decide if it is worth getting from the library.ย Or in secondhand stores, I pick up or buy books only if they’re photography / style-related where pictures and colour are a MUST (the one drawback to an e-reader).

I purchased only two physical books in 2020 that I couldn’t / didn’t want to buy in e-book format: Distinction (it was cheaper secondhand than the e-book), & Scoff (not available in ebook format at all).

Don’t you prefer physical books?

Who doesn’t!?

Aside from the cost, the space they take up, how heavy they are (we have a small bookshelf, most of it is Little Bun), I find them heavy to hold and hard to read in rooms unless there is bright daylight or very strong lamp light (I suffer from aura migraines and I’ve noticed dim light or lack of light triggers it when I am reading). I really like that the ebook illuminates the book.

I’d rather carry my entire library around with me in an ebook reader, plus be able to read with a backlight on.

I am currently considering a library option however only because we plan on buying a larger home in the future and I could allow a small library in my closet, perhaps.

Likely, it will only be filled with photography and style books however. Those are the only books I really want in physical copy and ebooks won’t suffice.

Where do I find the time to read?

I just make time for it. I have no other answer…

I’ve noticed if I am not watching TV shows, or aimlessly browsing on Instagram, I seem to have plenty of time to read if I am able to foist Little Bun off on my partner and/or keep him occupied otherwise.

I can go through a lot of books in a short amount of time if I am both interested, reasonably well-rested (or in a good mental state, not in limbo or stressed out) and the book itself is engrossing.

I read while brushing my teeth as you need to brush a full minute to two minutes (I have the reader on a stand), and I read while eating or drinking tea, I read while Little Bun plays or reads…. I read every time there is a spare moment.


  • SarahN

    Hey Sherry, I read these posts with interest, to add to my ‘to read’ list. What’s The Paris Key about? What’s the rough genre even? (I seldom read much Chick lit – no judgement, just not my interest) so I’m not sure if it’d be under that banner… Structured minded me would love headings to capture books under non-fiction and fiction, and within fiction, whether it’s a memoir, chick lit, thriller/crime. I think you do this in your quarterly summaries actually? Maybe/

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      The Paris Key is MOST DEFINITELY not Chicklit. It’s more like Historical Fiction. Deep dives into the living and culture of Paris, finding yourself, a bit like Eat Pray Love but less mystical.

      (I will add subheadings next time ๐Ÿ™‚ I got lazy..!)

  • Sense

    oh yes! i relate to your reading fervor a lot, i’m exactly the same. I can go through books like a fiend. I find that when I read a good book, I am not conscious of actually seeing or reading the words, or of anything that is around me. Instead, I see a movie playing in front of me, just like I do when in a theatre. Or like I’m seeing the events play out in front of me, like i’m a silent observer in the room/setting in the book. As I read more, the words somehow alter/add to the picture and movement of the scene that is playing in front of me. It is a really weird thing but I’m not sure how else to describe the experience. I am completely transported. I love finding a book that takes me to other places like that.

    The book doing that for me now is Cat Marnell’s memoir, ‘How to murder your life.’ Her lifestyle is beyond bonkers and she is a total mess in the book so far, but i feel like she is offering a peek into the behind the scenes of glamourous magazines like Vogue in mid-2000’s Manhattan as an intern/beauty editor. What a fantastical setting, especially living in NYC during that time as a 20-something, hobnobbing with Anna Wintour, having wild clubbing experiences and generally living (and accessorizing) like she’s in Gossip Girl or something. She does exciting name drops and offers insights into the upper crust and power brokers of luxury brands. She contrasts all that glamourous perfection with her dark, self destructive tendencies. However, despite absolutely being a spoiled white rich girl with massive problems, she is super likeable and down to earth, and has led a pretty interesting life. She is a great writer, on top of all of that. I am only halfway through but I’m hooked. I recommend!

    I also would love to hear what you think of The Magicians series. I wanted to like them so much, but struggled mightily. they just left such a bad taste in my mouth, yet I couldn’t stop reading them, and actually read the whole series.. They left a big imprint on me, even though I think I hate the story and plot?? It was like hate watching a movie or tv show, I guess. I rarely put a book down even if I know I don’t like it. What do you do when you dislike a book — do you stop reading or make yourself finish it?

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I am going to add that to my reading list, thank you.

      I don’t want to read The Magicians now because you’re telling me you didn’t love it! HAHAH!

      If I hate a book, I just put it down and move on. I give it about 3 chapters to prove itself. If it doesn’t do anything for me, bye bye. Life is too short and my time for quiet reading is limited.

  • tai

    I will definitely be reading “Dress Your Best Life”, It sounds so interesting to me. I read a lot as well. You are totally right the reason why I read so many books is because I also make the time

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      It’s an EXCELLENT book, all about fashion psychology, a true revelation in that sense. I am going to re-read it again later. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I find if I make the time to read, I don’t Instagram as much

  • HeatherC

    Yay! I so look forward to this post every month. Thanks for sharing your recommendations.

  • Shannon

    Lol, You did read “Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me”. The only reason I know that is because I recommended to read your December 2014 What I bought, watched, and read at the bottom of the post, and was drawn in to click on it because of the shoe in the thumbnail. And that book was included on it.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      !!!! I love that you remember better than I do. It did start to sound familiar as I read the book, I thought to myself: I am certain I have read this before…

      That’s the problem with reading too many books. I also tend to delete them off my e-reader when I am done, but sometimes when I am adding books i forget… haha…

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