March-July 2018: Reviews and Faves

“Better late than never.”


“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” — Maria Semple (5.5/5)
It’s been a while since I’ve been unable to put a book down. I read this book in a day and was sneaking in 5-pages every hour while I was at work! “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” will have you laughing, gasping, and crying all at the same time. Bernadette is a mother who hates living in Seattle and one day, she disappears. Her husband, daughter, and neighbors work together to put the pieces together to learn about Bernadette’s past.

“Shoe Dog— Phil Knight (5/5)
This book was recommended to me by so many people (thanks Annie, Lydia, and Ivan) and it didn’t disappoint. Phil Knight is an incredible storyteller and walks you through the triumphs and hardships of running Nike. Knight’s passion for running is contagious; it’s hard not to feel fiercely about one of your own hobbies in the same way.

“The Blondes” — Emily Schultz (3/5)
I read this book because it was recommended by Margaret Atwood and the plot seemed interesting enough. What happens when blonde women around the world carry a rabies-like disease and start becoming unpredictably violent? Honestly, I really wanted to like this book but it moved so slowly and I didn’t feel like it answered all my questions.

“The Good Little Book” — Kyo Maclear (4/5)
I didn’t realize this was a children’s book until I picked it up at the library. I love reading Children’s Literature because it’s fun and can surprisingly teach you a lot with few words. This book was a gentle reminder to discover the joy in reading. I really loved the illustrations, and I’m looking forward to reading Kyo Maclear’s other works (like “Birds, Art, Life”)!

Bad Drawings by Bad Women — Emma Sulkowicz, Hallie Bateman, Susan Coyne, Katie Skelly, Nicole Maloof, Kristina Lee (3/5)
Picked up this zine in at Powell’s Books in Portland. It’s a compilation of funny yet serious drawings. Definitely read the introduction by Emma Sulkowicz.

Something New — Lucy Knisley (4/5)
A graphic novel telling the true story of how Lucy, a newly engaged woman, decides to DIY her entire wedding (and all the frustrations that follow). Perhaps this resonated with me on a few deeper levels because all my friends are starting to get married and I love crafting.

Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter — Scott Adams (4/5)
Do you get upset thinking about the 2016 U.S. Election? Scott Adams (known for his famous comic — Dilbert) is also a trained hypnotist and a self-proclaimed expert in persuasion. Adams predicted Trump’s win after he declared his presidential candidacy. In his (audio)book, he explains what makes Donald Trump a master persuader and lists the techniques he uses. He gives several examples to illustrate how we can use them for ourselves. The book gives a unique perspective and I learned quite a bit.

40 Days of Dating: An Experiment — Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman (4/5)
Two best friends with opposite dating problems wind up single at the same time. They decide they should try dating. Jessica is a romantic at heart and falls in love fast. Timothy is scared of commitment and is indecisive. They launch this experiment and it goes viral. It was an entertaining read and one of the most beautifully designed books I’ve ever seen. I wish I read this back in 2013 when they launched their blog!

The Power — Naomi Alderman (6/5)
There are books that are great and books that are really really great. So great that they change the way you think and leave you with a hole in your heart when it’s over. Recommended to me by the one and only Emily Miller. This novel is about a dystopian world where girls have a power — an electrifying shock that causes pain and even death. What happens to the world when women are physically more powerful? Alderson paints a dark picture. I’m definitely reading this book again and can’t wait to see this as a movie. It wouldn’t surprise me if “The Power” became part of Grade 12 English Literature curriculum.

Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives- Adam J. Kurtz (5/5)
While I was in New York, I was so excited when I found a copy of this book autographed by Adam J. Kurtz. I follow him on Instagram and he’s always giving relatable advice for people in the creative field. It’s a gorgeous book and something I read whenever I’m feeling “bleh.” I can’t wait to meet him one day!

Big Little Lies — Liane Moriarty (5/5)
I decided to read the book before watching the show, and it was so fun to read! The story is about three women and how their lives intertwine. I don’t want to spoil it but it includes family, mother-daughter relationships, elementary school drama, petty parent drama, and bullying.

10% Happier — Dan Harris (5/5)
Dan Harris is a successful news anchor who has a panic attack on television. He’s a skeptic and a non-believer when it comes to religion. He takes us on a journey as he discovers the root to his problems — the little voice in his mind. What I love about this book is how Harris is so relatable (perhaps it’s because he is hesitant and skeptical when presented with meditation and spirituality). After working in health and wellbeing for over a year, this was the book that helped me solidify my meditation practice. Thanks Dan.

Exit West — Mohsin Hamid (4/5)
Two young people meet while their country is destroyed by war. They find a way to escape only to be met with cruelty by others. I found this novel to be particularly relevant today as countries in North America and Europe deal with immigrants and refugees with intolerance and ignorance.

Big Magic — Elizabeth Gilbert (4/5)
You might recognize Elizabeth Gilbert’s name from her famous book “Eat, Pray, Love.” In her newest book, “Big Magic” she talks about creativity and how to hone it. The chapters vary in theme and stories. She explains how she believes creativity is like magic and sometimes chooses us. At first, I was looking for a typical creative self-help book but it was nice to browse this and read a few chapters. Thanks for buying me this Jane Guan!

Little Fires Everywhere — Celeste Ng (5/5)
This is an incredible novel about two different families. The Richardsons are rich, accomplished, and rule-followers; the Warrens are free-spirited and untraditional. The book opens up with Isabelle, the youngest daughter of the Richardson family, burning down the house. The story weaves through the Richardsons’ past, the Warrens’ secrets, and a neighbourhood debate about an adoption of a Chinese-American baby.

The Hate U Give — Angie Thomas (5/5)
I felt inspired to read this after watching the movie trailer. “The Hate U Give” is about a young black girl, Starr, who attends an all-white high school. She straddles between two worlds: being “white” Starr at school and black Starr at home. All of this changes when she witnesses a police man shoot one of her childhood friends. She’s scared to speak up but if she doesn’t use her voice, this will just keep happening again. Honestly, so many tears cried while reading this. Highly recommend reading it — just not on the bus.


Jessica Jones Season 2 (4/5) and Season 1 (6/5)
So it’s taken me years to get on the Jessica Jones bandwagon but here I am. We watched (binged) Season 2 when it came out and then watched Season 1 after that. I’m glad we watched it in that order because Season 1 is way better. I was having dreams every night about the villain — it really got in my head.

The Redeemed and the Dominant: Fittest on Earth (4/5)
I’ll admit, I didn’t really know much about Crossfit but this Netflix documentary was pretty inspiring. It follows the top Crossfit athletes from around the world as they compete for the title of “Fittest Man/Woman in the World.”

Kim’s Convenience (5/5)
I’ve been following this show since it first came out (Toronto-based and all-Asian cast ❤). It was recently made available on Netflix and I bing watched it. I love it because it really captures the struggles of both immigrant parents and their children. I cry really hard or I laugh really hard. It’s ultimately about family and love, and I’m glad our stories are finally being shared.

Spice Girl — Amine (5/5)
I simply adore Amine and his creativity. Really glad I was able to see him perform at Coachella and in Honolulu! All his music videos are really incredible.

Margot Robbie on Ellen (5/5)
Watch this if you just want to laugh. So funny.

Dina Hashem & Dave Kinney Roast Battle (5/5)
Dina Hashem is hilarious.

what. — Bo Burnham (5/5)
Bo Burnham is a really intriguing artist — he doe standup but also a lot of musical numbers. I’ve watched a few of his other standup specials but somehow missed this one. He makes a lot of commentary about fame, pop music, and the state of the world. If you listen closely to the lyrics, he’s really saying a lot while being funny.

Terrace House: Opening New Doors (5/5)
My guilty pleasure. We watched this while in Hawaii. Way more exciting than Aloha State. If you don’t know about Terrace House, where have you been?! Just kidding. It’s a Japanese reality TV show where 3 girls and 3 guys live together and work towards achieving their dreams. Honestly, a really wholesome reality TV show. Don’t expect something like Jersey Shore.


How I Built This — Lara Bars (5/5)
I love the story of Lara Bars’ founder, Lara Merriken, and how she bootstrapped Lara Bars. Her story is really captivating. Highly recommend, especially those who are interested in starting their own company one day.

“Found Tonight” — Lin-Manuel Miranda & Ben Platt
I’m obsessed with Lin-Manuel Miranda. Everything he does is awesome.

Thanks for sticking around and reading this! If you want real-time updates on what I’m reading, you can add me on Goodreads. I’m almost half-way through my reading challenge this year (52 books) and would love your recommendations.

Product Manager during the day. Artist all day. Advocate for reading fiction and meditating. Ask me about why you should love BTS.

Product Manager during the day. Artist all day. Advocate for reading fiction and meditating. Ask me about why you should love BTS.