Hi friends! My first post-college summer is in full swing and amidst weekly (or daily) freakouts about life, I’ve finally emerged from a rough slump where I really wasn’t in the mood to take in any kind of cultural stuff. I wanted to share some things I’ve been loving lately that have made this transition into real life a little smoother.
Jill Mansell books
I read my first Jill Mansell book years ago and remember thinking it was just okay. Last month, I found myself in the mood for some of my beloved British contemporary fiction (the mood strikes whenever I’m particularly homesick for London, and what with everything going on in the UK in June, I guess it hit me hard). Having come across Mansell’s section on my library OverDrive, I downloaded one at random, Three Amazing Things About You, and quickly fell in love with Mansell’s style. It’s lighthearted, funny chick lit, but still so satisfying – I call her books the written equivalent of films like Love Actually.
Since finishing Three Amazing Things About You, I’ve also read To the Moon and Back, which I preferred to Three Amazing Things, and started two that were slow to get into and I eventually stopped reading. I’ve found that these books are either “devour-all-at-once-and-stay-up-late-to-finish” or “I-really-don’t-like-these-characters-or-this-storyline.”
After abandoning the ones I wasn’t crazy about, I picked up The One You Really Want and it is hands down my favorite Mansell book so far. When Sarah learns that her husband has been having an affair, she and her adorable mother Rose come to stay in London with her best friend Carmen, who is ready to date again after losing her husband three years before. All three ladies, along with Carmen’s hilarious brother-in-law Rennie, fall into interesting encounters with their neighbors in a very intertwined, deliciously British story. This book had my favorite cast of Mansell’s characters, and I didn’t want to leave their world by the end (seriously, I want more of them!). If you’re looking for some fun, quick reads that are perfect for summertime, I strongly recommend these three books, but Jill Mansell has written so many that you’re bound to find one you love!
More summer reads
I’ve had Sarah Dessen’s Once and For All on my library ebook waitlist since it came out, and it’s finally my turn with the book! I’m excited to read it because of its focus on weddings and the fact that my middle school heart can’t move past getting excited for a new Dessen book. However, I haven’t loved her last few books in the way I adore some of her old school hits, so I’ve had the suspicion that I might’ve outgrown her style. We’ll see how this one goes!
I’ve gushed about my love for Fiddler on the Roof sooo many times here, and I also mentioned Alexandra Silber’s new book After Anatevka in my blog about what I was looking forward in 2017. I pre-ordered the book and it’s expected to arrive today! I’m so intrigued about what it will be like, and last night I looked up some reviews from bloggers with advance copies to get a general vibe of people’s reactions to it. The verdict? Overwhemingly positive. Knowing some of Silber’s background and having read her blog, I always thought she was a very smart and well-spoken lady, so I am going into the book with some high expectations, especially after seeing those reviews. And, of course, like any fan of something so beloved, I have some trepidation about it, too.
Bachelor Nation podcasts
As you may see in a (potential) upcoming post, The Bachelorette is one of my longtime summer guilty pleasure shows. I always try to watch a bit of The Bachelor, but because it airs during the school year, it’s more difficult for me to keep up. Plus, if I’m being 100% honest, a huge appeal of The Bachelorette for me is living vicariously through the lead and finding a new favorite guy to crush on for its run. I definitely have a limit of how much girl drama I can take on The Bachelor.
In the last few weeks, I’ve become obsessed with former Bachelor Nation cast members’ various podcasts. I’ve seen enough of the franchise in the last six-ish years to really enjoy this somewhat creepy network of people developing second careers and self-brands after their Bachelor/ette stint. I’m a sucker for behind-the-scenes stuff, and those secrets on reality shows are a whole other can of worms for me. A lot of these podcasts include interviews with past contestants discussing their own experiences and their views on the current season. None of this is life-changing stuff, but these episodes are just great to play in the background when you’re doing other work.
I’m listening to Olivia Caridi’s Mouthing Off, Kaitlyn Bristowe’s Off the Vine, and Ben Higgins and Ashley Iaconetti’s Almost Famous. My favorite of the three is probably Olivia’s, who got a villian edit on the show but is actually hilarious and pretty relatable. She interviews people from various reality shows, but has given Bachelor Nation special attention. Definitely check out her interview with Reality Steve!
The shows don’t necessarily cover Bachelor Nation exclusively, but I find this insight into contestants’ post-TV lives so fascinating. I’ve been meaning to blog about my favorite podcasts, so now that I’m following some new ones (R.I.P Gilmore Guys), that post may come along soon!
The Mindy Project
I’ve been meaning to start The Mindy Project for a few years, and after reading both of Mindy Kaling’s books last year and relating to her so much, I finally started watching it on Hulu a couple months ago. I think I put it off for so long because its Manhattan setting reminded me of home while I was away at school, and I sometimes avoided things that screamed “downstate” when I was there (Billy Joel, Billy Crystal, Friends episodes discussing Monica and Ross’s childhood).
Although I had a ton of literal LOL moments circa the end of Season 1, I don’t think this is the funniest show I’ve seen, but it’s kinda like TV comfort food. I want to be Mindy Lahiri and I love the people in her life. I’m currently on Season 3, and I know a lot of changes are coming up, but I will definitely keep watching!
Also, Danny Castellano is such a real character for me. I’m an Italian, Catholic Long Islander, and I’ve grown up seeing so many men that are more or less exactly like Danny. Blame it on Chris Messina, but after watching his portrayal, I sorta realized that I’m way more attracted to that persona than I thought I was? Whoops.
What about you? What stuff have you been loving lately?