BOOK REVIEWS: My New BFF, Kicking the Habit & The Best Fiction of 2013

Book Reviews / Reading

Book Reviews

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve read this month:

Don’t believe Anne Lamott and all the others hailing Harrison’s novel as this summer’s “Gone Girl”. I love Anne Lamott, but this is not “Gone Girl”. No, it is much, much better.  Both books alternate His and Her perspectives and both chronicle the death of long-term relationships that appear perfect on the surface. Harrison’s novel, though, delivers more compelling psychological portraits and more plausible plot twists.

The Family Court lawyer in me is always fascinated by the subtle, imperceptible and ultimately dooming changes in relationships. And Harrison masterfully explores how “life has a way of taking its toll on the person you thought you were” – how acceptance and compromise can give way to indifference, resentment and, ultimately, violence. So far, this is my favorite fiction book of 2013. Can you tell?

(A very sad side note: Harrison died of cancer earlier this year – just before The Silent Wife’s publication.)

If, like me, you have a few habits you’re not proud of, read the first part of Duhigg’s book on personal habit formation and transformation. There’s some good info on identifying your “habit loops”, starting with “keystone habits” and changing incrementally with “small wins.” Unfortunately, he doesn’t go into detail about specific habits, so you’ll have a lot of homework if you want to apply what you’ve read. I’m working on this right now if anyone wants to be homework buddies! Also unfortunately, by the time you get to the 2nd half of the book, you’ll notice that Duhigg has an annoying “habit” of belaboring points with long-winded stories about Alcoa, Starbucks, Target and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, among others.

This isn’t your typical celeb memoir.  But then, Mindy Kaling isn’t a typical celeb. She’s an Indian-American Ivy League grad and self-professed chubster with an unlikely and non-traditional rise to fame. Her 2011 book is a light and funny quick read. If you’re a fan of “The Mindy Show” like I am, you’d expect nothing less. “Mindy” show fans will also be interested to see some of the similarities between Mindy and her TV persona, Dr. Mindy Lahiri. The book is a little scattered and disjointed – at times, it’s a memoir, and at others it’s an essay or advice column. By the end of the book, you’ll feel like Mindy’s new BFF, but be warned. In her own words, she’s a “needy and theatrical friend.”

For more Book Reviews:

Book Reviews: A Memoir, Psycho Chick Lit and a Morbidly Obese Russian

Book Reviews: A Non-Fiction Bender

And if you’re interested in more short & casual book reviews from other bloggers, head over here.

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  1. Pingback: BOOK REVIEWS: A Disappearance, A Wife Project & The Nazis | The Anonymous Blonde

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  3. I love your reviewing style! This is a lovely post! Thanks for sharing it at Booknificent Thursday last week! Looking forward to seeing what you have to share with us this week!


  4. I opened this blog post to read your views on “…Habit!” I have been reading mixed reviews on it and wondering if its really worth spending time on it. While I love an occasional case study or two I really feel that there has to be something personal and original to relate to rather than reading very many case studies! Thanks for sharing. Hopping over from Tina’s.


  5. I really liked Gone Girl–and now you’ve spared my interest so I’m anxious to try The Silent Wife! I also loved Mindy Kaling’s book–her voice really came through in her writing and I felt like she was talking directly to me. And–I actually have The Power of Habit on reserve at my library right now! I think I’m up to #2 on the list.


  6. I have the Power of Habit sitting on my shelf waiting to be read right now. The other two are on my list as well!


  7. I really enjoyed Mindy Kaling’s book and thought that the disjointed style almost worked in its favor…it felt like a long chat with a good friend where the conversation weaves all over the place. I keep hearing about The Power of Habit, so I think I really need to add it to my “to-read” list!


  8. I listened to Mindy read her book on my drive to work. The drive over those few days was probably the best ever. I just love her, and so excited for the show to come back!


  9. I love Mindy, and keep waiting for her book to become available at my library. I just saw previews of the new season and … her haircut! She looks SO different with short hair.


  10. I have the Power of Habit out from the library right now. I haven’t started it, but I’m not sure if I should…it sounds like I should maybe just skim through those initial chapters and be done with it (I’m fine with that 🙂


  11. I recently listened to The Power of Habit on audio and enjoyed bits of it. But yes, now I have this creepy paranoia with Target and I kinda wanna go work for Starbucks. The Silent Wife sounds awesome. I will be adding it to my to-read list. Thanks!!!


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