12.28.20 Goal Crushing

In May my friend circle grew to include more reading friends when we hosted the #TalkALSToMe virtual book club. These friendships lead to another collective reading project called “10 By 2020 End”.

Thanks to my friend Tara, I’ve been an avid Skimm’er for the last 6 years. The Skimm “breaks down the complicated and unsexy topics when it comes to your career, your health, and your wallet so you can get sh*t done.” I look forward to this email every weekday morning because it’s like cliff notes on adulting. On Fridays they include a book recommendation which keeps my book list growing and diversified.

In August The Skimm put out two lists that caught the eye of my new book friend, Kaitlin and myself. We made the decision to invite other readers to join us on this adventure. The two lists were:

15 Books (Old and New) Every Millennial Woman Should Read

“Ephron. Didion. Morrison. Last names ever. First names greatest. It’s no surprise we take female authors seriously. Enter: the essential reading list you’ve been missing from your life. These are our favorite stories about women by women that stand the test of time. Add these to your library, read, rinse, repeat.”

10 Books Every Millennial Woman Should Read

“To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment (aka when women got the constitutional right to vote in the US), we’re continuing our series of the books every millennial woman should read. They’re all books by women, about women.”

5 months, 10 books, and 25 options – doesn’t sound so hard. Have you ever walked into a room and felt like everyone was just talking about you? The exposure, the embarrassment, and the emotional stress of the moment, it’s exhausting. Now imagine that happening 10 times in a row, no breaks or distractions, just introspective self-evaluation. That’s what this goal entailed. Each book carefully selected to explore various emotions and take them to the limit. So, it became crucial that we include some lighter options because that much emotional flexing is terrifying.

20 of the Best-Ever Books by Celebrities

“Celebrities–sometimes they’re just like us and sometimes…they really aren’t. We compiled the best books written by your fave celebs. They’re spilling the tea, getting confessional, and opening up in a way that might make you think differently.”

All of this to say that I’m ready to get back to my mushy love story turned murder mystery then made into a movie reading list. Below is my ten books and a highlight or two on something that made me think. I’d love to hear your take on any of these books, millennial or woman or otherwise.

1. How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti

Have you ever read a book, got to the end, and asked “What did I just read?” Not my favorite feeling after finishing a book, especially one that took me as long to finish as this one did.

“I knew that from then on I would have to make decisions without any footprints in the sand to follow, without any hand guiding my path. There would be no telling what would lead to what. I would have to use my judgment—not just my intuition. I would have to weigh things, take responsibility. I would have to look out at reality, not only within myself.”

2. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

I’ve always loved reading the book and seeing the movie for comparison. This is something my Grandma Nancy and her girlfriends did together and now I have friends who love this ritual, too. Turns out I hadn’t seen this movie though I was swearing that I had, so that was a fun surprise.

“It’s no good. When someone leaves you, apart from missing them, apart from the fact that the whole little world you’ve created together collapses, and that everything you see or do reminds you of them, the worst is the thought that they tried you out and, in the end, the whole sum of parts adds up to you got stamped REJECT by the one you love.”

3. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

I felt this book in my soul, I cried with Joan Didion and celebrated her triumphs; I am a better person for reading this book.

“We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.”

4. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

“By refusing to admit that I was sick, I felt I could keep the sickness outside time and space, something only in my own head. If other people knew about it, the sickness would become real and I would have to spend my life being a sick person. This could only interfere with my other ambitions, such as achieving enlightenment and being a fun girl.”

5. This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

Busy says the F word more than I do and I loved it.

6. We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

“Nobody said being a grown-ass woman was easy.”

7. Life Will Be the Death of Me by Chelsea Handler

I’m relatively new to the Chelsea Handler bandwagon but I’m fully committed to this girl crush. This book had my emotions all over the place and I easily could have highlighted the entire book.

“I know now that it is not only about using your singular voice, however big or small your platform is, but about helping everyone and encouraging every person to do the same. You may cast a small net, but every small net adds up to something bigger.”

8. Educated by Tara Westover

I’m all about the power of education. I spent my working years devoted to students of all ages attaining the privilege of a good education. This book affirmed my belief in the opportunities that an education affords.

“First find out what you are capable of, then decide who you are.”

9. Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

I’m not shy when discussing my depression and grief, but I’m not the best at articulating those feelings. This book helped me step away from the emotions and evaluate them differently. Glad I didn’t start with this book because I wouldn’t have been able to progress through the list. It’s still cued on my Kindle app for quick referencing. Much like the Didion book, this read rocked my little world.

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.”

“And which is worse: to live that long in this condition or to die young and stay pretty?”

10. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kailing

After the last book I needed something light and funny. Bonus was she talks a lot about my favorite show The Office. This book read like a conversation with your best friend and was a great wrap up to this goal.

“I especially like eavesdropping on women my age. Besides being titillating, it also helps me gauge where I’m at in comparison.”

“I guess nothing puts a damper on a one-night stand as much as your friend pointing out all the opportunities where you might have been killed.”

“Sometimes you will meet idiots who are technically adults and authority figures. You don’t have to do what they say. You can calmly say, ‘Can I first call my mom and ask if I have to do this, please?’ ”

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