OverBOOKed October 2020
Too busy to read? Studies show those who read live longer and are smarter! Carve out some time in your busy schedule for some SHELFcare. We’ve curated a list for those who don’t have time to pick a book!
If you’re in the mood for: suspending disbelief, the pain of privilege, NYC, social commentary
Critically acclaimed (and polarizing among readers), Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation is the story of an unnamed, wealthy, beautiful, blonde, Columbia University grad who appears to have everything, but still longs to numb it all. Living off her inheritance, she decides to hole up in her apartment and sleep for a year. The story is set 2001 New York City (before September 11), which adds to the book’s satirical commentary.
The delusional confidence of the pre-9/11 era is revealed through the characters surrounding our narrator (the only person acknowledging her pain). There’s Reva, the “best friend” who is too self-absorbed to see beyond the superficial; an ex-boyfriend whose interest doesn’t go beyond the night; and a kook psychiatrist prescribing several pharmaceuticals, which the narrator mixes with alcohol to aid her sleep.
Moshfegh, a writer of Iranian and Croatian descent, examines how the pain that comes only with entitlement is, in fact, still pain. My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a dark, yet exhilarating, reflection on how the true elements of who we are as people can be found outside of what we “do.”
If you’re in the mood for: self-discovery, grief, perseverance, facing demons, true-life
In this acclaimed memoir, Caroline Knapp chronicles her 20-year battle with alcoholism. Knapp, the daughter of a prominent psychiatrist, thrived in her career as an award-winning columnist and editor. Convincing herself she didn’t have a problem for several years, Knapp recalls using alcohol as a security blanket – protecting her from life’s harsh realities. During a family crisis, she found herself hiding a bottle behind the toilet while her father lay in his hospice bed.
Drinking depicts the rise-and-fall of a love story with substance abuse (a romance plaguing many “high-functioning” people). Although it is the memoir of an alcoholic, it’s applicable to any reader. The themes center on the difficulties we all must learn to face and cope with. Career, family struggles, love lives and grief all play starring roles. Drinking will have readers examining their relationships with their own coping mechanisms.
If you’re in the mood for: A good laugh, sarcasm, chilling out, a social media break
From Gen-X funny lady Lancaster, this hilarious essay collection will have readers laughing at themselves and the many things that keep them up at night. Loosely structured on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the book opens with a cartoon pyramid of these needs, familiar to most.
Lancaster is known for both her fiction and her memoirs. Here, she uses her sarcastic wit to poke fun at the current social and political landscape and its effect on the fears and anxieties of the American people. From FOMO (fear of missing out) to social media to keeping up with the neighbors, Welcome to the United States of Anxiety sheds a ray of humorous light on the dark topics consuming the minds of many Americans. It’s great for when you want to read just a few pages before bed or while you’re waiting in line for school pickup.
If you’re in the mood for: romance, reality TV, body positivity, self-worth, a light read/laugh
Bea is a modern woman. Successful and self-sufficient, she has made a name for herself as a plus-size fashion blogger and influencer. She’s on top in all areas of her life – except love. In love with her best friend, she’s been waiting on the sidelines for almost a decade, hoping he’ll see what’s right under his nose. When Bea is selected as the next star of the hit reality dating show “Main Squeeze,” she begins to realize what kind of partner she really wants, and what kind of partner she wants to be.
Stayman-London uses the cultural phenomenon of dating shows to explore the more universal themes of love, self-worth and vulnerability in today’s career and dating scenes. One to Watch is perfect for “non-readers” looking to pick up a book for the first time in a while – or the reality TV junkies among us.