Book Review: Modern Romance

I figured I would reviwe another book by an Indian American author – Aziz Ansari’s, Modern Romance. I picked up the book when I was in Portland earlier this summer on a visit to the amazing Powell Books. I was excited to read it as I like Aziz and the topic is very relatable.

aziz

When I think about how much technology has changed the way we do, well everything, in just the last five years I get a little taken aback. So much has changed in such a short amount of time! Dating has essentially been the same since the beginning of time, so these last few years have basically changed the game. People are still trying to understand the “rules” (spoiler: there are none) so Aziz’s book is very timely.

Modern Romance focuses on the dilemma facing millennials everywhere: with so many apps and websites that make it easier to meet others, why are people still struggling to find a partner? It’s never been easier to meet people than it is now, so why are people settling down later or not at all? There are lots of reasons for this, such as the changing role and expectation of women in recent years. Now it is considered normal for women to live alone and work outside the home, focusing on their career, whereas just twenty years ago that would have been unheard of.

Aziz also focuses on the illusion of choice and how maybe having too many options isn’t the best thing. He uses the example of an average looking guy who stumbles across the dating profile of a good looking girl, who is smart, funny, basically the whole package yet he decides not to message her. When Aziz’s questions the guy, he responds that the girl is a Red Sox fan whereas he isn’t.

Knowing so much information about a person is nice because you can make sure you’re looking for the same things, but it is also a double edged sword. We place a lot of emphasis on little details that essentially have little to no value in determining compatibility. This is interesting to me — people are layered individuals with many different qualities and characteristics. And yet we place so much value on what people say online. We read a person’s Facebook or OkCupid profile and think we know them when we are probably just scratching the surface.

I was actually very impressed with the way Aziz wrote Modern Romance. It’s a leap for a comedian to write such a book, but he did it very well. In true Aziz fashion there are some jokes sprinkled here and there throughout the book. The thing I loved the most was how well researched it was. Aziz enlisted the help of Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist who teaches at NYU. It’s rich with data and stats if you like that sort of thing (I do) as well as personal anecdotes from people around the world.

So, if you’ve ever wondered why he hasn’t texted you back in 2 days or why she just texted you a pizza emoji, then this book is definitely for you. Don’t expect Aziz to solve your problems, but rather find comfort in the fact that you’re not alone!

If you like reading about how people meet and communicate with each other, then you should pick this book up as well! I don’t do audio books, but if you enjoy them you listen to this book since it’s voiced by Aziz himself.

Have you read Modern Romance? What did you think?

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Young Adult Fiction for Adults

Ironically enough, as I approached my late 20s I became more and more interested in the young adult fiction genre of books. Growing up, all I would read was The Babysitter’s Club and then I progressed onto Sweet Valley High. While they were fun books to read as a high schooler, they seem like nothing compared to the young adult books being written today. The Fault in Our Stars, Paper TownsEleanor and Park, and most recently, Fangirl are just some examples.

What I love about these books is that the main character is almost always a misfit or an outcast in their high school. Yet that doesn’t faze them one bit. They are confident and fully embrace their quirks. Some come from happy families, and some not so much. It’s quite a drastic contrast from the Wakefield twins and the world of Sweet Valley I was accustomed to as a teenager.

fangirl

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell (now one of my favorite authors), tells the story of twin sisters who are in their first year of college. Cath writes fan fiction for a Harry Potter like saga called Simon Snow and resists change, so adjusting to college life is a struggle for her. Meanwhile her twin Wren is having the time of her life, attending parties, and meeting many new people. Sad, confused, and feeling like she doesn’t belong Cath continues to do what she loves to do: write. She doesn’t change who she is to fit in and by the end of the book she’s found like-minded people who care for her just as she is – a valuable lesson to learn no matter if you are 18 or 28.

As a 28 year old, books like Fangirl might be considered a guilty pleasure for me but I feel like that does them a disservice. These are the types of books I would encourage my nieces to read as they get older. They are genuinely well-written books, with engaging, well-liked characters, and a cozy, comfy plot. They make you feel those warm fuzzies; they make you cry and they leave you so engrossed you just might miss your bus stop (more than once).

Have you read any recent young adult books? Did you enjoy them or not?

Book Review: The Secret Daughter

I remember the first Desi lit book I read – it was Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier. From then on I went to read books like The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri and Arranged Marriage by Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee.

Recently, I read The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda which has been on my list to read for a while. I loved the book. It touched on many various and deep topics such as female infanticide, adoption, and cultural clashes. Despite that, the book felt like a very easy thanks to Gowda’s simple writing style. I also loved that part of the book was based in the Bay Area.

I would definitely recommend people to read The Secret Daughter. I finished it over the course of a few days because I was really drawn to the characters and the story line. It got a bit emotional at certain points, at which I had to stop reading while on the train unless I wanted to be that awkward person on BART (no thanks).

Have you read The Secret Daughter? What did you think? What are you currently reading?

This and That

It’s been ages since I last updated the blog. The main reason for my lack of posts is the fact that I recently started a new job. I’ve been busy adjusting to a new schedule, the commute, and of course the job itself. I just finished two weeks there and I’m happy to report that I’m loving every minute of it.

When I’m not at work, here are some things I’ve been watching, reading, and listening to.

Watching: Scandal, Thursdays at 10 PM on ABC: Created by Shonda Rhimes of Grey’s Anatomy fame this show is about a crisis management firm in DC. It is loosely based on George H.W. Bush’s crisis aide, Judy Smith, who also dealt with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It’s a really fast-paced show and I’m loving the fact that the main character is a woman.

Reading: I finished reading Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity. I don’t normally enjoy non-fiction books, but this was an eye-opening look into life in a Mumbai slum. As I was reading it, I had to remind myself that this is not a fiction book and that everything Boo writes about is factual.

Currently I’m reading The Girl Who Played With Fire, the sequel to The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. I’m only a few chapters in but I’ve already deemed it my commute book, rather than the one I read at night before I go to sleep. The subject matter is really dark and disturbing, although it promises to be an interesting mystery/thriller.

Listening: Here are some of my current favorite tracks, which I’ve been listening to on repeat. The beats are so catchy that I have to restrain myself from dancing while on the train or at work!

Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend (Don’t judge!)

Culture Shock ft Nindy Kaur – Save the World

What have you been reading, watching, listening to?

By the way, I recently wrote a guest post on the blog, Lipstick and Politics which you can read here.

The Art of Wallowing

Everyone has bad days. After all life is all about the peaks and valleys, the highs and the lows. What I find acceptable completely necessary is to wallow in it (high five to those that got the Gilmore Girls reference). I’ve found the best way to do this is to read a good book, get a good laugh, and indulge in a guilty pleasure.

A Good Book

I absolutely love starting a new book. Even more, a good book is synonymous with comfort and escape, two perfect things when you are not having the greatest of days. My current read, The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain, is exactly that. The Paris Wife, set in the 1920s, tells the story of the writer Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage to wife Hadley Richardson. Perhaps it is my last post, my love of historical fiction or literature that drove to me download this book. It is a great look back at what life was like the 20s and particularly in Paris: plenty of jazz and many decadent parties. Not a bad way to escape, right?

A Good Laugh

Modern Family is one of the best shows on television and they have the awards to prove it. I became hooked when it first came out and proceeded to get everyone I know hooked on it as well. It consistently makes me laugh week after week. Whether new or old episodes, I can always rely on the show to give me a really good laugh to snap me out of my funk.

A Guilty Pleasure

I discovered Pocky on a whim while at an Asian grocery store a few years back and since then I’ve been hooked. The chocolate with almonds are my favorite, but I’m not picky. Another of my guilty pleasures is the television show Revenge. I’m obsessed with the show and the pretty scenes and people serve as a wonderful distraction.

What are some of your tried and true methods to getting over a bad day?

The Vegetarian Diaries

I think it is possible to be a vegetarian and a lover of food at the same time. I may not eat meat or fish, but that doesn’t stop me from trying different cuisines and restaurants. Perhaps I have been lucky enough to live in an area where there are plenty of choices for vegetarians.

Regardless, I thought it would be fun to share what I eat when I go out to a restaurant. And no, it’s not a salad or soup. I’m talking real food.

This week I went to a local Mexican restaurant. I LOVE it. Whenever we would return from month long visits to India, my first meal of choice would be Mexican food. Honestly, how can you not like a cuisine in which guacamole is one of the main ingredients?

I ordered the nachos (can you believe these were in the appetizer section?). I opted for black beans because I love them, but also because they are vegetarian.

In case anyone is interested, I added the book Eating Animals to my GoodReads list. Just as he is about to become a father, the author Jonathan Safran Foer, takes a look into the food that we eat, why we eat it, along with a few trips to factory farms in the middle of the night. I am looking forward to reading it!

GoodReads

I enjoy keeping up to date on all the trends and latest happenings in social media. Last year I blogged about Pinterest. My most recent obsession is GoodReads.

What is GoodReads exactly? It is a social network for bookworms, like myself. On GoodReads, you can share what books you’ve read, your reviews, and what you are currently reading. Have you ever been in one of those instances where you’re at a bookstore and you can’t remember the name of the books you’ve wanted to read? (I’ve been there. Many times.) GoodReads has that covered with a handy “to read” list.

And best of all, this is a social network so you can add your friends and their lists! Think the book that your friend is reading is interesting? Add it to your list!

There is also an app for the iPhone and Android. So if you’re at a party discussing books (what? that doesn’t happen to you? ) you can quickly jot down the names.

Check out my GoodReads shelf here!

Are you on GoodReads?