What I'm Reading This Year

Last year I read 23 books.

A pretty low number, I admit, but in my defense, 2018 was a busy year for me. Between moving, job hunting, and everything in between, reading wasn’t always the top priority. This year, though, it is.

But instead of setting an overall numerical goal, I’m just aiming to read things that sound good and seem like they’ll spark joy. Yup, channeling my inner Marie Kondo before I bring things home from the store.

I typically read a lot of non-fiction and self-help, but I am challenging myself to delve more into fiction. Also, I’d love to expand my book palate over into some mysteries and thrillers, though I’ll always have a special place in my heart for rom-coms.

Below, are the books I’m planning to dive into this year – in no particular order – and bookmark this page, because I’ll be frequently updating.

Some of my favorite books from 2018!

Some of my favorite books from 2018!

Currently Reading:

  • On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Fiction

  • The Last Best Story by Maggie Lehrman

  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

  • 99 Percent Mine: A Novel by Sally Thorne

  • The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

  • Fumbled by Alexa Martin

  • The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

  • Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

  • Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen McManus

  • The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada

  • The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

  • The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

  • Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

  • Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

  • Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

  • Crashing the A-List by Summer Heacock

  • The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

  • Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

  • Evvie Drake Starts Over: A Novel by Linda Holmes

  • Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

  • This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

Nonfiction

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama

  • The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother's Life in the Detroit Numbers by Bridgett M. Davis

  • Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim

  • Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist by Franchesca Ramsey

  • Refinery29 Money Diaries: Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Your Finances... And Everyone Else's by Lindsey Stanberry

What books are you reading this year? Share any recommendations in the comments! 

The Art Of Starting Over

How fearless are you?” Cosmopolitan’s monthly quiz stared me in the face. I checked off my answers not the slightest bit surprised at the final results. Well, maybe a little.

Mostly C’s: Frozen with Fear – Girl, you have to live a little outside your comfort zone. No need to go full Daenerys, but part of being a grown up is taking a few calculated chances so that life doesn’t always pass you by. I didn’t even bother to read the rest. I felt attacked. Contrary to popular belief I did take risks, just not the ones I really wanted to. At least not anymore.

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When I moved to New York almost three years ago, I had two suitcases filled with my belongings and the biggest of dreams. Since I was 13 all I wanted was to work at a major magazine and to see my name in print. And when I finally made it all happen, my family, friends, and hell even my hometown were proud. I, on the other hand, felt differently. Magazine life wasn’t at all what I expected it to be.

The clickbait. The incredibly catty co-workers. It just wasn’t at all what I signed up for. In less than a year of “living the dream” I found myself slacking off at work, hiding out in the bathrooms, and leaving work frustrated and running straight to the movie theater (multiple times a week I may add) for comfort.

And it was doing that last thing so often that planted a seed in my head that maybe I was never meant to be a magazine editor, but instead something else. But, instead of taking another risk and leaving New York right then and there, I stuck it out for two more years. Because of the good moments, I tethered between thinking this discomfort was all in my head and if it was a real thing.

I started to wonder if I was in New York because I really wanted to be there or because someone once told me I wouldn’t be. After taking a screenwriting class at NYU though, I knew it was most definitely the latter.

The prospect of writing movies excited me, but I kept hearing this nagging voice in the background of my happy thoughts. Did I really want to start over? What would people think about me if I threw my “dream job” away to do something else? In reality I shouldn’t have cared what others thought, but I’m human, so I did. I’d become the person I’d wanted to be for so long. Admitting I wasn’t happy would mean I’d made a mistake with my life and that wasn’t something I was ready to do.  

From the moment I arrived in New York, the place had become part of my identity. The first question out of anyone’s mouth whenever I visited home was, “So how’s the city treating you?” “Still liking it up there?” or “You’re living the dream.” Every time I heard either one of those things, I got a little more frustrated. It’s like the inside of me would scream, "CAN’T SOMEONE ASK ME HOW I AM. NOT THE CITY. I desperately wanted someone to ask me how I was so I could give them the real answer: I was not fine. I craved something different. Something more.

Then one day I just got tired of pretending I was okay.

So I made a crazy decision: I applied to a year-long screenwriting program at UCLA, got in (praise dance), quit my job (ahem, without another one lined up), and moved to Los Angeles with nine suitcases this go-round. Over a month later, here I am. So far it’s been an adventure. An interesting and at times totally overwhelming one, but an adventure nonetheless.

For the longest time, I wondered if I’d come to regret giving up my New York dream. If I’d made a mistake thinking I, of all people could write a film, but week after week as I sit in my screenwriting classes I know I didn’t. Being able to work at so many magazines in New York City was a gift, but in the words of Eva Chen, “it was also a gift to be able to know when something is no longer right for me.”

In short: Starting over is never easy, but if my journey is any consolation, it’s definitely worth it in the end.

*Also if you couldn’t already tell, I decided to start over with blogging too.