Recap: Books I've Read Lately / by Madeleine

Hello, again!

It's been a long two weeks away from the blog, packed with big moments and preparation for the changes ahead. In that time, I've been reading lots of great books but haven't had even a spare moment to sit down and write about them. Let's catch up, shall we?

On May 8th, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (insert tiny squeal of excitement here)! It was a million degrees and by the end of the third ceremony, I was a blistered, tired, happy mess. I'm so grateful that I was able to celebrate the occasion with my family, but even more grateful that they have been cheering me on continually over the past four years. (I'll take this opportunity to say: thanks, Mom and Dad!)

Post-celebrations, my boyfriend and I hopped on a flight to California for a weeklong getaway with my extended family. We had so much fun exploring, eating way too many of my grandmother's cookies, and soaking up the California sun. I even came back with a few freckles! (And I tried my hardest to come back with my grandmother's dog but she kept too close an eye on him.)

Next week I embark on the next chapter, which entails moving into a new apartment (yay!) and beginning graduate school. I think part of the reason why graduation hasn't sunk in yet much is because graduate school is coming up so fast; I already have homework to get done!

As all of these changes are happening in rapid succession, you might find that posts aren't quite as regular here on Top Shelf Text. I am doing my best to keep things on schedule, I promise, but bear with me as I work out my new routines.

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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

A definite winner, and a quick read too! This is the story of A.J. Fikry, a rather fickle bookseller whose life has been marred by the tragic loss of his wife. He's grumpy, very particular when it comes to books, and in need of saving. On the night that A.J. becomes a victim of burglary, he also becomes the recipient of a rather unusual package. In that moment, his life changes in infinite ways. I read this in about a day and loved every minute. If you read and liked either of these books, I'd recommend this one for you.

The Darwin Conspiracy by John Darnton

Told through the dual perspective of Darwin himself (in the 1800's) and an ambitious researcher searching for the truth two centuries later, this book has mystery, conspiracy, and all the best parts of academia. Darwin's daughter takes center stage when it's revealed in her personal papers that Darwin may not have been the upstanding hero (or genius) that we revere today. Not quite as fast-moving, but definitely a good one for a rainy day. I'd recommend for fans of Charlie Lovett.

The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D.

Never have I flown through a nonfiction book so quickly. Brizendine explores the chemical changes that occur in the brain from conception all the way to old age, detailing what a woman's brain looks and acts like in each different hormonal stage of life. It explains different behaviors and perceptions between males and females, as well as lends insight into why a woman's perception of reality changes drastically with each stage of life. I'd recommend this for both women and men (yes, really!)-- as a resource for understanding the differences between the sexes. I do have a lot of background knowledge in neuroscience and human development, but I strongly believe that the information is accessible for those without experience in these fields.