Books read in 2013

2013 is coming to an end and, to keep with tradition (that started last year, but let’s all ignore that detail), here’s a list of the books I read throughout the year:

  • Looking For Alaska, John Green
  • Invisible, Paul Auster
  • Por Isso A Gente Acabou (Why We Broke Up), Daniel Handler
  • The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
  • Mandado de Segurança, Francisco Cavalcanti (Law stuff)
  • The International Brand Valuation Manual, Gabriela Salinas (Law stuff again)
  • Anna Karenina, Liev Tolstoi
  • The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Jennifer E. Smith
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Green and David Levithan
  • 50 Ways To Find A Lover, Lucy-Anne Holmes
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling
  • Wedding Night, Sophie Kinsella (book review in 2014)
  • Cidade dos Ossos (City of Bones), Cassandra Clare (borrowed from a friend. It sucked so much I won’t even bother reviewing it – just don’t read it.)
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, John Le Carré (book review in 2014)
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (book review in 2014)
  • Tree Of Codes, Jonathan Safran Foer (book review in 2014)
  • Pray: Notes on a football season, Nick Hornby (book review in 2014)
  • À Paz Perpétua (Perpetual Peace), Immanuel Kant (read for college, so I won’t review it)
  • The Name of The Wind, Patrick Rothfuss (book review in 2014)
  • Julian, Gore Vidal (book review in 2014)
  • Quem Poderia Ser A Uma Hora Dessas? (Who Could That Be At This Hour?), Lemony Snicket (book review in 2014)

21 books: I guess it’s a pretty decent number considering I had so much going on at college this year! Next year I will be unemployed and intend to double that number. I know it’s not much for many people, but 42 books in an year will be a lot for me if I manage to do it!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and that 2014 is such a beautiful year you will never want it to end.

Tons of hugs,

Mari

[Book Review] Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

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Many of us girls spent our teenage years watching romantic comedies that went from Notting Hill to Love Actually, from When Harry Met Sally to You’ve Got Mail. And to many of us – myself included –, that doesn’t mean we live in a fantastic world of cotton candy and unicorns, but that we learned from the best that we can aim as high as we want and not settle for less than Awesome Job and Prince Charming.

Yes, Prince Charming. Many would argue there’s no such thing; I’ve been saying they are living, breathing creatures for a long time now and getting surprise in response. The thing is, you can’t expect Prince Charming to be just like Aurora’s or Snow White’s, to look like Hugh Grant and behave like Colin Firth. Those Princes do exist and are perfect, in a sense that they are perfect for you. No one is perfect per se, but people can be perfect for each other, and that’s what we should all aim for. I have recently been proven that I was right to think so by running into one. Settling for a “frog”, as many claim to be only option, isn’t settling at all. It’s either not being brave enough to be be happier on your own or not recognizing that your poor so-called frog is, in fact, a prince. Your prince.

And yes, Awesome Job. If we work hard enough, why can’t we get what we want? Why can’t we dream of having power? Why can’t we aim at being a top comedian at a big city? Or a doctor, or a lawyer, or an artist, or whatever we want to be? Many of those movies – the good ones, of course – have strong, powerful female characters who fight for what they want and know what they are capable of. There is no step one for being happy, but a single level: being happy with yourself. And it doesn’t really matter what you do or how high you aim to go, does it, as long as it makes you happy? (And, well, it’s legal, of course).

And that, I believe, is the essence of Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (paperback by Three Rivers Press, 222 pages). Mindy both worked as a screenwriter and played Kelly Kapoor in The Office; she now has her own brilliant show, The Mindy Project, which is an honest, funny, light romantic comedy that manages to be more feminist than other shows that brag about it. Mindy’s book is what I can only describe as a collection of thoughts: there’s no real timeline, no precise object of analysis, but it basically gathers some of the story and many of the opinions of a great comedy writer and sweet, sweet girl.

Mindy covers the most distinct areas: from growing up as a chubby Indian descendant to starting her career as a comedian; from romantic comedy heroines and how fake they can be to her relationship with her mother. Maybe it looks autobiographical, but the biggest surprise to me was finding out that Mindy’s life wasn’t really the focus of the narrative. What happens to her is only used as an excuse to share thoughts many of us had, but didn’t know how to phrase. And everything shows us how big dreams aren’t  actually fantasies, but only plans.

If I haven’t talked you into reading it yet, I promise there’s this entire page dedicated to how perfect Colin Firth is that is entirely worth it by itself. With her light sense of humor and delicate appreciation of the finest things in life (yes, Colin Firth being one of them; I hope we can all agree at least on that), Mindy manages to steal laughter and tears faster than Kelly Kapoor would run after Robert Pattinson. By the end of it, you’ll not only want to be, but actually feel like one of her best friends. And with such a big heart,  I’m pretty sure she can fit us all in there.