January 29, 2021

Abbreviations #120: Atomic Habits, Cobble Hill + White Ivy

I don’t read a ton of non-fiction (although I can foresee that slowly changing, as I’ve come across more non-fiction that’s really interested me lately), but I was interested in checking out Atomic Habits after my sister Rachel picked it for our family book club. It seems like a great choice for the start of the year, as this book provides a great framework to consult when it comes to forming good habits, breaking bad ones and embracing small steps to get the results you want. I really appreciated the straightforward writing style, and the clarity and practicality of Clear’s explanations (and subsequent applications) with regards to habits. It made this an easy read with easy to remember main points! While not all the information provided was new to me, I did take away some great tips to try to improve my current set of habits and set up new ones. (And so far, they seem to be working in my favor, if the month of January is any indication!) I definitely think this could be a useful non-fiction read for many folks in general, and would recommend it if you have a particular interest in the subject matter.

Pub Info: October 16, 2018 by Avery Publishing Group

I was interested in checking out Cobble Hill mostly because I was a fan of the Gossip Girl series in my teens and wanted to see how this author would fare with an adult fiction novel. Luckily, this book ended up being a diverting listen! Cobble Hill is simply about the residents of a particular Brooklyn neighborhood and their daily lives. Truthfully, I’ve always been fascinated with stories that focus on odd, eccentric or bumbling characters who don’t always make the best or right choices as they struggle to get their lives in order. And Cobble Hill fits that bill perfectly. It was really entertaining to discover the secrets and stories that belonged to each individual, as well as to witness the shenanigans that ensued during many an encounter. There were quite a few things that happened to amp up the drama, but von Ziegesar still managed to maintain a very ‘slice of life’ vibe in her storytelling. She also captured the feel of New York City with her words, even though I’m only speaking from my own experience (which is very much outside of Brooklyn). While the details of this novel likely won’t stick around in my mind, it was still fun to read (or listen to, in my case), and I’d still say it’s worth checking out if it sounds like your cup of tea.

Pub Info: October 20, 2020 by Atria Books
I received a e-ARC via NetGalley & an ALC via Libro.FM.

White Ivy
centers around main character Ivy Lin, a complicated young woman whose immigrant family has a complex past and who happens to be obsessed with garnering the attention of golden boy Gideon Speyer. After an embarrassing incident as a teen and years apart, Ivy meets Gideon again as an adult and slowly begins to integrate herself into his life and family. But when an unexpected blast from the past threatens the perfect life she’s built for herself, Ivy must decide just how far she’s willing to go to keep the future she’s fought so hard to engineer. White Ivy was certainly… something. It’s the type of story that I couldn’t stop reading (or, in my case, listening to) once I started and that, friends, has primarily to do with the fact that I was morbidly curious about how it would end. This novel fits right into that slot of the reader knowing that it’s going to be a train wreck, witnessing the actual wreck in slow motion and being unable to look away from it due to a horrified investment in seeing the final outcome. Yang does well in portraying her characters with unflinching authenticity, whether it comes to their strengths or their flaws. This is especially true when it comes to Ivy, as it wasn’t always comfortable to be in her mind or to see her making terrible or unwarranted choices. Throw in an interesting perspective on immigrant life, as well generational and cultural divides complicating all sorts of relationships, and a rising tension as the stakes escalate for Ivy, and you’ve got yourself a potent mix of a tale. While I can’t easily recommend this to other readers (especially considering that there are so many content warnings, and you should search those out prior to picking this up), it did end up keeping me hooked from the beginning. Compulsively readable and oddly engaging, White Ivy was basically the equivalent of a one sitting read. I think that, more than anything else, really speaks for itself.

Pub Info: November 3, 2020 by Simon & Schuster


  1. I read Atomic Habits at the end of December. There were definitely some tidbits of helpful information in there, and one that I found I can easily implement in my daily life.

  2. I'm hoping to read Atomic Habits soon!


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