MINI-REVIEWS: Shopgirl, We Were Liars + a few non-fiction reads

Hello everyone! In an attempt to post more regularly after my backslide as of late here are some mini reviews on various books read lately.

TITLE: Shopgirl: A Novella
AUTHOR: Steve Martin
RATING: ★★★★★

The shopgirl is Mirabelle, a beautiful aspiring artist who pays the rent by selling gloves at the Beverly Hills Neiman Marcus. She captures the attention of Ray Porter, a wealthy, lonely businessman. As Ray and Mirabelle tentatively embark on a relationship, they both struggle to decipher the language of love–with consequences that are both comic and heartbreaking.

An older title (published in 2000), I found this on the library shelves one day as I was tidying up and remembered seeing the movie quite a long time ago.

…it is not the big events that hurt the most but rather the smallest questionable shift in tone at the end of a spoken word that can plow most deeply into the heart.

I really enjoyed this in a very sad, such-is-life kind of way. Mirabelle is naturally shy, a bit of a loner by choice but still lonely in romantic terms, and uncertain where she is going in life. She is quite literally living in the present from one moment to the next with no plans for the future. When she meets two wildly different love interests–Jeremy and Mr. Ray Porter, she must chose which direction she wants her life to go while navigating the murky waters of romance.

TITLE: We Were Liars
AUTHOR: E. Lockhart
A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies. True love. The truth.

I’ve read wildly mixed reviews about this book and ultimately, I have to say that I am very disappointed.

The writing style absolutely drove me right up the wall. In fact, if it weren’t for the writing style and it’s repetition and weird use of poetry styled layout of words then it might not even half as long as it is. Additionally, Lockhart inserts strange attempts at fairytale stories about the characters amidst everything else in the novel but instead of creating any mystery, in my opinion, it just made the protagonists appear even more spoiled and bratty. Basically, TL;DR– this is a book about rich bratty kids and how one choice they made ruined everything. Sounds mysterious but the big reveal was pretty anti-climatic and the ending was just kind of blah. Such a shame.

TITLE: Knock ’em Dead Resumes: How to Write a Killer Resume That Gets You Job Interviews
AUTHOR: Martin Yate
RATING: ★★★★★

Move your resume to the top of the pile! At a time when companies can draw on resume banks containing millions of documents, you’ll need to create a concise and powerful resume if you want to stand out. Using his twenty-five years of experience, New York Times bestselling author Martin Yate has built a set of rules for creating the most effective document to get you noticed.

While this may not be exactly what you want to read before bed, if your resume is in a slump and you’re job hunting, then read it anyway. This book is full of not just how-to but a why-to. In today’s job market where almost every application takes the form of an online submission where it isn’t even a human reading all of the submissions it’s important to know how to optimize your resume for maximum potential to reach the desk of the person hiring.

I have given my resume a major overhaul and feel so much more confident in how I appear as a professional now. I feel that, finally, my resume matches what I’ve actually accomplished in my professional career. The best part of this book to me were the free downloads available on the author’s website. They allow you to pick apart your experience and achievements to figure out what needs to be featured on your resume. Without these documents and this book I would have never thought to include the things I ended up including! Additionally, I read the same version for cover letters and it is equally worth a read–both are an excellent resource for job seekers.

TITLE: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
AUTHOR: Charles Duhigg
RATING: ★★★ 1/2

At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

I picked this up after a friend suggested it to me during a discussion we were having about adopt healthier lifestyles and dealing with weight struggles and I have to say that I think the message is simple enough to grasp.

However, if you are looking for a literal how-to-____ book, this is not it. Duhigg mostly states the theory and then provides supporting documentation much like a research paper. While I do still think you could gain something from this book my recommendation would be to read the first few chapters and then skip right to the appendix for recommendations on how to adopt the strategy in real life. I am currently using this method for reshaping some habits I have currently and while it is work, I do think the end result will be worth it. (I will update further after more time has passed.)


5 thoughts on “MINI-REVIEWS: Shopgirl, We Were Liars + a few non-fiction reads

  1. While I enjoyed We Were Liars I can definitely see where you’re coming from. The fairy tale thing drove me a bit crazy. This was one of those weird books that while I enjoyed it I could even see while I was reading it why people wouldn’t. I have a hard time getting my head around the idea that a book by Steve Martin can be sad and beautifully simple as his comedy runs in completely the opposite direction. I’m curious in the Power of Habit books. Great mini-reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!

      As for We Were Liars, nothing bothered me enough to stop reading it so that’s a plus. But, the style definitely grated on my nerves a bit!



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