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Four Things Friday | 4

Shirt: Gap | Jeans: Old Navy | Necklace: Simonson's Jewelry | Shoes: Sanita

Gotta love a simple casual Friday outfit!  This swiss dot popover remains one of my favorite tops, because it's interesting enough on its own, but it also is a great "blank slate" top that can be accessorized and styled in a ton of different ways.  After years of basically exclusively wearing skinny jeans, I'm really loving my flared jeans these days as well.  They're a fun and different silhouette for me!

And, because it's Four Things Friday, I have a list of four books I'd recommend.  [I'm trying to dig deep into books I've read in the past instead of books that I've read more recently...]

Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides | I read this book about 3 years ago, and I absolutely loved it.  It's about an intersex man, who was born as "Callie" but is now "Cal."  The story traces three generations of Cal's Greek/Greek-American family - how his grandparents moved from Greece to the United States, Cal's upbringing in Detroit, and then Cal's adulthood and exploring his gender identity in San Francisco.  When I was in college, I took multiple courses on gender and sexuality (and was like 2 classes away from an additional degree in Women's Studies...dang it!), and my favorite professor (and college advisor) has done incredible research with intersex individuals.  She even wrote a book about her work and interviews with intersex individuals (which is also an awesome read).  Since then, I've been really interested in the gender and sexual orientation spectra, and reading a novel that actually addressed intersex in such an informed and engaging way was awesome.  I tend to get rid of books that I've already read, but this book is one I'll keep around forever!

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini | I'm sure this is a book that several of you have already read, but it's one that has stuck with me for years.  My undergraduate college had a common read program for all incoming first-year students, and when I was a first-year student, The Kite Runner was the book my classmates and I were to read.  I absolutely devoured this book.  It was the first novel I had ever read that I felt compelled to highlight, take notes in, and critically analyze on my own.  The story is compelling - it tells about the life of a young Afghani boy and his friend, who happens to be his father's servant.  The book was so thought-provoking and reading it was a very emotional experience for me.  Throughout the first semester of college, my first-year seminar course referred to the text frequently and addressed many of the themes of the book: friendship, guilt, family dynamics, class dynamics, betrayal... Ah, I just love this book!

Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver | Barbara Kingsolver is a fairly well-known American author, and Animal Dreams was the first novel I read of hers back in 9th grade.  I distinctly remember being totally sucked into this book, and I loved Kingsolver's writing style.  The main character of the story, Codi, moves back to her childhood hometown as an adult to care for her dying father and lives with a high school friend.  The story talks about her childhood, her relationship with her sister and father, and her romantic relationship with an old boyfriend.  I've since read two more of Kingsolver's novels, and one thing that I absolutely love about her writing is that she draws on her own education as a biologist, so her books often have some kind of biological component.  Because I'm a nerd, I totally love that kind of stuff.  I also really like that Kingsolver often writes about characters with flaws.  I'm a big sucker for interesting character development, and I find Kingsolver does a great job of writing interesting (sometimes flawed) characters.

Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt | I typically read novels and other fiction books, but I looove me a good memoir.  Angela's Ashes is one of the best and most gripping memoirs I've ever read.  McCourt writes about his life growing up in New York and Ireland with his parents and many siblings.  The book paints a vivid picture of what it was like for Frank growing up in New York and Ireland in a family living in extreme poverty, coping with an alcoholic father, and sick family members.  I was absolutely hooked on this book and read it super fast - it was one of the first books I read for pleasure after college, which was significant because I was otherwise super burned out on reading anything.  I know there there are two follow-up memoirs written by McCourt ('Tis and Teacher Man), and I really want to read them too!

So there you have it - four books that I recommend.  Have you read any of these books?  What are some of your favorite book recommendations?

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