Book and Movie Review: The Girl on the Train

Image: Goodreads

Image: Goodreads


Last week, the real-life Book Club Babes discussed the bestselling thriller, The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, and I was delighted that it was our first meetup in which every single member had finished the novel! That fact that people weren’t just showing up for the wine (not that there’s anything wrong with that…) demonstrates just how good this book is!

Because I watched the film adaptation shortly thereafter, I decided to summarize my thoughts on both versions in one review. Did the movie live up to the book, or was it a total trainwreck? (Sorry, couldn’t help myself!)

Book Rating: 4 out of 5

Before I begin, let me get this out of the way: Yes, The Girl on the Train is similar to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn in the sense that they are both popular thrillers that were published around the same time and feature an unreliable female lead. To give a quick plot summary, this novel is written from the POVs of three women: Rachel, an alcoholic struggling emotionally after her husband Tom divorces her; Anna, the other woman whom Tom leaves Rachel for; and Megan, Anna’s nanny who is found dead.

Whereas Gone Girl is a psychological “he said, she said” thriller, The Girl on the Train is more of a traditional murder mystery. Despite its best efforts, I never got the sense that Rachel was Megan’s murderer, just a pitiable drunk mess who cannot cope with her infertility, which she believes was the cause of her addiction.

And as much as I hated Anna for relishing her role as mistress, it was difficult to consider her aggressive enough to take matters into her own hands. Blame it on being a hardcore feminist I suppose (and the fact that over one-third of female homicides are committed by an intimate partner), but my intuition kept pointing to the men in this story as the real suspects, and that gut feeling turned out to be right.

Perhaps this is why I was disappointed that the book had such a catty tone, pitting these female rivals against each other. There were many comments from Anna and Megan about “winning” their lovers’ hearts due to their superior looks, and Rachel suffered a fair dose of body-shaming as her alcoholism wreaked havoc on her appearance.

I understand that this is how adultery plays out in the real world, with women blamed as “homewreckers,” but it was clear that this was the true red herring in the novel, not the mysterious redheaded man often found riding the same train as Rachel. Without giving too much away, in the end, the story is redeemed by placing Anna and Rachel in a position of solidarity against the true villain whom they should have been pointing fingers at the entire time.

Overall, this is a book that keeps you guessing, and although some members of our book club hoped for more of a twist, we all agreed that it was an enjoyable read. With multifaceted characters and plenty of drama, this is a great book for discussion and worthy of its fanfare.

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5

After Tim Burton’s “Miss Peregrine” utterly ruined Ransom Riggs’ amazing YA series, I went into the theater with reservations. I mean, who wants to get their heart broken twice in one week? Fortunately, this film directed by Tate Taylor (“The Help,” “Get On Up”) for the most part was an accurate depiction of the novel, save for these exceptions:

  • Lazy, but minor change: Setting the story in New York, instead of London (even though Emily Blunt inexplicably keeps her British accent as Rachel).
  • Hollywood’s obsession with beauty: Not portraying Rachel as large and “off-putting” as she as described.
  • Because all people of color are the same, right?: Miscasting Latino actor Edgar Ramirez to play Megan’s therapist, Dr. Kamal Abdic, without changing the character’s name to match his different ethnicity.

Excusing the misguided attempt at cultural diversity, I thought that the cast was excellent. I especially loved Emily Blunt, who nailed the sad, slightly unhinged woman scorned who just wants to uncover the secrets of her blackouts, and Allison Janney, who came across as just the right amount of bitchy as Detective Riley.

Since it can’t escape the comparisons, I did enjoy watching “Gone Girl” more, because the suspense was more intense and had higher stakes. Rosamund Pike is absolutely flawless in that film, and the manipulative game she plays as Amy Dunne is something that I could watch again and again. “The Girl on the Train” was a great adaptation in its own right, but not nearly as clever or gripping to warrant multiple viewings.

And honestly, if you’re not even going to offer the killer cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless” from the movie trailer in the soundtrack, then that’s total justification for docking one star in its rating. Now that’s something I’d put on repeat!

So You Want to Be a Writer? An Author Interview with Meg Elison


Meg Elison, author of “The Book of the Unnamed Midwife”

About five months ago, I joined the marketing team at a startup company called Ripple, that’s making a huge splash in the financial services industry. I’m so lucky to work with such amazing colleagues — one of whom is Meg Elison, our social media goddess and an up-and-coming author!

I recently read her debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, and it’s so crazy good that it’s the only book I’ve completed so far this year to receive a 5-star rating.

The novel has been re-released today by publisher 47North, so to celebrate, I asked Meg a few questions over much-deserved cocktails. As an avid reader and aspiring author myself, I just had to know how Meg became the legend that she is now.

Book Club Babe (BCB): Did you study creative writing at all in school? If so, how effective was it in launching your career?

Meg Elison (ME): I didn’t study creative writing formally. I majored in English at UC Berkeley and I got a lot of my early experience by writing for newspapers, both in high school and college. I had very good teachers teach me critical reading, and later how to analyze and imitate style.

I would read books and essays and have reactions to them, typically very strong feelings one way or the other. I seem incapable of apathy. My best teachers were the ones who made me walk backwards and tell them why I hated something, and how to form an argument against what I had read. Learning to do that with both form and content is the most important bit, I think. Creative writing classes might have done it sooner, but I don’t think they would have done it better.

BCB: Who are your literary role models?

ME: I have many, but for a lot of different reasons. I’ve always looked up to Stephen King, because of his work ethic and his productivity. Margaret Atwood is a hero to me because she’s the one who helped me see how few books there are in my genre that treat women like people. Virginia Woolf and Oscar Wilde both make me jealous enough to cry with their prose; I am always trying to measure up to one of them. Sherman Alexie is an incredible inspiration to writers who are trying to write about poverty, so is John Scalzi. Amy Tan taught me to look at a line of women and see that any woman’s story starts long before she’s born. I could go on for pages and pages about this. Even the writers I hate have taught me valuable things.

BCB: What inspired you to write The Book of the Unnamed Midwife?

ME: I love the post-apocalypse genre. I got a lot of lectures about the END OF DAYS from a succession of creepy churches as a kid, and it went from my nightmares to my waking thoughts. I would try to figure out how it would work, how cities could crumble and a one-world government could possibly function. Once I moved past dubious prophecy, I started to read other apocalypses. I read good ones and bad ones and made my way through hundreds of books.

After a while, and after reading Atwood’s anomalous The Handmaid’s Tale, I realized that almost none of them had any real women in them. Women in these stories did not get pregnant, or need tampons, and many meekly submitted to a state of affairs that returned them to chattel status. I loved the women on “The Walking Dead.” They dealt with difficult birth on the show, but they all still waxed their eyebrows and shaved their armpits. Once I became aware of the gap, it obsessed me. I started thinking not only about gender in the apocalypse, but an apocalypse of gender. The idea came to me at a time when the War on Women was hot on TV, and it all fused into a feminist lightning bolt of rage. That was it.


Book One in “The Road to Nowhere” series (Image: Amazon)

BCB: Describe the writing process: Any particular writing habits? How long did it take from draft to final? When did you start pitching? Any unexpected obstacles along the way?

ME: Midwife happened uncharacteristically quickly. I wrote 13,000 words on the first day, and that’s a record I haven’t broken since. After that, it was a sprint all the way through. It was written in a few months and pitched in less than a year. I expected pitching to be difficult, but I encountered absolute silence. It was beyond discouraging. When I got an offer from my very small first publisher, I leaped on it. At the time, I had to ask myself some pretty hard questions about whether I was settling, but it was the right thing. I got my work out there, and I have no regrets.

BCB: Your lead is an unabashed feminist who has no qualms discussing controversial topics, like casual sex and abortion. Was it difficult getting published because of this, and did you have to tone anything down in the rewrites?

ME: My first publishers were remarkably relaxed about the content of the book, and welcomed the frankness of it. My new publishers (I’m grateful to say) have been as well. I don’t know that 100% of the reading public is ready for my protagonist, but the publishing world certainly is. I know I was.

BCB: In the movie adaptation, who would you cast as the midwife and why?

ME: I love this question! My first choice is Kristen Stewart, who I think is capable of much more than she’s been given and has a good, hard edge to her work on gritty characters. My next would be Jena Malone, who really shocked me with the depth of her portrayal of Johanna Mason in “The Hunger Games.” She had a feral bloodlust and the look of a survivor to her, whether Johanna was flirting or stealing morphine, that I just adored.

BCB: Any hints on what to expect in the sequel?

ME: So, the sequel, The Book of Etta, picks up in the frame tale of Midwife. It’s the same town, a hundred years later. There’s been some cultural drift, and some of it would make the Midwife pretty unhappy, but that’s what cultures do. They drift and shift to stay alive. Etta is another very tough main character and has a struggle ahead. It’s the same kind of adventure, that same pace, with some new ideas in the mix. I’m excited for people to read it next year!


Book Two in “The Road to Nowhere” series (Image: Amazon)

BCB: We work in marketing, so how does marketing affect your work?

ME: I don’t think about marketing at all when I write. I think that’s a terrible idea. I don’t care what’s trendy or what I think will sell, I want to write my story and let what will happen just happen. However, working in marketing has given me a lot of insight into the work of promoting a book once it’s done. I’ve gotten sharper about pitching, both the book and myself as a speaker or a guest at an event. I’ve gotten more succinct and distilled in my professional correspondence, which I think is very hard for many writers to do. I’ve been able to look at pitching angles objectively, without getting all tangled up in what it means for my artistic identity. Yeah, I’m an artist and I’m sensitive and shit. But also I’d like to make a living. Marketing makes books turn into pizza and rent checks and gas. It keeps me pragmatic.

BCB: What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

ME: The best advice I can give that I haven’t heard a million times is that all writers should hate-read. I read for pleasure and to keep myself in touch with the market, but I also hate-read like a motherfucker. Wanting to be like Chuck Palahniuk gives me a style to imitate and a leader to follow, but nothing more. Knowing exactly where Stephenie Meyer makes her worst mistakes, or why I cannot get through a whole book by Don DeLillo provides me with lessons I will never forget; concrete directives that tell me I’m headed in the wrong direction. That stuff is priceless.

BCB: What’s your favorite book of all time, and what are you currently reading?

ME: The killer question! I could have a different answer every day of the week. Today, let’s say my favorite book of all time is Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. And I’m currently reading The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemison, and I just finished Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. They’re both very, very good.

BCB: What are you working on now, and how can people learn more about you?

ME: I’m working on the third book in the Road to Nowhere series, as well as two other unrelated novels. This has been a very productive year for me. I’ve also published a handful of short stories and essays recently. The best place to track me down is on Twitter (@megelison), but I also have a Facebook author page and my own website. I’ve got events coming up around the launch of my book, so come see me in meat space!

Movie Review: “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”

Image: Coming Soon

Image: Coming Soon

Rating: 2 out of 5

Well, as much as I wanted this film adaptation to be a raving success, I came home last night angry and disappointed. To be fair, I’ve never been much of a Tim Burton fan, but I felt that his penchant for creepy cool tales would be fitting for the popular Ransom Riggs novel about a supernatural group of misfits.

Let’s start off with the few pros of the movie. I enjoyed the casting: Asa Butterfield as Jacob was a bit wooden and Eva Green was inappropriately young for the role of the elderly Miss Peregrine, but overall the actors worked well together. I even accepted the strange decision to cast Allison Janney as Dr. Golan, who then changes form into the villainous wight known as Barron, played by Samuel L. Jackson, as simply a change in creative direction to support diversity.

The special effects were also impressive, and it was fun to see all the children show off their peculiar powers. I also greatly appreciated how the hollowghasts came to life: they were the tentacled Slenderman-esque monsters that I imagined.

Unfortunately, that’s where my compliments end. All the world-building and character development that occurred in the first half of the film came crashing down as the plot veered off course.

Nothing about the last half of the movie adheres to the novel. This is because the studio is not likely to make any sequels. It dawned on me that when Jacob and friends actually rescue Miss Peregrine instead of watch in horror as Dr. Golan kidnaps her that there would be no cliffhanger ending. And when the logic of the time loop is altered so that Jacob’s grandfather lives, that’s when I literally threw my hands up in the air and gave up all hope for cinematic redemption.

This adaptation is a prime example of how insulting it is when Hollywood uses the original ideas of authors to make money, and yet spit in the faces of the fans who are so passionate about these stories.

It continues to boggle my mind why directors can’t just look at books as paint-by-numbers. All the hard work has been done; you just need to follow directions and fill in the colors. And yet, this task was clearly too difficult for Burton.

As soon as I learned in the trailer that Emma and Olive’s peculiarities had been swapped, I saw massive red flags but chose to remain optimistic. Now that I’ve seen the movie in its entirety, I can’t even recommend it to non-fans of Miss Peregrine. It’s a clumsy, nonsensical mess. All I can hope now is that my intuition is correct and Hollywood won’t be turning Riggs’ sequels into equally horrendous failures. Fingers crossed!

2016 Goals: Q3 Progress

And just like that, summer is gone. As my favorite season ends and we head into the home stretch before the winter holidays, it’s time to check my progress on my top ten goals for 2016.

Was this quarter as productive as it should have been?

Brought to you by Giphy's results for

Brought to you by Giphy’s results for “goals”

1. Read 20 more books (6 books read in Q3, progress at 75%): ON TRACK

This quarter I have read The Guest Room, The Honeymoon Hotel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, Agnes Grey, Tales of the Peculiar and The Girl on the Train (review coming soon!). In total, that makes 15 books read so far this year, so finishing five more before the end of the year should be a piece of cake.

2. Don’t buy any new books for myself until I’ve read everything I currently own (No new books purchased): ON TRACK

I’m getting closer to completing my book backlog, but this month I celebrated my birthday and received four new books and a $50 Amazon gift card. I am confident that I can go another three months without spending a dime of my own money on books! Huzzah!

3. Read 10 new authors: PASS

Out of the six books that I read this quarter, three of them were written by authors new to me: Anne Brontë, Meg Elison, and Paula Hawkins. They span genres from post-apocalyptic to thriller to classic literary fiction, so I’m proud to achieve this goal with such diversity!

Passed my goal to read 10 new authors!

Passed my goal to read 10 new authors!

4. Reach 100,000 total blog views (reached 12,272 views of the 22,835 total needed this year, progress at 54%): REALLY BEHIND

Summer is my favorite season when I’m having fun in the sun, but not when it comes to blog traffic. I’m sure everyone had better things to do than read my book reviews, but hopefully some people found some gems to add to their to-read lists in the fall when they’re ready to hibernate in front of a fireplace with a good book! There’s no way I’m meeting my 100k goal, but blogging should be about quality, not quantity.

5. Blog at least once per week (blogged 16 times in 13 weeks of Q3, progress at 87%): REALLY AHEAD

This quarter I wrote six book reviews, participated in six Top Ten Tuesdays, and even celebrated my 5th blogiversary! This puts me way ahead of my goal, which is great, because there’s only one more month until NaNoWriMo, and I prefer to take a blogging hiatus to focus on writing my novel in November.

6. Original goal: Write 10,000 words of my novel per month. New goal: Write 45,000 words before 2017 (wrote 4,650 words of my novel in Q3): REALLY BEHIND

I could beat myself up over the fact that I couldn’t reach my word count goal for one month, let alone three. But I’m pretty proud that at least I broke my writing dry spell! Work was especially busy this quarter as we prepared for a major conference this past week. I hope to keep up a better habit and make up for lost time during NaNoWriMo!

7. Complete the first draft of the manuscript of my novel (progress at 11% in Q3): REALLY BEHIND

This goal is dependent on the previous one, so obviously I’m nowhere close to a complete first draft. 14 pages written this quarter, so only about 135 pages to go!

If Marlin can find his son Nemo, then I can finish my novel!

If Marlin can find his son Nemo, then I can finish my novel!

8. Visit 5 new bookstores (visited 1 new bookstore in Q3, progress at 60%): ON TRACK

This quarter I made the short trek from my office to the Mission District of San Francisco and dropped by Alley Cat Books for a quick Q&A. The eclectic art around the store gives it a unique personality, so if you’re located on the west best coast or making a trip in the near future, I highly recommend that you make a visit as well!

9. Brush up on my Latin (goal abandoned): FAIL

Let’s face it: we all have way too much going on in our lives to get nostalgic about stuff we studied in college. As much as I would have loved to squeeze in some Latin before I visited the ancient ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum in May, all of the signage is in Italian anyway, so there wasn’t much for me to attempt translating. I have zero regrets for letting this slip off my priority list.

10. Learn conversational Greek and Italian: PASS…ish

I studied enough of the European languages to get around on my vacation, only to learn that locals have little patience for tourists, choosing to speak English with us rather than listen to us struggle in their native tongues. I now know that learning languages is a “nice to have” skill, not a “must have.”

TOTAL Q3 PROGRESS: On track or ahead on 6 goals; Behind or failed on 4 goals (60% success rate!)

I’ve made some good progress in Q3, so now it’s about catching up and finishing strong in the last three months of 2016. Wish me luck!

Book Review: Tales of the Peculiar

Image: Goodreads

Image: Goodreads

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Today is the premiere of Tim Burton’s film adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and as disappointed as I am in its creative direction in regards to changing Emma’s entire peculiarity, I will begrudgingly give this movie a shot.

To amp myself up, I read Ransom Riggs’ latest book, Tales of the Peculiar, which was published this month and given to me by my brother as a birthday gift.

Fans of the series may be let down that this isn’t a prequel or sequel, but rather a collection of short stories, annotated by Millard Nullings, the intellectual ward of Miss Peregrine who is completely invisible.

All of these stories read as fables from peculiar history, teaching moral lessons, ranging from “stay true to yourself” to “be nice to pigeons.” Many are tongue-in-cheek revisions of idioms, turning metaphorical sayings into supernatural origin stories.

For example, in the tale, “The Splendid Cannibals,” a village of peculiars who can regrow limbs literally sell their arms and legs to maneaters to afford ever more lavish homes just to keep up with the Joneses. I don’t want to give away the ending, but it’s certainly a morbid way to warn against materialism.

Even though no major characters of Riggs’ series make appearances, this book is a nice treat that’s short enough to read in a couple days. It has a gorgeous green cover with gold lettering, and the illustrations at the beginning of each story are wonderfully done. If you can’t get enough of the peculiar universe, then this is the book for you!

Supporting Small Businesses: An Interview with Alley Cat Books

All images taken by Book Club Babe

All images taken by Book Club Babe

One of my 2016 resolutions is to visit five new bookstores this year, in order to support small businesses and promote the hidden gems in the literary community. In March, I interviewed the owner of Recycle Bookstore in San Jose, Calif., and during my European vacation in May, I discovered Pocket 2000 in Rome.

I may not be purchasing any books this year (yet another goal of mine), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t give independent bookstores the shout-outs they so rightfully deserve!

Last week I interviewed Simon Crafts, bookseller and event coordinator at Alley Cat Books in San Francisco. Alley Cat opened in 2011 in the Mission District, known for its cultural diversity and emphasis on the arts.

A unique aspect about Alley Cat is that the store’s owner Kate Rosenberger is a painter and prides herself on featuring local artists in the gallery at the back of the shop. As its bilingual website demonstrates, Alley Cat is also dedicated to stocking a wide variety of new and used books in both English and Spanish.

Simon is one of four Alley Cat staff members, currently studying poetry and creative writing in his MFA program at San Francisco State University. He was gracious enough to answer a few questions for Book Club Babe, so let’s jump into the Q&A!

Alley Cat bookseller Simon Crafts in front of the “screaming door” featuring Writer in Residence Paul Ebenkamp

“Book people are great. People who care about physical books are generally decent, interesting human beings.” ~ SC

Book Club Babe (BCB): What are the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of working at a bookstore?

Simon Crafts (SC): The most challenging aspect is paying the rent! This is challenging because it involves being the best possible small independent bookstore we can be and making people want to come and shop here, while trying to be as different from a thing like Amazon or Barnes and Noble as possible. We want this to feel like a more intimate and interesting space than that, and we don’t want to sell books like they are just a product.

To that end, I think we’ve settled on trying to make an argument with this place to the people who come in: that books and bookstores have a deeper and more profound value than money and convenience and that there is something intangible and beautiful about a room full of books and the people, ideas, and things you might encounter inside a space like that.

This is also the most rewarding thing about working here. It feels exciting to be a caretaker, and so intimately involved in a place that is so electric and creative, like a big strange antenna into the world of ideas. It’s almost a sanctuary for certain sorts of people (both old and young) in the digital age and you’re stewarding that sanctuary.


Stewarding the Sanctuary

BCB: How has the digital age affected your business?

SC: The damage has already been done. People who shop on Amazon do that now and I don’t think there is as much intersection or competition between the two worlds as people think. In fact, I’ve seen more people coming in and trying to wean themselves off Amazon this year than ever before. I think the public opinion has turned (at least in San Francisco) and this thing that was thought of as a revolution of convenience at first has lost its charm because it’s been revealed to be capitalism as usual. There is a silver lining to Amazon and e-books in that they shut down or greatly damaged the viability of big chains. This has actually improved our business by getting rid of competition here on the ground or “IRL” as it’s known on Twitter.

BCB: How are you involved in the community, and what role, if any, does social media play in your business?

SC: We are very involved in the community here. We have a gallery and event space in the back of the store that hosts poetry readings, fundraisers, open mics, book releases, film nights, square dances, and occasional music. We promote through newsletters, social media, and print calendars and good old-fashioned word of mouth. We try to give priority to local artists and people in the neighborhood. We really feel an obligation to participate in a positive way in this neighborhood and its community given that it is being threatened by intense gentrification.

We’ve also recently joined with fellow 24th Street bookstores Modern Times and Adobe Books to form an organization called United Booksellers of San Francisco whose mission it is to try to protect San Francisco bookstores as cultural and literary resources. Rents are (seemingly always) climbing in San Francisco, and we are all in threat of being priced out.

BCB: What does your inventory look like, and how do you select which books to highlight in your store?

SC: We carry used, remainder, and new books. We buy used books over the counter every day. We don’t stock romance novels or textbooks, but we have a more extensive art, poetry, and queer/feminist/radical politics sections than most bookstores.


“Read about more than straight white men” ~ SC

BCB: What trends are you seeing in the books that are purchased?

SC: So people are talking a lot about it being “the golden age of television” but I think it’s really the golden age of the essay. There’s this sort of “hybrid-essay” genre that has appeared. Books like Maggie Nelson’s “The Argonauts,” Claudia Rankine’s “Citizen,” Brian Blanchfield’s “Proxies,” and just about anything by Rebecca Solnitt. They really blur the line between essay, poetry, memoir, and criticism. They’re also simultaneously tackling some of the hardest cultural discussions and problems of our age. I’ve been selling a lot of these kinds of books, and it gives me hope for the future because it means people are interested in what they’re saying and they’re carrying these ideas into their lives.

BCB: What are your favorite books/authors/genres, and why?

SC: Well, I write poetry, so my favorite books are generally poetry, which is not everybody’s cup of tea (though I wish it was!). Frank O’Hara’s “Lunch Poems” is a touchstone for me and a classic that I think even non-poets can enjoy.

As for fiction, anything by Eileen Myles (who is also a poet). Her novel Chelsea Girls was re-released last year, and I recommend it to everyone. She writes like she is speaking to you in the room with this really infectious, casual voice. It’s like the opposite of fussy overwrought MFA fiction. The stories are autobiographical and short, but they all fit together into a larger tapestry. It’s a really amazing and quietly experimental book that is totally enjoyable for almost everyone.

BCB: Our book club is all about wine. Which wines would you pair with your favorite books, and why?

SC: We’re not really wine drinkers here at Alley Cat, so I would be lying if I claimed to know about any kind of wine except two buck chuck! We’re mostly beer and whiskey folks. I think a moderate amount of alcohol pairs well with just about everything (read or otherwise), but too much alcohol and poetry can have you speaking in tongues. That could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your friends.

BCB: Anything else you think Book Club Babe readers should know?

SC: We’re sister store to Dog Eared Books and Dog Eared Books Castro (which opened in June)! They are amazing independent bookstores, each with a slightly different aesthetic than ours. You should check them out as well!


“There is something intangible and beautiful about a room full of books.”

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Alternative Rock Albums


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about audio! I’ve already discussed my favorite audiobooks at length and most of the podcasts that I listen to are about personal finance (interesting to me, most likely boring to everyone else), so instead I thought I’d just share my favorite albums of the alternative rock genre.

My taste in music is eclectic: I listen to everything from hip-hop to house, from country to k-pop. But my go-to genre is alternative rock, specifically of the pop-punk variety. Some people may brand these albums as emo, but I did too much research on emo history as a teenager to make that amateur mistake.

Next year is my ten-year high school reunion, and although you couldn’t pay me enough money to relive those days, let’s just say I left my musical heart in the last decade.

Listed by the year they were released, here are my top ten favorite alternative rock albums:

  1. Simple Plan: “No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls” (2002)
  2. My Chemical Romance: “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” (2004)
  3. Fall Out Boy: “From Under the Cork Tree” (2005)
  4. 30 Seconds to Mars: “A Beautiful Lie” (2005)
  5. AFI: “Decemberunderground” (2006)
  6. Forever the Sickest Kids: “Underdog Alma Mater” (2008)
  7. Mayday Parade: “Monsters in the Closet (2013)
  8. All Time Low: “Future Hearts” (2015)
  9. Bring Me the Horizon: “That’s the Spirit” (2015)
  10. Compilations: “Punk Goes Pop” volumes 2-6 (2009-2014)

Anyone else in their late 20s who love listening to these albums? Let me know if I missed one of your favs!