A Life in Books: Penny Reid

Posted by Goodreads on May 15, 2017

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Dating can be the worst. Just ask Marie Harris, the heroine of Dating-ish, Penny Reid's latest rom-com. After yet another disastrous first date, Marie decides to find an alternative to the whole concept of happily ever after.

Dating-ish is a standalone romance, but it is part of the "more kissing than knitting" Knitting in the City series. Each book follows the misadventures of seven friends who all belong to the same knitting group. After watching some of her pals find love, can Marie do the same? Or will her new dedication to dating alternatives—life coaches and professional cuddlers and medication, oh my!—give her what she's looking for?

Reid shares the books that inspired Marie's earnest (but hilarious) research as well as the classic sci-fi story she's read more times than she can count.

Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking) by Christian Rudder
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"Rudder, who happens to be one of the cofounders of OkCupid, uses big data to expose the chasm between who we think we are and how we actually behave (online), but don't expect every chapter to support a central narrative. I used this perspective on people, data, and behavior as a blueprint for the hero's research in Dating-ish. If you're a data nerd (which I am), the book is worth picking up for the charts and graphs alone, but you'll want to keep reading for Rudder's sarcasm and wit."

The Cuddle Sutra: An Unabashed Celebration of the Ultimate Intimacy by Rob Grader
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"When researching alternatives to traditional relationship models (i.e., emotional and physical monogamy between two committed adults), I stumbled across the service of paid cuddlers—that is, a person who is paid to cuddle. The Cuddle Sutra was suggested by one of the professional cuddling websites as an informal cuddle-position manual for its employees. I bought it and subsequently forced my husband to try out several of the positions. We had so much fun. It's sweet, not salacious, and I highly recommend it for anyone who has never cuddled beyond spooning but wants to do something other than forking."

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
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"I read I, Robot for the first time when I was 12, and then again when I was 14, 17, 23…and now I've lost count. Asimov was as much an ethicist as he was a fiction writer. Though originally published in 1950, the ideas and cautionary tales of these short stories are enormously relevant today. Advances in AI (and robotics) are happening at an exponential rate (see synthetic DNA, neural networks, Google's DeepMind project). If we want to avoid a Terminator/Skynet situation, then the emerging field of robot ethics should rely on Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics as a foundation (pun intended)."

A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka
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"A Hunger Artist skillfully summarizes the futility of first impressions. Kafka's short story is responsible for my reluctant obsession with philosophy and the inclusion of philosophical themes within my books. We project our values and ideas onto others, assign our motivations to them without seeking to truly know, and therefore—in a sense—willfully misunderstand. It's a beautiful story, beautifully written in both prose and pacing, and the end contains a delightful (and sad) twist you'll never see coming."

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
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"Many contemporary romance books I've read recently completely gloss over the psychoses plaguing the current generation and how they seem to engage in self-sabotage (e.g., FOMO, or fear of missing out). But in this nonfiction offering, Ansari tackles these issues head-on, imbuing his delivery with dry humor. Unlike Rudder's Dataclysm, Ansari doesn't shy away from anecdotal data in his engagingly hilarious—and poignant—take on the modern dating scene."

Want more book recommendations from authors? Check out our Good Minds Suggest series.

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 2: by Ann (new)

Ann Reichardt Ann Reichardts 11 years if online dating after tge end of a 30 yr marriage with authenticity ..still sexy at 60 shes kussing and telling.
Her suitirs are given alter ego names assiciated with a ballroom dance. Mr salsa sexy and romantic Mr jitterbug a high wire act. Relatble funny and timely

BrookeNoWhiskey Great interview! It's interesting to see the research and influence behind Matt and Marie's story. Cool behind-the-scenes!

message 5: by Rachana (new)

Rachana Why can't we let love come to us organically.. why this make believe stance to play with people's psyche.. We still love the songs like "love will always find you, no matter wherever you are...don't complicate this emotional entanglement and have some self worth above all.

message 6: by Nikki (new)

Nikki I absolutely loved Modern Romance! And Aziz did the narration for the audiobook as well, and he was flawless. xoxo

message 7: by Minh (new)

Minh Trang Great interview!

message 8: by David (new)

David 'Myself the Single Hotter Male from God Alone's Thank Yourself alot alot David Alan Phillips born & raised at CA state property of USA; deals @ age 36 what The Woman NEEDS never LIKES any?!'

message 9: by Ravi (new)

Ravi Dating-ish was fun reading. I found some golden advice on dating after reading Penny Reid's book.
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