Books of the Month: July

July is the one month during the year that I have completely off from school, so I expected to read a MILLION books. I read a grand total of…five. In my defense, I was in Ohio for the first eleven days and did hardly any reading while I was there because I was busy doing things like hanging out with people I love. Also, I’m currently in the middle of two books that are taking me way longer than anticipated to read – but you’ll hear about those next month. On a positive note, I met my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 50 books this month! Time to raise it a bit – how many do you think I can read before the end of 2017?

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  • The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Rod Dreher, biography

I’ve heard Rod Dreher speak a few times now, and he was a plenary speaker at the conference I attended last month. There was a table with books written by the speakers, and this book was included. It’s the story of Dreher’s little sister, Ruthie, her childhood, adult years, cancer diagnosis, and death. It’s very sad. I read a good bit of it on a plane and couldn’t stop crying. The story inspired a lot of nostalgia in me and made me want to move home and be near my family.

  • Banana Cream Pie Murder, Joanne Fluke, mystery

These books are terrible, and yet, this one is #21 in the series and I’ve read them all. They’re called “cozy mysteries” and all involve Hannah Swensen, a bakery owner, solving a murder before the local police do. They really are so bad, but there are recipes sprinkled throughout the book and some of them are fantastic. This one also ended on a cliffhanger, so I will probably read #22 as well.

  • The Dry, Jane Harper, mystery/thriller

This is probably the best mystery I’ve read all year. Excellent characters, plot, development. It kept me guessing and interested. I finished it in one day because I couldn’t put it down. While it was a thriller, it didn’t scare the crap out of me the way Gillian Flynn’s books do. It’s set in Australia, so just another example that my favorite books are set in English-speaking countries that are not the US (see: Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, all Tana French books, The Light Between Oceans). 

  • Room, Emma Donoghue, fiction

This was the most depressing book I’ve read in a while. The narrator is a five year old who has never been outside of Room, the place where he was born. He and his mother are being held prisoner by the man who kidnapped her seven years earlier. The first part of the book is just about Jack’s and Ma’s lives in Room and what they do, and the story changes a bit in the second half. It was a disturbing story, and difficult to read a whole book in five-year-old vernacular. It was interesting to hear his perspective on his world.

  • The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, Lauren Willig, historical fiction

I’ve read this before, but as it was while I was recovering from getting my wisdom teeth taken out, I did not remember any of it. The Pink Carnation is an English spy in France, similar to the Scarlet Pimpernel. Part of the book is set in modern day England, with a PhD student trying to write her dissertation about the “flower spies.” The other part takes place in Regency England and in Paris. It’s silly and fun, and I enjoyed it, even though it’s ridiculous at times. I’m planning to keep reading the series.

And that’s all, folks. As always, I’d love to hear if you read any of these and what you think of them!

Reading Challenge Progress: 50/50 books completed.

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One thought on “Books of the Month: July

  1. 1) The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas – The narrator of this book is an African American teenage girl who lives in a rough area of town but goes to school at an affluent mostly Caucasian school. She has two different personalities, one for home and one for school. Early on in the novel she witnesses one of her friends get murdered by the police during a routine traffic stop. The novel follows her as she deals with people at school, the media, her family and her neighborhood. Obviously this book was inspired by the many shooting by police in our country of late. It was a good read, and although fictional, I think it was good to experience that perspective.
    2) The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland – Jim DeFede – I read this book because I am currently obsessed with the musical “Come From Away”. This book is nonfiction and was published in 2012. It highlights different people who were flying on 9/11 and were diverted to Newfoundland when the US airspace closed. Many times it brought me to tears. I am amazed that I didn’t know anything about this story before this year. It really shows how no matter how much evil there is, there is still good to be found.
    3) Alex and Eliza – Melissa de la Cruz – This novel was written by the author after seeing Hamilton with her daughter. I had high hopes for it, and ended up not loving it. I guess it is hard to compete with Hamilton.
    4) Geekerella – Ashley Poston – This is a modern day spin on Cinderella. It is definitely in the teen genre, but it was a quick read, and cute. I liked it. I am however, usually a huge fan of fairy tail retellings, so it isn’t a surprise that I liked it.
    5) Perfect Ten – L. Phillips – This is a novel about a high school boy looking for his “Perfect 10”. His best friend is Wiccan and helps him perform a spell. He quickly meets 3 boys that all seem to fit his criteria and he is left deciding which one is right. This book was set in Athens, Ohio so I loved it. It was so fun reading about places that were my life for 4 years. It was also just a very sweet book.
    6) How to Make a Wish – Ashley Herring Blake – This book is about a teen girl, her unstable mom and a new girl who the main character develops feelings for. It was an OK read, but overall, it seems like a lot of writing about not a lot of stuff.
    7) Dead Letters – Caite Dolan-Leach – I read this at your recommendation! I sometimes got annoyed with the writing during the book, and for some reason it wasn’t that captivating to me. It took me five days to read. I was surprised with the ending, and ended up liking it enough to give it a 4/5.
    8) New Boy – Tracy Chevalier – This is a shorter novel and it is a retelling of Shakespeare’s “Othello”. I was not previously familiar with this tragedy, but I did know going into reading the novel that it was a tragedy. Thus, I did not expect it to be happy, which was an appropriate expectation going in. I honestly really liked this book. I thought perhaps the main characters could have been older than 6th grade, especially with some of the content. Also, if you went into this not knowing that it was a retelling of Othello, I think the plot would make less sense. Things escalate quickly towards the end, and not in a typical fashion while reading fiction. I would recommend this book.

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