What I’m Reading: October

I have been talking about “all the books I’m going to read in October” since…. July? Pretty much since I found out that July – September would be totally crazy busy and I didn’t set my hopes very high, outside of reading books from publishers. Well OCTOBER is finally here and I’m so excited to get cozy with some of the books on my shelf! This month is all about BOOKS FROM OTHERS. Borrowed, Traded, and Gifted!

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Borrowed

Having been focused on books from publishers over the summer, I made my grand return to the library last week for two books I’ve been waiting on for what feels like a while.

Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper

I love reading contemporary fiction in the fall. Maybe it’s because everyone in my family has a September birthday but it seems like a good time to reflect on family. I’ve seen a few great reviews of this book, and am excited to read it.

Goodreads Description: The Connor family is one of the few that is still left in their idyllic fishing village, Big Running; after the fish mysteriously disappeared, most families had no choice but to relocate and find work elsewhere. Aidan and Martha Connor now spend alternate months of the year working at an energy site up north to support their children, Cora and Finn. But soon the family fears they’ll have to leave Big Running for good. And as the months go on, plagued by romantic temptations new and old, the emotional distance between the once blissful Aidan and Martha only widens.

Between his accordion lessons and reading up on Big Running’s local flora and fauna, eleven-year-old Finn Connor develops an obsession with solving the mystery of the missing fish. Aided by his reclusive music instructor Mrs. Callaghan, Finn thinks he may have discovered a way to find the fish, and in turn, save the only home he’s ever known. While Finn schemes, his sister Cora spends her days decorating the abandoned houses in Big Running with global flair—the baker’s home becomes Italy; the mailman’s, Britain. But it’s clear she’s desperate for a bigger life beyond the shores of her small town. As the streets of Big Running continue to empty Cora takes matters—and her family’s shared destinies—into her own hands.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

This book is the hot book of the moment — after being selected for Reese Witherspoon’s book club in  September, this book has been on everyone’s radar. I’m proud to say that I requested it from the library before it was chose, but here we are. Part beautiful scenic writing, part murder mystery – I’m ready to have all the feels!

Goodreads description: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Traded

I love doing book swaps with friends! Both of these are were traded to me (temporarily) by friends who read and loved them, in exchange for a book I read and loved!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I borrowed this book from a neighbor months ago after raving about The Great Alone by the same author. I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book, and I think Hannah’s writing style combined with a WWII backdrop, will make for a beautifully gripping novel!

Goodreads description: In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another. 

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Ok – I have been hoping to read this book for SO long. I tried listening to it on audio twice, but couldn’t focus. But I heard incredible things from friends, and I mean, it won the National Book Award, so I plan to persevere and read the hardcopy a friend lent me.

Goodreads Description: Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love

Gifted

I love getting books as gifts, and I usually try to read them soon after I get them. One of these is new and unfortunately, the other I’ve been dragging my feet on for almost a year.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

For my birthday last week I said “no books!” when my boyfriend asked what I wanted. So what did I get? A graphic novel! I’ve never run one of these, but I’m really excited about this one. It’s the graphic novel behind the Tony winning musical, so you know after I read it, I’m gonna be listening to all the tunes!

Goodreads Description: Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the Fun Home. It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve

Playing Through The Whistle by S. L. Price

I got this book as a Christmas present last year and it really is right up my alley – you may not know this about me but I’m form Pittsburgh and I love the Pittsburgh Steelers. This book is about a football town across the river from were I grew up which is notorious for producing stars from an underprivledged community. I’ve been swamped with other books I want to read this whole year, but I think it’s time for me to pick this one up!

Goodreads Description: In the early twentieth century, down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh, the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company built one of the largest mills in the world and a town to go with it. Aliquippa was a beacon and a melting pot, pulling in thousands of families from Europe and the Jim Crow south. The J&L mill, though dirty and dangerous, offered a chance at a better life. It produced the steel that built American cities and won World War II and even became something of a workers’ paradise. But then, in the 1980’s, the steel industry cratered. The mill closed. Crime rose and crack hit big.

But another industry grew in Aliquippa. The town didn’t just make steel; it made elite football players, from Mike Ditka to Ty Law to Darrelle Revis. Pro football was born in Western Pennsylvania, and few places churned out talent like Aliquippa. Despite its troubles—maybe even because of them—Aliquippa became legendary for producing football greatness. A masterpiece of narrative journalism, Playing Through the Whistletells the remarkable story of Aliquippa and through it, the larger history of American industry, sports, and life. Like football, it will make you marvel, wince, cry, and cheer.

What are you reading this month? Are you usually good about reading books lent/gifted to you??

 

September Reading Recap

September was… busy! Although, for all the right reasons – I traveled to the East Coast for my grandmothers 99th birthday and to meet my newest (and only) nephew! Then continued on to Portugal for my very first solo international trip. It went really well, and as you can see below, I got a lot of quality time with my kindle and a glass of wine 🙂 When in Portugal, right!?

I read six books which is a ton for me considering none of them were audiobooks! Some great, some not as great, but overall a pretty good reading month — here’s what I read:

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
Rating: 5/5
Genre: Literary Fiction
Tone: Slow, Thoughtful, Tragic
Structure: Non-linear but with a relatively chronological timeline, before turning to a first person reaction
Read if you like: Beautiful writing, Family Sagas, Pachinko, An American Marriage

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin
Rating: 4/5
Genre: General Fiction
Tone: Bingeworthy, Dramatic, Youthful
Structure: Two points of view in two timelines
Read if you like: Greys Anatomy, Gossip Girl, The It Girl

The Witch Elm by Tana French
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Mystery
Tone: Dark, Gothic
Structure: Chronological first person from a single point of view
Read if you like: Tana French, Robert Galbraith, The Death of Mrs. Westaway

A Girl’s Guide to Missiles by Karen Piper
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Memoir
Tone: Quirky, Sarcastic, Long
Structure: First person chronological, although the voice changes as Piper grows up
Read if you like: Priestdaddy, Educated, Memoirs in general

Autumn by Ali Smith
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Literary Fiction
Tone: Contemplative, Hopeful, Sweet
Structure: Many stories blended together, no quotations around dialogue
Read if you like: Man Booker Prize Winners, Prose, Slow reads with a little humor

My Year of Rest and Relaxation
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Fiction
Tone: Repetitive, Sarcastic, Quirky, Repetitive (get it?)
Structure: First person with a linear timeline during periods of being awake over the year
Read if you like: Millenials – otherwise this book is totally unique.

August Reading Recap

HAPPY END OF AUGUST! I cannot believe it is here, and honestly am not sure that I’m ok with it being here!! August was full of milestones – one of my best friend’s weddings, my first building I designed being sent to the building department (!!), and, notably, the month before September (aka when all hell breaks loose in my life)! My goal for August was to read four titles with pub dates this month, without going too crazy with the pressure. I got through three of them and I feel pretty good about that!

I also listened to two of my #UnreadShelfProject2018 books on audio, read my Book of the Month pick from this month (which never happens), and (almost) completed another monthly challenge for The Unread Shelf Project 2018! So…. BOOM – I feel like I crushed it! Summaries below and links to reviews where available!!

 

The Distance Home by Paula Saunders
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Tone: Dark, Somber
Structure: Generally told chronologically from one perspective, with flashes to the future
Read if you like: Little Fires Everywhere, Enchanted Islands

What Happened by Hillary Clinton
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Political Memoir
Tone: Campaign-y, Friendly
Structure: Told first person from Hillary Clinton per topic of campaign challenges
Read if you like: Hillary Clinton, Politics, Unbelievable by Katy Tur

Chariot on the Mountain by Jack Ford
Rating: 5/5
Genre: Historical Fiction
Tone: Strong, Suspenseful
Structure:  Chronological, Third person from two perspectives
Read if you like: Civil War History, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Underground Railroad

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Mystery
Tone: Procedural, Scheme-y, Curious (idk these are hard)
Structure: Chronologically in present tense, with a few flashback diary entries
Read if you like: Tana French books particularly Faithful Place, Law and Order

Ohio by Stephen Markley
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Tone: Dark, angry, complex
Structure: Four distinct points of view on one night, with flashbacks to high school years
Read if you like: Let The Great World Spin, Hillbilly Elegy, The Immortalists

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Tone: Hope, longing, depair
Structure: Three intertwined story lines – two adult couples, and one teenage “couple”
Read if you like: Unique stories of growing up

What’s the best book you read this month?! And – are you ready for fall??

 

March Speed Reviews!

March was a busy reading month for me! I read 6 books! This may be a record – and I have to say, my reading pace was strongly assisted by embracing my Scribd audiobook subscription (more on that in a later post!). None of these books totally jumped out at me as amazing reads, so my average rating for March is 3.7. My quick reviews are below!

Janesville by Amy Goldstein

Genre: Nonfiction
Feel Learn Wonder Review: 4 Stars
Review: I read this book for my new San Diego book club. Correction: I listened to this book for my new San Diego book club. This was my very first audiobook! Janesville tells the stories of several people living and working in Janesville, Wisconsin. A huge GM plant shut down in the city in 2008/2009, and left the population devastated – both those who worked for GM and those who did not. The unexpected twist in this book (although not a spoiler) is that Janesville is also the hometown of Paul Ryan, the current Speaker of the House. During the book he was a successful congressman and also pursued a vice presidential bid. Weaving Paul Ryan’s story in to the story lines of the other citizens, added a layer of depth to the story, but I also felt like it overshadowed and politicized the stories of the Janesville residents. Nonetheless, I learned a lot about what happens in midwestern cities when the major industry ceases to exist, and I would recommend it to someone interested in broadening their awareness of some underlying factors influencing the current political climate. Needless to say, this book lead to a lively discussion!

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

Genre: Historical Fiction
Feel Learn Wonder Review: 3 Stars
Review: Stay with Me was a book I wanted to love, but unfortunately just didn’t. The story covers the life of a woman in Nigeria, a society practicing polygamy. She and her husband decide to remain monogamous for life, but they are unable to have children, which introduces an unbearable amount of outside critique and pressure for the husband to take more wives in the hopes of having children. The consequences of living through this situation take its toll on everyone involved, and while many of the plot points were big and deserved attention, the book was on to the next before the reader could process. As I talked about in my Unread Shelf post for February, since the writing was rushed and didn’t provide the context I needed, I felt ostracized and ignorant, which felt a little unfair since I was interested in learning.

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

Genre: Literary Fiction
Feel Learn Wonder Review: 4 Stars
Review: The Leavers was a understated and very real portrayal of the personal impacts of illegal immigration policy. I wish I could say that The Leavers was “heartwrenching” but to me that implies an event, or a singular moment when my heart was pulled out of chest. Instead, The Leavers slowly demonstrated the life long impacts of a family being pulled apart. Based on the way I felt closing the book, I’d say that style was even more effective. I highly recommend the book, but I will say you may not always want to pick it up and continue following along with Demi’s story.

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon

Genre: Mystery
Feel Learn Wonder Review: 3.5 Stars
Review: The Confusion of Languages is a book I bought last summer and then couldn’t bring myself to pick up. I ended up listening to the first 100 pages on audio since I had several hours of driving by myself for a work trip. I have to say, I was very surprised by this book – not necessarily “pleasantly surprised” but just surprised. It was not the literary fiction novel that would teach me about life in Jordan, but rather a fast paced mystery novel set in Jordan, which added an element of danger to the plot. While this wasn’t an ideal genre for me, I think it was a fun genre-bending story that I was able to rush through and was thoroughly entertained by.  I wrote a little more about this one in my Unread Shelf post for March.

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Cline

Genre: Art History/ Historical Fiction
Feel Learn Wonder Review: 4 Stars
Review: A Piece of the World was an impromptu library pick for me! I went to pick up a library hold, saw this in the New Books section, and fell in love with the cover (#duh its a famous painting for a reason). Then I read the description, which boasted an interesting look at an often untold time in American history and knew I had to take it home. This book was very much a novel – it told a story without too much suspense or intrigue, and had a tidy ending that pulled it all together. So often today, we read books that push us or thrill us and this was an excellent read in between all of those. It was slow and thoughtful and in the end I really liked it! I would recommend it to anyone, especially someone willing to slow down and smell the roses.

Still Life by Louise Penny

Genre: Mystery
Feel Learn Wonder Review: 3.5 Stars
Review: Still Life is the first of a 13 (and still going) part series following a detective, Inspector Gamache, in a small Quebec town, Three Pines. While this is a detective novel, don’t be fooled in to thinking it is a thriller. While there are twists and turns, this is one that is totally okay to read after dark and won’t keep you up all night (unlike some Ruth Wares!). That said, it was an enjoyable read with great character development and some fun mystery components. I will definitely be picking up the second book (probably in May because my April TBR is already packed!)

 

January/February Speed Reviews!

February was busy. My boyfriend and I spent two and a half weeks in New Zealand so preparing for, doing, and recovering from the trip took up pretty much the entire month. I got some reading done, but not many reviews. So I wanted to post my speed reviews here!

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Genre: Fiction/Magical Realism
Feel Learn Wonder Review: 2 Stars
Review: Robin Sloan is the great writer who brought us Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store, which I, and so many other readers loved! I expected to be taken on a similar journey this time, but the plot and character development never got me fully immersed in magical world. It ended up feeling a bit flat and forced, which was a dissapointment after loving Mr. Penumbra’s so much! For those looking for a quick palate cleanser between heavier books, this is certainly an option, but I wouldn’t expect to be sucked in to another world as much as you were with Mr. Penumbras.

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Feel Learn Wonder Review: 3 Stars
Review: I read this one as a the Diverse Book Club pick for their February topic of Chronic Illness. Left Neglect is a chronic illness in which your brain cannot imagine the left side of anything – your plate, the TV, your body, or even the room you’re sitting in. Imagine someone telling you to turn left, and you having to tell them that that’s impossible because there is no left. You know its not correct, but you just cannot find the left. Left Neglected follows the life of a busy working mother-of-two who suffers from this chronic brain injury following a car accident. The book is well done, and paints the picture of what it would feel like to be in the position of both the victim and the support system, but the plot lacks an overall arch. I felt like each chapter could have been a 40 minute tv show episode, and it definitely would be a show I would  tune in to each week, but it didn’t quite work for me as a book.

Hamilton The Revolution by Lin Manuel Miranda

Genre: Theatre
Feel Learn Wonder Review: 4 Stars
Review: I went to see Hamilton the Musical on broadway in January and I LOVED it! I went in totally fresh only knowing the song “My Shot” and not even really knowing what that meant. I requested Hamtilton: The Revolution and learned so much more about the characters, the cast, and little jokes Lin Manual Miranda through in to the lyrics. This book was such a great way to fully experience the show and by the end of the book, I had the soundtrack memorized!

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Feel Learn Wonder Review: 3 Stars
Review: Swimming Lessons was lent to me by a friend and that usually moves a stack to the top of my TBR since I want to return it quickly. The first half of this book really worked for me. I loved the alternating narrators and the budding love stories on both sides was making this slow burn really enjoyable. Unfortunately, in the second half I became more impatient with the slow burn, and the plot seemed to drag and not come together. The ending left me wanting more, and so I had to give this one a 3 star review.

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

Genre: Nonfiction
Feel Learn Wonder Review: 5 Stars
Review: READ THIS BOOK! You may notice this is my only five star review in the batch and it would seriously be 10 stars if that was an option. I loved this book. I found the writing so well done, with a great balance of historical information and personal histories. I can’t even express to you how much I learned and how glad I am that I dug a little deeper to learn about the living conditions in North Korea. I don’t want to give too much away here, because I think some of the power of this book is being blown away page after page.

 

Speed Catchup!

It’s been a while! I haven’t posted on here in maybe six weeks? Life and work both got crazy at the same time, which didn’t leave much time to write. Since it’s the end of October, let’s speed through some catch up of bookish news!

  • I read some books! Quick reviews:

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne – 5 Stars

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – 4.5 Stars

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker – 4.5 Stars

Where the Water Goes by David Owen – 5 Stars

Unstoppable: My Life So Far by Maria Sharapova – 5 Stars

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry – 3.5 Stars

  • I started a book club in San Diego! We read the Animators and had a ton of fun discussing it, while drinking some wine 🙂 Our next book will be Into Thin Air.
  • I (kind of) started a book club at work! We have a women’s group at work since I work in engineering, and we decided to read books about the work place and discuss it at our next meeting. This will just be a quarterly book club! Our first book will be The Confidence Code.
  • I had a birthday! I’m officially 28! For my birthday I bought myself What Happened by Hillary Clinton, and received Unstoppable by Maria Sharapova (Already read it! 5 Stars!) and Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.
  • I’ve been focusing more on #bookstagram interaction and have started messaging more with others on there. It’s been great to get to know more of the community!

I think that’s about it!

Looking forward, I have an ambitious TBR for November

  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (2017 Man Booker Prize Winner)
  • Into Thin Air by John Krakauer
  • What Happened by Hillary Clinton
  • The Confidence Code
  • and of course, my November BOTM book!

Happy Reading! And Happy November! I cannot believe 2017 is almost over!

 

August Rundown

August was a great month for reading for me. I finished four books – and two of them were over 500 pages (woah). I also made my third trip of the summer to Denver to watch one of my best friends get married, and had a house guest from New Zealand stay with us for nine days. I’d say August was busy, and September’s about to be even crazier!

I thought I’d try a new style of monthly post this month — direct and to the point. This month I wrote a lot on the blog, so instead of rehashing it all, I’ll just point you in the direction of those posts. I hope you enjoy!

Books Read

  • American Fire (July BOTM) – 4 Stars – Review here.
  • The Secret History – 5 Stars – Review here.
  • The Alice Network – 3 Stars – Review coming soon
  • The Lying Game – 4 Stars – Review coming soon

Bookish Updates

I read a lot of #backlistbumps this summer and LOVED it. Definitely going to be a new part of my routine – thoughts here.

I read two books from the Reese Witherspoon online book club, and did some digging in to other online book clubs – thoughts here.

I lost my phone for two weeks, and it made me do a lot of #bookstagram soul searching – thoughts here.

I’m starting a real life book club! I’ll write a post on it soon but I’m really excited

Book Buzz

The hottest books of August 2017 ::drum roll please::

  • Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
  • The Ressurection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

September TBR

  1. The Hearts Invisible Furies by John Boyne (August BOTM)
  2. Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge
  3. Where the Water Goes by David Owen
  4. My September BOTM
  5. My new book club’s first pick!

 

 

 

July Rundown

July was a great month – for reading and otherwise!

I started the month by reading In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. I read it in three days flat – finishing it right before our Fourth of July barbecue. I loved it as an easy summer read and would highly reccomend it! Review here. 5 Stars.

Right after that I picked up The Return by Hisham Matar. It took me a while to get in to this, so I assumed that I wouldn’t finish it on my plane rides to and from Denver. Well, I finished my book on my first flight and thought to myself, now what? So as I walked through the Denver airport I found a bookstore and dropped it for some impulse buys. I told myself I could get one book that had been on my list for a long time – and ended up walking out with Modern Lovers by Emma Straub and The Circle by Dave Eggers. Review for The Return here. 5 Stars.

As my travels continued, on a train from the airport to the city, I had such an awesome experience. I wrote about it on Instagram, but I was reading The Circle on the train and a construction worker on his way home from a 16 hour shift, started to ask me about my book. I told him what is was and that I just got it and we ended up chatting about books and bookstores for the rest of the ride. When we got to the station, I was a little lost trying to find my connecting train and he happened to be headed in the same direction as me, so before I knew it the two of us were running for the train and chatting about our favorite football players and other mutual interests. It was so amazing to get out of my comfort zone and talk to a stranger about books and life, all because he recognized the cover of my book.

I spent the following week reading The Circle by Dave Eggers and having some serious internal debates about the state of data collection in the world today.  I didn’t end up loving The Circle, but I’m excited to watch the movie and it definitely gave me a lot to think about! Review here.

And now as the month comes to a close, I’m (per usual) rushing to finish my August Book of the Month pick – American Fire by Monica Hesse.

Looking Ahead – My August TBR:

I went on a bit of a book buying binge in the last month, so I actually have a lot of books ready to be read!

  1. The Secret Hisotry by Donna Tartt
  2. Where the Water Goes by David Owen
  3. Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
  4. Per Usual – My August Book of the Month Club Pick

Happy end of July and here’s to ringing in the last month of Summer 😀 (although now that I live in San Diego that’s not stressing me out nearly as much!)

Your Turn: What did you read this month? Anything you’d reccomend?!

 

June Rundown

And all of a sudden it was June and we were on the road.

On the final day in May,  my boyfriend and I left on a two week road trip from New York to San Diego.  We passed through Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas, Denver, several of the Utah National Parks, and then smashed out a drive to San Diego on the last day. It was an amazing trip, but I almost never got alone time and was always so exhausted at the end of a day!
I had my two May Book of the Month selections to read – since clearly I didn’t get to them in May. Of the two titles, Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood and Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, I went with Into the Water for the roadtrip, as it seemed like it would raise less eyebrows at all of our stops along the way. As I mentioned in the review, I cracked open the book in Pittsburgh, PA, at my parents house, didn’t open it again until we got to Denver. And then read the majority of the book when we got to San Diego, and I had a laid back reading environment once again. The full review is here, but spoiler: I LOVED it (the actual review has no spoilers).
As soon as I put it down I was on to Priestdaddy, and I was loving it – enjoying the tone of the writing, but feeling shocked and sympathetic at their misfortune. And then…. I searched for ‘book club’ on meetup, found one, only had three days to read the book, downloaded Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel and read it in three days. As happens, I got too busy to go to the book club that Sunday, but I read and enjoyed the book, and posted my review here. I gave it three stars out of five.
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And now as the month ends, I’m looking forward to finishing Priestdaddy, picking my July Book of the Month, and reading the three paperbacks I got from Barnes and Noble. (I almost never buy books, but I got $30 from Barnes and Noble through their class action lawsuit! Free books please!)
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Hope you’re all enjoying summer and especially that summer reading! Happy July!!

May Rundown

I’m back!!

You may have noticed that a) I did not post a single post in the month of May after claiming in April that I would read SIX whole books and devote myself to my blog while my boyfriend was away all month, and b) that this is my third post in the last WEEK!
It turns out May was not the month for reading that I thought it was going to be. With my boyfriend being away, my furniture slowly being removed from my apartment, and my living room being a horrible place to spend time because my apartment had some kitchen repairs which required me to empty all of my cabinets into the kitchen/living room area, I never felt in the mood to read. Instead, it being my last month in New York with all my friends, I went out to celebrate approximately every night. (Oops!)
I managed through two books, only by the deadline of my bookclub meeting, but let’s get to the books part of this recap.
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I left off in April, saying that I needed to finish Blitzed by Norman Ohler ASAP for my book club – and surprisingly I was able to do so. Book club was held at my friend Lianna’s house on the Upper East Side of New York City. We always goes with a theme and for this book she bought potato pancakes!
Blitzed is an interesting one to host a ‘party’ around because its about Hitler and his meth addiction. Nothing fun or funny or anything you want to put in your body with that theme. But the treats were delicious, and as always there was wine.
We had a great discussion about the book, but the biggest takeaway is that if you’re feeling saturated of WWII stories because you kinda think you’ve heard them all, you have not heard this one! This research is totally new and will give you a whole new light to this crazy time period. I would warn readers that it reads more like a text book than a novel, but am I glad I read this book? Absolutely.
Expert Tip: Read Blitzed with sticky notes nearby. Or on a kindle. You’re gonna want to mark these facts for when your friends don’t believe you.
The weekend after book club I went to Newport, Rhode Island for some quality time with my sister and niece before the move. I don’t have kids so I didn’t totally anticipate this but it is so hard to read with a one year old around! They are moving and they want to play. I tried to read when she was asleep, but of course that only last twenty minutes!
At any rate, the book I was reading was Beartown by Fredrik Backman which came with the disclaimer from the All The Books Podcast “Be ready to read a lot about hockey.” I was prepared, and I love hockey, but I only got through about 50 pages of this book before I put it down. It wasn’t like his others, and maybe I subconsciously just wanted to reread A Man Called Ove, but I just wasn’t getting on board with the book and wasn’t willing to push through.
The following weekend, I did a crazy thing. I took the 7 am Saturday morning flight to San Diego and took the red eye back Sunday night. 10 hours of flying for 30 hours with Cam in our new city – definitely worth it!
I also LOVE to read on planes. So, while I could’ve slept most of the way to California, I got a large cup of coffee and read the first 70% of Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker. I loved this book, and I have a review mostly typed up, but this book was just so much fun. To make it even more fun, I got my whole book club as well as my mom to read it too! And the following weekend, when my mom came to visit New York, five of us went to the Chelsea Wine Vault to take a wine tasting class together. I love love love the Chelsea Wine Vault and this was actually my fourth class there. Highly recommend weekend wine school!
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It took me the rest of the month of May to finish cork dork, and my book club in New York managed to squeeze in one final meeting before I left. This one was smaller – I think only five of us actually made it, but most of us brought a bottle of wine and we did a mini tasting while we discussed the book!
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This was our first time doing activities outside of casually drinking wine and discussing books, and we just had so much fun with this one. I would definitely recommend it for other book clubs out there!