Recent Reads | June 2017

Michaela

The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet | Becky Chambers- Oh my gosh I LOVED this book. I don't tend to like space operas (this was a book club pick!) but this one was just so warm and amazing and well layered and flawlessly woven together; it was just a lovely work. I found it was sincerely the most fun place to be, hanging out with these characters on their ship. It hit the right balance of being character driven while still maintaining a solid plot, which can be hard to find, and I am just so glad I read it. It was strongly reminiscent of Firefly, so if you loved that show, pick this up!

The Graveyard Book | Neil Gaiman- Oh, Gaiman! His imagination is always such a delight to spend some time with, and this book was no exception. I read this back when it came out about ten years ago, so re-reading it was great. This was my second book club book this month, and was actually suggested to our group by Rikki! It's basically The Jungle Book + ghosts + mythology and it works shockingly well. It flowed along effortlessly, and I just loved the character of Silas and his relationship with the protagonist, Bod. 

Sweet Bitter | Stephanie Danler- I know this got some mixed reviews, but it was right up my alley. I can forgive most anything as long as the writing is atmospheric and beautiful, and this definitely was. Plus, I'm enamored with restaurant/wine/food life and books that revolve around that stuff, so yeah...this was 100% for me. Sure, the characters weren't always likable, and yes the plot was barely there, but I'm a sucker for that beautiful, lush, heavy writing style and Tess's breathless, relentless pursuit of that unidentifiable something more.

We Were Liars | E. Lockhart- After heavy Sweetbitter, I got in the mood for some short, fun YA as a palate cleanser and heard this had a great twist at the end. Unfortunately for me it was a dark twist, not a fun twist (which I really should have anticipated), so after barreling through it from 9pm-11pm that night I was left a little unsettled and it took me a while to get to sleep. Aside from the twist though, there was nothing particularly special about it. It was okay, but not exceptional in any way, and probably needed another hundred pages to really flesh it all out and make it something worthwhile.

The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald- Our buddy read this month which was a re-read and personal all time favorite novel. I love love love love LOOOVVEEEE this book forever and ever and ever. And ever. Love. Yes. Anyways, Fitzgerald's specific brand of literary magic and aching, nostalgic beauty just gets me every time. I've talked about this book more here, but trust me, if you haven't read it as an adult, go pick it up!

Norse Mythology | Neil Gaiman- I've long been fascinated by myths and legends of other cultures, especially ancient ones, so this was a fun read for me. It did lack some of Gaiman's distinct imagination, which is so present and lush in his other books, because these are ancient stories and not ones he dreamed up, but it was a fun look at the stories of Odin and Thor and Loki and the rest, and a quick read to boot. I really enjoyed the short story style format after the book hangover Gatsby left me with, so it was a great palate cleanser.

Rikki

At Home in the World | Tsh Oxenreider - This is one of those non-fiction travel memoirs that you can actually get into, and even appreciate a little. Tsh gave an incredibly honest account of a travel journey that her and her husband felt pulled to do. They saved up, sold everything, and off they went! I was surprised at how manageable it all actually sounded, especially for having three kids along. I didn't fully get the feel of appreciating home, which is one of the main concepts of the book, but instead felt some aspects to be surprisingly complain-y. That's about the worst thing from it though. My favorite part of it is that you can scroll through her Instagram and see photos and scenes she actually mentions in the book.

The Graveyard Book | Neil Gaiman - My second time reading this book, and I still loved it just as much! I read this for book club this month, and initially didn't feel like I could get into it in the midst of summer, but just a few more pages in and I literally couldn't put it down. Gaiman is masterful at magical realism and descriptive details. His ability to immerse his readers into the complex worlds, the people - it's impossible not to love. So glad to have read this one again.

The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald - I'm so happy to have finally buddy read this with Michaela, because she loves it so much. There's something quite fulfilling about reading a book your friend loves. Fitzgerald's unique writing style and narration catches me up sometimes and leaves me feeling a bit flustered, even more so in Tender is the Night (which I did not enjoy very much), but it was much lighter in this one. I enjoyed this story and loved getting to know the seemingly complex characters. After we talked about it, this would be a fun book to see with new endings.

Garden Spells | Sarah Addison Allen - This book was mentioned on Instagram under #theardentbiblioreads and sounded intriguing. I put it on hold at the library and was surprised when it quickly came in. I hadn't intended to read it so soon, but it was fun and quick. I love all things in a garden setting, so that was probably the best part for me. The rest was predictable and trifling, but great for a quick, fluff read.

Did you read anything good this past month? We'd love to hear! Also, we have our July prompts up and ready along with a recap of all the photos we took this month. It is so fulfilling to see that we've accomplished a consistent photo documentary of our reading lives, we hope you love it too!