Wrap Up | July 2017

Read In July

Michaela

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | Taylor Jenkins Reid- Once again the hype machine totally ruined a book for me. I was hesitant to read this given that I was underwhelmed with Reid's other works, but everyone was saying it was so good and deep! It wasn't. It was fun, entertaining fluff, but it was not in any way profound or handing the topic in an especially interesting way. It WAS head and shoulders above her other books I've read though! If you're going into this, manage your expectations is all I'm saying.

A Wrinkle in Time | Madeline L'Engle- This was a book club pick this month, and one I had previously read as a child. Reading it as an adult, it actually wasn't nearly as good as I remembered. It's still an important book, and a fun one, but it didn't quite have the power it used to, which i think is common when you re-read childhood favorites. I did still enjoy it though, I flew through it one sitting and it definitely had larger themes that I never noticed as a kid, which was interesting! I will definitely go see the movie and hope Hollywood doesn't butcher it.

Reading People | Anne Bogel- This book definitely isn't for everyone. If you don't find personality typing remotely interesting, you're gonna wanna skip it. However, if you are into that sort of thing, this book functions kind of like a crash course for different personality frameworks, and Anne does a good job of taking an overwhelming amount of information and making it feel not only intuitive, but actionable in real life. I enjoyed some chapters more than others, but thats the beauty of a book like this; you can pick and choose what feels applicable and helpful to you. It's a quick read; Anne comes off as approachable and human, and provides many thoughtful and amusing anecdotes to illustrate her points. If you're a fan of her blog, or are curious about personality typing, this book is definitely for you. 

Delancey | Molly Wizenberg- Our buddy read this month; we decided on doing something a bit different since July was such a busy month for us both. Wizenberg has such a clear, distinct voice and her writing makes the book feel effortless to read. I really enjoyed the story of Delancey and all the restaurants and places in Seattle that they talk about that are accessible to me. As someone who is endlessly fascinated by aspects of restaurant life, this was a brand new viewpoint and I just devoured it. Rikki and I can't wait to go visit!

Exit West | Mohsin Hamid- Long listed for the Man Booker prize, this book DESERVED it. The prose was delicate and beautiful, there was a lot of unexpected twists and details, and the whole thing was clear allegory. The edge of the fantastical made a hard subject more approachable, and though I enjoyed it, the book also kicked up more complicated feelings, and those took me a few days to sort through. Which really, that's the best kind of book. 

The Three Musketeers | Alexandre Dumas- This was the classic I put the rest of my TBR on hold for, and took along with me for my summer adventures over the past month. Dumas is so amazingly witty and I didn't expect how completely loony tunes the story was! This was loooongggg, but had an incredibly interesting cast of characters, including the fabulous villain Milady. It's definitely not profound, it's not a deep work of classic literature, but it's a great romp, an adventure story, a romance, and has great antagonists to our heroic musketeers. A really fun classic novel, it almost reads like a series of vignettes; it really reminded me of a TV series in it's structure, where it was somewhat episodic with overarching storylines grounding the whole thing. Plus it was sincerely laugh out loud funny! A great one if you want a less "heavy" classic

Rikki

Delancey | Molly Wizenberg - This book was a breeze to get through - it was a fun, somewhat intimated portrayal of a blogger's marriage and career change. I really enjoyed the way recipes were incorporated, BUT YOU GUYS, there wasn't anything even close to pizza in there! An entire book about learning to make the perfect pizza and opening a pizza restaurant, and we didn't even get a slightly altered version. I was also excited to find Molly and Delancey online after devouring her story, and was really sad to learn that they were no longer married. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone | J.K. Rowling - This one took me a bit to get into, we'll blame moving for that. Harry Potter is just fun, and Rowling does a wonderful job with really making this wizarding world seem so real. I'm looking forward to continuing on with the series.

The Lemon Orchard | Luanne Rice - I picked this book up on a whim some time ago. I'm a sucker for titles related to gardening, outdoors, or anything nature-y. The summary had a good mystery to it, so I gave it a try. Within the first 20 or so pages, I debated putting it down. Then I debated putting it down three more times. I became so frustrated with Rice's inability to properly depict the language shift between cultures and characters (there's a heavy Mexican, American, and Irish cultural foundation to the story). Some things she wrote were just too cheesy and predictable, and I found myself looking at Goodreads reviews over and over, wondering if I was missing something. I stuck with it, but it was predictable and dull for me.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe | Fannie Flagg - I had no real idea what to expect coming into this book, but after the previous one I read, I fan girl'd all over Fannie Flagg's brilliant prose. This book has a unique timeline format, even some controversial topics, but none of that bothered me. Her ability to write in such a way that connects you to the hearts of her characters and places is truly unbelievable. I can't wait to read all of her books!

When the Future Comes too Soon | Selina Siak Chin Yoke - I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book quite as much as I did, but it was really great. I really enjoy different perspectives on WW2 and this is one I've never encountered. You definitely find yourself rooting for the main character, then being completely upset by her choices in the end. You really feel from this story and I'm so glad the publisher reached out to us and sent this novel our way. Thanks to JKS Communications to sending it to us for review!

Number the Stars | Lois Lowry - I've been a long time fan of Lowry's. Dating back to 7th grade and reading The Giver in school, my love affair with reading took off. I've read a few of her others, but it wasn't until we did the Year You Were Born post that I came across this one and decided it was time. This is a great novel for kids to read based in 1943, during WW2. It's delicate, but honest and Lowry does a beautiful job describing the difficulty of those years in such a short story. Very well done, I'll be passing this off to my oldest kiddo to read next.

Two by Two | Nicholas Sparks - After reading everything I intended to this month, I picked up a fluff read from my shelves. I once loved Sparks' charming and easy stories, but this one was ridiculous. Not only is it a long and unnecessary 500 pages, the story could have been told in 300 or less pages. And no one needs to read what any character has for every meal in a book. Just no. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and ultimately wanted to find out what happened at the end. It was still a breeze to get through, which can be enjoyable in itself as well. I've definitely read better by Sparks.

 

Featured Reviewer

Ashley | @The_bookish_mom

Hello fellow readers! My name is Ashley, and I'm so excited to be here on The Ardent Biblio! I live in Canada, am a wife and a mom to two (3 and 1), and I LOVE to read! I am not the most articulate and tend to (quite excessively) use parentheses, but the bookish community over on Instagram has been so welcoming and the perfect outlet for all my bookish thoughts and reviews! When Rikki and Michaela invited me to share my favourite reads from July here on the blog, I (of course) jumped at the chance to talk books with you all! Today I'm sharing my top five July reads, and you can find the rest of my July reads and reviews over at @the_bookish_mom on Instagram. 

Hidden Figures | Margot Lee Shetterly- This was the first audiobook I've listened to, and it was incredible! The women in this story were so inspiring- they led the way in so many areas: in their workplaces, their churches, their families. They worked tirelessly to pave the way for their race, their communities, and the next generation. I have so much respect and admiration for each woman and her story. I learned so much about math and space science, but in a way that was never boring. The story is one I'd especially recommend for educators and moms and daughters to read together. These women accomplished so much, especially considering the discrimination and  career-related obstacles they faced. I believe theirs is a story that needs to be told! I'd definitely recommend picking this one up.

The Nix | Nathan Hill- This was a GOOD book. It had all the elements I love in a story; it was deep, intelligent, witty; it had two of the most detestable but well-written characters I've ever read; and the story carried me excitedly along, right through all 600+ pages! I love when a book takes diverse characters and seemingly unrelated subjects- online gaming? the Chicago protests of 1968? Norwegian fishermen?- and mixes them into a seamless, intriguing storyline. If you loved well-turned, thoughtful writing, this book is for you.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane | Neil Gaiman- This is the second audiobook I listened to this month, and before we get to the story, let me gush for a moment about Neil Gaiman's narration. His slow, deep, nuanced voice was perfect for this magical story- he even did the accents! His love for his story was so evident in his narration, and the afterword only added to the entire experience. This book had a similar feel to The Graveyard Book (the only other Gaiman book I've read) although it felt deeper and darker to me. I loved that it was told from a seven year old's perspective; the childish observations made the seriously creepy things a little more palatable. The genre was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I ended up really enjoying this book!

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie-  Adichie's manifesto was little in size only- It was so clear, concise, and empowering! I loved that her feminist message was well balanced, thoughtful, and kind. She wasn't brash or hateful, and truly encouraged the kind of feminism that strives for real equality. Although the book was short, I found myself writing down so many quotes and each of the suggestions. The ideas presented felt attainable and practical. I'd recommend this as a starting point for people interested in feminism who find the subject a little daunting. 

The Royal We | Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan- I HAD to include this really fun read for you guys! Despite the fact that it's unabashedly royal fan-fiction, the story is very well written, with well-thought out characters and a gripping plot line. It was a quick read, but not necessarily a dumb one, which actually surprised me a little bit! I'd recommend this if you are looking for a fun read that still has a little substance to it. I don't usually pick up books in the "beach read" genre, but I unapologetically loved this book and think you will too! 

Posts In July

Other Notes

We had the honor of being chosen for the Modern Mrs. Darcy's launch team for her new book, Reading People, out September 19th! If you pre-order you'll receive a couple of perks: a free download of the audiobook and free access to Anne's amazing online personality class! We'll be sharing more snippets over on Instagram as we get closer to the release!

We also accepted an ambassadorship with Little Brown and Co., so expect to see us featuring some of our favorite new releases over on instagram and on here in the months to come.

We aren't getting paid for any of this, just happy to be reading and sharing books we genuinely love. Trust us, if we hate it, or even feel it's mediocre, it's not gonna show up here (or you'll definitely know we didn't like it)! All of this is simply in effort to diversify our reading lives and join the conversations and community around books in a new way.

This post is part of the Modern Mrs Darcy Link Up!