Wrap Up | August 2019

Michaela

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Audio Books

Strange the Dreamer | Laini Taylor- I listened to this one on audio, which probably was the wrong format for me. Some of the dream scenes in this were just pure beauty and magic, and the concept of the whole story was unique and interesting, but the pacing was a little slow, and the characterization should have been stronger given the plot pace. I know a lot of people REALLY love this book, but I ended up lukewarm.

City of Girls | Elizabeth Gilbert- Another audiobook for the month, and I really loved the narrator. I find that first person narration works best for me on audio, and so this book was perfect. It also delivered the perfect amount of drama and fun for an audiobook since I can’t “read” anything particularly serious on audio. This read like a memoir, but a good, juicy one, and while it is lots of fun, it has enough depth to make me love it more than I usually love lighter reads.

Books

Outline | Rachel Cusk- I really connected to what was being said, just not how it was being said. This book was way too straightforward and lacked any depth or nuance (ironic given the literary tone is was going for), and while it felt like something that should have been impactful, it ended up falling completely flat for me.

The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald- I re-read this for the zillionth time, as I do every summer, and it was as magical and atmospheric and heartbreaking as ever. If you’ve never read this one, or only read it for school, do yourself a favor and pick it up!

A Tale for the Time Being | Ruth Ozeki- What a unique reading experience this was! It somehow manages to fluidly encompass everything from nature writing to quantum physics to history to philosophy within this story that is ultimately really about family. I absolutely enjoyed this mix of ideas, the overall tone of the novel (atmosphere! nostalgia! vague melancholy! poignancy!) and the touches of magical realism, but the last hundred pages or so felt a little out of step with the rest of the story. A solid four stars from me.
Travels with Charley | John Steinbeck- Our buddy read this month! I actually really loved this. I thought it was a thoughtful look at America at a very specific moment in history and I feel like I really got to know Steinbeck. After loving his novels all these years, it was amazing to spend a few hundred pages with him. It really felt like getting to know an old friend more deeply and I enjoyed that feeling so much.

THE BRIDGERTON SERIES

The Viscount Who Loved Me | Julia Quinn - Anthony Bridgerton is the WORST Bridgerton. I didn’t enjoy this one very much, frankly. Again, I am looking forward to Netflix UPDATING this series for the screen because there is an alarming amount of much too vague consent masquerading as Anthony just being an eye-roll worthy alpha male. Gah. If you want to try the Bridgerton novels, try a different one.

An Offer From A Gentleman | Julia Quinn- Benedict is a much nicer hero, though not without his cringey moments, and this book is very much a Cinderella trope/retelling if you enjoy that kind of thing!

Romancing Mister Bridgerton | Julia Quinn- Colin! My favorite Bridgerton male so far. This is a friends to lovers trope and was much sweeter than the previous two books. Plus, Penelope is kind of the best ever.

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Rikki

Travels with Charley | John Steinbeck - What a great little adventure. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t love this book, but I loved the idea of it, I enjoyed the writing, and of course, I love the author. I kept hoping I’d turn the page and find more road trip-esque adventure occurring, but it felt more subtle and toned down. I did love the generational detail, the involvement in different communities, the regional changes, and even the slight exploration into racism in the South during the ‘60s. So many great things and I’m really glad to have read this.

Daring Greatly | Brene Brown - I’ve been trying to read this book for nearly 7 or so years. For some reason every time I tried to get my hands on it, it was unavailable or simply wasn’t the right time for me to read it. What a great account of the research and experiences of Ms. Brown. I found so much of her research fascinating and informative, which I couldn’t really ask more from. Her insight to vulnerability gave me a lot of Aha! moments for various people and circumstances in my life; I imagined ordering a half dozen copies just to shove into people’s hands and say, THIS IS YOU!

And Then There Were None | Agatha Christie - I first read this book back in high school and fell in love with Agatha Christie. I read it again years later and revisiting it a third time (had completely forgotten the whodunit, so it was still a treat!) was equally exciting. While I don’t love all of Christie’s mystery novels, I do love most of them. They are pure fun, dramatic, suspense mysteries that are completely worth reading once in awhile. Did not disappoint!

The Library of Lost and Found | Phaedra Patrick - I needed something fun and having liked The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, I decided to give this book a try. I didn’t really love this book though. It felt long with a lot of unnecessary detail happening, a few cliches I rolled my eyes at, but otherwise, a very interesting and quirky story taking place that made me at least finish it.


What did you read this month?

Michaela DevineComment