I’m posting my wrap-up a little early this month because I’m going to be gone this weekend through next and I doubt I’ll have time to post. I will be making notes for reviews, etc. so I’ll be able to jump back in with plenty of content as soon as I’m back. I’ve had a ton going on this month so my reading has been all over the place, and I’m looking forward to putting July behind me and starting August fresh. Anything I finish reading through the 31st will just be added onto my August wrap-up. But for now, here’s a look at July. (As always, titles are linked to my full reviews.)
- I’m going on a vacation at the end of the month (leaving the 29th) into the beginning of August (getting back the 4th), and I’ve been pretty busy and distracted all month with planning it. It’s more of a road trip than a relaxcation, so I’ve been looking up all the places we want to go, the drive times, camping and hotels, etc. I’ve never been in charge of a trip this extensive before, so it’s been exciting but also pretty nerve-wracking making sure we have room to stop and see things but also that we’re going to get back home on time.
- I also am hoping to finish my writing project before the end of the summer, which is going surprisingly well, but it has cut into my reading time.
- None, again, but I’m planning some for next month.
- Circe by Madeline Miller. 3 stars. I was not as swept away by this story as many readers seem to be; I did enjoy reading it, but it was not quite what I expected. I think it’s always dangerous to pick up a book that’s had tons of great reviews, hoping to feel the same. I definitely thought this was good, and good enough that I’m even more interested in picking up Miller’s other book, but this one seemed kind of meandering and uneventful. Also I was led to believe there were some strong feminist themes here, but acknowledging the patriarchy and standing against it are two different things, and Circe stuck to the former, in my opinion.
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. 5 stars. A new favorite. I loved this story from the first page all the way through to the end. The writing is simple but beautiful, each of the chapters is its own distinct story that meshes beautifully into the greater narrative, and I learned a lot about African culture. This book spans generations, and my favorite aspect is that each life is so unique and distinct; they’re part of a whole, but each character has their own dreams and burdens and some of their stories stand directly in opposition to each other even as the book connects them. Highly recommend.
- Night Film by Marisha Pessl. 2 stars. If I were a DNF reader, I would not have finished this book. It is not terrible by any means, and a younger me would’ve liked this a lot, but this is an adult book, so the fact that I would’ve liked this better in my primarily-YA days probably says enough. The atmosphere is great, but most of the characters seemed pretty flat and unoriginal, and the book didn’t need to be nearly so long. I did like the formatting and multi-media aspect, though.
- Providence by Caroline Kepnes. 4 stars. This book is completely bizarre, and I can see why it’s been a lot less popular than Kepnes’ You books, but ‘bizarre’ is my favorite kind of reading. I’ve never seen anything like this before, and that’s a great feeling for an avid reader. Parts of this were a little slow and some characters were much stronger than others, but overall this book was a fun ride, mostly for the sake of novelty.
- On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. 5 stars. This was my first McEwan book in over ten years (Atonement was one of the first adult books I ever read), so I wasn’t sure what to expect– but I absolutely loved this powerful book. Parts of it made me extremely uncomfortable, but it was an experience I think I grew from. McEwan seems like one of those writers who can turn the tiniest, most basic seed of an idea into a compelling story, and this book renewed my interest in his work.
- A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. 3 stars. This was a reread, and I don’t think I’ll be posting a fresh review (title links to my old one) so I want to talk about it a little here. This is still a guilty pleasure series for me, not because I’m ashamed to tell anyone else I’m reading it but because I can’t justify it to myself. It lets me down and I come back to it, and I don’t know why. There are so many problems here, especially with the controlling boyfriend, but for some reason I still find the magic and characters addicting. Last time I rated this book 4 stars, but I did lower that this time because I had to roll my eyes more often. But, when I started craving a reread I thought I’d just skim for my favorite parts without reading all the background world-building info, but I didn’t remember as many of the details as I expected so I did end up reading the book in its entirety. And, honestly, I might read it again someday. I’m trying to hold off on starting the next book because I have too much on my plate right now, but sometimes an almost-trashy urban fantasy romance is what I want, apparently. (Although I will always find it ridiculous how many times these characters try to get married and then claim it didn’t count.) I’ll respond to comments below if you want to know more about this one, since I’m not planning a full review for this reread.
- Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton. 3 stars. This was really entertaining, but also a bit illogical– or at least, it stretched my ability to suspend disbelief. It was a little slow building up to the good stuff, but about halfway through there began some insanely compelling twists. Though that didn’t improve the pacing, it did pique my interest. There were some elements of the writing style I really liked, and this would’ve been a 4-star read if the ending had been stronger; I like ambiguity, but this felt a bit forced, with the MC giving up her secret before the game was up. I have notes for a full review, but I don’t know if I’ll get it posted tomorrow or during my trip or after. I will answer questions/comments below though, of course.
- Average Rating: 3.6 – a little low for me, but higher than expected after the way my reading seemed to drag this month.
- Best of the Month: Homegoing, by a long shot.
- Worst of the Month: Night Film. I wish I had read this when it was new, I probably would’ve loved it back then.
- Books Hauled: 15 – my goal was 3 or less. You can follow the link to see what I bought.
- Owned Books Read for the First Time: 1 – my TBR grew by 11 books this month, which is way more than it should have.
- Total Books read in 2018: 68 – I’m still ahead of schedule for my Goodreads goal of 90 books.
Numbers-wise, this wasn’t a terrible month. 7 books is the lowest number of books I’ve read in one month all year, but it was only last year that my average books per month went up from 4 to 8, so it’s still pretty good for me. I had two 5-star reads, which is always great, and I didn’t really hate anything I read, so I can’t even really explain why this felt like such a bad reading month. Maybe because I read so many borrowed books instead of owned books that I went backwards with my TBR. Anyway, here’s to hoping for an awesome August.
What did you read this month? Have you read any of these books?
The Literary Elephant