A bookish round-up.

Summer seems to have two modes at Casa de Katie this year – either we’re so busy that I have a hard time finding time to blog about our adventures, or things are s-l-o-w and I’m too busy recuperating to tackle the mountain of blogging ideas that piled up. So I’m going to take the easy way out and steal a bookish round-up meme that my friend Trish posted over at her blog, Life, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity. (You should go read her. She’s awesome!)

BOOKS RECENTLY FINISHED: I’ve read twelve books this month so far. Two were re-reads: I read Room by Emma Donoghue because Trish was reading it for the first time and her tweets made me want to go back and revisit it because I read the book so quickly the first time that I couldn’t remember big chunks of how things happened; and Millbury by Chris Sinacola because I had two copies of it and I pulled one out to give to my sister while she was here.

Four were YA books that were, frankly, pretty disappointing. Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick, about a teen who is mysteriously turned into the most beautiful and irresistible woman in the world, was written in a style I found too simplistic and drove me batty with the way it dumbed things down for the audience; If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, which is like a newer, lower class protag retelling of Face on the Milk Carton and never pulled me into the story; Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal, which was actually sort of decent except I wasn’t in the mood for more paranormal teen fic (protag can hear the ghost of Jacob Grimm and mysteries in his town abound); and After the End by Amy Plum that I came thisclose to buying hardcover because it sounded amazing – teen living in Alaska after World War III (and decimation of the world) finds her village wiped out and consequently discovers that the rest of the world wasn’t destroyed in a World War after all – which would have been a lot better without the confusing paranormal storylines that NO ONE MENTIONED IN THE BOOK FLAP COPY.

I read one decent YA book that was fluffy and fun, even if it was a bit dippy at times – Jennifer E. Smith’s This Is What Happy Looks Like. Two teens accidentally start emailing (after an initial email was sent to the wrong address) and fall for each other – only she doesn’t know he’s actually a movie star. If you want a cute, gooey love story that you can knock off in an hour or two, this is your book – but borrowing rather than buying might be the way to go.

Natacha Appanah’s The Last Brother is the lit fic equivalent, I think. It was an okayish read about WWII’s impact on the remote island Mauritius, kind of like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas for adults, with deeper thematic exploration, more characters, and in a different setting. Yeah, I know, but really.

Which leaves three really good books: Time and Againby Jack Finney, that a friend had recommended to me, but what really sealed the deal was that Stephen King described it as THE book about time travel. It was definitely his inspiration for 11/22/63. And so much less confusing than The Time-Traveller’s Wife! The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez has been getting all the buzz since before it came out, and for good reason. It was so hard to put down! Given all the talk about immigration lately, it’s a good reminder that every single person on this planet has a story. I loved the short chapters from all the minor characters’ perspectives, telling how to came to live in this one building, and I loved even more how they fit into the bigger story, so the book felt cohesive, never choppy. It fell just short of being a grandslam recommend-to-everyone-right-now sort of read, but was hopeful and inspirational and heartbreaking all at once. The last starred read from this month was Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods about a man’s journey along the Appalachian Trail. Basically, it’s like Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, except told from a middle-aged somewhat-privileged white guy’s perspective who isn’t out looking to find himself. There was a lot more historical and fact-filled sidebars about hiking and the trail and regions as opposed to Strayed’s personal history, introspection, and exploration of emotional well-being, but much to my surprise, I found myself liking it almost as much – once I adjusted my expectations.

NEW BOOKS IN THE HOUSE: Not too many books came home with me this month…well, comparatively. I had pre-ordered Rainbow Rowell’s Landline, so that showed up on my doorstep on Tuesday. (I’ve been forcing myself to read it slowly and savor, but I’ll still finish it later today. And then have to wait way too long for her next book. Sigh.) I had some books to trade-in at the used book store, so I picked up What Was She Thinking? by Zoe Heller in exchange. I also stopped at the library (because what if I ran out of things to read?!) and snapped up The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell, What They Do in the Darkby Amanda Coe, The Elementals by Francesca Lia Block, and The Time In Between by Maria Duenas that has been on my TBR for ages. I don’t always get to my library books before I bring them back, but they’re comforting – knowing I have good, free books at my disposal in case of reading emergencies.

NEW BOOKS ON MY E-READERS: I have The Eyes of the Dragonby Stephen King queued up for my SK re-read project. I’m also fighting the temptation to download JoJo Moyes’ new one, One Plus One.No, I don’t need to buy another new release – I spent my July allotment on Landline. But it’s so. tempting.

BOOKS ON THE NIGHTSTAND: I’m about 50 pages from the end of Landline.And I’m about to start Public Enemiesby Bryan Burrough as my lunch-break book.

So. Your turn – what have you been reading lately? And what books are up next in your summer reading?



One Response to “A bookish round-up.”

  1. Trish Says:

    SO MANY BOOKS!!! Yes, so Room. I enjoyed the first half much more than the second half, but I was relieved that I was able to eventually get used to Jack’s narration. Though him being an excellent eavesdropper helped.

    A Walk in the Woods. Glad you enjoyed it. I read Wild first and really loved it (have you seen the movie preview yet? I’m not sure how I feel about it) and I expected Walk in the Woods to be *hilarious* which it was not. Still enjoyed it–liked the historical.

    I’m going to have to check out Time and Again. I loved 11/22/63 and Time Traveler’s Wife (though the latter has some holes that still irritate me). Though in terms of time travel, the next time travelling book I’ll read will probably be Outlander 4. 🙂

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