Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Books I Read in July

You guys, I rocked the pleasure reading in July. Seven books (obviously, not all pictured above, because I had to return half of them to the library before I remembered to grab a pic)! Not a personal record, but it might be a record since becoming a mom. If judged only by my reading list, this summer is turning out to be pretty spectacular. I read some really fun ones this month too.

In order, here goes:

Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

I love Gretchen Rubin's books, I've followed her blog for years now, and I love her new-ish podcast. Because she talks about so many of her ideas on her blog and in the podcast, I wasn't sure that her new book would offer any new material that I hadn't heard before, but my friend Amy's effusive praise of the book convinced me that I couldn't pass it up. And yes, it was actually super helpful to read all of these ideas about habits and personality all in one place. Actually, this book helped me analyze my husband and help him make some habit changes more than myself (but I'm an upholder, and he's an obliger, so that makes sense). Also, this book confirmed that while I love Gretchen's writing, she would probably be a super intense and intimidating person to know in real life.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Okay, let me begin by just saying that I liked this book. I really did. It's beautifully written. I have no argument with that. However, I don't quite get the hype. I don't think it's that much better than every other powerful and gut-punching World War Two novel written before. My sister and I were discussing why she like this one so much better than The Book Thief, and she said she appreciated how it was much less sentimental and manipulative. Maybe I'm an overly sentimental fool, but I had a hard time caring about these characters, whereas I sobbed my eyes out in The Book Thief. To each their own.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Ahh! More apocalyptic fiction that left me wondering how I'd ever survive without the internet! Also, this book really made me want to move to a farm and live a completely self-sufficient life, learn how to hunt, and stock up on solar panels. I would describe this book as a more humanistic The Road. The concept of a travelling orchestra and theater troupe, whose motto is "Because Survival is Insufficient," really added a layer of hope and beauty to a genre that is otherwise bleak and depressing. I also enjoyed the layered way this story was told with flashbacks, and how the characters' lives intersected.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

You guys, British humor is just the best. Period. I really should've read this one in high school, and I'm not sure why it took me so long to get around to this, but I'm glad I did. I immediately purchased this for my dad as soon as I finished reading it because, the man loves Monty Python and all things science fiction. I don't know if there is a more perfect book for him.

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

I'll admit it took me a few months to get through this one, and I did a lot of skimming. In my opinion, this book could've been edited by half and still communicated it's message. That being said, I still found Louv's message about the importance of nature and natural experiences during childhood to be fascinating and critical. I completely agree with his argument that many childhood problems (behavior issues, ADHD, etc.) could be solved or at least helped by more experience with nature. I especially appreciated his delicate discussion on the paradox of protecting the environment while still allowing children to interact with it (build forts, go fishing, etc.). This book gave me a lot to think about how I want my own children to grow up with nature, something we have to be a little more intentional about in our city apartment.

Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

I don't think I ever would've picked this one up if my book club hadn't chosen it for our next read. The book itself was fine, this just really isn't my genre. It's definitely got a Twilight feel (love triangle in a supernatural setting, only it's Indian were-tigers instead of vampires and werewolves), which is fine if you like that sort of thing, but it kind of makes me feel like my brain is atrophying. The Indian mythology was interesting, but there was way too much drama. Not for me.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Technically I finished this one on August 1st, but I read the bulk of it in July, so I'm counting it. I started by reading this one out loud to my husband as we drove around Utah on our recent family reunion tour, but we both got really into the story and spent all of our non-driving hours trying to steal the book away from one another to finish it (he finished first, only because I got that rough 1:30 to 6:30 AM shift with the grumpy baby and spent the next morning napping while he read). So, I will say that while reading aloud I had to do a fair amount of slang editing and bleeping for the more sensitive ears in the car, but in general this was a super fun story. I needed my husband to explain most of the video game and 80's pop culture references (yes, he is the bigger nerd between the two of us), but I could still follow the story even in my ignorance. If you enjoy nerd culture (especially nerd culture of the 80s), or enjoy a good action-adventure puzzle story, I highly recommend this one.

1 comment:

  1. I have the exact same feelings about All the Light We Cannot See and A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Everything about me and my personality and my style of working and thinking would predict that I would love Better than Before, but although I loved Rubin's previous books, I really couldn't get into this one.