What I’ve read so far this summer

Happy summer! It’s the middle of July now, and I’m finishing and in the middle of a few of the books from my Late Summer To-Read list. But in the meantime, here’s what are (supposed to be) tweet length reviews of June: YA, heavier chick-lit, and a decorating book you can curl up with.

June1

Paper Towns John Green
Very, very typical John Green YA, but enjoyable for it. I liked Quentin, I liked Margo to the extent that I think we were supposed to (though not much more than that), and enjoyed the late-high-school world they inhabited.

Washed and Waiting Wesley Hill
Hill takes readers through his own journey with his acceptance and dealing-with as a Christian of his own homosexuality. He spends particular amounts of time discussing concepts of loneliness—and while for him, and for his audience in the same position, that conversation centers around celibacy, he also engages those outside of it with loneliness as a concept we all deal with. I’m looking forward to following this title up with Justin Lee’s Torn, a different approach to a similar position.

The Nesting Place Myquillyn SMith

I bought this because it looked gorgeous from the review I’d read of it—but honestly, I expected it to be another coffee table book that I flipped through a few times but didn’t actually read, like Domino. But, nope. This book from the Nester is gorgeous AND great for curling up with. I kept it at home and read it slowly, a chapter here and a chapter there. With chapters on dwelling in possibility, taking risks, limitations, and small tweaks that make a difference, Myquillyn deals in both the practical and philosophical of decorating in a way that will likely bring me back to this book in future times of decorating-uncertainty.

June2

Me Before You Jojo Moyes
This is when I learned that I am really going to love Jojo Moyes. I’m actually writing this the day after finishing another of her books, and am now a devoted fan. Me Without You is not your usual chicklit. Janssen @ Everyday Reading refers to it as chick-lit with heft, and I tend to agree. Me Before You takes on some big issues and surprises you, in the end.

Finnikin of the Rock Melina Marchetta

This older-YA fantasy took me forever to get into, and then equally forever to finish, but I liked it enough by the end that I’m happily starting the second—and accepting that it might take forever as well.

Mark of Athena Rick Riordan
This is part of the quick moving, mythology-based kid-lit/YA Percy Jackson series. Well, part of the second series Percy Jackson series. I really like these, even if I did find out I was reading the same book as my 11-or-so year old cousin. (Ok, I actually somewhat enjoyed it more because of that. I love finding “kid” books that are also enjoyable as an adult!)

 

June3

Sandry’s Book,
Tris’s Book,
& Daja’s Book Tamora Pierce

I read most of the book’s in this world of Pierce’s a long time ago. I like them. They’re purely YA, and don’t particularly read as anything else, but I don’t care; I like her worlds. Plus, they’re quick and feel comfortably nostalgic.

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What I’m (going to be) Reading

It’s the holiday weekend, so clearly I’m going to celebrate by talking about books. Even better: the books I’m looking forward to reading this summer.

I’ve recognized that I don’t actually want to have a blog where all I talk about is moving across town and reading, but here’s the thing: I really want to talk about reading. So I’ll deal with writing about other things on another day.

In light of the obvious fact that it is definitely not enough to just talk about what I’m reading after I read it, I give you: the books I more or less intend to probably read in the months of July and August.

Summer Reading List

 

Yesterday at lunch, having finished (and submitted) a grueling bout of all-nighter freelance proofreading (yes, grueling: at some point I really need to put my all-nighter days behind me for good), I picked The Girl You Left Behind as a palate cleanser. I’ve read just one Jojo Moyes novel before this, and would have to agree with Everyday Reading’s description of her books as chick-lit with a little heft.

So then, because I’m a top-notch Goodreads user, I promptly changed the book’s status from “to be read: fiction” to “currently reading” on my “shelves.”

(And then, because I’m an addicted Goodreads user, I skimmed the timeline of what everyone else was reading, reviewing, marking as “to be read,” etc etc books books books.)

In the midst of that, I clicked to my summer reading shelf. I thought, I really need to make sure I don’t read all the easy, interesting books  first and leave the harder, drier, “education-y” titles for last.

But lo and behold—I remembered I’m actually looking forward to everything on this list.

Whether that means I’m being a wuss and avoiding the harder, dryer tomes, or simply that I’m awesome at finding books what to read, I’d rather not decide.

Actually, let’s decide. I’ll go with, I’m awesome at picking out books.

So, anyways.

Here’s the books.

SummerReads2

The Girl at the End of the World || Elizabeth Esther
Esther’s spiritual memoir of growing up in deep fundamentalism looks like it’ll be a good—and more intense—followup to When We Were on Fire, which I read and very briefly reviewed last month.

The Sweet Life in Paris || David Lebowitz
Can I admit that while I know this was recommended by a blogger whose reading tastes I like, I cannot remember for the life of me which blogger that was? Anyways, foodie memoir. Definitely a genre I’m enjoying exploring a little.

The Interestings || Meg Wolitzer
A Beautiful Mess blog did this one for a blog book club a while back, and while I’ve yet to partake in one of those, the cover and blurb (and popularity, admittedly) of this one was enough to get it on my reading list– and the cheerful cover seemed particularly right for summer. (Although, I suppose the summery cover would be more revelant if I wasn’t planning to read this one Kindle from the library.)

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings || Maya Angelou
Like probably quite a good number of other people, Angelou’s passing made me want to dig into some of her incredibly well-recommended works.

SummerReads3

Torn || Justin Lee
I recently finished Wesley’s Hills Washed and Waiting, and Justin Lee’s perspective on the topic was next on my list.

Froi of the Exiles || Melina Marchetta
Melina Marchetta wrote Saving Francesca, which I very much liked quite a bit, and Jellicoe Road, which apparently everyone else liked and I couldn’t even get halfway through (though I wasn’t feeling terribly patient with any of my reading right about then, to be fair.) The Lumatere Chronicles trilogy is quite a bit different from either of those, as while they’re big-issues-YA, this is fantasy through and through. I liked the first, Finnikin of the Rock (even though it took longer than it maybe should have) so I’m looking forward to opening Froi of the Exiles sometime soon.

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Food Critic || Ruth Reichl
Did I mention that I’m very much feeling the foodie memoir subgenre?

The House of Hades || Rick Riordan
One of the things I like most about being more open to different genres is that I have even less reason to make excuses for enjoying YA or even middle-grade fiction. There’s some very good stuff in there, and the Percy Jackson books, while definitely not for every adult reader, are definitely some of that good stuff. This is the second to last in the series, and I’m planning to put it off a little so as to have less time between those and the pub date of the last one!

SummerReading1The Girl You Left Behind ||Jojo Moyes
Like I said above, Moyes seems to do really well-written chick-lit with heft. I loved Me Without You, so I have high hopes for Girl.I’ve read a chapter so far, and that one chapter would have made a wonderful short story—but thankfully it’s not, because I want more!

Women Who Run with the Wolves || Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph. D.
Only the vaguest of ideas of what I’ll be getting into, but the academic side of feminism is something I’ve been wanting to wade into, and I’m starting here.

Ender’s Game || Orson Scott Card
Is this YA? I’m not sure. Either way, let’s say it’s some sci-fi to balance out all of the fantasy. Because you really can’t have too much sci-fi/fantasy.
Except, you probably can be reading too many sci-fi/fantasy series at the same time. At some point, it just gets confusing: and I’m just about to that point.
Am I going to read it anyways? Yes.

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful faith of a Sinner & Saint || Nadia Bolz-Weber
Another spiritual-memoir-type. I’ve had this on my list for a little while now, but I’ve been waiting to see if I can eventually get it on library Kindle. No luck so far, so at some point I’m going to go for it anyways.

 

See anything you might add to your own list? Read any of these and want to tell me what you thought? Let me know!

 

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be a comprehensive or final list. There are far too many good books out there—and already on my shelves—to do it that way. Well, that and my attention span. Oh look, let’s read that one too! And that! And that one over there! It’s a problem.