Monday, July 2, 2018

What I Read: June

Now that Carter is home for the summer and Elise isn't napping much I haven't been reading ebooks anymore. I mostly read them while I rocked Elise before laying her down for a nap. I would sometimes rock her before bed but she has been wanting Ty to rock her instead so I've been sticking to regular books. I really prefer that. I've found I enjoy my books more when I'm able to really focus on one book and think about the characters and the stories when I'm not reading rather than going back and forth between different stories. That's why I typically like to read a fictional book while listening to a nonfiction audiobook or the other way around.
A bookmark I got for free at a local book store.
Regular Book:
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert- This was a book club book that was so popular I've had it on hold for months and it just came in. Needless to say I didn't get it in time for book club but I decided to go ahead and read it. The first 200ish pages of the book were pretty creepy and had me scared enough that I woke up with nightmares that night. But the rest of the book wasn't nearly as scary and was just very interesting. I think if I'd read the whole book in one day, I wouldn't have had nightmares, but I'm also a wuss when it comes to scary content. The last scary movie I watched was in college because I refuse to subject myself to a sleepless night. I would definitely recommend this book. Think Grimm's original fairy tales times 10 for the creepiness. I was a little embarrassed this book gave me nightmares after I found out it is a young adult novel, but what can you do?! 
  • The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley- I had this book on my to-read list because I'd heard it was really good. I mentioned it to my mom and she had read it and enjoyed it. Then when I was watching a friend's son, he wouldn't stop talking about it. We were at the library and he begged me to check it out so I did, figuring I'd just return it the next time we went because he couldn't read the whole book in the next few days while I watched him. It wasn't until we were in the car and he was talking about how excited he was for me to read it, that I realized he'd wanted me to check it out for myself. So I read it and loved it. It was a wonderful book
  • The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger- This was the book for my book club. I read it a really long time ago right before the movie came out so I didn't remember it well enough to have a discussion on it, but I remembered it well enough for the beginning to be a bit boring and hard to get through. For some reason I remembered the beginning of the book really well but had forgotten more about the middle and end of the book so I finally got into the book about midway through. I also read this right after finishing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so I would have struggled regardless.
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan- The format of this book was interesting. I found myself flipping back and forth to remind myself of the story about a character whose daughter's story I was now reading. The book was so good while at the same time being a little bit sad. Seeing how the mothers were completely misunderstood by their daughters and their inability to communicate was sad. I kept making connections between Namesake about an Indian family and how their son struggled with his Indian culture as an American. It made me think about how difficult it must be to move to a different country and walk the fine line of acclimating to the new culture surrounding you while retaining the wonderful things about the culture you came from. One of the mothers in The Joy Luck Club said, "American circumstances and Chinese character. How could I know these two things do not mix?" I thought that comment really summed up my thoughts as I compared this book with others I read with similar struggles. 
  • A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz- I saw this book listed as a gift idea for Austen lovers and was so excited to read it. I loved the little tidbits he inserted about Austen's life and how her experiences possibly influenced her writing. I also enjoyed reading about how the books applied to his personal life and how he was changed by reading the books. I enjoy reading literary criticism and seeing how experts on novels interpret things differently than I do. I felt like this was a little bit of literary criticism but more enjoyable because of the way he wrote. I did find that I enjoyed the chapters on Austen books I've read a lot more than the one on Persuasion since I haven't read it. So I would only recommend this book for people who really enjoy Austen's writing, but then again, maybe this book would give you a new appreciation for her if you aren't a fan.
  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Ballie Kaur Jaswal- I saw this on Hoopla when I was downloading something else and immediately wanted to check it out. It surprised me how good it was. Partway through I started to worry it was going to be stuck in boring erotic stories but then the plot thickened. I loved it so much I kind of wished I'd read it as an actual book. But I loved the narrator and how she did the different accents. I love both Indian and British accents and she did a great job with them.
  • Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard- This was the true story of a dog who followed and ran the majority of a desert ultramarathon with a man. I heard briefly about the story when it happened so when I came across the audiobook when I was looking through Hoopla I decided to check it out. It was a wonderful book and I really enjoyed listening to it, especially while running. I was impressed with how well written it was and it made me want to find another running-related book to listen to while out pounding the pavement.
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows- I decided on this audiobook because I read that it was a great book to listen to as an audiobook and it did not disappoint. They had multiple different readers so characters had their own voices and it was wonderful. This book was so amazing I couldn't stop thinking about it after I listened to it. I went into a little bit of a funk after finishing the book. I couldn't decide on any book to listen to or read because I just wanted this book to keep going. I probably should have just read this book as a regular book rather than attempting something else because I floundered and had a hard time reading another book. That's how good this one was!
  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly- This was not the best book to listen to as an audiobook. It was at times hard to follow as it went back and forth discussing different women who worked at NASA. It also wasn't written chronologically so at times it would discuss one woman and then go back in time to discuss a different character which made it hard to follow, especially since I was often listening to it while running and might miss a date or name. That aside it was a very interesting book. I really liked learning about the amazing women who worked at NACA and then NASA and the huge contributions they made to the science as well as integration of women as well as blacks into the workforce. I expected the book to be written in more of a narrative based on 3 women rather than as a nonfiction story emphasizing 3 women while discussing a wide array of people. I had figured it would give more in-depth information on each woman's life in more detail. Now I'm interested in watching the movie that was based on the book to see how they took the information in the story and melded it into a movie.


  1. Hey, I told you The War That Saved My Life was good too, along with Gail Sheppard. :) The second one is good too. I'm looking forward to reading The Hazel Wood, and I like all of Amy Tan's books. Hidden Figures was a great movie. I enjoy reading your reading lists to see what else I need to read. :)