Reading Roundup: July 2014

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

I picked up this book because it sounded like a good, escapist read for vacation. It got a bit too melodramatic for my taste, especially since none of the main characters were very likeable and I didn't feel like I cared about what happened to them. It wasn't bad, but I just wasn't expecting it to get quite so gothic in the end.

Beautiful Unbroken by Mary Jane Nealon

Nealon is a poet as well as a nurse, and this really shows in her writing. This memoir was beautiful and touching and made me think a lot about my life and what choices I have made. At the same time, sometimes I feel a bit disconnected when I read about women who have no children--the choices I can make or will make are constrained in different ways. I still enjoyed the book and thought she had some great insights about grief and compassion. 

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

I picked up this book solely based on the high number of positive recommendations I've received from people. The topic didn't sound hugely interesting to me, and I've had a hard time explaining to people why it is so good. It really was one of the best books I've read this year--it's a story of achievement, but it's not highly suspenseful or sensationalistic at all. I think one of the things that makes it such a good book is the way the writing delves into both the characters and the setting so thoroughly.

The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

I picked this book up for free at ALA and thought it was only somewhat mediocre. First of all there were a number of little errors that just bugged me (like there are no fireflies in California). Second, the main characters seemed more like caricatures than real people, and I didn't care much for any of them. It was also fairly easy to figure out the central mystery of the book fairly early on. Not the worst book I've read this year, but certainly not the best.

All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior

This is the book I can't stop telling people about. I really want to discuss it with someone else because it is a book about ideas and observations. Even though it is a book about parents, it is not a parenting book. Instead, it is a conversation about trends in the way middle-class families work today and why so many parents seem to struggle with certain issues. Not everything in the book corresponded with my experience, but it still gave me a lot to think about. 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

 This was a beautiful book, both the story itself and the writing. It's also the kind of book that builds slowly and carefully, until suddenly you realize that all the pieces of the story are coming together in a magical way. I love reading books that bring the beauty and power of writing to the forefront, while still telling a compelling story.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

This book was so much fun to read. Definitely different from most of my usual fare, and bit gory in parts, but still a great read for a summertime Saturday. It made me feel grateful that I'm not living on an eighteenth-century sailing ship.


Lindsay said…
I really enjoyed "All Joy and No Fun," too.

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