Books I Read In June

69. The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint.  This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long long time. It gives me hope for humanity.

70. Insurgent. I really have no idea what the point of this book was. It just felt so unnecessary, plus all other synonyms for pointless.  Plus it was boring. And long as hell.  I was underwhelmed. It kind of felt like some publisher was all “If you could write another of these, and make it ___ pages long, it would be awesome and also we’d give you a pile of cash.”  Which I am sure is not at all what happened. Of course not.

71. The Likeness.  Ok, so let me tell you about me and Tana French.  I had never heard of her, somehow, and then I saw Faithful Place on the NYT’s Best Seller list, and I assumed like most of the books on there, that it sucked ass, but it was one of the few books on the list that wasn’t 1. a series by someone I can’t stand or 2. that I hadn’t read yet.  And so I read it, and I liked it. It wasn’t my favorite, but I liked it.  It reminded me a lot of Kate Atkinson who I also enjoy. So then I read In the Woods, (and all of this is completely out of order, btw) and I really liked In the Woods.  If it had a flaw I’d say it was a little heavy handed with the foreshadowing, and it was a tiny bit melodramatic, but it was a really good book, as these things go.  So then I read The Likeness, and about 50 pages in, I just wasn’t feeling it. She had a premise that I found it hard to buy into and it spent some time lost under my bed, I won’t lie, and then I ran out of books, and I went back to it, and man, she sold it. She really sold it, and it ended up being my favorite book in the series and honestly, I really really loved this book.

The last paragraph, it just…it shook me. Now if you don’t want to read the last paragraph of this book right now, please skip it, but otherwise here it is for you, because damn, if that is not some fine ass writing, then I don’t know what is.  (This is actually not a huge plot spoiler but maybe you still don’t want to read the last paragraph of this book before you read the book.)

There is one thing I hoped, that she never stopped.  I hope when her body couldn’t run any farther she left it behind like everything else that tried to hold her down, she floored the pedal and she went like wildfire, streamed down night freeways with both hands off the wheel and her head back screaming to the sky like a lynx, white lines and green lights whipping away into the dark, her tires inches off the ground and freedom crashing up her spine. I hope every second she could have had came flooding through that cottage like speed wind: ribbons and sea spray, a wedding ring and Chad’s mother crying, sun wrinkles and gallops through wild red brush, a baby’s first tooth and its shoulder blades like tiny wings in Amsterdam Toronto Dubai; hawthorn flowers spinning through summer air, Daniel’s hair turning gray under high ceilings and candle flames and the sweet cadences of Abby’s singing.  Time works so hard for us, Daniel told me once.  I hope those last few minutes worked like hell for her.  I hope in that half hour she lived all her million lives.


Anyway. Loved it.

72. The List. Oh, I don’t know, I guess it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever read, but by the end I had tired of The List.

73. Very Fond of Food.  I had no desire to cook anything from this book, and since it was a cookbook…well.  You do the math.

74. The Tempest. I can’t even remember this book.  That’s not a great sign. Oh, yeah, that. No.

75. Gilt. I do not know why I cannot remember that I don’t like books about historical shit where I already know how the historical shit turns out.  Spoiler Alert!: Henry the VIII was a dick.

76. City of Lost Souls.  You know, no one’s going to give Cassandra Clare a Pulitzer, or whatever, but the woman is very very good at what she does. This checked all the boxes, and although it kind of was a giant stall job, I’m gonna have to say that in terms of fantasy series, I really really really have enjoyed this whole deal.  And man can she string along a romance like no other.

I mean, I was excited to read this book, it did exactly what I thought I would, and it was entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed the three days I spent reading it.

77. Gone, Girl. Ok, so.  For a minute there everyone was talking about this book. It was on all these lists and Erik sent me an article on how it was the book of the summer and lots of people loved her other books and according to the reviews, a lot of people liked this book and so I just ASSUMED it would be wonderful. And I read so many books and so many of them are unimpressive that sometimes I like to go into a book just KNOWING that it’s going to be great. It makes me feel…cared for, or something.  Assured. Which is maybe why my reaction to this book was so violent, because I felt sort of…betrayed, almost? I mean, maybe I just didn’t get it, but man, I did not care for this AT ALL.  It was just so cheesy and weird.  And what wasn’t cheesy just felt nasty in tone.  It felt so fake and all the characters were so plastic and false and unlikeable and it just rang so untrue for me.  And it felt so full of “tricksy little author tricks!”. Like, yeah, for you! You successfully made me like a character, and then changed my mind! And then you made me change my mind again! And then again! Fancy! Except I don’t care about that at all! I would rather just enjoy reading a good book! But you win! You got a bunch of fancy author tricks all packed into this book! Ew.  No thank you.

78.  The Beginner’s Goodbye.  I consider “The Accidental Tourist” to be one of the best things ever of all time.  Everything about it. Perfection.  And so I read all of Anne Tyler’s other books in the hope that some of that magic has rubbed off.  But this book is probably my least favorite thing that she’s ever written, let’s just leave it at that.

79. This Is How.  I just could not attach to this book, and I tried. I really tried.

Tumbleweeds.  You will notice this book did not get a number.  That is because it was so bad that I could not read it.  And I am still pissed that a book this bad tried to claim a similarity to Friday Night Lights on the fly leaf.  BOO HISS.

80.  A Good American. I wanted to really like this but I just thought it was boring.  I almost always dislike books about music, actually.  I am trying to think of an exception to this rule but I can’t right now. Anyone got anything? I like listening to music, reading about it doesn’t do it for me.

81. An American Heiress.  You know, it was entertaining enough, and they talked a lot about dresses, which I enjoy in a book, but it was no Luxe series.  Just read that, if you haven’t yet.

82. Tell the Wolves I’m Home.  Ok, now, not everyone is going to love this book.  And it was really too long, and it’s narrated by a 14 year old who can get frustrating and/or irritating at times, and it’s not perfect, I will say that. It’s a tid bit weird, it reminded me a lot of The Peculiar Sadness of Lemon Cake.  But I think it’s not a nothing book, if that makes sense. It is very well written and it is really saying something. It says something. It does something. I felt like it meant something in the world. It was not perfect, but it was not a pointless sequel to a knock-off post-apocalyptic YAF series.  So, yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.

Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.  So I have given myself permission to opt out of things that I will never be able to unsee or unhear or unread and that will cause me distress until the end of my days, and this is one of those things. I understand that women and children are the victims of unspeakable violence but I simply could not read this extremely detailed telling of such things and not lose my shit, so this had to go on the “no” pile for me. Sometimes one must protect oneself above all else.

83. Amped. Yeah, I just didn’t care.

84. The Darlings. This sounded really interesting. Alas, it was not.


12 Responses

  1. I read these posts of yours with GoodReads open, so I can add the books you recommend IMMEDIATELY.

    And I am so glad you loved The Likeness! I loved it too and I want EVERYONE to read it and love it. So well done! So beautifully written! So weird and yet believable!

    Your reviews of 73 and 75 made me giggle.

  2. I keep hoping for a good Anne Tyler. Is it just that none of them measure up? I don’t know. I didn’t even finish the new one.

    Tana French has a new one coming out this summer. Maybe I’ll reread the rest of them.

  3. I was hoping to read American Heiress, but the holds at the library (both paper/digital) were long – so now I shall put The Luxe on hold! Thx for putting in links btw 🙂

  4. […] A new blog I just found called “Princess Nebraska.”  I spent way too much time going through her archives . . . love her home […]

  5. I have my copy of City of Lost Souls but haven’t read it yet! I’m debating whether I want to reread the previous book or not. I reread a lot.

  6. Yes! Cassandra Clare is where we agree – it’s fun, fluffy, and doesn’t try too hard.

    But I hold you super accountable for the time I wasted on The Miseducation of Cameron Post. I actually wonder if we were actually twins separated at birth whose various life experiences have led them to disagree vehemently on the books where there isn’t complete 100% agreement. It’s never halfway is what I’m saying!

  7. Once again I haven’t read any of these. Oh wait. The Likeness. I read that. Thought it was super. I also read this post. (Are you getting tired of that?) (I don’t care!)

  8. I always love your list of books you’ve read that month because I feel like I get a solid list of “go read it now” “it’s ok, give it a try” and “do not waste your time”. And I like that. You don’t bullshit about any of the books, so I know when you like one it must be really worth reading. Not that we’d agree on all books, bc I enjoyed Insurgent. But agreeing on every single thing would be tooooooooo boring. Thanks for all your insight…it makes me laugh and love books even more.

  9. When I got to the end of The Good American I was like “seriously? this was the story?”

  10. i love these book reviews of yours SO VERY MUCH. they are so much more useful than anything on amazon 🙂

  11. Is it weird that you didn’t just sell me on The Likeness, but also Gone Girl?

    • no! I am always really interested in books that people feel strongly about, regardless of which way.

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