Books I Read In July

87. In the Kingdom of Men.  You know, I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would because the main character was sort of a dipshit, but it was entertaining and it painted a picture of this strange and interesting world quite well. That maybe wasn’t quite enough to carry a whole novel worth of dipshittiness, but it was interesting.

88. Stay Close.  I was SO looking forward to this book because I used to really like Harlen Coben, but for me lately his books have swung really really far towards a strange cheesy/smarmy/trashy vibe that isn’t doing it for me at all. I can do hard boiled detectives but “everyone is a hooker” has gotten really tired.

89. Wild Abandon.  I wanted to like this but I can’t lie, I thought it was boring.

90. Mission To Paris.  This sucked much less than most of the other books I read this month. It had a nice voice that wasn’t  exactly like everything else I’ve ever read. I could have done with a trifle more, excitement, I guess is the word, and a little bit less fancy wordplay, but overall I really liked it.

91. The Rules of Inheritance. This started out a little rough for me.  There was A LOT of “I am such a terrible person and a horrible daughter” and that got old pretty fast, but overall I’m glad I read it. I think it’s for a pretty small audience, though, maybe.

The Watch. I am sure this is a wonderful book. Amazon certainly does seem to think so. It was just really not my thing so I didn’t read much of it.

The Orphan Master.  I tried to give this a chance but there were three violent sexual acts against women and/or children in the first chapter, and 1. I don’t read that stuff and 2. that much of it starts to feel really predatory and icky.  I know these horrible things happen but you have to be so careful with how you present or it starts to feel sensationalist and voyeuristic in a super gross way. The Kite Runner comes to mind here. No thank you.

92. Sprinkle Bakes. I generally try not to be a food snob because I hate that shit, but one of my food issues is that I really don’t care for food that seems like people have touched it a lot in the process of making it.  Say, cake balls. Every single thing in this cookbook seemed like that kind of touch it a lot baking.

93. Broken Harbor.  I really liked this book. Really liked it.  I did not end up LOVING it as much as I loved The Likeness, but I still really liked it. I loved how she set the scene, that was amazing, and I loved how creepy and bleak it was. A few characters were more annoying than I generally like in my fiction, but not book ruiningly so.  I will say that if you consider Tana French’s books on a sort of sliding spectrum where at one end you have crime fiction that is more literary and at the other end you have crime fiction that is more your standard mystery, I think this skews more towards the straight mystery end, whereas I consider the Likeness and In the Woods to trend towards the literary end.

94. Gold. I really this book. It was an easy fast fun interesting read. I did not love the ending which I thought was fraught with some ridiculous coincidences and some troublesome character choices, and unfortunately I had just seen the loathsome “Young Adult” and could not stop seeing one of the book’s characters as Charlize Theron’s character from that movie in my head, but still.   A fun book to read right before the Olympics and so good at describing what it’s like to do something so fast, which I bet is not as easy to do as you might think.

95. A Country Called Home. I’m pretty sure my capacity for “bad things happen to nice people” has reached its limit.

96. The Red House.  I liked “The Curious Incident of the Dog In Night Time” well enough, but this was not for me. It read like endless paragraphs of real time description of what each character was doing.  “And then Elizabeth typed two sentences.  Then Elizabeth walked to the front door and lifted the mail box flap and checked the mail.  Then she shut the front door with a click. Then she turned and straightened the door mat.” In other news, if you can spare the time to italicize dialogue, you can surely spare the time to put in some MOTHER GRABBING QUOTATION MARKS. God. I absolutely hate hate hate this trend with the fire of a thousand suns. YOU ARE NOT TOO GOOD FOR QUOTATION MARKS AUTHORS OF THE WORLD.

The Probability of Miracles. So bad as to be unreadable.

97. Inside Out & Back Again. What was this? Oh. Yes. Hmmm. I don’t know. It was good, but really, I’m just over the whole free verse YAF novel.  Write a book or don’t, but you’re not going to CAPTURE me with your really long poem.

98. Small As An Elephant.  I liked this, but it didn’t blow my mind.

99.  A Happy Marriage. I loved the first half so much I tweeted about it, and then the second half wasn’t as great for me. Something happens that is really off putting, about half way through the book. Still, it’s gorgeous until then. Sad as hell, but mitigating by the going back in time bits, which are amazing.

100.  My Life In Black and White.  You know, I thought this would suck, and it really didn’t. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read, but it was far from the worst.

101. The Unwanteds. I don’t know. I know people love this but MAN did it feel like the poor man’s Harry Potter to me.

102. The Occasional Vegetarian.  I was disappointed with this, I was hoping for a ton of vegetarian main dish dinner ideas, and mostly it was side dishes I know how to make already.

103. Breath.  Meh.

104. Ripe, A Cook In the Orchard.  This book is way too heavy and oddly shaped to be a useful cookbook, and honestly it didn’t seem to be too original. I too can add sugar, butter, flour, and whipped cream to fruit. But I am not a cookbook author.

105. Code Name: Verity. Ok, so, I think I liked this book? But here is the thing. It starts out with this goofy lighthearted jokey tone. Only after awhile (and it took me a LONG while to figure this out) you realize that the shit going down in this book is SUPER NOT A JOKE.  Like, SUPER NOT.  Like Schindler’s List not. So that threw me. I read it on my Kindle so I can tell you that I did not genuinely get into it until about 65% of the way in and even then, I spent MUCH of time confused about code names and who did what and why and it was really convoluted. But then it stole my heart and made me cry and the last bit was just wrenching and page turning and sort of amazing, so as imperfect as it was, it really clobbered me in a very good way there at the end.


6 Responses

  1. The Orphanmaster was SO WEIRD.

  2. These are just the best kind of book reviews.

  3. I spelled my name wrong. That should not take away from the sincerity of my comment.

  4. I have a free copy of The Orphanmaster sitting on my bookshelf, but now I’m just not sure where to put it on my priorities of reading. I tried to read a Tana French book once (Into the Woods, I think) and I couldn’t even make it through the first chapter. I will put another on my library list, though, because there has to be something there or you wouldn’t keep recommending her!

  5. So glad to read your comment about Coben. I wondered if it was that my tastes are changing.

  6. Hello, it seems we have very similar taste in books. I just finished The Age of Miracles. Try it, let me know what you think. It was similar to The Night Circus, if you read that, which was also really enjoyable.

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