Hello! Welcome to July. I’m finally getting around to going through the books I’ve read since, March? Here they are, newest to oldest. It seems I’ve read about 2 books per month. That’s a lot for me. I’m not saying you should read all of these. If I was going to pick my favorites, ones I think you’d enjoy reading on the beach or whatever, I’d say: The City of Girls and The Dutch House. But, here are all the impressive tomes I’ve managed to cram into my already overcrowded brain:
by Andrew Sean Greer
Review: I grabbed this in paperback at Barnes and Noble recently, desperate to dig into something light and summery, and in actual physical form. A struggling writer goes on a round-the-world lark. I’m still reading it but it’s turning out to be pretty perfect for lounging around by the pool this season.
by Michael Chabon
Review: This was the book back in 2017. Recommended by my Aunt Joan. I didn’t love it. I think this is the first book my Aunt liked and I didn’t. It was artfully written and interesting—a sort of memoir about the author’s grandfather—who, admittedly, did interesting things. But, it just didn’t really take off for me. (Rocket joke, which is only sort of funny if you read the book.)
The Dutch House
by Ann Patchett
Review: This is my kind of book. I got it in hardback, a Mother’s Day gift, and it was a real treat. It was much like Commonwealth, with flashbacks to youth and family disfunction that feels so familiar. The Dutch House refers to a house in a suburb of Philly (my backyard practically) built by a Dutch couple, and is the setting of much sadness, obsession and ultimately redemption? I loved it.
by Cheryl Strayed
Review: This book was very popular back in 2013 but I never got around to reading it, or watching the movie starring Reese Witherspoon. I really enjoyed this non-fiction book about a woman’s solo hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. (I read it on my iPad with the Libby app, then switched it to my daughter’s Kindle.) Such a page turner! Not only did I feel compelled to keep marching through it, cringing at every mishap, but was also inspired by it to re-explore some of my own foolhardy youthful treks. It even made me want to maybe write a memoir of my own. I have to mention though, I accidentally read some of the reviews online and the bad ones are so scathing! So unnecessarily cruel and judgmental. Like, they missed the whole point. I found myself thinking about this story so much after I finished it and wanting to talk to everyone about it. Seems no one I know has read it. Good summer book.
The Diary of a Young Girl
by Anne Frank
Review: Well, what can I say about this? Obviously a powerful piece of history. I couldn’t remember if I had read it before. I must have. My high school did it as a play. I know the story. I learned that the book has been re-published with some previously deleted parts. It was interesting to read it now that I have a soon-to-be adolescent daughter.
The City of Girls
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Review: This is the only book I’ve read by Elizabeth Gilbert since Eat, Pray, Love. Unlike that big breakout book, City of Girls is fiction. It’s about a teenage girl who moves to NYC to live with her Aunt who runs a playhouse. The time is the 1940s. It’s pretty racy and also tragic and very, very good. I love a good novel you can get immersed in.
Queenbees and Wannabes
by Rosalind Wiseman
Review: This was like a textbook for me. Research. If you have teenagers (or tweenagers), read this book. (Also you must read How to Raise a Screensmart Kid.) Wiseman’s book is from the early 2000s. It is what the movie Mean Girls is based on. But it’s not funny. It’s harrowing. Good god. Can we talk about re-traumatization? And flashbacks to a misspent youth? But it’s full of useful information and very illuminating.
So much reading over here. I want to give a plug for your local library. They let you borrow books. Like, for free. Do it. Being able to download books, to your iPad or Kindle or whatever, from your library is the best thing during times like these.