July Reading Recap

July Reads

No challenges completed this month, though I’m close – only one more to go for Bookish, five for Pop Sugar, and three for Strategic Reading (plus nine for work)…and most of those are just waiting on library holds! Up to 151 books for the year, 29 this month alone (30 less one DNF); 18 fiction/12 non-fiction.

Completed in July:

  1. How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About What, Where, and Why it Happens (audio, nonfiction). Interesting, but not earth-shattering.
  2. This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America (ebook, nonfiction). To say this book is powerful and brilliant is an understatement. It will definitely be on my best-of nonfic this year.
  3. The Supernaturalist (ebook, fiction). Meh. It was a fast read, but the plot seemed messy and super convoluted…the sassy Latina gang member trope for one of the main characters is what really killed it for me, though.
  4. Alif the Unseen (paperback, fiction). This was my cyberpunk pick for Pop Sugar, and I went in feeling very skeptical, but this book blew me out of the water. Imagine a dark American Gods-esque fairy tale set against the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and you’ve only begun to picture this book.
  5. Not My Father’s Son (audiobook, nonfiction). This was really hard to listen to. I’m so glad he found peace with his terrible past.
  6. Shakespeare’s Wife (hardcover, nonfiction, DNF). I was only a chapter or so into this when my husband saw the cover and said, “that’s not the same Germaine Greer, is it?” Oof. Yeah, she’s a terrible person. DNF’d on sheer principle.
  7. A Rogue by Any Other Name (ebook, fiction). After a shitty week at work, I needed a comfort read – Sarah MacLean hasn’t failed on that front yet. This series (Rules of Scoundrels) might be more entertaining for me than the first one I read (Scandal and Scoundrel), though I’m SO looking forward to the new Bareknuckle Bastards books.
  8. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (ebook, fiction). I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the previous in the series, but it was still an entertaining read.
  9. Stay with Me (ebook, fiction). I was kind of meh on this. It was beautifully written, but the plot was driven by a want for pregnancy and children that I’ve just never had, so I had trouble relating to any of the characters.
  10. Tales of the City (ebook, fiction). This was a re-read for me for a challenge. I always love these books (and the TV miniseries).
  11. Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical (paperback, nonfiction). This book is my contribution to Group N for round 3 of the Litsy Markup Postal Book Club. It was so hard to hear Bourdain’s voice come through so clearly this close to his death, but I loved this book to pieces. It was a perfect intersection of my love for medical/disease history and food/kitchens.
  12. The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love (paperback, nonfiction). This was more self help than I expected, but I still enjoyed it.
  13. Stage of Fools (ebook, fiction). Sweet and fun short story in the October Daye universe.
  14. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation (ebook, nonfiction). Not bad, not great, just sort of meh. Silk to Silicone was a better look at innovation IMHO.
  15. Ian Pollack’s Illustrated King Lear (paperback, fiction). What a gorgeous interpretation of Lear! If you’re a Shakespeare fan, I highly recommend tracking down a copy.
  16. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (paperback, fiction). This was definitively not the book for me. I found the main character whiny and privileged, and just couldn’t relate to anyone in the book. (This is also the third or fourth epistolary novel I’ve read this year, most through book groups, and I’m really rather tired of them, TBH).
  17. Cocaine Blues (ebook, fiction). I love Phryne and her gang in the TV series, so I wasn’t sure how the books would be, but this was absolutely delightful. I’ll definitely read more in this series.
  18. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (ebook, fiction). I loved this SO MUCH. A++ would recommend.
  19. Running with a Police Escort: Tales from the Back of the Pack (hardcover, nonfiction). Inspiring! I’ve bookmarked a possible 5k for later this year.
  20. What Happened (audiobook, nonfiction). Post-election Hillary is SO SALTY, and I love it. This was part love letter to her staff and husband, part election memoir, and a whole lot of snark.
  21. Six-Gun Snow White (hardcover, fiction). This was the first Valente book that I didn’t outright love. Something about the narrative voice just bugged me. The plot was fun, though.
  22. Black Panther: Long Live the King (paperback, fiction). So good. I can’t wait to see what Okorafor does with the Shuri comic she’s writing.
  23. Beirut Won’t Cry (paperback, nonfiction). This book broke me open in untold ways.  A++ would recommend.
  24. The Inspiring Leader: Unlocking the Secrets of How Extraordinary Leaders Motivate (hardcover, nonfiction). Usually with a business book like this I’m happy if there are one or two solid takeaways – but there were loads in this book. Definitely a solid 4 stars.
  25. Of Bees and Mist (ebook, fiction). This was a re-read for me, though I’d forgotten much of the story. If you like magical realism, this is the book you’re looking for.
  26. I Am Not Your Final Girl (ebook, fiction). Slasher movies and feminist poetry. What’s not to love?
  27. Introduction to Mathematical Thinking (ebook, nonfiction). Yeah, I’m the person who reads ahead in the textbook. This class is really cool, though, and it’s free!
  28. Raging Heat (audiobook, fiction). The Richard Castle books are quite honestly crap, but they’re entertaining crap. This one hit me in the Castle/Beckett ship feels HARD.
  29. Five Quarters of the Orange (ebook, fiction). I pulled this one at random from a search of books with “orange” in the title for  a reading challenge, and it was…weird. Sad and dark and heartwarming and just…weird. The destructive power of secrets and the boosting power of friendship, I guess?
  30. The Governess Affair (ebook, fiction). There are some nights I just need something light and this definitely fit the bill. Did it have to start with a rape, though? Really?

Started in July and Still Going:

  1. Alex and Eliza (audiobook, fiction)
  2. Organizational Analysis (ebook, textbook)
  3. Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts, & my Midlife Quest to Dance the Nutcracker (audiobook, nonfiction)
  4. The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook (ebook, nonfiction)
  5. Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (audiobook, fiction)
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