July Reads

July ReadsI’m insanely late with this post, but time sure flies when you barely have time to breathe. I worked pretty much non-stop in July and spent the last few days of the month rushing to pack up my things and move to a new apartment in between shifts. Before I even had time to unpack, bae and I were off to the Finger Lakes for three days of kayaking, swimming, reading, and wine and beer tasting with my extended family. It was so lovely to unwind, catch up with people I only see once a year, and race my cousins to finish reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Despite all the madness, July was the best reading month I’ve had in about a year in terms of both quality and quantity. I’m still working on finding the right life balance — clearly, I haven’t figured out how to blog with any type of consistency yet — but I’m getting there. It feels so good to finally be reading with joy again. Let’s take a look at the books I finished:

The Martian by Andy Weir: An astronaut, presumed dead and left behind on Mars, uses his wits and dry humor to try to survive on a planet that is trying to kill him. This book reminded me why I don’t tend to read plot-based fiction, and I liked it better as a movie.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler: A twenty-something girl reinvents herself as a backwaiter at the best restaurant in New York City, where she falls under the spell of a magnetic server/bartender duo with a complicated past. I loved the propulsive energy of the writing and got completely swept up in this coming-of-age story.

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub: Over the course of one Brooklyn summer, relationships between former bandmates and their partners are strained when a filmmaker approaches them about making a biopic about their deceased fourth band member. This isn’t a novel that’s going to stick with me, but it was a fun, breezy summer read.

Dare Me by Megan Abbot: High school cheerleaders Beth and Addy have been best friends since childhood, but even Addy doesn’t know how far Beth will go to remain Top Girl when a young new coach draws them into her world. I had a few problems with this novel, but I loved the darkly complicated relationships.

Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith: Twenty years after moving to the Washington mainland, journalist Lucie returns to Marrow Island to visit an old friend at a mysterious commune. This haunting, atmospheric novel is one of my favorites of the year, so far.

(I also started The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but as I finished them in August, I’ll share my thoughts on them in a later post.)

I’m hoping things will calm down a bit more in August. I’m now living with one of my best friends, which is going to be such a good change: less roommate anxiety, more fun, less time spent in my car (it’s closer to one of my jobs and within walking distance of bae’s house!), and more kitty cuddles. The move was unexpected, but I’m calling it a win.

What was the best book you read in July?

May Reads

May Reads

How is it June already? May positively flew by, and I’m not quite sure how to account for it. First off, I’d like to thank everyone for the warm welcome back! I’m excited to return to blogging, even though I haven’t yet been as active as I would like to be. I’m still working on finding that balance and making more time for reading, writing, and being involved in the community. We’ll get there!

May was a pretty slow reading month for me. I finished up Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, which was so, so amazing. I don’t know how Atwood can be so consistently mind-blowing. I also devoured the first two volumes of Giant Days by John Allison and Whitney Cogar, which is a tremendously fun portrayal of college life for a trio of vivid young women. Next up was So Sad Today, a darkly funny and deeply vulnerable collection of essays about anxiety, depression, and addiction by Melissa Broder. Finally, I spent pretty much the entire month making my way slowly but surely through the first half of Haruki Murakami’s door-stopper of a book, 1Q84. As always, I’m enjoying the ride, and I’m pretty excited that 500 pages in things are starting to get real. And by real, I mean incredibly bizarre.

May Reads

Outside of my reading life, May was full of adventures. I got to spend a day with my sister before sending her off to Alaska for the summer, hiked the breath-taking gorge at Watkin’s Glen with bae (pictured above), and ran my first 5K!

Moving into June, I’m excited to finish up 1Q84, dive into some upcoming blogger-recommended library holds, and step up my blogging game.

What was the best book you read in May?

June Reads

I know I just posted my list of the best books I’ve read so far this year yesterday, but seriously, how is 2015 halfway over? It’s flying by.

June was pretty uneventful. It’s been warm-ish here, but it still doesn’t really feel like summer. I really loved all the books I read (Dietland, The Beautiful Bureaucrat, and Did You Ever Have a Family could all be contenders for my year-end best-of list), but I feel like I spent very little time actually reading. Unemployment is stretching on and getting me down and making it hard to focus on the things that usually bring me joy. But I’m crossing my fingers that the winds are changing!

BOOKS READ:

June Reads

  1. Big Magic: Creative Living Without Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  2. Dietland by Sarai Walker
  3. Naked at Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist’s Adventures in the Clothing-Optional World by Mark Haskell Smith
  4. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  5. The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
  6. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (in progress)

Favorite book of the month: Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

PAGES READ:

This month: 1,706

This year: 12,140

JULY PLANS:

July is going to be a great month. I can feel it. I’m taking a short jaunt down to NYC next week, I’m hoping to attend an event in the Silo City Reading Series (which is held in the grain elevators in Buffalo’s historic First Ward) the week after that, and I’ll be spending the last week of the month in a cottage on one of the Finger Lakes with my family! It’s always a lovely vacation, and I’m so looking forward to kicking back in the hammock with a good book and a gin & tonic.

What did you read in June? Any plans for July?

May Reads

May was a pretty slumpy reading month for me. Although I loved my first book of the month, nothing else really grabbed me, and as a result I spent a lot more time binge-watching Mad Men than hitting the books. (Why did no one tell me the first half of the last season is up on Netflix?!)

But as I write this, it’s Tuesday and I’m sitting on a train on my way to NYC for five days of books, beer, and bloggers! The boyfriend and I decided to turn BEA into a mini vacation, and by the time this post goes live, we’ll have spent a day and a half exploring the city, and I’ll have attended my first day of BEA! We’re staying until Sunday, and I’m so excited to do some sightseeing, nerd out with my favorite bloggers, and meet up with a few old friends. And hopefully I’ll come home with some books to bust my reading slump!

BOOKS READ:

May Reads

  1. Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
  2. Housebreaking by Dan Pope
  3. Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell
  4. Land Where I Flee by Prajwal Parajuly
  5. The Wolf Border by Sara Hall (in progress)

Favorite book of the month: Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

PAGES READ:

This month: 1,171

This year: 10,434

JUNE PLANS:

For once, I don’t really have any plans for next month! It might be a month of mood reading.

What did you read in May? Any plans for June?