July 2017 Reading

July 2017 Reading

What a fantastic reading month! I fear that this one will be hard to top, especially since July is my birthday month and I always seem to reserve plenty of entertaining selections for this time of year. Having said that, I will remain optimistic that I'll find (or hear about!) some great releases for the last month of the summer. I've still got a few library holds that I'm waiting on, like Beartown by Fredrik Backman and Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane. 

When I find books I love, I fly through them; I finished seven books during the month of July: 

Perennials by Mandy Berman (provided by publisher) - What a beautiful debut! This novel brings to mind those quintessential camp experiences, the temporary lives we create for ourselves, and weaves together the individual stories of the characters into a powerful narrative of friendship. At under 300 pages, this makes for a great binge read. 

They were all playing their roles perfectly; weaving in and out of groups seamlessly; saying the right things, making the right quips, at the right times, as if they were performing just for her as an example of What She’d Done Wrong. It felt so at odds with her own existence, fraught with that insecurity that she didn’t get it, didn’t ever know the right thing to say or do in a situation, when it seemed like everyone else did.
— From Perennials by Mandy Berman

The Seven Lives of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (provided by publisher) - She's done it again and, as usual, I will say that this is the best one yet! Jenkins Reid has crafted a unique and incredibly well-written story with many layers that seem to blend seamlessly. A beautiful commentary on acceptance and the sacrifices we make for those we love - all of them. This novel had me teary-eyed, as I read Monique's (one of the main characters) mother describe her relationship with her husband, Monique's father; I was reminded that there are so many different forms of love and possibilities for relationships throughout our lives. 

Startup by Doree Shafrir - Rarely able to resist the hype, I borrowed a copy of this buzzed-about debut and it was definitely worth the time; while there were a few slow spots, and the ending fell a little flat, there were so many laugh-out-loud moments that I could forgive the others. 

Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave (provided by publisher) - In comparison with the other novels I read during the month, this one did not stand out; not life-altering, but certainly an entertaining story with thought-provoking commentary on what we, as a society, have come to accept as "reality" via television programming, social media, etc., and what impact that must have on those whose lives are so carefully curated. I really liked the characters, Dave is always great at writing enjoyable characters, and it is a solid summer read. 

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny - After reading this post from Sarah's Book Shelves, I decided to add this debut to my list; I'm so glad I did! There is just enough sarcasm about the human condition, along with some poignant reflection, to keep me hooked; the main characters, Graham and Audra, have a son with Asperger's which also adds an element of interest to their marriage dynamic. 

Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza (provided by publisher) - Thanks to the nearly unbelievable (except that most of it is true) options presented to enhance one's lifestyle, Sykes and Piazza, co-authors of The Knockoff (a favorite!), have produced another fabulous satirization of one of our obsessions - quick, often horrendously expensive, fixes for our body image insecurities, disguised as paths to "health and wellness." While the antics are hilarious, there is a deeper message on the pervasive concept that we (especially women) can never be happy with our current state of being. I did not want this one to end! 

Favorite Book of the Month:

Goodbye Vitamin.jpg

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong (provided by publisher) - While the subject of this story might not appeal to everyone, let me just share this with you: Ruth, daughter of Howard (whose mind is slowly deteriorating thanks to Alzheimer's disease), assists some of Howard's college students (he is a respected history professor) in creating a fake class (that they ALL attend!) to avoid confronting Howard with the reality that his disease has forced the university to fire him from his job. This novel is precious; Alzheimer's is one of the most cruel diagnoses, but it does present moments of comedy that are undeniable. A must-read! 

Last year they figured out how to implant memories in a piece of brain in a test tube. Which - whatever, is my feeling. Why don’t they figure out how to keep mice from forgetting things? We don’t need more memories. It’s hard enough trying to get a handle on the ones we’ve got.
— From Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
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