This July brought an end to my quarantine-induced reading slump…finally! With that, I read a whopping 15 books. This was also the month that I had the most 4 and 5 star reads so far this year. Overall, a very good reading month! It was also my birthday month, which meant buying myself way too many birthday gifts and eating way too many box mix strawberry cupcakes. Every month during this quarantine that’s still going on here in the states
because SOME people decide not to protect others by simply wearing a mask feels endlessly long and wildly short. Time is meaningless now. At least I have my books to keep me company during this mess…so without further ado, here are all of the books I read in July! (Great transition, right?)
Check out reviews for the above books at this post!
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See: This was such a beautiful book that revolves around the life of Li-yan, a member of the Akha hill tribe in China. It is basically a history lesson with a compelling plot. I learned SO much about the culture of the Akha people and the Pu’er tea that is typically produced in the Yunnan Province. An overall lovely time listening to the audiobook. I’m looking forward to checking out Lisa See’s other books in the future because her writing is so enthralling. ★★★★☆
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware: I listened to this on audiobook and I really didn’t like it. A smarthouse. A picture-perfect family. A woman on trial for a murder she says she didn’t commit. Sounds like a wild, entertaining ride. Except that it wasn’t and ended up being completely underwhelming for me. I’ve seen that a lot of people like it though, so maybe I’m just part of the minority on this one. ★★☆☆☆
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei : This graphic memoir recounts George Takei’s childhood as he and his family are imprisoned within American concentration camps during WWII. It’s a part of history that I personally don’t think is discussed or taught about enough. It is an amazing account of a shameful time in history from the viewpoint of a child. I feel like everyone should read this at some point. ★★★★★
My favorite read of the month was What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky. It is a genre-bending, creative collection of short stories I look forward to rereading sometime soon. Check out mini reviews for the five books above here!
There There by Tommy Orange: This novel tells the stories of twelve characters from native communities, all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow. I enjoyed slowly uncovering how the different characters’ narratives related to one another. It is a bit difficult to keep track of how they all connect, but nothing a little bit of brain power can’t fix. I also liked how the history of indigenous people in the US was also entwined in the story. It might help to know a bit of the history, but if you don’t already I would recommend researching what you don’t know as you go along (mostly the Occupation of Alcatraz). The audiobook I listened to was narrated by a full cast, which I think also helped me keep track of the various narratives. ★★★★☆
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez : This “classic” has been on my TBR for quite awhile and I am glad it’s now done. I did not know what it was really about going into it, which I’m glad about because I probably wouldn’t have read it if I had. Child marriage, incest, huge age gaps- all under the guise of magical realism. It tells the history of seven generations with all of the characters’ names being similar or exactly the same. It was so frustrating to keep track of, even with the family tree at the front of the book. I understand the message and the point (I guess) of the general story, but did we really need this many pages to get to it? I’m going to go out on a limb and say this was my least favorite book of the year. I would recommend Rain of Gold over this one if you are interested in a historical family saga that is actually interesting. ★☆☆☆☆
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Tahlia Hibbert : I have been wanting to get more into reading romance (after accidentally starting with a dark romance a few months ago and being very confused…I probably should have done more research whoops!) and I am so glad I decided to check this one out. It has been said so many times by so many people that this is a super cute, fun read. Here I am adding myself to that list! It was also so refreshing to read a book from the perspective of someone with chronic illness/pain. I hope more books include this point of view in the future because we really don’t see it enough. I loved this and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Take a Hint, Dani Brown. ★★★★☆
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russel: Where do I start with this one? First of all, here’s my content warning for rape and grooming. A huge warning in bright flashing lights.
There has been a lot of hype for this novel and its portrayal of Vanessa, a woman coming to terms with the sexual abuse she experienced while a student/child at a boarding school. I think that the hype is very much well-deserved. It was so difficult to read the accounts of what happened to her and the lack of initiative that anyone took to protect her while she tries to grapple with the false narrative that her abuser constantly impresses on her. It was written so well considering the content and I don’t think Vanessa’s constant rehashing of the false narrative takes away from how violated she truly feels. There are cracks in the story and it is easy to understand that she knows the truth about the nature of her experience and is merely trying to survive. A truly haunting book that I would recommend only if you feel like you can handle it. ★★★★☆
Have you read any of these books or have any on your TBR? How did your reading month go? If you posted a July 2020 wrap-up, share your links so I can check them out!