Book Chat

Reading Log: July 2015

I’m usually not too concerned about reading “literature” but especially in the summertime I just want to read something fun… and this month was full of reading just for fun. If only I had a beach to sit on while I read, this summer would be perfect!

Below is my Reading Log for June 2015, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  And of course I keep track of my rating on the grade system, the binding, genre, etc… just for fun!

July 2015

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.
F = Fiction, HF = Historical Fiction, NF = NonFiction, YA = Young Adult,
CL = Children’s Lit, B/M = Bio/Memoir, SFF = Sci-Fi/Fantasy, C = Craft

 

Title Start Finish Grade/

Format

Genre
Bulletproof,
by Maci Bookout
5/13/15 5/13/15 B+
K
M

 

Life on the Ramona Coaster,
by Ramona Singer
6/1/15 6/1/15 B
K
M
The Corner of White,
by Jaclyn Moriarty
6/7/15 7/25/15 C

AB

YA
The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians 3),
by Rick Riordan
6/14/15 7/28/15 B
K
CL
Funny Girl,
by Nick Hornby
6/22/15 7/5/15 A
LB
F
Station Eleven,
by Emily St. John Mandel
7/6/15 7/24/15 A+
AB
F
Cats on Quilts,
by Sandy Fox
7/7/15 7/14/15 A
HB
NF
Pen and Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them,
by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton
7/9/15 7/9/15 A
LB
NF
Deep South,
by Sally Mann
7/11/15 7/11/15 A
LB
C
Modern Romance,
by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg
7/11/15 7/17/15 A
AB
NF
How to Cook Everything Fast,
by Mark Bittman
7/19/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
C
Go Set a Watchman,
by Harper Lee
7/26/15 Still Reading TBD
HB
F

Thoughts:

 

Bulletproof, by Maci Bookout – B+

The Amateur Librarian // July 2015 Reading Log

Fourth Teen Mom book I’ve read… and probably the best so far! It was well-written (shocking, I know!), and I liked how she played with the format a bit by including her own poetry and Buzzfeed-style lists like “10 Lessons I Learned from my Mom” and “5 Ways to Slowly Kill a Relationship.” Maci has always been one of the most levelheaded of the Teen Moms, and she’s never had many serious obstacles in her life, so she mostly talked about her relationships. Toward the end, she really bashed her ex-boyfriend for being an absent father, and I have to wonder if there will be consequences when the book is released. We shall see! (I read this in May, but I’ve waited to share until this month, when the book was published).

Life on the Ramona Coaster, by Ramona Singer – B

The Amateur Librarian // July 2015 Reading Log

It’s weird reading a celebrity memoir when you’re not familiar with the reality-TV-world in which they’re entrenched. I’m aware of the Real Housewives shows, of course, but never got sucked in so I was only vaguely aware of the drama surrounding Ramona Singer. So the chapters giving behind-the-scenes justification for certain scenes in the show were lost on me, as was most of the name-dropping, but her story of growing up in an abusive household and becoming a successful business woman was pretty interesting. I’m assuming that her recent divorce was the major draw for most fans, and she does go into satisfyingly intense detail about its demise (if you’re into that sort of thing). Bizarre reading experience, for sure, but pretty funny to dive into a world that I didn’t know much about. I didn’t have much choice since I was working on the ms pretty closely for work… just another day at the office!

A Corner of White, by Jaclyn Moriarty – C

 The Amateur Librarian // June 2015 Reading Log

Meh…I wanted to like this but it took so darn long to get interesting. To be honest, the premise did not sound that interesting but I was hoping that the sister of Liane Moriarty would be enough of a draw. A girl in London discovers a link to another world by writing back and forth to a boy living in the Kingdom of Cello, a land where magic exists and colors can attack. But the two characters’ parallel stories never have much of an impact on each other until the very end, and then the promise for the next book is that they’ll have more to do together. But that’s a pet peeve of mine…I hate when books in a trilogy can’t stand alone and are just set ups for the next one. The other world was interesting, and I would definitely read a book set in that world, but the girl in the “real world” was ditzy and hard to care about, so it was always a pain to have to go back to the London storyline. Not for me.

 

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3), by Rick Riordan – B

The Amateur Librarian // June 2015 Reading Log 

I’m reading this series at the slowest pace ever (I read the first one on a flight to Nashville before we even knew we would be moving here!), but I always come back to Percy when I’m in the mood for a light adventure. This time around, though, I had a really hard time getting into the story. I think it was mainly because it follows the same formula as all the others, and there were a bunch of new characters that weren’t that interesting. Sorry, Zoe Nightshade, but I want Annabeth back! It’s still a fun series and I’m sure I’ll read the next one at some point, but I’m not really in a rush after this one.

 

Funny Girl, by Nick Hornby – A

 The Amateur Librarian // June 2015 Reading Log

I haven’t read many of Nick Hornby’s recent releases, but this one caught my eye when my favorite podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour did a book club episode to review it. The story of a comedienne’s rise to fame in 1960s Britain, and the people in show business that she worked with, was pretty interesting even though the stakes never felt very high. I don’t know much about that specific time and place, so it was cool that there were photos throughout the book of pop culture references. The story felt like the real history of a beloved sitcom, which is perhaps why the third-person narration felt a bit removed from the characters. Probably not a book that will stick around in my mind for long, but it was pretty engrossing while I was reading it and that’s about all I can ask for in a summer read!

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel – A+

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log

I started reading the paperback, but I couldn’t find enough time to get into it so I switched to the audiobook and found myself making excuses to spend more time in the car to keep listening… and even though it wasn’t perfect, I’m still thinking about it days later. There are plenty of end-of-the-world stories by now, but this one felt different… I guess the difference is the depth. Even with an action-movie plot, the meandering story is much more about the characters and the ideals of culture and art instead of the actual events. I found the flashbacks to life “before” were often more interesting than the present day post-apocalypse world, and when all the connections between the characters unfolded, the revelation didn’t pack as much of a punch as promised… but it was still completely engrossing and I couldn’t wait to keep reading each day. It brought up so many questions: After the world ends, would you build it back the same way? How does the past fit into the new world? How necessary is art? The answer, I suppose: Survival is Insufficient.

Cats on Quilts, by Sandy Fox – A

The Amateur Librarian // July 2015 Reading Log

Such a sweet book made sweeter by the fact that a family friend picked it up for me – she knows that cats + quilts = perfect for me! There’s an interesting essay in the beginning with a brief history of cats appearing in advertising and popular culture, and how that translated to household sewing and quilting. Then there were quotes and photos of quilts dating from the late 1800s to early 1950s, all featuring cats. A lot of the pictures were small sections of larger quilts – I wish I could have seen the whole quilt! My only quibble is that a couple pictures were out of focus, which seemed strange – maybe a printing error? No matter, this was still a fun book to browse and draw some inspiration. Loved it!

Pen and Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them, by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton – A

The Amateur Librarian // July 2015 Reading Log

One of my favorite artists from Instagram (Lisa Congdon) was featured in this book about tattoo stories, which piqued my interest so I picked this one up at the library (her story wasn’t actually that interesting, sad to say!). It was surprisingly poignant, with line drawings of each person and their tattoo, and stories ranging from drunken tales of late night tattoo parlors to thoughtful representations of grief or life-changing experiences. As Cheryl Stayed mentions in the intro, finding out the stories behind people’s tattoos is like the most satisfying kind of people watching (her tattoo story was really good! But if you’ve read Wild, you already know it.). Fun little book… even though I will probably never get a tattoo myself, it’s fun peek inside the minds of those who do!

Deep South, by Sally Mann –A

The Amateur Librarian // July 2015 Reading Log

A haunting, atmospheric collection of black-and-white landscape photography by Sally Man, along with evocative essays about her experiences traveling through Virginia, Georgia, and Mississippi. One thing I found interesting was she mentioned that Europeans often felt oddly at home in the South because it has the same “lingering aftertaste of defeat.” Growing up in the South can be fraught with tension, with the uncomfortable reality of the past and present constantly entwined, but I’m always interested in trying to understand that experience. I wish I could hang a few of these photos on the wall to stare at for a few years. But others remind me of the primitive quilting style that I’m not a fan of, trying too hard to look old-fashioned and artistic. Looking forward to exploring more of Sally Mann’s photography, especially since she has a new book out and also a documentary about her family life.

Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg –A

The Amateur Librarian // July 2015 Reading Log 

A thoughtful and engaging look at “love in the digital age” – with actual numbers and data to back it up. The stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari teamed up with a sociologist to study modern dating and relationships via focus groups around the world. My main takeaway was mostly that I’m glad I don’t have to deal with dating anymore, but aside from that it was really interesting to look at how our search for a partner has changed in the past few decades. It’s definitely not a straight-comedy book but Aziz’s narration of the audiobook made it funnier along the way (even though text messages were cumbersome) and so much more interesting than another run-of-the-mill celebrity memoir. Good stuff!

How to Cook Everything Fast, by Mark Bittman – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // July 2015 Reading Log

Still reading. I put this on my library hold list after hearing an interview with Mark Bittman on The Splendid Table, plus I liked reading Food Matters a couple years ago. What sets this cookbook apart are the instructions during each step for how to make the most use of your time – while X is baking, start chopping X, etc. Easy to follow and a big variety! I read cookbooks & collect recipes more than I actually cook anything… but I’m trying to work on that, ha!

Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // July 2015 Reading Log

Of course I had to pick this one up, with all the hubbub! I’ve been trying to stay away from reviews until I finish and form my own opinion, but so far I like it!

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of July.  I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

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2 thoughts on “Reading Log: July 2015

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