Remember the halcyon days of April when I was all “YEAH! I’M GONNA DO THIS LINKUP THING!” and then two weeks later we got a puppy and in June THINGS happened and I didn’t have time to read? Yeah, me too.
But now I have some books under my belt again, so here’s the list of things I’ve read since then. I’ll stick with the Goodreads rating system, which is:
One star: did not like it
Two stars: it was ok
Three stars: liked it
Four stars: really liked it
Five stars: it was amazing
Read in July
The Nest — Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
This story about the dysfunctional adult siblings of the Plumb family squabbling over a trust fund kept me rapidly turning pages, despite each character’s trite shortcomings. What I really enjoyed was that the peripheral characters around the Plumb family were also fully-fleshed out humans and not just props for the Plumbs’ shenanigans. You can’t pick your family, but you can choose how you deal with them. Four stars.
The Swans of Fifth Avenue — Melanie Benjamin
This story of giant manbaby Truman Capote and the wealthy society women he sought acceptance from (his “swans”) is definitely a story about a different time and social class. The book was well-written but I emerged being genuinely happy that Truman Capote is dead. What a shitbag. The parts I liked best were the stories of the women themselves, which is what saved this book from two stars. And then Truman would show up being his usual giant manbaby self with his gleeful clapping and weird mother complex. Ugh. Five stars for the ladies, minus 2 stars for Truman Capote the giant manbaby.
Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House — Alyssa Mastromonaco
Mastromonaco was Barack Obama’s White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations for 3 years. This a delightful book for people of all ages, not just the YA demographic she was reaching for. I have such issues with the modern worship of YA as a genre. ANYWAY, I’m older than the author and still found her story inspiring because sometimes you have to take chances on employment (and life) opportunities. Four stars.
All the Light We Cannot See — Anthony Doerr
Oh, my heart. Five stars for this gorgeous piece of writing about the effect World War II had on a young French woman and a young German man. She’s the blind daughter of a museum locksmith, he’s an orphan with a uncanny talent for repairing radios. Yes, it gets sad, but my heart was soaring by the end. Loved it. Life-affirming and all of those adjectives you read in the reviews.
Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence — Carol Berkin
This is a very dry and academic take of women’s roles in the Revolutionary war. It was enjoyable because of the subject matter, but hoo boy some chapters were a slog to get through. I did learn quite a lot about the subject and appreciated that the author showed women of different social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. Three stars but if I were the type who read academic books for pleasure, it would probably be four.
Seven Days of Us — Francesca Hornak
Baby’s first “ARC in exchange for an honest review!” This is a “privileged family with secrets who are stuck in close quarters” story. It’s set (mostly) in an English country home over the Christmas holidays. Of course all the secrets come out, hilariously and awkwardly. Of course every family member is insufferable in ways your immediate family members are. And now I realize that I immensely enjoy these stories of rich families and their inane issues.
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life — Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Another of my “discover authors right when they’re about to die/have died” series. See also: Discworld.
My Beloved World — Sonia Sotomayor
I saw this in the “HERstory” section of the Cherry Hill library and said “yes, please.” I continue to feel the urge to read about smart, accomplished women.
Smuggler’s Cove — Martin and Rebecca Cate
It’s mostly tiki cocktail recipes but as I age I’m buying more and more into the beach/retirement/island/Jimmy Buffet thing. I’m beginning to think it’s impossible to get that mindset until you have 2 decades of work behind you and 2 decades to go. :/
You can find all of my reviews on Goodreads and more reviews by other bloggers by clicking on the link below!
I’ve never understood why people like Truman Capote. He is absolutely a shitbag.
The extraneous storyline in The Nest really annoyed me.
I wanted to make a site: WasTrumanCapoteaBigManbaby.com and the static page just says “yes.”
I’m really curious about Seven Days of Us. I think it sounds like an enjoyable read! Family dynamics in books are fascinating to me.
Oh my, I had no idea what Swans of 5th Avenue was about, or also that Capote was a jackass. I LOVE LOVE LOVE his writing, but again know nothing about him. Ew, that sounds like a character I would hate for sure. What a bummer! I’m pulling out of a summer reading slump! XO – Alexandra
Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things
Totally agree with you on All The Light…what a masterpiece! I have The Swans of Fifth Avenue on my TBR. I liked the Nest, thought it was an ok read! Pam 🙂
Thanks for reviewing “Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House “. I hadn’t heard of it before – it sounds interesting. I don’t really know anything about Truman Capote’s personality; now I’m interested to find out more.