I’m excited to share a couple more months of reads with you today!
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I was excited to read Crazy Rich Asians after all the hype. Honestly, I was a little underwelmed. The writing isn’t amazing. There are way too many characters. I sincerely hope some characters have more prominent roles in the rest of the triology because it didn’t even make sense to have them in this book.
Through all the craziness, you’re supposed to be rooting for the main characters, who are frankly, pretty generic and decently suited for each other but not some really amazing couple. And Nick’s naivety isn’t charming. Nick also doesn’t make a single compelling argument for why he loves Rachel so much and why she should put up with his ridiculous family. They really enjoy spending time in New York City having brunch and walking in Central Park? Okay? I was planning to read the whole triology, and I’m on the fence about it now.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. (audiobook) I’ve been slowing working my way through a number of books I read in school and wanted to re-read or never read and wanted to cross off my list. I got through a few these past few months, including Huck Finn, which is one that I’ve read before. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is so good and remains so relevant. It blows my mind that it was written over 100 years ago. I never read Tom Sawyer and feel like I should get around to that title at some point, too.
Animal Farm by George Orwell. (audiobook) Animal Farm is another book I had read before but ages ago and wanted to revisit. It’s amazing how so many books are instantly forgettable and others stick with you for years, even decades. Animal Farm definitely falls in the latter category. It’s another book that is so good and still so relevant. Having read 1984 now (I hadn’t the first time I read Animal Farm), I feel like I appreciate Animal Farm even more.
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. I absolutely love the format of The School of Essential Ingredients with a story told through the eyes of the different characters. Bauermeister has a really nice, well-developed range of characters with great backstories. The writing was a little precious for me. Bauermeister is a flowery writer and uses a lot of metaphors with food that aren’t really necessary. She also uses several descriptors instead of just one all the time, which drives me crazy. This is my personal preference, and I know it doesn’t bother a lot of people.
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie. (audiobook) Peter Pan isn’t a book I read in school but one that I thought would be worth reading. Also, 100% honesty: I prioritized this audiobook because I found a version that Tim Curry reads. I haven’t watched a movie version of Peter Pan in full since I was a kid. But so many aspects of the story have become so frequently referenced in our society. Can we talk for a second about how Peter Pan is so weird? Can we also talk about how the book is so much weirder than any of the movies? It’s also so British, which isn’t bad, just more amusing than anything else.
Dear Bob and Sue by Matt and Karen Smith. (audiobook) Dear Bob and Sue chronicles a couple’s quest to visit every national park in the US over the course of a couple of years. I love the concept and the fact that they were able to turn their journal keeping into a book. They wrote the book as a series of letters to their friends Bob and Sue who are also regular national park visitors and who largely inspired them to attempt this undertaking.
I wish that I’d looked up Matt and Karen’s blog before I finished the audiobook. As you can imagine, they have a ton of gorgeous images from their travels. As an audiobook, the stunning beauty gets lost a bit among a ton of descriptions of take out pizza and uncomfortable mattresses at generic motels. Seeing pictures of the two of them on the journey also added a lot to the book.
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. (audiobook) The Outsiders is the final selection I read in school ages ago and wanted to revisit from the past couple of months. The Outsiders is really underrated. I think it should be on the reading list for every middle school or high school student. It’s much more relevant for teenagers than most mandatory reading selections. I knew this going into re-reading The Outsiders, but it still blows me away that S. E. Hinton wrote it when she was just 16 years old.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I picked up Big Little Lies after multiple friends gave it great reviews on Goodreads. I liked but didn’t love The Husband’s Secret and wasn’t burning to read anything else by Liane Moriarty. I’m glad that I took a chance on Big Little Lies, though. It took me a while to get into it, and I wasn’t sure that all of the build-up would be worth it. It was definitely worth it. It’s one of those books where even though you know a big element of the ending upfront (she tells you in the prologue), you’re still surprised at how the events play out. I was, anyway. My biggest criticism of the book was that the characters weren’t very likeable. But she managed to bring some redeeming qualities to a few of them through the course of the book.
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman. (audiobook) I pre-ordered The Greatest Love Story Ever Told because I love supporting authors with pre-orders. Then I realized that the audiobook would be so much better and still got the audiobook from the library. The Greatest Love Story Ever Told is exactly why some books are better as audiobooks. Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman add so much to it. The book feels more like an extended podcast or something, and I mean that in a good way. With the wrong couple, it would be obnoxious. But with Megan and Nick, it’s laugh out loud in your car by yourself funny.
Calypso by David Sedaris. Calypso is so good, possibly David Sedaris’s best book yet. His writing just gets better and better. I did read this book (again, pre-order), but I’ve listened to a lot of Sedaris’s books and know that Calypso would be fantastic as an audiobook, too. Calypso is this amazing mix of deeply personal and absurdly fluffy and artificial (i.e., an unhealthy obsession with a FitBit) with great sarcasm and dark humor. If you’ve read any of David Sedaris’s work, you know what I mean.
One Day in December by Josie Silver. I love the premise of One Day in December. I don’t love the execution. The main character Laurie is incredibly naive, selfish, and immature. Her friends aren’t much better. The book takes place over the course of nearly a decade, which I guess is supposed to show you their growth. But there isn’t any. I don’t agree with a lot of the decisions Laurie makes, including the major decisions that lead to the conclusion of the novel. I had high hopes for this book, as it was a Reese Witherspoon pick, and I’d read a lot of good reviews. But I was pretty disappointed.
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. (audiobook) What If? is a fun listen, very along the lines of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Let me be clear that this is a fun listen for me. It would take me months to get through reading it. Munroe covers a wide range of topics with something for everyone. None of the chapters are that long, so if one doesn’t really appeal, you won’t be stuck on it forever. The audiobook is read by Wil Wheaton, who always does a good job with audiobooks.
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager is fantastic, easily one of the best books I’ll read all year. It’s everything you want from a debut young adult novel. It’s funny, heartfelt, and personal and so well written with great snark and sarcastic humor. The characters are well-drawn, so much better than what you find in most mainstream fiction. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys young adult fiction.
How did I read so many books these past two months?
I share my best tips for reading more books in my annual reading wrap up post. Over the past two months, there have been a couple of other factors that have changed the game a bit.
- I started reading on my phone. No, I never ever thought I would read books on my phone. Why would you want to squint at a tiny phone screen when you can read a physical book or a book on a large Kindle screen? I upgraded my phone this spring (more on that in my favorites post later this month). It has a big screen, and the quality is amazing. The print isn’t tiny, and you don’t strain your eyes. It’s so easy to read on the go with my phone.
- Currently, Tommy takes a long time to fall asleep for naps and at night and needs someone sitting with him. These days I sit with Tommy for a minimum of an hour to help him fall asleep. I get a lot of reading done during this time. Also, he’s been pushing his bedtime later. When I’ve sat with him for an hour, and it’s after 9:00 p.m. by the time he’s going down, I don’t necessarily feel like getting a lot more accomplished. So some nights I just stay upstairs and keep reading.
[Disclaimer: The book links in this post are affiliate links. Thanks for your support!]
What have you been reading and loving lately?
I’m always looking for new suggestions!
Past reading posts: