July is… over? I know my sense of time has gotten kind of messed up this past year or so, but man that was quick. But I am absolutely not mad about it. I’m very over the hot weather and feeling gross all the time. I am one-hundred percent ready for fall, and we are getting so close! But for now, here are the books I read (inside, with air conditioning) during the month of July:
What I Read
I have been thinking about doing this for a while, but I figured there was no better time than my birthday month to read books recommended based on the date of my birth. This was a really fun experiment, mostly because the five books I read were all so very different. If you’re curious to see which books I read and what I thought of them, you can head over and check out this post.
I’ll discuss them briefly before getting into the rest of the books I read.
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado – ★★★★☆
I have found that I really enjoy reading memoirs, particularly from authors whose experiences differ from my own. And this was a really interesting one about the author’s abusive same-sex relationship. Really different, both in subject and style, and I really enjoyed it.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown- ★★★☆☆
I discuss this one more in my reading experiment post, but basically it just wasn’t my favorite book I’ve read about racism. I don’t think I was the target audience for this particular book, but it was still good.
Luster by Raven Leilani – ★★★☆☆
I have weird feelings about this one. I didn’t dislike it, but it also made me feel uncomfortable, and not really in the way I think I was meant to.
Long Bright River by Liz Moore- ★★☆☆☆
Not for me. Just not my cup of tea. Overly long and meh.
The Huntress by Kate Quinn – ★★★★☆
Great WWII historical fiction centered around female characters. I really liked this one!
Okay, now onto my non-reading experiment books:
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert – ★★★☆☆
I really like this series. Chloe Brown was great, Dani Brown was even better… and then there’s Eve. I came close to giving this two stars. It just wan’t my kind of romance. I really appreciated that both of the characters in this romance are neurodivergent, and that had absolutely nothing to do with why I didn’t enjoy this as much as I wanted to. In fact, I sat around Googling autism to see if the things that annoyed me were part of being on the spectrum, or just annoying human things. And I’m pretty sure they are just annoying human things, so I don’t feel bad about being irritated. I didn’t hate it, but this is definitely my least favorite Brown sisters book.
Barraccoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston – ★★★★☆
This wasn’t quite what I was expecting – it was a lot about the process of interviewing the former slave Cudjo rather than just his story – but I still really liked it. I think it’s an important story to tell, and I’m glad it’s something I was able to read and experience.
For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing – ★☆☆☆☆
I really enjoyed My Lovely Wife when I read it a few years ago, so I went into this one with fairly high expectations. And those expectations were that I would be reading an adult thriller. But the ridiculous twists and convoluted high school drama seeping into the teacher’s lounge were just… a lot. And not in a good way. If you’ve watched the new Gossip Girl (I tried) and thought the teachers need to get their own lives, that’s how this book feels. Or like Pretty Little Liars, but trying to be more adult and not quite succeeding. Just really not what I was expecting. The characters annoyed me, and I didn’t care for this book. I’m mad about it.
*this book was provided to me by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
There There by Tommy Orange- ★★★☆☆
I am also a little bit mad about this book. Because it had so much hype, and I was convinced I was going to really enjoy it. And I did, for like the first fifty pages. But my issue with this book was that there were way, way too many POV characters and I couldn’t keep track. In my last post, I talked about how the pandemic has basically ruined my ability to concentrate on anything, so maybe I would have liked this more had I read it two years ago. As it is, it was just okay.
Judith and Holofernes – ★★★☆☆
I can’t tell you why I read this yet, but it is a partial poem found in the same manuscript as Beowulf. Except this one is about a badass woman, so I’m really upset I had never heard of it. It’s kind of religious, which I wasn’t expecting, but also action-packed and a little feminist, so I liked it.
Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley – ★★★★★
Of course I then had to read Beowulf. I’ve been savoring this new translation, reading bits at a time for a couple months. And it is SO GOOD. So fun, so much easier to read. I loved it. Highly recommend picking this one up!
The Golem & the Jinni by Helene Wecker- ★★★★★
This was a reread of an old favorite because the sequel is finally here. It was just as good as I remember, and I’m very excited to dive into The Hidden Palace next.
What I’m Currently Reading
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Yes… I am still reading this. I will finish it before the end of the year. I hope. I am actually really enjoying this, it’s just really long and other things keep getting in the way.
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
I started this on audio right after finishing The Midnight Library. And then I kind of got into an audiobook slump. I was reading, but just didn’t feel like listening. Plus, I kind of have a hard time concentrating on heavier books when I have too many other things going on, and this was definitely one of those.
Velvet Was the Night by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
To be honest, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia is one of the authors I want to love, but I’m on the fence about. I loved Gods of Jade and Shadow. But I thought Mexican Gothic was just okay. I kind of had the feeling going in that this one might be more along the lines of Mexican Gothic. But, so far, I think I’m liking it less. I just don’t think this particular story is my thing. But I’m going got attempt to stick with it, and will share my thoughts next month.
What I Watched
I recently got a cat (not planned) and named him Loki (he is absolutely living up to his name), so obviously I had to watch this. I know there have been mixed reviews, but I’m one of the people who really liked it. I’m very excited for season two.
Mare of Easttown
This is just a really good crime drama. Not surprisingly, Kate Winslet is great. I don’t have too much to say about it, but I liked it
As always, my highlight of the month is my reading experiment. These are a lot of fun, but they’re also a lot of work. So if you missed this one, go check it out. It’s not my most creative one, but it was interesting – the books I hadn’t heard of before going into this ended up being my favorites.
And we’re done! I kind of took it a little bit easy this month, because what I have planned for August is absolutely insane and I attempted to get some extra sleep in preparation. It’s definitely the most ambitious reading experiment I’ve attempted so far, so get ready.
I hope you all had a great July! What was your favorite book of the month?