What I Read in August

Sunday, September 3, 2017

August was both a great & terrible months for books. Some months, I feel like I just can't get into the swing of things, like every book I read is good but not great - not the kind that keep you up late at night racing through pages just to see what happens next. At the start of August, nearly everything I read felt that way, & it was exactly the reading rejuvenation I needed. 

Unfortunately, every rose has its thorn(s), & in August, I also read my two least favorite books of the year thus far - & maybe ever. I hated one of them so much that I wrote an entire blog post about it. But let's pretend like those books never even happened, OK? 

On a happier note: I just picked out my next book from Book of the Month Club! I've been eagerly anticipating Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere (her first book, Everything I Never Told You, was my favorite read of 2016), so I was excited to make that my BoTM pick. I also added Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air, which I've long been wanting to read. Check out BoTM if you're interested in getting new bestsellers before they even hit the shelves. My referral link will get you three months for $30, plus a cute tote.

What'd you read in August? What's on your to-read list? I wanna talk books!

Amy: My Search for Her Killer by James Renner 

This was my second book by local crime writer James Renner, this one investigating the 1989 disappearance of 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic. She was taken from a Cleveland-area shopping plaza by an unknown man who lured her in by posing as her mother's coworker & promising to take her shopping for a gift for her mom. Her body was discovered three months later, devastating then-11-year-old Renner; her killer has yet to be identified. ★★★★★

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

I'd been on the library's waitlist for this book for months, so when it came in, I dropped everything to read it. Dimple & Rishi, the children of Indian immigrant parents, meet when their parents conspire to introduce them for the purpose of a potential arranged marriage. Independent, Americanized Dimple is not having it... but as is the case in adorable YA novels, she starts to come around. This is a cute story that addresses more serious issues, like parental expectations, cultural connections, & modern love. ★★★★★

There Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Last year, weirdly, I read not one but two books about school shootings; this was my first of 2017. It's told from the perspective of four high school students, two trapped in the school auditorium during a massacre & two trying to help from the outside - & one is the sister's shooter. It was bone-chilling & well-written, & toward the end, it brought me to tears. ★★★★★

Finals Girls by Riley Sager

Quincy, Samantha, & Lisa are accidental media darlings, dubbed The Final Girls because they were each the sole survivor of some horrible massacre. When Lisa commits suicide, Sam shows up on Quinn's door. Soon, though, their relationship turns volatile, & Quinn isn't sure who she can trust. I literally stood in my bathroom reading this book at 2am so I could finish it; it was full of so many twists & turns toward the end that I had to find out how it ended. ★★★★

Before He Feels by Blake Pierce

This is book six in the trashy crime series I've been reading all year. In this one, rookie FBI ingenue Mackenzie White is tracking down a perp in Virginia with a strange M.O.: He's only killing blind people. I enjoyed this one as much as the others, but I was frustrated by the author's seeming lack of knowledge about how to appropriately discuss blindness - or disability in general. Would it have been that difficult to consult someone about whether or not you were being politically correct/polite? ★★★☆☆

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

I loved this book for, like, 90% of my reading of it... but I was so freaking angry about the ending that I ended up hating it. It felt so tacky & cheap & demeaning & made me so mad that I'd wasted my time. Before that, it was about two women who become friends despite the fact that one is secretly sleeping with the other's husband - or is it a secret at all? She begins to wonder what's happening in her friend's seemingly tumultuous relationship. But again: Though I can't say why without a total spoiler, I hated this book by the end. ★★☆☆

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

This took me a little while to read because it's so heavy that sometimes I just had to put it down for awhile. At the same time, each of the short stories within it is so compelling, so darkly powerful, that it's hard to walk away from. Gay weaves the fictional stories of women who society deem problematic but who readers - presumably a lot of so-called difficult women themselves - will see as complex, thoughtful, & multitudinous. From the first story to the final, there's not one in the bunch that I wouldn't recommend. 

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

I've had this book on my Kindle forevvvver, but it didn't appeal to me until I started seeing other bloggers' positive reviews. It was a light & easy read, emotional but not too painful, telling the fictional story of the very real "orphan trains" that, around the turn of the 20th century, took orphaned children across the country to be adopted - whether by loving families or by cruel individuals looking for free labor. It's interwoven with the story of a modern-day foster teen named Molly who befriends 91-year-old Vivian, a former orphan train child. 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

As someone who spent nearly a decade trying to convince myself that I didn't cause someone's suicide, just take a second to imagine how I feel about a book about a dead girl telling her peers exactly what they did to "make" her kill herself. I can barely explain how angry this book made me, but I did write an entire post about it. This premise is so wildly irresponsible & just not OK; same goes for the show, which I didn't watch & now absolutely won't. ★☆☆

Comment to tell me what you're reading, then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch & see what I've read in months past.

My "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but if you do, it will help me buy more books.

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