Home  +   About  +   Races + Recaps  +   50 States  +   DIY  +   Books

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Books of July 2016

July was a jam-packed month of travel, fun outings, out of town visitors, and so much productivity. I checked off many to-do list items (that have been looming for about two years - yikes). Reading took a bit of a back seat, but I'm pleased that I'm getting back into classic literature. And like last month, most of my reading took place walking to and from work.

 - - - - - - - -

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Review: 4–4.5 / 5
I thought this was good (and funnier than a normal JA book), but I didn't love it. Catherine was a clueless, but well-intentioned main character. It was interesting to ponder the age difference (/level of maturity) between Catherine and Anne in Persuasion. The only downside to reading Persuasion so recently: I sometimes confused which side characters were in Bath! Didn't happen often, but enough to be amusing. 

I enjoyed the eventual scenes at Northanger, but it felt like it took a long while to get there (though the beginning of the book is great for different reasons). I suppose in the end, I wasn't in love with the last few chapters and the direct address at the end. It was funny (and at least JA did it a few times before), but it kind of felt like, "I'm tired of writing this book, here's the end" -- Which honestly isn't very different from her abrupt post-engagement endings in all other books, just more straightforward. Hmmm... maybe I liked this more than I thought. 

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Review 3.5–4 /5
First, I "got" it and very much appreciate the themes of hypocrisy, "innocence," and group-think. I think May is a great character and enjoyed how Newland seemed to think she was naive, when in fact she understood (better than him). Despite my admiration for the theme and message (and I actually loved the "controversial" ending!) it took me eons to finish. I'd fall asleep after a few pages and the majority of my progress was made on walks to/from work. I glazed over at times and - this is important - never once did I truly believe the love between Newland and Ellen. Perhaps it's because I kept imagining Michelle Pfeiffer as Ellen. I hope she surprises me in the movie version because as gorgeous as she is I cannot believe she was the best actress for the part. Perhaps the casting director didn't read the character descriptions for the ladies... (though, as a die-hard Winona Ryder fan, she seems perfect for May even if she isn't tall and fair-haired. I'm a hypocrite.) 

Anyway, I'm glad I read it and I think the last two chapters saved it for me (the dinner party, the afterwards), but this was not my favorite Edith Wharton book.

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
Review: 4 / 5
This was entertaining - I flew through it, but I think it's time for Megan Abbott to try something new. Yes, it was from an adult's perspective, but the world was similar to The Fever and -especially- Dare Me. The mysterious sense of dread and odd lapses of memory reminded me of The End of Everything. I'd still recommend this, but I think I'm getting a little tired of the repetition. Having said that, I suppose it's sometimes nice to know what you're getting in to?

There's a good review on here that likens MA books to a feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach, and I agree. She never paints a pretty picture and I rarely root for her characters (minus Drew).

The Gingerbread Girl by Stephen King
Review: 2 / 5
I listened to the audiobook after I read about it on Fairytales and Fitness. Not my favorite Stephen King story. In fact, I thought it was a little too basic (and why was the guy so evil??). When I saw it was a short story for Esquire magazine AND written during the time he wrote Duma Key it made a lot more sense. Sure, it only takes a few hours to get through, but if you're looking for a great Stephen King story set in Florida read Duma Key. Far superior. (Though it's about 15x longer...)

Sellsville : circa 1900 by Carl H. Weisheimer
Review: 4 / 5
(I borrowed this book from my mechanic.) It was written in 1971 by my work landlord's uncle and deals with the Columbus area in which I live and work (no longer referred to as Sellsville). The name came from the Sells Brothers circus which wintered in the area  and my house stands on their old farm land. I had fun imagining how the area looked in the early 1900s and enjoyed the anecdotes (murder mystery, bar fights, building locations, family tales), but one of the most interesting parts of the book was finding out the area was very integrated. In fact, the local school was called the "Polka Dot School" because of the even mix of whites and blacks. There's a good section on the Mill (where I work), but a big chunk of the book is devoted to the Sells Brothers circus. There was a quick write up about the book and neighborhood in the Columbus Dispatch in 2013 along with a photo of the Mill and my landlords. Anyway, this book is out of print and I don't really expect people outside of Columbus to care, but it was an interesting read, nonetheless. 

- - - - - - - -

As always, these reviews were taken from my Goodreads. For past months, click here.

What did you read in July?
What are you reading now?


  1. The best of the books that I recently read is Grit by Angela Duckworth. I find most of the books that I listen to and read online at the library. I don't know how I managed before that service was available!

    1. I love the library service. When I travel for work I always download a ton of books. I need to find some good audiobooks.


I read and respond to each comment (either here or I will visit your blog.) Thank you for stopping by!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...