Reading List: July 2017

Usually during the summer I can finish a couple books a week and make some progress on the growing stack next to my bed.  In July though I traveled for eleven days to Chicago and Rhode Island, and I did not finish a book during that entire time.  Here are the four books I managed to get through in the first part of the month:

 

The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay:

This story centers around Rosemary, a teenager who was raised by a single mother in Tasmania.  She had a sheltered childhood, but after her mother’s death she moves to New York City to start over.  She gets a job at a rare book store staffed by a very odd group of people, all of whom have some serious issues.  This book is almost entirely character driven and very little plot driven.  When I first picked it up, I thought that it would be sort of a literary mystery about a lost manuscript by Melville and the search to find it.  I feel sort of mislead by the book jacket because it turned out to be a psychological book about very weird, very lost people.  The thing that was strange about it was how much of the book goes by glacially slow where the plot barely moves forward, and then how the ending of the search for the lost manuscript quickly wraps up in just a few pages.  Sheridan Hays can write beautifully, but there was not enough plot here for me to be really interested or to recommend this.

Over Her Dead Body by Kate White:

I’ve read another book by this author which also featured the main character Bailey Weggins.  She’s a crime reporter for a gossip magazine who somehow stumbles upon the murder of the magazine’s editor.  Of course Bailey then has to investigate and solve the murder, and of course she has to nearly get herself killed in the process.  This is the type of book that you read on vacation- super light chic lit with a little bit of a mystery twist.  It’s not great writing or a great story, but it’s not bad either.

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner:

First of all, let me say that I do like Jennifer Weiner and her writing.  “Good in Bed,” “The Guy Not Taken,” “In Her Shoes”- all good books.  This one… not so much.  This novel centers around a group of disconnected people who all become connected through one child.  There is the Princeton coed who sells her eggs in order to make money to send her dad to rehab.  There is the housewife trying to make some money for her family who acts as the surrogate.  There is the 40 something trophy wife who is too old to have children but wants a baby.  Lastly, there is her younger step daughter who hates her stepmother but does the right thing of trying to help raise the baby.  Each of these people is treated as a separate character and we learn about them individually until the end when their stories are all brought together.  Like the Secret to Lost Things, this felt like another character driven book about a bunch of messed up people- none of whom I could relate with.  I’m realizing that I need books with a little more plot and action and something happening versus people sitting around contemplating life’s problems… I can do enough of that in my own head that I don’t really need to read about it!  Also, my other gripe with this book is that Weiner sticks in a lesbian, a multiracial couple, and a relationship between people of completely different social classes.  It would be fine to have those character aspects, but it feels like Weiner is forcing them in and keeps reiterating them even though they have nothing to do with the story or what is important about the character.  If she was going to do this, it needed to be a whole lot more skillful and less just trying to be politically correct.  I disliked this book a lot  actually and don’t recommend it.

Best Friends, Occasional Enemies:  By Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella

I have read some of Lisa Scottoline’s novels, but this is a nonfiction book of short vignettes that she wrote with her daughter Francesca.  The random topics of each vignette cover a wide range:  the mother daughter relationship, pets, home improvement, family, a lunar eclipse, holidays, fashion… you get the picture that each little chapter is whatever they felt like writing about.  This is a quick read, but it’s light and funny.  The writing makes you feel like they are friends recounting a funny story, and it’s very genuine in a way that I enjoyed.  Most of the vignettes are written by Lisa so it skews towards a middle aged divorced mom vibe versus a 20 something cool daughter vibe, but it’s a fun humorous book.

As you can tell, I didn’t love much of what I read in July.  I need to pick some better selections for my August reads.  Since I discovered the thrift shop that sells books for ten cents, I have accumulated stacks of books now waiting to be read… surely somewhere in there are exciting and wonderful books waiting to be read!

I love to read just about anything and everything… leave a comment below letting me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought, or leave me a comment for suggestions of what I should read next!

 

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