What I read in July

I managed to read six books last month. It was a nice mix of fiction and nonfiction. As previously mentioned, there is no rhyme or reason to the order I select and read books, whatever becomes available at the library is up next!

One thing I have noticed over the last few months (of so much more reading than I did in years); I sometimes have a hard time mentally to switch from one book to the next. I feel like I want to ‘stay’ with a story for a little while and completely digest it, before jumping into a new one, which is hard to do, if you’re reading books closely back to back. Anyone else feel that way?

Anyway, here are my thoughts on the books from last month!

This is how it always is by Laurie Frankel (★★★★☆)  

I really liked the premise of this book and that it deals with a very sensitive topic, gender dysphoria in children. It’s a topic that is not very often discussed, but it should be something everyone graciously accepts as normal in a diverse and multi-layered world. While the book addresses some of the many challenges families with transgender kids face, some of the storyline was also unrealistic (or I should say, not very realistic for most people), hence only 4 stars. This book definitely opens a door though for important conversations and destigmatization.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (★★★☆☆)

This book was just okay. Star-athlete gets injured, falls out of grace with his usual crowd and ends up at the nerd table, where he falls in love with a girl. That’s pretty much the setup of the story and I don’t know if I was expecting something more profound at the end, or what, but I definitely didn’t walk away with anything tangible.

I am trying to remember how I came across the book, if someone recommended it to me or if I just happened upon it on Goodreads. Either way, I made it through and it was a nice enough read (I didn’t abandon it, that’s a win!), just don’t expect anything earth-shattering.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (★★★★★)

I can’t really say that I enjoyed this book, because it’s an earnest and heartbreaking topic, but it has an incredibly important message and should be a mandatory read.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (★★★★☆)

This book came highly recommended, as one of the best books people said they had read, and as it so often happens to me… this book was way too hyped up for me to enjoy it without preconceived notions. Overall, I enjoyed this book well enough, but it definitely had some flaws for me. I am usually a bit anal about storylines being tied up at the end of a book, and I felt that was not the case here. I was left with so many questions. I also am not big into dystopian novels, which this one is, and although some of the references to civilization and the world as we know it today were intriguing and made me think about some things in a different way, the book didn’t go deep enough for me.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (★★★★★)

I really enjoyed this book and flew through it in 48 hours. This story was heart-warming and gut-wrenching at the same time. I love novels that are based on historic events and I had no idea about these “orphan trains” that in the 1920 shipped orphans from the East Coast to the Midwest to be ‘adopted’ (which often meant “exploited for labor”). This book weaves together the story of a foster child, Molly, and Vivian (now an old lady), who was on the orphan train. Books that I can’t put down usually warrant 5 stars from me unless there is something fundamentally flawed with the story. There were a few minor points of criticism (e.g. how Molly’s step mom is portrayed), but they didn’t stand out to me enough to taint the whole book for me.

The Trump Survival Guide by Gene Stone (★★★★★)

The book was on hold at the library for a while and it finally became available. It was published before Trump was inaugurated, so it doesn’t touch on his actual time as president, but Gene Stone briefly educates us about the history and status quo (Obama’s legacy) of  a number of important political topics and then proposes what Trump might possibly do in the future (some of which he has indeed done or tried to do!). Each chapter also offers a bunch of resources (links to organizations and book recommendations for further reading on each topic) to resist the Trump agenda and is a good starting point for anyone who wants to get actively involved in politics. These are scary times, friends.

What was your favorite book this month? Leave a comment, and then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch.

  1. I really want to read This is How It Always Is. We need more discussions around the topic of transgendered individuals. I am going to suggest this for my book club actually as I think it’s something everyone would be interested in reading. One of our members is a child psychologist and she works with transgendered children so we have had several conversations about the topic.

    Like you, Station Eleven was over-hyped for me as well. I liked it but not as much as I thought I would based on how much others were raving about it. I am not a big fan of dystopian novels, though, so the genre isn’t probably the kind of genre that I am going to give a 5 star rating to.

    My best book in July was Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. It’s a great light, summer read. It’s a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice. It’s definitely not serious fiction but it was fun and I had a hard time putting it down. And sometimes you just need to read a book that is fun!!

    1. If you read This is How it Always is, I’d love to hear your opinion!
      And I am glad that you also weren’t that impressed with Station Eleven… It was a good book, but not what I had expected.

  2. I loved Orphan Train! That was one of my favorite reads of last year. It was written so well. I did enjoy Station Eleven, but I agree it’s pretty hyped up. I’m curious about the Trump Survival Guide, I’ll have to give that a look.

    1. I am glad you agree on Orphan Train. I loved it. Oh and definitely give the Trump Survival Guide a try – it’s fairly short and easy to read.

  3. Thanks for sharing! It looks like you read some great books last month. I love seeing what books people are reading.

    1. Me too! I always look forward to book reviews! :)

  4. I remember a few years ago I saw The Beginning of Everything being talked about everywhere. I might have to check that one out sometime.

    1. I’d be curious what you think!

  5. I loved Orphan Train and I’m definitely adding This is How It Always Is to my list!

  6. I bought Orphan Train at a library book sale and can’t wait to read it!

    1. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

  7. I’ll have to add the trump survival guide to my list–Scary times indeed! Thanks for sharing these…the orphan train sounds really interesting, too.


    1. Let me know what you think about the Trump Survival Guide ;)

  8. I loved This is How is Always Is! Very eye opening and made me think about things in a different way. A great read.

  9. Loved Orphan Train and This is How It Always Is will be my favorite read of 2017, hands down. Such an important book and so very well-written.

    My favorite read from July was Love & Gelato, mostly because I sped through it in less than 12 hours and it was just a perfect YA love story.

    1. I think I heard about This is How It Always is from you :)

  10. OMG the Trump Survival Book. It is amazing that it is already out–talk about prescient writing! I just got a Parent Hacks book, with is kind of like about living with a mini dictator. But they don’t have the power to influence international policy.

    1. It was published before Trump was inaugurated and it’s so accurate. Scary indeed.

  11. Sounds like some great books here – I may add some to my list!

  12. I hadn’t heard of Station Eleven when I picked it up (HOW?!?), but I had a similar review. Overall, a good read!


    1. Glad you felt the same way about Station Eleven. I hadn’t heard much about it before I picked it up either.

  13. What a great list! I really enjoyed Station Eleven, but I really enjoy post apocalyptic books, so that could be why I liked this one.

    I agree with you, Between the world and Me is a mandatory read for everybody.

    My favorite book last month was Life Of Pi and You’ll grow out of it. I’m still hunted by the LIfe of Pi.

  14. I just added three of thoses books to my reading list. I also read a lot and dystopian novels are actually something I really enjoy. And here in Germany I haven’t heard about it.
    I read one book that was different “Carrion” pretty dark and nerve racking but also very engaging and well written. And mental illness after a life changing incident.

    Happy August readings,

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