Friday, August 31, 2018

August Books

I am stoked that even with our MoviePass membership, I am still getting in a decent amount of books. Let's be real, not having cable TV to keep me "entertained" gives me more free time to dive into a great book or seven ;)

There were FORTY-FIVE books in the first seven months of the year, so when I add August's SEVEN that brings the total for 2018 thus far to FIFTY-TWO! If you're interested in what I read (and how I'd rate them) or need suggestions on a book to grab, make sure to check out my previous recaps - I try to post them on the last day of the month! {January's Books / February's Books / March's Books / April's Books / May's Books / June's Books / July's Books}

  • To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - So, remember last month when a sweet friend of mine had sent me a bunch of Young Adult novels she thought I would like? Well, this month she sent me a few more recommendations and our library happened to have them in stock! She actually sent me the trailer of the Netflix movie but mentioned she had read the books and loved them so I wanted to give them a go (especially if I was ever planning on seeing the movie). This was the first book in the trilogy and I gobbled it up (like I started it in the morning and had finished it by the early afternoon). The premise is the main character wrote her five crushes letters to get over them, addressed them and hid them in her closet... until one day they are somehow mailed out and she has to deal with the fallout that ensues. It is teenage drama and YA fiction as its finest. The only bummer part was they fact that my library didn't have the second and third books available to read right away so I had to wait to find out how the story continued. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life by Amby Burfoot - I was going through the closet to see what books I could give away (always looking to simplify and minimize) and came across this one. I remember liking it, but wasn't sure if I liked it enough to hold onto it or if I should find a new home for it. Seeing as I was waiting on some of my next books to become available at the library I figured I'd read through this one to make a decision about if it was going to stay in my collection or not. It is a quick read (maybe an hour or two). The chapters are quick snip-bit essays, each focusing on a different life lesson Amby's learned over his long (and pretty stellar) career of running. Overall I'd say it is a pretty simple book, but has some great insight throughout. I think I will bless someone else with this one, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth the read. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • The Last Season by Eric Blehm - This is another book I grabbed while waiting for some of my picks to become available at the library. The hubby actually finished it a week or so before I read it (and, lucky for me, hadn't given it back to the friend he borrowed it from). He isn't much of a reader and really enjoyed this one... and let some of the details slip when he was reading it, so there may have been a few spoilers I knew before I started, but it was still worth the read. It's an account of a backcountry ranger who went missing while on duty and the search and rescue efforts that ensued after his disappearance. "Ranger Randy" sounded like an awesome guy with a ton of love (and knowledge) for the great outdoors and left us with many lessons - like taking the time to stop, look around and enjoy the beauty around us. It is quite the reminder that no matter how skilled you are, we must be extra cautious because nature always wins. As I am sure you can guess from the topic of the book, this is not a happy go-lucky, feel good type read, but it was still one I would recommend. And now I want to head to the Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks... like today! I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han - Yup, this is one that I had anxiously been awaiting for from the library. In fact, as soon as I started the first book in this series (which I read at the beginning of the month) I got in line for books 2 and 3 on my library's wait list. Well, let's just say I couldn't wait any longer for one to become available at my normal library location so I went out and tracked down the "bookmobile" that still had one in stock. I flew threw this book in a single afternoon (what can I say?! I love me some YA love stories). I can't say for certain if I like this one or "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" more, but maybe that's because I feel like this is just a continuation of the original story so it isn't really fair to have to pick which one is better ;) I was a little sad when Josh (their neighbor) wasn't a bigger part of the story, but was glad to see more of her crushes get involved in this one. Now to wait till the library opens so I can grab the final book in the series. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han - All good things must come to an end eventually, right?! At least that's what I told myself when I started this book... The last in the "Lara Jean" series and I was excited to get into it but sad because I knew the end would come sooner than I would like. But then I remembered they were releasing a Netflix series at the end of the week so I could at least "relive" some of the moments onscreen ;) I didn't realize that this series was only originally the first two books (seeing as I just found them a week or so ago) because this one fit in perfectly with the other ones and truly wrapped up the story so well. I sort of love that the popular guy was the one that was so in love. I mean, don't get me wrong, Lara Jean was definitely head over heels in the relationship, but I feel like so often stories portray the girls as the love-struck one so it was nice to see it a little from the other perspective. I would have loved a little more focus on the relationships in this book (if felt like it was more centered around school than the previous two books), but understand that this is "real life" when it comes to high school seniors. Overall I flew through this book, wish there was more to come, but am satisfied with how it turned out. Thanks to the author for indulging me and my YA love for a good three days or so ;) Now to find the next series! I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • I'm Still Here (Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness) by Austin Channing Brown - I don't remember how I came across this title or when I added it to my library list, but I am so glad I did. This is a memoir written by a racial justice leader about her experience growing up as a Black Christian female in middle-class America (actually right across the Michigan/ Ohio border from where I was raised). The book is extremely powerful and personal. I'll be honest, it is hard to read at times because racism and white privilege is so ingrained in our American society that often times it is invisible to the white race and we become numb to it. I appreciate Austin's bravery for putting her experience on paper. This book forces you to take accountability and take action. It isn't enough to just say the right things, we've gotta walk the walk! I would definitely recommend folks read this - no matter what race, religion or gender you identify as. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver - A friend of mine had read this book on a recent backpacking/ camping trip and thought I would really enjoy it. I was stoked that our library had it, especially since it was originally written in 1991. I was hoping to love this one (since my friend had talked it up so much), but I would say it wasn't my favorite. Don't get me wrong, it was still really good, but the storyline didn't get me hooked like some of my recent reads had. I love that it was about a strong woman finding her place in the world, how it incorporated topics such as politics, water rights, Native Americans, etc, and how all of the characters felt extremely real and relatable. The story itself is fiction, but the underlying themes are just as relevant today as they were in the 90s and earlier. I think the slower pace of the book might have been what didn't have me absolutely loving it, but I still flew through it in a day and a half or so. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

With that, August has come to a close. My reading may have slowed, but I definitely hope it never completely stops. If you have any suggestions, let me know! I'm always willing to add them to my queue if our library offers them!

What was the best book you read this month?

1 comment:

SD Mom said...

Hands down, Beartown is one of the best books I have ever read!