July was a month of warm sweltering heat, listening to audiobooks in the cool train, lying beneath the shade with my Kindle. I read a lot of books this month, most of them memorably good books. Though didn’t really do much blog hopping, I still managed to try and post at least once a week. For one weekend I did a super intense readathon filled with tears and locking myself up in my room, which really increased my reading count! Without further ado, let’s talk about the books I read in July.
I first came across The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson in the Read or Dead podcast, a literary podcast hosted by two wonderful women focusing on mystery, thriller, and real crime novels. This is a nonfiction true crime about something very particular and niche that really sounds exciting. I ordered it on Book Depository on a random afternoon because apparently I do not have enough unread books in my shelf (NOT).
Together with that order I also added to my shopping cart Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman because it was on extra discount and I felt like I have been lacking nonfiction, eye-opening books in my life, especially this year. This famous book is about the two different ways our brain thinks, and by understanding it we can try and use it to be more efficient.
They Call me the Cat Lady by Amy Miller
I think I speak for a lot of other people who picked up this book because of the title and the premise of the book. We begin with Nancy, a very reserved woman who lives with her many cats. She keeps to herself, doesn’t mingle much with the students, her coworkers, or her neighbours despite their friendly attempts to include her in social events or just to chat about their lives. As we go along with her days we discover the past she has, and why she is the woman she is like now.
I did find that the book was filled with stories or themes that are just too sugary, cliche’d, and overall just boring to me. I really liked the themes they discussed, especially dealing with loss and grief, marital problems and familial conflicts. I also quite liked Nancy as a character, I think she brings out a lot of relatable problems many people suffer from in their lives. In the end it was a very enjoyable book. I wished for more cats, and it made me realize I’m not a huge fan of these feel-good, sweet stories. Indeed it was fun, nicely written, with tons of nice messages in between, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
Elmet is a very quietly written, introspective story about two siblings living with their in their reclusive home in the wilderness of England. We hear from the perspective of Daniel, a young boy who is interested in many things and loves his father and sister very much. But this book is more than just about family, though it is an integral part of the story. There is elements of being an outsider and never belonging, unfairness in this world, the bond between a brother and a sister, the interesting parts of a adult life that as children we never really cared about. There are even sprinkles of feminism, politics, violence, education, and many more interesting themes throughout this relatively slow and quiet book.
The characters are lovely in this book, and I liked how we have Daniel as the main perspective. The writing is phenomenal – subtle and slow and quiet but atmospheric and beautiful. Overall, a very deep, thoughtful, beautiful and well-written novel.
The Wicked King by Holly Black
Whilst I really enjoyed the narrator, I think I found this second book less compelling than the first one. It’s definitely what I needed at the time: a fun, fast-paced, simply written YA fantasy. And Holly Black excels in delivering us just that.
Overall a fun story. I felt like Holly Black became more fluent and comfortable with writing her characters in this second book of the series. The intrigue, sexual tension, plot twists and unique faerie elements are again explored wonderfully in this book.
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
I read this book in my 24 in 48 readathon a couple of weeks ago, and really enjoyed it. This short literary novel is about a young woman who lives in rural England as if they are ancient Britons. They join an anthropology course with several university students and follow their attempts in living apart from the modern advances of humanity.
I will write a full-length review of this book in the future, so watch out for that.
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Though this book is short, readable and a quick read, unfortunately I disliked the story and characters, and didn’t understand why so many people liked this book. It tells about a very cold, lifeless, emotionless SNAKE of a man who in the beginning of the book goes to his mother’s funeral. I won’t tell much about the story further because it’s a very short book and not much really happens. But my main conclusion is that I didn’t like this book because the main character is infuriating to read about and the writing wasn’t remarkable or interesting in any kind of way.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I’m a little bit behind in these reviews, but you can head over to my 24 in 48 readathon wrap up to know my thoughts on this book, because I read over 3/4 of this book during that weekend. Short to say, this book destroyed me. It made me cry so much in so many different instances, and left me feeling empty and hollow after finishing it. Is it a good book? It’s well-written and the characters and fleshed-out with wonderful relationships with each other. And most impressively, it’s super readable despite its length.
However it’s a very problematic book. All the disturbing things that happened to one character was way too much, too difficult to feel real. The message of the book, that our life is in fact short and how sometimes no matter how hard we try we cannot change other people and how they think, is stupid and makes me feel depressed. It’s still a good book because it was able to evoke so many emotions out of me. But I know that it’s not a perfect one.
I am currently reading a wonderful essay collection by Malcolm Gladwell with the title: What the Dog Saw. It consists of some really eye-opening, memorable essays that are both informative and also fun to read. I really like Gladwell’s writing style so far.
I also almost finished my reread of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I first read and loved this book in 2016, and decided to reread it because I was in the mood for a light summer read. Indeed, it’s a dark story with some mysterious elements, so it’s not that light, but it is a great page-turner.
What books did you read in July, and what are you currently reading? Let’s talk in the comments down below!