Summer Reading Recap – The good and not so good

Woman_reading_on_the_beach
Today we wave goodbye to summer.

This month, Starbucks officially moves on to fall and soon we will grow a little weary of the word “pumpkin.” We will watch football and roast marshmallows. We will pull out our boots and flannels.

But these are the last days to squeeze the last little bit of goodness out of pool parties, boat rides, and longer days.

Did you read any great books this summer? Did you squeeze in a few reads between Memorial Day and Labor Day? In May, summer reading lists are EVERYWHERE, but in September, I wonder if we actually liked anything we read?

So here’s what I read this summer, some good and some not-for-me. What’s not for me may be for you, so no hardline judgement here. Just a few humble opinions. Most of us have stacks of books we will get to eventually. If any of these books are queued up on your nightstand or Kindle, here’s a little help to narrow the field.

Eligible – A chick-lit adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, there isn’t much to hide in this plot. If you know the story of Eliza Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy at all, this modern day telling will lack the element of surprise. It was entertaining and I blazed through the book

Sweet Bitter – I wanted to like this book, but it wasn’t for me. Highly touted, highly publicized, Sweet Bitter is a behind-the-scene look at the high-end restaurant industry and the peeled back layers where not particularly pretty. I cringed through most of it. The seediness of the industry seemed unnecessarily over glorified. Stephanie Danler writes well, but this wasn’t a story I particularly cared to read no matter how well crafted.

Essentialism – Many, many people have read and benefited from this book and rightfully so. This is less of a “how to do/have less”, Marie Kondo-esq book and more heart-behind. If you find yourself overly booked/stressed/worked this book will be helpful and well worth the time.

My Brilliant Friend – This is the first novel in the four book, extremely popular Neapolitan Series. I can see why so many people love these books. The characters are not perfect, but you pull for them. You feel for them. The two girls at the center of the books are completely different from one another and their dynamic works. There is a grittiness to the book. Life isn’t perfect, but real and the two girls are experiencing everything together. This book was translated from Italian to English and takes a while to get used to how the author writes, but if you can stick with it, it is a great read.

The Girls – The story of the girls of Charles Mason’s compound and the events leading up to the Sharon Tate murder, this book wasn’t as disturbing or scary as I initially thought. The Mason character does not feature heavily as the book centers mostly around the females in his compound. But there are a few disturbing scenes I scanned over. If you approach this book as a character study with interesting pictures of the people involved, this book will be a good read. If you need a major plot twist or the fictional outcome to be different from the true events, this book may be disappointing.

The High Mountains of Portugal – This is latest book from Life of Pi author Yan Martel and is just as quirky and weird. Animals and religious themes feature heavily as in Life of Pi. The characters are strange and the story is wandering. In the middle of these epic journey stories, Martel writes profound, beautiful sentences that stay in your mind for days. If you liked Life of Pi, you will like The High Mountains of Portugal. But if you have a hard time suspending reality and need a more straight forward story, this might not be to your taste.

I hope you found some good stories this summer. I hope you got a little lost in a book or two. If you read anything you loved, I would love to hear about it.

Next week, I’ll post what books I can’t wait to read this fall.

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