Friday, July 29, 2016

Vacation Reads 2016

Hey guys, I just got back from a family vacation, which means a few things. One: Summer is going to start winding down, and two: I've just been reading a ton of things. I had some long drives and some days at the beach for reading--my favorite things.

I started by reading My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. I mentioned this in my last post, and the first impression still stands: it was hilarious. And I really loved it. Then I read This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which I also mentioned. I'm still not quite sure about this one.

I also read Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I've been watching Parks and Recreation, and I've been wanting to read this for a while, so I did! And I loved it! I loved her stories about starting out in comedy, and the stories about her life during SNL and Parks and Rec. 

Then I read Sophie Kinsella's I've Got Your Number. I'd never read a Sophie Kinsella book before, but this one was really good. It's about a woman who loses her engagement ring and then her phone, so when she finds a new phone, she decides to use that one instead. After all, she needs a phone for people to contact her in case they find her ring. But the phone comes with old contacts (Kind of a complicated synopsis for how predictable it was, but okay). This one was super fluffy, just what I wanted. Seriously, part of it was like straight out of a romantic comedy. 

I read The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle next. Oh my gosh. If you're looking for a funny YA while you wait for Jesse Andrews to write another book, try this one. It's about a boy who wants to write screenplays, but hasn't written or really come out of his house since his sister died. It doesn't sound like it would be funny or heartwarming, but it is. Once more, I can't overstate the amount of times I laughed out loud while reading this.

Okay, then I went for a classic beach read: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I've been really enjoying "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812", a Broadway musical, and so I picked up this 1400-page beauty. And I. LOVED. IT. It was so good and I loved so many of the characters. The only problem with reading this is that now I kind of want to read Anna Karenina, and I've got other things to read now.

I re-read Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, as I do every year at the beach. It's so good in so many ways--it's hilarious, it's feminist, and it's got commercial breaks. What else could you want??

In other really great, light beach reads, I read Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I think I've read all of her books now. Each time, I find myself going, "huh. I didn't actually like those characters. And I'm pretty disturbed." But I read them all, didn't I? So, make of that what you will.

Right before we left for vacation, I grabbed Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein because it looked cute and I needed some fluff to balance out the Gillian Flynn and the enormous Russian novel. It's about a girl and boy whose moms have organized for them to carpool to school. The first fourth of the book, I really disliked the characters, especially June's condescending attitude about high school, but by the halfway mark, I was into it, and she didn't seem so annoying anymore. And then by the end, I was really happy with it.

I also read Saga, volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I can't talk about the synopsis too much, because it could spoil earlier volumes. Just know that it's a great series and I can't wait for the next volume.

Finally, I read The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney. It's about a family on the verge of getting their trust fund, but there are complications. This is another one where I didn't really like the characters (except Louisa and Nora, the twins), but I liked the story. And I'm such a sucker for stories about families and about growing up. So, I was pretty much going to like it no matter what.

It was a good vacation with a lot of good books--I think my favorite was probably War and Peace, actually. How can you not love an extremely long Russian novel about war where all of the character's names are like one letter off from each other? I'm going to see if I can read some more good books at home. Up next: Lumberjanes Volume 4! 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Currently Reading: Weekend of July 15, 2016

It's time for another really short update! I've been kind of busy, so I haven't been reading a ton, but I did do better this week than I did last week. I am making progress in Alexander Hamilton (If you're marking it by how the musical progresses, I'm a few songs into Act 2). And I read My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. It's got historical characters (the Tudors and Lady Jane Grey), but everything else is more loosely based in true facts. The book starts with an apology to England, "for what we're about to do to your history." I laughed out loud several times and I enjoyed it a lot.

Then I finished This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I've been wanting to read more Fitzgerald since I read The Great Gatsby a couple years ago, and this one lived up to my expectations. It had all the search for self/men caught up in their own intellectualism/American dreams of Gatsby. All right, so I didn't actually like the characters that much? I mean, Amory wasn't the worst protagonist I've ever read about, but I don't think I'd want to be friends with him. However, I did enjoy the book (One of those "not sure why, but it was good and I'd read more of it if there were more" books). 

So, there's the super short update you've heard tell about. I'm hoping to read some more books this week--I've got a pretty big pile of library books waiting for me. Happy reading!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Currently Reading: July 8

Oh, you guys, the reading slump is real. I was out of town last weekend and I read a good chunk of stuff. But since then... nothing. Like, three chapters of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, maybe. I had one of those days yesterday where I really wanted to read, but I stared at my shelves and nothing grabbed me. So I didn't read. I'm heading to the library tomorrow, and I'm planning to get just a big pile of books so I can get excited about reading something. I'm kind of excited about the prospect of bringing a bag to hold all the books I'll get! So that's good, right? <sigh> All right. There's not much more to update, since I haven't been reading much. It's been a weird week. Let's hope for a better one next week.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

June Wrap-Up: Books I Loved

Oh my goodness, I have read a ton of fantastic books this month. Even if I stopped after the first week, I would have been happy with the books I read. I'm a little scared about what I'll read next, because I don't know how it will live up to these! Here are some of my favorites from this month:

First of all, Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here. You might recall this book as "the one that was so funny and so good that it got its own completely unplanned and not very well thought out, really more of a gush, post back at the beginning of June." So, my thoughts are there, and they remain the same. I've been trying to think of a pun or a clever way to say I loved it (some sort of "I loved it here" thing), but I can't, so just pretend I'm funny. Thanks.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera-- this book absolutely wrecked me. I was about twenty pages in, and I thought I'd read a chapter or two before bed, and the next thing I knew, it was 1:30 and I was finishing the book. I don't know what genre I would classify this in-- it's mostly contemporary, but there's some sci-fi in there. I guess it's like a "today's world except..." sort of thing. Basically, it's our world, but there's a medical procedure available where doctors can take away bed memories and rearrange others to make you happier, or forget about PTSD-causing incidents, or things like that.

This was a complete wonder of a book. I'm trying to describe my feelings about it, and I just get more adjectives in front of words like "heartbreaking" and "beautiful" and "also kind of funny in places." I highly recommend this book to anyone who's ever been a human.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Currently Reading: July 1

Happy July, everybody! This summer is going by so quickly. There's still so much reading to do!

This is going to be a really, really quick update, but I promise there will be more next week. It's going to be a busy weekend with iffy wi-fi.

Anyway! I just finished reading Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley. It's about a boy who hasn't left his house in three years and the girl who tries to "fix" him. It was good, but I was most impressed by the humor. I laughed out loud several times! (Doesn't it just sound like a laugh riot? But really, there are ups and downs of all kind in this book.)

I'm still working on The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu. This one's going to take me a bit to read, but I am enjoying it! It's really interesting, especially since I knew absolutely nothing about this subject before starting this book.

And have I mentioned I've been reading tiny bits of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (the biography that inspired the Broadway show Hamilton)? Well, I have. I'm slowly but surely making some progress here as well.

All right, I've got to go now, but I hope to get a lot of reading done this weekend. Happy Fourth of July!