What I Read This Summer

posted on: Saturday, August 30, 2014

This last batch of books were my summertime picks. Ones I thought might be a little easier to get through, a bit of lighter reading compared to the type of books I typically choose. (I love a book that makes me cry!) So, these were some of the maybe "fluffier" books I had loaded onto my Kindle/audible app and I figured this was the perfect season to give them a whirl.

Obviously I started with this baby. I mean, does a title even get any fluffier than that? Nevertheless, this was pretty good one. And even though this book did maintain an overall air of lightheartedness, it wasn't pure fluff. It's actually set in the channel islands post WWII and it follows the lives of the citizens of Guernsey Island immediately following the end of the german occupation when everyone is just pulling themselves out of the post war haze. It's a book that makes you smile, but it also has it's moments of depth and tragedy too. And it was far more emotional than I thought it was going to be, which is always a good thing.  It's worth a read and I'd totally recommend it.

This was such a good one. I know they made it into a movie awhile back but I'd never seen it, so I didn't know much about this book going in. It was really, really well done. It's a novel, not a real memoir, but it seemed SO real. I mean up until the last few chapters (when things took a bit of a fairy tale ending twist) it was such a convincing description of Geisha life you'd have thought it was a true story. Albeit a true story told by someone who remembers an incredible amount of detail over many many years, but still. I was totally sold and totally engrossed in this book. Makes me wanna see the movie now.

Another one that's been made into a movie I've never seen. This one was just sort of eh for me. I KNOW it's about people who run off with the circus and everything but it just seemed way too far-fetched to get behind. The characters and how they immediately seem to fall into love and hate with not a whole lot of explanation as to why - was just not believable. I think if this book was maybe twice as long and and if the author would have fleshed out each character a lot more it would have done more for me, because the story is entertaining for sure. If the relationships in the book would have been given time unfold more naturally and with all the complexities they do in real life, I would have been way more into this whole thing. But as it stands, the book just felt really rushed. Has anyone seen the movie? I'd love to know how it compares.

This one was surprisingly interesting. It's a novel, so it's not a true story but it is about the life of former first lady, Laura Bush. Names have been changed and a lot has been added and imagined to create a cohesive story but it also does follow loosely the actual events of her true life, which I found really fascinating. It's clear that the author has done his homework and I think tried his best to get into her head and really see things from her point of view. To think about growing up in an average, middle class family and somehow ending up thrust into the spotlight as the wife of the president of the united states, it's messy and complicated and hard to imagine. You even start to empathize with her a bit by the end (even if you did vote for the other guy). So props to Sittenfeld for making a Bush seem likable, that's gotta be soooome talent ;)

This one was...not my favorite. It's about an adolescent girl who, after her mother (a bi-polar ex-beauty pageant queen, of course) tragically dies is sent down south to live with her wealthy and kind great aunt whom she hardly knows. It's so far fetched it's kind of ridiculous. This is the kind of story that could only be made up and is therefore completely un-relateable. And what's worse, it reminds me of "The Help" wherein which the characters of color are so blatantly and boringly stereotyped it's annoying. Hoffman literally describes one scene where the house cook (a black woman, obvs) is "cooking collard greens and singing a song about Jesus."  Really. I think I'll leave it at that. 

And at the completely other end of the spectrum, we have "Gulp". This was like reading a documentary! It's all about the fascinating inner workings of the human digestive system. Which might seem weird, but I promise is actually really interesting and totally engrossing. It's a hard one to explain, but the author basically gives you a tour of the entire digestive system from mouth to, well, you know. All the while citing interesting facts and studies and scientific experiments related to each stage of digestion. There are also fun little anecdotes thrown in about history and celebrities. Like, for instance, did you know Elvis did not actually die from a drug overdose but from complications of having a mega-colon? I'm telling you, this book is totally worth a read. You may never think of your the colon the same way after this. 

So what about you guys? Did you have any good summer reads? I'm stock piling titles for maternity leave now, so any recommendations are hugely welcomed (as always)!



  1. Ah! Ive read water for elephants and enjoyed it, but when I started to reread it not long ago it didnt hold my interest. Ive been eyeing american wife- I loved her book titled prep. And I love mary roachs books! Sounds like you had a good books summer! :)

  2. This post gives me hope that I will someday read again! The last time I read anything was when I stayed up til 1am on May 25th finishing a book - then my water broke at 3am, lol.


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