Tuesday, July 11, 2017

show us your books: june 2017

It's either feast or famine at the library. After my last reading slump ended, I added tons of things to my hold list at the library and had literally six books available within the same two days. Challenge accepted - basically, I read like a fiend. It helps when it's summer and my husband is occupied watching baseball every night and that I've taken two plane rides since the last link-up. There's quite the assortment ahead.

Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives - Guns kill a whole lot of kids in our country. We know that stat and watch the news and move on with our lives. A journalist decided to take a look at ten children (the oldest was 19, I think) who all died from a gun in the span of 24 hours. The book is part sociology, part history of each city, part critical look at the circumstances that led to each death (spoiler alert: they were all male and nearly all men of color). One death took place in Houston, near the area where my husband works, and I found the description eerily accurate, so I assume the rest of the book was the same. Some of the victims were wholly innocent, some made poor decisions, but none deserved to die. If you ever needed a human face behind who all those bullets are killing, here it is.

Sloppy Firsts - I think I saw someone on twitter say this was their favorite YA book, so I decided to give it a shot. I appreciated that it took place in high school and was published in 2001 (when I was still in high school), so I could relate to the feel of it - checking caller ID, instant messages, and emails, all things missing in today's YA books. I found the story pretty slow but the narrator likable for the most part, though still annoying in that teenager way. I felt like the book ended just as things started to happen, so I'll read the sequel at least, even if I don't make it through the series of five.

The Roanoke Girls - This book was so messed up. A woman returns to her family's home, where she spent one summer, because her cousin is missing. The book alternates between that summer and the present day with bits of the other Roanoke Girls' stories sprinkled in. It's a messed up book but you will probably keep reading just to see how it all turns out. I did. It was so weird but well-paced and I flew through it.

Small Victories - Nora McInerny (who you know by now that I love) screen shot some of this and posted it to her instagram stories and if Nora liked it, then I had to check it out. You know how you read articles or posts by people who can sometimes see the big lessons in little things? That's this book. It's about grace and forgiveness, trying to be a better human, realizing your own failings, and working on humility. So many things in it resonated with me so much, but by the end I was ready for it to be over. It was too many lessons and too much reflection all in one place.

The Problem With Forever - This was like a Lifetime movie for teenagers. Two kids grew up in an abusive foster home, they manage to get out but separately, and then reconnect their senior year of high school. There's romance and defying parents and love triangles and illness. It wasn't bad, and the main character was likable enough, but I got halfway through this on a plane, which is probably why I finished it. You could probably skip it, especially because there is a character named Rider Stark and I just can't take that seriously.

As Close to Us As Breathing - First of all, this is a great title. This is one of those books where there's a big event that you find out about in the first few pages and the rest of the story is all of the threads of getting to that point and what happened after. It isn't until around 3/4 of the way through the story that you find out what exactly happened on that day. The story follows an extended Jewish family through the summer of the big event, but you learn a lot about what made them who they are and what happened later. It's definitely a character-driven novel. The way the story was told kept me interested, but if you're looking for action, this isn't it.

TL; DR: Another Day in the Death of America is sad but interesting and The Roanoke Girls is screwed up but will likely keep your attention. None of the others were bad, but I'll likely forget them in a week.

I'm excited as always to link up with Steph and Jana and hopefully respond to comments a lot faster this time around (it was bad when I went to write this post over the weekend and realized I didn't respond to June's comments... oops.) And (shameless plug ahead) - if you like talking about things you like in list form, make sure to join me for the Add It To My List link-up the last Tuesday of every month to talk about the things you're loving and recommending to people in real life. Except for books. We save our book talk for second Tuesdays! But I'd love for you to join us on July 25th to talk about TV, podcasts, and everything else!