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For the Love of Reading: July 2022

It’s the beginning of August and that means it’s time to take a look back at what I read in July. It was another month of excellent summer reads . . .

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this novel about time travel that seeks to answer the age old question: what would you change if you could go back and do things differently? The book is not just an ode to pop culture of the 1990s and New York City, it explores a beautiful but flawed relationship between a father and daughter. Suspend your beliefs and read this one, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If you’re looking for the perfect beach read, look no further. Full of family drama, secrets, dysfunctional relationships, and a gorgeous Cape Cod setting, this is a great light read. The characters are flawed and relatable, the plot goes back and forth from present day to various points in the past, and the narrator shifts with each chapter, telling the story from all of the characters (including the beach house) points of view. It’s a fun romp of a book and definitely recommended for Jennifer Weiner fans.

Vacationland by Meg Mitchell Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love to read novels that are set in places I’ve visited and this one, set on the coast of Maine, fits right into that category. The story is entertaining, albeit a tad predictable, the descriptions of the local scenery, restaurants, and shops are accurate, and the characters are realistic and flawed. Recommended for a light summer read.

French Braid by Anne Tyler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“So, this is how it works,” she said. “This is what families do for each other—hide a few uncomfortable truths, allow a few self-deceptions. Little kindnesses.” “And little cruelties,” he said. “And little cruelties,” she agreed, and she swung his hand between them.
Does anyone write better about all the mundane details that make up family life than Anne Tyler? I don’t think so and French Braid is just what you’d expect. A Baltimore family, dysfunctional, responsible, middle-class, and trying (sometimes) to understand one another. It’s really all a lesson on the passage of time and I absolutely adored it.

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
We are all in lockdown, all the time. We just don’t know it, that’s all. But we do the best we can. Most of us are just trying to get through.
I adore Elizabeth Strout’s books and her style of writing and this one might be my favorite since Olive Kitteridge. While I’ve had zero interest in reading any books set during the pandemic, I knew I could trust Strout to approach the topic with incredible awareness and insight. Lucy experiences so much of what I was feeling at that time, it took me right back to March 2020, capturing the uncertainty and disbelief of those days but with sensitivity and honesty rather than drama and despair. Her stream of consciousness ramblings made me nod my head in agreement, cry over her losses, and smile at the hope she ultimately allows to rise up. Highly recommended.
I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A YA mystery set in and around the Ojibwe reservation on Sugar Island. The protagonist, Daunis, is caught between her connection to her father’s Anishinaabe family and her mother’s affluent (and not Native American) family and the novel does a great job of establishing the tension not just for Daunis but for the entire community. There is plenty of mystery and drama, a bit of teen angst and romance, and characters who feel real and not stereotyped in the least. I particularly enjoyed the depiction and explanation of Objibwe traditions and the over-arching theme of murdered and missing Indigenous women. Highly recommended.

Fly Girl: A Memoir by Ann Hood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to be a flight attendant when air travel was glamourous and special, this is the memoir for you. Ann Hood (who also happens to be a knitter) recounts her years working for TWA, from the celebrity passengers to the mundane chairs and everything in between. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Hood recently at a conference and she is as likable and genuine in person as she is in her writing. Definitely recommended.

And that’s it for my July reading, lots of great summer titles for sure!

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Thank you for the reviews. I will be adding a few of these to my “To Read” list. I just finished Counterfeit by Kristin Chen. It was a good, quick read.

  2. I also loved Lucy and This Time Tomorrow, and will have to take a look at Firekeeper’s Daughter. I just finished Fellowship Point, and after a few starts and stops it was really a good book.

  3. Thank you for these reviews! I’ve only read one of these (Firekeeper’s Daughter) but a couple have been on my radar, and I’m always happy to have more recommendations from other readers who have similar taste!

  4. I always enjoy your reviews Carole. Looks like July was a good month for you! So many have recommended “Firekeeper’s Daughter” that I may give it a try (YA fiction is not my favorite). I did try to read “French Braid” but after 100 pages or so I gave it up. I find that Ann Tyler’s books are hit or miss for me and that one was a miss. I’ve thought about “Fly Girl” but then I keep remembering the book from so long ago: “Coffee, Tea, or Me?” LOL

  5. Some of these are already on my Goodreads to read list but I added a few more.

    I met Ann Hood at a knitting retreat many years ago when her daughter was young. She and her family were so nice and it was a fun addition to our knitting weekend.

  6. I’m so glad you ended up liking Firekeeper’s Daughter. I thought it was a perfect summer read (even if it is YA). And I can’t wait to get my hands on Lucy By the Sea! XO

  7. I’m so excited for Lucy! and love seeing all the love for Oh William! now that it’s on the Booker Long List – I’m sure it’s gonna be a nice bump for the new book (and Elizabeth Strout) when it releases 🙂

  8. I always enjoy and look forward to your book reviews! I have added a few to my list to read. I just finished “You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty” by Akwaeke Emezi.
    I’m always amazed by how many books you can read in a month!!

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