Book Chat

Reading Life: July 2018

I expected this summer to be full of lazy days watching my toddler wander from play dates at the park to the pool, but it has been unexpectedly busy; July especially! Between travel and medical procedures and house repairs, I haven’t been on a “normal” schedule for a while, but fortunately, the change in routine has allowed for some uninterrupted reading time (the best kind!), so I feel like I’ve actually been able to finish a few books in a timely manner instead of bit by bit in stolen moments of the day.

August brings the start of a new school year, so I feel like I’ve gotten my summer reading done for the year… and even if it still feels like summer, I’m finding myself starting to look forward to cooler weather and cozy reading in the season ahead.

Read in July

I’m still tracking and taking daily photos of what I’m reading, even if they rarely make it to the blog or social media. But if you want to see time-lapse videos of what I read each month, check out my Instagram feed @ladykatiestitchery!


July 2018 Thoughts


The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han

Start date: 6/29/2018
Finish date: 7/12/2018
Source: Everyday Reading on Instagram
Genre: YA Fiction
Format: Library book
2 stars

I’m anxiously awaiting the Netflix release of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and in the meantime I wanted to read something from Jenny Han’s backlist. This novel promised to be a fun summer read but I’m so tired of love triangles and teenage angst that I just couldn’t enjoy another revisiting of early adolescence and all the petty mood swings that come with it. I liked the characters, but I didn’t feel committed enough to keep reading the series, so I read some GoodReads reviews to get the gist of what happens in the next two books… and I’m happy leaving it at that.

For a (much!) better taste of Jenny Han, check out my reviews of:

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (February 2015)
P.S. I Still Love You (October 2015)
Always and Forever, Lara Jean (May 2017)

The Selection, by Kiera Cass

Start date: 7/1/2018
Finish date: 7/5/2018
Source: Young House Love Has a Podcast
Genre: YA Fiction
Format: Audiobook
3 stars

I’d heard of this dystopian YA cross between Hunger Games and The Bachelor reality show but when Sherry from Young House Love recommended it and I was tired of podcasts on a long drive by myself, I decided to start the audiobook. I got sucked in quickly, and it explored some interesting ideas about media and class, but it ended on a cliffhanger and I’m just not in the mood to read a whole five-book series right now… my TBR list is way too long!

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama, by Alison Bechdel

Start date: 7/13/2018
Finish date: 7/15/2018
Source: Quimby’s Bookstore in Chicago
Genre: Memoir
Format: Graphic Novel
3 stars

I really loved Fun Home (see my review here), and I stumbled upon this sequel in a zine bookstore in Chicago, so I had to pick it up. Cerebral and interesting, for sure, but it lacked the narrative cohesion of the first book, which focuses on Bechdel’s relationship with her father; this one can still stand alone but I wish I’d read Fun Home more recently since I’ve forgotten some of the details. I liked the entwining elements of therapy and therapists (both historical and present), although I remain skeptical about some of the connections. I love how a graphic novel can portray nuances that prose can’t, and it was an honest and enlightening portrait of a mother/daughter relationship, all the more complicated because it’s still evolving as they both age.

The Book of Essie, by Meghan Maclean Weir

Start date: 7/16/2018
Finish date: 7/18/2018
Source: What Should I Read Next? podcast
Genre: YA Fiction
Format: Library book
4 stars

Essie, who grew up on reality TV as the model daughter of her Super Church pastor and controlling mother, is in a pickle: she’s 16 and pregnant. But she has a plan of escape that is thrilling to witness. This quick-paced novel is such a timely mix of hot button issues I’m interested in: reality tv, the #metoo movement, and the evangelical Christian community. The characters were a bit flat and the ending too pat, but the flaws were worth the acerbic commentary.

Still Reading:

Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow

Start date: 7/8/2018
Source: Everywhere
Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Hardback

I’ve listened to the hip hopera soundtrack countless times, and I finally got to see it performed in Chicago; of course I had to read the source material… even if all three bookstores we visited in Chicago were sold out! I started out with the eBook from the library (much easier to read on the plane ride home!) but I bought a copy at McKay Used Books because it is going to take me much, much longer than 3 weeks to finish this doorstop of a book.

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, by Barack Obama

Start date: 7/23/2018
Source: Myopic Books in Chicago
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback

Another book picked up in Chicago; I’ve been meaning to read Obama’s memoirs, so this seemed like a good place to start. So well-written and insightful; it’s crazy that the preface to the 2004 edition was written before he was even elected!

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark

Start date: 7/28/2018
Source: TBR list
Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook

I can’t even remember why this book was on my TBR list, but I must have gotten the eBook and accompanying Audible narration during a Kindle sale. But wherever it came from, I started listening to it when I was tired of podcasts, and the Scottish narrator is delightful. I usually vet my books more thoroughly, but it’s kind of fun going into it knowing nothing at all… so far this is the story of a captivating teacher and her impressionable young students; a bit of a Pied Piper situation, I think.

Books read in July: 4
Books read in 2018: 27
Still reading: 3

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the seventh month of 2018!

I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

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3 thoughts on “Reading Life: July 2018

  1. I completely felt the same about The Summer I Turned Pretty ): But I’m currently reading Always and Forever, Lara Jean and really enjoying it so maybe Jenny Han is just hit and miss for me haha


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