It’s time for my monthly post of book reviews! July was not a great reading month for me because I felt very underwhelmed by most of what I read. Most of the books were pretty long (400+ pages) and didn’t grab my attention, so getting through them was a struggle. Anyway, here are my thoughts on what I read!
Book club selection: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (3 stars)
This was probably my least favorite Moriarty read by a long shot (her previous two I gave 5 stars). It follows a woman, Alice, who wakes up on the floor of a gym thinking she is 29, newly married, and due with her first child. When, in fact, she is 39, recently separated, and a mother of three. I found Moriarty’s exploration of family and relationships and marriage, and how their dynamics can change through the ebb and flow of life, was interesting, but ultimately, I just found the characters to be unlikeable and the book to be way too long (nearly 500 pages!). I also think, being a single gal in my twenties, there was a lot I couldn’t relate to. An okay novel, but not the one of hers I would recommend.
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge (a book that takes place in Asia): The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi (3 stars)
I really, really wanted to like this book, but I really, really did not. And, honestly, the only reason I finished it was because I was reading it for the challenge. (Side note: This is the one thing I don’t like about reading challenges. In a sense, it forces you to continue reading books you don’t like!) I’ve heard people compare it to a Khaled Hosseini novel, which frankly offends me, because the only similarity is that they are both about the Afghan culture. This book wasn’t very well written, it wasn’t engaging, it didn’t grab my attention. I just found the book to be slow and it was one of those books that took me forever to read because I never felt like picking it up. I hate to give such a negative review, since I know of a lot of people who loved this novel, but I have to be honest about my experience reading it.
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge (an award winner from the last decade): Room by Emma Donoghue (4 stars)
This was the only book I read in July that I actually liked! And it’s funny because it was the book I was least looking forward to reading, ha. I knew the subject matter would be heavy and I didn’t know if I would be in the right mood for it. In this book, you follow the story of Jack, a five year old who has been living in a tiny shack for his whole life. His mom was kidnapped when she was 19 (she’s 26 now) and is held prisoner in this shack. The language is somehow perfect – I felt Donoghue nailed five year old terminology and speech and syntax. The novel is haunting and poignant and sad and hopeful. It’s so beautifully written. I am so glad I finally read this book!
Others (read for fun!)
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll (3 stars)
I read this because it was getting a lot of buzz and the wait list was short at my library. And I don’t get the hype. It took at least 150-200 pages until the book really grabbed my interest. Before then, I didn’t know if I wanted to finish. None of the characters were likable, and not in a Gone Girl “these characters are so crazy and psycho” way. Just… a boring way. I thought the main character lived an incredibly sad life and she’s someone I would never want to be friends with. The plot felt a bit contrived, and I felt that the author glossed over some plotlines that were more important than others. All in all, not my favorite read.
Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes (2.5 stars)
In this nonfiction healthy living book, science writer Gary Taubes argues that most of the past decades of nutritional research is bad. Specifically, he says that the “calorie in, calories out” model of healthy living is wrong and that what we need to focus on is eating less carbs. I appreciate his opinion on this, and I’m not sure if it’s right or wrong (I honestly think it’s probably different for each person), but I want to experiment with this lifestyle soon. For me, though, I found this book to be way too science-y and a lot of it was difficult for me to process. (Which, yes, makes me feel super dumb.) There was only about 10-15% of the book that I found useful.
All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins (3 stars)
This was an alright book. It’s a reread; I read it back in 2010 and had a rave review for it on Goodreads. But I guess my reading tastes have changed over the past five years (imagine that) because I found the main character to be annoying and the plot a little goofy. Also, I really, really dislike how this author continuously bashes online dating. The dates her characters go on are ridiculous and just furthers the stigma online dating has. It irks me. Anyway, it was a light, easy read, which I needed after reading too many books in a row with heavy subject matter.
BOOK STATS // JULY
# of books read: 6
# of pages read: 2,284
quickest read: Room (5 days)
longest read: Why We Get Fat (10 days)
formats: ebooks (3), physical books (3)
What was the best book you read in July?