July/August Book Log

September 7, 2016

July and August were not good reading months. I only read seven books total. Not acceptable. There was a lot of baseball stuff going on, so time was somewhat limited, but I’m determined to both read a ton in September (I’ve already finished two books this month) and get back to doing these on a monthly basis (I may even have general blogs, but we’ll see. Anyway, here’s what I read in July and August.

  1. Enigma: The Battle for the Code by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore (4/5) – This book sat in my to-be-read pile for ages and ages, but I finally got to it. I’m glad. It’s a good read on an interesting topic. It is incredibly thorough, so much so that it gets a bit repetitive in the middle, but overall, it’s a very worthwhile book.
  2. Goodnight Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes (3.5/5) – There are some positively beautiful stories in this book, there are also a handful that felt either repetitive or did not otherwise do much for me. Worth reading for the best stories, which I can imagine myself teaching at some point.
  3. Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta (4/5) – I’ve been a big fan of Spiotta in the past, and my opinions on this book might suffer from it. If I’d encountered her for the first time with this book, I’d probably be blown away, but as this didn’t reach the level of, say Stone Arabia, it was hard not to feel a bit underwhelmed.
  4. The Girl from the Garden by Parnaz Foroutan (4/5) – So, I really had a run of liking, but not loving books (which is generally what a 4 means for me). This was the last in that line. It was a good book that did a very good job of exposing me, at least, do a different cultural point of view. I wanted a little more from the characters, but this really was a good book.
  5. Three Light Years by Andrea Canobbio (5/5) – Now this was a book I loved. It tells the story of two people coming out of relationships who clearly have feelings for each other, but can’t quite get off the ground. That’s not the whole story of close, but I don’t want to give the whole story. It’s a gorgeous work of translation and highly recommended.
  6. To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey (5/5) – Right now, my feeling is that this is the best book I’ve read this year. Her first book The Snow Child was brilliant and deservedly short-listed for the Pulitzer. This one is better. I want to call it masterpiece. I love everything about it. Excellent integration of parallel narratives. Fantastic use of illustration. Plus a northerly setting, which I’m always a sucker for. Go read it.
  7. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (5/5) – I probably hadn’t read this in a decade, but I was teaching it this year. I liked it more than I remembered. It’s still a simple story, but there are plenty of symbolic layers to dissect, which makes it a great book to teach.