July Book Wrap-Up

8/10/2019


July was a wild reading month. I took part in The Reading Rush readathon which saw me reading 8 books in 7 days, which my Goodreads Reading Challenge was extremely thankful for. I desperately need to get in a better habit of reading in the quiet moments, I've just been too easily distracted by Pocket Camp and Super Smash Bros. Here's hoping for a better routine in August!



The Opposite Of Loneliness: Essays And Stories 
by Marina Keegan 
“We're so young. We're so young. We're twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There's this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lie alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out - that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialised. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it's too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.” 
This is a collection of work published posthumously after Marina Keegan sadly passed away in a car accident at twenty-two. It's a very sad backstory as to how this book came into being a reality, especially as you read her words and they radiate a joy for life. Marina seemed like a pleasant girl who undoubtedly had a future in writing. But as with any review, I'm going to look past all of this and give a review solely as a reader. I enjoyed most of this book, as with any collection there are always hits and misses. I enjoyed the non-fiction work more than her short stories, partly due to the constant "at least I'm skinnier than this other female I don't like" lines that just baffled me. Not one of the protagonists were likeable, I felt that they fell into the stereotypical bitchiness that I hope we have since surpassed when writing young women. But I imagine this was the classic case of immature writing, and something her writing would've grown out of. She had promise and should've been able to write more.

Rating: (feeling uncomfortable rating this so gonna pass)


Where The Crawdad's Sing
by Delia Owens
“She knew the years of isolation had altered her behaviour until she was different from others, but it wasn't her fault she'd been alone. Most of what she knew, she'd learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would.” 
The Marsh Girl is spoken about throughout the town of Barkley Cove. Living alone in the shack at her swap since the age of 10, Kya has become somewhat of a urban legend. Only boating to the town when in need of supplies, people don't understand her. She's lonely but doesn't know how to blend in with other people, instead choosing to fill her days by collecting feathers, insects, and anything related to her swap. When Tate, a fisherman's boy, takes an interest in her and says he'll help her learn to read, their relationship takes on a life of it's own.  This has been described as a survivalist story but instead I found it to be an almost coming-of-age story about a girl finding her worth. The first 100 or so pages dragged beyond belief but the last half more than made up for it.

Rating: ★★★★


Sweetbitter
by Stephanie Danler 
“I wanted to say, My life is full. I chose this life because it's a constant assault of color and taste and light and it's raw and ugly and fast and it's mine. And you'll never understand. Until you live it, you don't know.”
Moving to New York from a place that feels like nowhere to live, twenty-two-year-old Tess lands a job at a renowned Union Square restaurant and begins to navigate the chaotic and punishing life of a waiter. Her appetite awakens for food, wine, drugs and sex But she also finds herself drawn into a dark, alluring love triangle. Pretentious writing, hopeless characters, and a story that lacks in every way possible, this was an utter 'meh' book. The only thing preventing this from being a 1 star read is the rare but notable paragraphs that actually read as beautiful (and not pompous).

Rating: ★★


Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom: A Short Story
by Sylvia Plath
"But what is the ninth kingdom?" she asks a kind-seeming lady in her carriage. "It is the kingdom of the frozen will," comes the reply. "There is no going back."
A girl is put on a fatal train journey by her parents, only being told that she's heading to the Ninth Kingdom. Written by Plath in 1952, and then having sat in her archives for years, this brand new story is as compelling as it is dark. If you've read any of her work, then you'll already know what this reading experience is going to be like. Beautifully written but an utter mind-fuck, in a good way. It is incredibly short for a book though, so unless you collect Sylvia Plath's work, I'd suggest borrowing a copy from your library - it may not be worth the hefty newly released book price.

Rating: ★★★★


A Very Large Expanse of Sea
by Tahereh Mafi
“If the decision you’ve made has brought you closer to humanity, then you’ve done the right thing.”
It's been a year after 9/11 and Muslim teenager Shirin is still experiencing the aftermath of it. People treat her poorly - yelling at her to go back to her own country, calling her names for wearing her hijab, attacking her physically. Her solution to this is to hide within herself. After moving to a new school, she is met with the same treatment except for one boy. Can he help her come out of her shell? That makes this sound like any other YA cliche contemporary, and it kind of is. The topic of racism and cultural educating in this book I loved, they were both done perfectly and I really liked Shirin as a main character. She was strong, naive in the way that most people are at the age of sixteen, and someone I would actually befriend. But Ocean, her love interest, is an utter cliche. I felt as though he had no depth, and I think this story would've been much more empowering if it was built around a friendship. We don't always need romance in our books!

Rating: ★★★


Educated
by Tara Westover

The well-loved non-fiction memoir about a girl who was raised by survivalists and her journey to educating herself. I'd been so excited to give this a read, heck, it was included in my 5 Star Book Predictions post. But something was amiss for me during the reading process. I just didn't find myself transfixed by her story, which I feel was the essence of the book for most people. It had everything I needed, but fell rather short. I still rated it 4 stars as it truly is a marvellous story of self survival and Tara Westover is an incredibly inspiring women. It's definitely worth a read, maybe this was just a case of a wrong book at the wrong time. Perhaps Where The Crawdad's Sing gave me a burnout for this type of story.

Rating: ★★★★



The remainder of the month was spent reading for the readathon. So if you fancy, go ahead and give my The Reading Rush Wrap-Up 2019 post a click to have a nosy at the other eight books I read. 

All in all, not a bad month but it could of been better. What was the last book that disappointed you? Let me know! Let's have a book gossip. 

1 comment

  1. I haven't read any of these books! "Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom" sounds good.

    In July I read six books and there was no book that disappointed me. The best ones I read were: "The Cabin" by Natasha Preston, "The Fault In Our Stars" by John Green (I couldn't stop crying!) and "Everything, everything" by Nicola Yoon :)

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