I added 24 books to my shelves in July (all my 2022 books are shelved here on Goodreads):
- I added five 5-star and six 4-1/2-star books (almost half of the books I read)! Again, I included my short reviews from Instagram for the five 5-star books below.
- 13 (54%) were paper, and all the rest were audio. That’s maybe the best indication I have that I actually did knit a fingering weight cardigan in three weeks.
- 13 (54%) were borrowed, three I owned, and eight were purchased (five new and three used). Nine of those 11 books count toward my Bookshelf60* goal.
- 19 (nearly 80%) were fiction, four were memoir/essay, and one was other non-fiction.
- My intentions were scattered – only four check marks for Diversity and 10 for Growth, but a fantastic 13 for Connection!
- Four books checked all three boxes: Take My Hand, The Painted Drum, Tomb of Sand, and Portrait of a Thief. None of these were 5-star reads for me, but most were close. a good reminder that I read for many reasons, and I can be perfectly satisfied with a book even if I don’t give it five stars!
Here are those short reviews (with a couple of updates and links added in):
🎧Persuasion … a re-read in advance of the new adaptation (which I haven’t yet watched – but now have plans to, along with Novel Pairings Patreon; we’re reading this and studying adaptations in September!). This is maybe (for now) my favorite Austen – Anne is a wonderful heroine, her happy ending is 🥰, her father and sisters are fun to despise, and the setting reminds me of my 2019 visit to Bath. Austen’s wit, pace, plotting, and dialog are perfection. happy sigh.
🎧/📖 Inheritance … a re-read for my neighborhood bookclub (which I hosted in person!). Shapiro learns through a DNA test that her dad is not her biological father. When I first heard that setup, I didn’t get that it could be a big deal, but now I get it. There is so much to discuss – what DO we “inherit”, ethics re: fertility and artificial insemination (Shapiro was born in 1962; much has changed!), and of course, family dynamics and secrets. We all agreed the writing is gorgeous; we especially loved how Shapiro wove in her Jewish heritage (language and tradition).
🎧/📖 The Colony … a stunning novel about the violence of colonization and the power of language, even in “post-colonial” times. ❤️ the audio to hear the Irish ❤️ the pages because Magee is lyrical with words and white space. Love that it made the Booker list!
📖 A Thousand Acres … for Fiction Matters’ July bookclub. a compelling saga about the complicated relationship and power dynamics among farmers, land, and families. My copy says this is King Lear reimagined, not re-told; I wasn’t very familiar with Lear going in and I think that helped. I’d love to read more of Smiley’s work.
📖 The Chronology of Water … [daughter] Sara put this on my radar: “a powerful memoir beautifully written”. She’s right. Yuknavitch uses the “chronology of water – the way water carved the earth, the way water carries us into the world, the way we are made of water” as the central metaphor to tell her story. And she’s a champion swimmer; water is literally where she’s at home and is the natural connection for the seemingly disconnected fragments she relates. (ALL the content warnings for abuse, addiction, and graphic sex.)
Here are the ♥ notes from my journal:
♥ re-reads that hold up! I had two; they were both 5-stars when I read them the first time and they still are. (also, hosting in-person bookclub)
♥(not) Yerba Buena. Many of my reader friends loved this book. gushed about it. not me. I did like it, but I’m wondering what I was missing? maybe the timing was off? and that’s a whole new kind of book FOMO!
♥ serendipity recommendation from Juliann for the Anthony Horowitz “Hawthorne & Horowitz” books … three days of audio delight (and a lot of stockinette knitting!)
♥ Finding Freedom and connection with Marc! We have a sliver of an overlap in our reading Venn diagram and food memoir is a big piece of that. It was fun to compare notes about Erin’s story; and we both appreciate where she is now even more since we know where she’s been.
♥ Take My Hand and starting a family bookclub (I wrote about this in July’s Looking Back post).
♥ Maggie O’Farrell! I’m now a completist for her fiction and have so enjoyed seeing her evolve as a novelist. It does seem like Hamnet was a departure in terms of setting – all of her other novels are set in “current” times (with some stretching back to the mid-20th century), so late 16th century is really different. I’m so curious to see if Marriage Portrait – set in the Italian Renaissance – is going to mark a new path, or if we’ll see connections back to today.
♥ Growth. I learned about involuntary sterilization. history/ethics around IVF and DNA testing. history of England’s colonization of Ireland and Algeria. bookstore and publishing industry in post-WWII London (Bloomsbury Girls – so fun!). INTROVERTS! India/Pakistan partition (more of England’s colonialism). the development of “agribusiness”. King Lear. art history and the role museums play in perpetuating stolen art. and finally Lidia Yuknavitch’s memoir – so much of her story was far outside my comfort zone.
and finally – the monthly TBR! For the first month since I started making this list, I actually read everything (plus two more books – those Horowitz mysteries on audio). So August is a clean slate, mostly full of Booker long list and bookclub selections … and a few books from my shelves (thanks to Bookshelf60* for the reminder 🙂 )
… and that’s it for last month – finally! I’d love to hear about a book or two you’re excited to read (or by now maybe already read) this month!
*My Bookshelf60 project is to read sixty books I already own (as of May 16) in these last six months before my birthday. As of June, I had 15 and July’s 9 brings me to 24. August’s TBR is heavy on new/borrowed books for the Booker long list. I’m thinking September will be a perfect month to read from my shelves!