July Reads

July is the only month of the year where I don't set foot into a classroom, so, naturally, it's when the magic happens. And by magic I mean I go places with my kid and I read as much as possible. This July I got through ten books, which I think is actually what I did last year, too. Here's what I read:

Four of the ten were of the nonfiction variety, two of which I've already written about. I fell in love with Samin Nosrat, so I ended up reading her cookbook Salt Fat Acid Heat cover-to-cover and learned so much (read my more in-depth review here). I also anticipated potential book FOMO, so I started Three Women by Lisa Taddeo the day it came out and discussed in detail here. I definitely enjoyed Dr. Joshua Mezrich's When Death Becomes Life, a sort of part-memoir, part-historical account, of transplant surgery in the United States. It was incredibly accessible and I learned so much about this high-risk area of medicine while reading. And finally, I chuckled my way through David Sedaris' Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls. I must note that I think I've enjoyed some of his other collections, like Calypso, more, but he's always a delight and offers an interesting perspective of the world. 

I read a play for the the first time in decades, not counting the ones I read because I teach them at work. I know other teachers at my school have taught Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, so I gave it a go and was so pleased that I did. I loved her take on racism and feminism, and, really, it's probably one of the early takes on intersectionality. On the non-novel fiction front I also read Rebecca Makkai's collection of short stories, Music for Wartime. Like The Great Believers, it's also beautifully written and just so meticulously crafted. I enjoyed her novel more, but this was still a pleasure.

And this brings up to the novels. The biggest letdown of the month was Susan Choi's Trust Exercise, which I know has gotten some mixed reviews. I thought the pacing was off, some of the descriptions unnecessarily long, and a tiny bit dull in some areas. I did appreciate her attempt to mix up the narrative structure, but I thought that wasn't executed as well as it could have been. Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger was a great poolside read- a little easier but still thoughtful and endearing, despite being a little predictable. 

The two that really stood out were Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men by Sally Rooney's Normal People, two books that are as different as they come. I love everything I read by McCarthy, and this one kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time (I need to watch the movie!). I wasn't sure if I was going to love Rooney's as much as everyone else, since I feel like it's aimed at "millenials" which, despite technically being one of, I don't feel like I am. Anyway, I thought it was great and picked up her other one at Vroman's. 

Now let's see how many I read in August, when I'm back at work and on the verge of losing my mind every ten minutes. 

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