July and August Book Reviews

July I decided to take a break from social media, so instead I tried to spend my time reading a lot more. It ended up being great because our August was incredibly busy and I ended up not reading as much as I could. So everything evened out! Here’s some quick reviews of the books I read in July and August.

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The Gifts We Keep

by Katie Grindeland

I was very intrigued by this book as it was published by the Multnomah County Library as part of a new program they are doing. This was the first book they put out. I enjoyed it for the most part, I thought the structure was interesting and lended itself well to everyone’s perspectives. I wish there was a bit more difference between each character’s voice—sometimes I would find myself forgetting which character was even speaking because the POV was arguably the same no matter which section we were on. It felt very much like a first novel which isn’t necessarily good or bad. I tend to not enjoy first person POV books for this kind of reason, although I’m one to talk because my novel I’m writing is of course in 1st POV! But all in all I think the story was really compelling, I enjoyed all the characters, and it was told in a very interesting way.

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Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World

by Sabina Berman

Well, in a word, this was brilliant. It’s the story of a girl who is autistic, who goes on to become very successful in the fishing/agriculture industry, while also considering environmental and moral impacts of killing animals for food. It was really poignant and beautiful and not at all what I expected when I picked it up (I try to go in knowing nothing about a book). This is definitely one that I will be purchasing for my bookshelf to read again. Absolutely beautiful.

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I’ll Give You the Sun

by Jandy Nelson

As a ‘young adult’ I tended to devour the Eragon series and any book by Ted Dekker, so romance sort of novels weren’t really my taste. But I do appreciate the themes of this book and how they were presented with the characters. I could have done without the more saucy parts of the book but then again, maybe if I had been exposed to the normalcy of sex I wouldn’t have turned out as awkward as I am now (lol). The entirety of the story was very sweet, and I see why it has received so much praise.

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Sing, Unburied, Sing

by Jesmyn Ward

I loved this one, it has road trips, memories, and ghosts all while exploring what family and race means. I only wish we had gotten to know the characters even deeper, I feel like in a lot of ways Ward just brushed the surface of all the ideas in the book. But I absolutely loved it!

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Girls who Looked Under Rocks

by Jeannine Atkins

This was a quick children’s book so I’m not sure if it even really counts as one of my books for the month, but I’m including it anyways. I picked it because I was obsessed with rocks as a kid so it pertained to my interests, haha. Wish it was an adult book, and one that included women of other cultures as well (instead of just rich white women who were naturalists out of privilege).

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The Buddha in the Attic

by Julie Otsuka

Wow, this was a work of art. Physically it was a very quick and easy read, emotionally it was tough and really heart wrenching and I feel like I learned so much from reading it. I picked it up randomly as a recommended book from the library and I don’t regret it.

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A Particular Kind of Black Man

by Tope Folarin

Another really beautiful book, I absolutely flew through this one. It talks about the struggles of being an immigrant and the racism that so many people experience in America. This novel also plays on the concept of memory and how our memories shape us as humans.

So many beautiful stories. I’ve officially past my new year’s resolution to read twenty four books and it feels so nice to get back into reading for pleasure after that post-grad English major slump I think so many of us get into. You can check out my goodreads also for more regularly updated reading!