Book Roundup: July

So, I kind of have a thing for books. If I could, I would read all day every day (and when I was unemployed, that’s pretty much what I did). My absolute favorite thing is getting book recommendations from other people – whether friends, bloggers, or even in the “Best Books of This Year” round-ups that newspapers publish annually. Because of that, I decided to do a monthly round-up feature of my books: what I read, why I read it, and what I thought. Enjoy!

July was actually a bit of a slow month for me bookwise – I was busy with two weddings, moving to a new city, and starting a new job! I also had a bit of a delay waiting to borrow my next anticipated book from a friend and during those 4-5 days skimmed through a few old favorites (namely The Time Traveller’s Wife). But I still clocked in three books:


WHAT I READ: The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak

WHY I READ IT: This was actually a re-read of one of my absolutely favorite books. I originally read it based on the recommendations of one of my book gurus (I will blindly follow her advice) a few years ago. Recently I read how they are making it into a movie and I got curious about reading it again, as I couldn’t remember everything about it – I just distinctly remember reading the last bit while grabbing dinner alone in a restaurant and realizing I couldn’t wait to make it home to read the last chapter. Instead, I sat in a bus stop and sobbed openly on the street.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I honestly cannot, cannot express my love for this book enough. If you are looking for an amazing read of a book – something a bit more mature than most of the Young Adult I admit to reading, but not so pedantic as, say, Shakespeare – then please, please read this.

The large part of what makes is AMAZING are the words – the words! This is the book for people who love books, and for people who love words. The way that Zuzak describes things makes me fangirl for him. A small example – the eponymous main character, Liesel, is with her neighbors in a basement during a bombing. She is distracting herself by reading out loud and soon distracts the other worried families in the room. As Zusak paints:

She didn’t dare look up, but she could feel their frightened eyes hanging on to her as she hauled the words in and breathed them out. A voice played the notes inside. This, it said, is your accordion.

The sound of the turning page carved them in half.

Liesel read on.

I mean, the sound of the turning page carved them in half! I just love that image.

Simply put, this book is about words. The way words can be used by evil for evil purposes. The way words can be used to save. The way words may be all you have left. Consider the summary – a book narrated by Death, set in 1940s Germany – and you can assume it’s a tearjerker. But you should know that it is beautiful. My top recommendation, always.


WHAT I READThe Demon King, by Cinda Williams Chima

WHY I READ IT: Funnily enough I had requested this from the library a few months ago but ended up not getting to it. When I moved to Boston, my temporary roomie was reading (and loving) the third book in the series and I decided to give it a go.

WHAT I THOUGHT: A strong four-star-er (aka, I enjoyed reading it and I’ll probably read it again). It’s YA fantasty, and a little bit more young than some other books I’ve read, but definitely worthwhile if only for the foundation of the series (I’m enjoying the later books much more). What I really enjoy about this is how the characters intertwine and the alternating POV chapters. I love knowing how all the characters connect, even though there is some mistaken identity and blindsightedness and it drives me CRAZY when two characters are so close but don’t run into each other (a la all of Game of Thrones and House Stark members).


WHAT I READ: The Exiled Queen, by Cinda Williams Chima

WHY I READ IT: Second book in the Seven Realms series!

WHAT I THOUGHT: LOVE IT! Great next step from The Demon King (and a slightly less embarrassing title when people ask what you are reading!). If you’ve read The Kingkiller Chronicles, it’s kind of a baby version of that, particularly when the characters all go to kinda-magic school. But I love any book where teenagers are in a quasi-British institution learning magic and other fun things, so this was naturally a good book for me. Continued with TDK tradition of building on characters, maddeningly having them not realize who the others truly are, and causing me to shriek in frustration a lot. Always a good sign. Plus I had some serious debate with my friend who recommended it, and there’s nothing I love more than impromptu book club.

Did I convert anyone? What are YOU reading? Most importantly, any recommendations?!

A New Start & An Explanation

So here’s the thing: this blog probably won’t be all that interesting, innovative, or inspiring (but I will endeavor to use a lot of alliteration). I had a couple of lucky breaks in my last two blogs – yes, I am a bit of a blog freak now, I admit. My first blog chronicled the yearish I spent abroad, the first part in England and the second part in Asia. So that was fairly interesting and I could look a lot cooler than I actually was and be all, oh yeah, I hung out with elephants, whatever, all in a day’s work. So it was satisfying to see something I had literally spent four years planning, financially and emotionally, finally come to fruition, and then rub it in the faces of everyone I love. Because I’m bighearted like that.

Then I got home to the inevitable unemployment and as a coping mechanism and frankly something to do I started a snarky blog about unemployment and posted a couple of times before tricking someone into hiring me. And I figured that was that – I was no longer traipsing around the exotic or spewing humorous (hopefully) observations on a narrow topic, so what else did I have to chronicle?

Well, it turns out that I kind of miss it. I’ve moved to a brand spankin’ new city and I keep thinking about all these things I want to do, and I think the best way to make myself accountable to getting off my butt is by blogging about them. So that’s what this blog is going to be – essentially a public diary of my goings-on. I plan to post about Boston-y things I’ve done (or eaten), culinary accomplishments, books I’m reading (and bookstores I’m loving), finding my niche in a new place, and so on. I fully recognize that this is unlikely to be interesting to anyone who did not actively birth me, so I’m going to limit the number of times I blast new posts on social media (how obnoxious is that, anyway? #sorrynotsorry).

So if you are mildly interested in keeping up with my life, or you just get really bored at work and want something to read, go ahead and give me a follow in Feedly or whatever you use to replace Google Reader. There’s also a convenient button on the side where you can enter in your email and new posts will be delivered right to your inbox. Since I assume I’ve already lost most of my audience by this point, I’ll just address you directly now: Mom – you’re gonna love it.

The only time you'll see me with an elephant on this blog. Well, probably.

The only time you’ll see me with an elephant on this blog. Well, probably.