I had a goal to read 12 books this summer. I didn’t think it would be difficult since I average about four books a month anyway. Since summer doesn’t officially end until mid-September, I had a good shot. Maybe I still do, I read three books in June, but I only read one in July.
I had a tough month. I was depressed, and my regular dose of Zoloft wasn’t cutting it. I had enough energy to work and watch baseball games, and that was it. Reading felt like a chore rather than a welcome escape. After finishing the one good book early in the month (which I’ll get to in a minute), I borrowed Did You Hear about Kitty Karr? from the library. But I returned it the next day after hearing a reviewer say it was a great story with a slow burn. In book-speak, this means it could take a while for readers to get into the story and reach the good parts. I knew this wasn’t the time for a challenge. I was already feeling challenged enough.
Did Not Finish (DNF)
I also DNF’d This Time Tomorrow, which I put down at one point and never picked back up. I thought it would be easy to jump back into the story, but as I began to read, I remembered why I didn’t like it in the first place. This hurt my heart and my pocketbook because I was halfway into the book and bought it as a hardcover when it first came out. These two strikes cost me time and money—two things I hate to waste. But I had to let it go. I donated it to the swim club library.
A Five-Star Read
The one book I did enjoy was The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose. I listened to it for three days straight on Audible. I hung on to every word and plot twist until the final chapter, which brought about an unexpected but fantastic ending. Here is the set-up. A top-notch defense attorney and her husband, a struggling writer, have what seems to be the perfect marriage. They have career success, beautiful homes, and a great life. But everything changes when the husband’s mistress turns up stabbed to death in their marital bed. Of course, he is the primary suspect and looks guilty as hell, but he insists he didn’t do it. Heartbroken, the wife decides she is the best attorney and the only one that can defend him. As the mystery unfolds, there are many other characters who had the motive to kill her. With each new clue revealed, I found myself changing my mind as to “who dunnit,” which made this a lot of fun to read.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loved The Plot or The Silent Patient. This is a book you won’t soon forget, and listening to the audiobook was an added bonus.
No Book Buy July
The other challenge I put upon myself was not buying any books for the entire month. I wanted to save a little money and couldn’t justify bringing more books home when I already had so many unread ‘must-have’ novels. Still, a little retail therapy might have come in handy. When I’m depressed, I like nothing better than passing the time in an indie bookstore. The hunt for a new book feels productive to me, and being present amongst a community of readers always brings me joy. Instead, I tried to find that joy in the comfort of my bookshelves or at the local library. I’m not saying that denying myself the pleasure of buying books added to my depression. But it might have made it a little harder to bear.
I’m happy to say that I am doing much better. The new medicine has kicked in. I have more energy for reading and for life in general. I’ve already purchased two new books and am halfway through the first one now. I will continue to shop my shelves in August because I know I have some five-star books I can dive into. I’m not going to make a list of books that I promise to read this month. I will ease back into the reading life, pick up books I’m in the mood to read, and hope I have more of them to review next time.
What have you been reading lately?