July Book Report

I don’t understand what happened this past month, but sadly, my reading life has been disappointing lately. And it is not because I haven’t been reading. I think I picked the wrong ones. This is a bummer for me because I enjoy summer reading more than any other season. I like beach reads and summer book lists and everything that is associated with sitting on my comfy chair with a glass of wine and a good book.

On the plus side, I will say that I’m sort of glad I finished them all and didn’t play the DNF (did not finish) card. And I learned that I must stick to my rule of DNF-ing a book that I can’t get into within the first 75 pages. If I’m not invested by chapter 5, I’m putting it back on the shelf.

There are too many good books out there and never enough time to read them.

On the bright side, I’m four books ahead of schedule on my Goodreads 2021 Reading Challenge. If I keep this pace up – 3-4 books a month – I’ll finish the year at around 30 titles. But, it isn’t the number of books that matters; it is the quality of the stories that I am reading that counts.

And, If you have read this far into my blog post, you are probably wondering what books I read. So, let’s dive in!

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker 

The basic premise of this book is that several women are working their way up the corporate ladder. At some point in their tenure, they each get involved with their boss – a married man who likes to hire younger women and manipulate them with opportunities and promotions in exchange for certain favors. Now that their boss is about to become the next CEO of the company, they don’t want to stay silent any longer. So, can they all come together to take him down once and for all? Sound like a good story, right?

I decided to listen to this book on Audible, but the narrator did not do these characters justice. I had a hard time telling them all apart and after a while, I just didn’t care. A murder mystery subplot does develop about three-quarters of the way into the book, but at that point, I’ve completely lost interest.

I had high expectations for this book mainly because the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace interests me. It also came highly recommended by Reese Witherspoon’s book club. I’ve enjoyed several of her selections in the past, so I thought this would be no different. Also, the book was advertised as a thriller and a satisfying beach read, but to me, it was neither of those things.

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

“A gripping domestic page-turner…” was how this book was advertised. But unfortunately, this was another story with several female characters that the author didn’t differentiate enough for me to keep the stories straight. Basically, three women live on a suburban street where everyone knows each other’s children and business. A new neighbor moves in and because she is single, successful, and childless, the other women are intrigued. What is she doing there? Why would she move there? They were all intrigued by this woman and a little jealous. I was about to DNF this book, but an unexpected twist happened so I had to see it through to the end. I liked the ending but wished the book was more of the “page-turner it promised to be.

I picked this book for our August book club and looking forward to discussing it to see what the others thought of it. I think someone else should pick the next book though.

The People You Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

The next book I picked up is one that appears on almost every 2021 summer reading list. It promised a story that was a modern-day “When Harry Met Sally”. I actually rather enjoyed this book, but I wouldn’t say that I’d highly recommend it.

It’s your basic – Boy meets girl. Boy is aloof. Girl is cute but can be a little annoying. Boy and girl fight and spend 10 years of their lives trying to convince themselves they don’t love each other even though (spoiler alert) they really do.

Don’t worry, I didn’t give away the ending there. It is so obvious from the get-go!

Poppy and Alex are adorable and their witty banter kept the story moving along. And yes, there was a Harry/Sally-esque theme to the story. For me, there was way too much hype around this book – a sophomore novel by Emily Henry, who wrote “Beach Read” last summer. I really liked that book, and this one was good too, but it didn’t knock my socks off. And, after being so unhappy with the first two books I read this month, I was hoping this would turn things around for me.

Ending Parkinson’s Disease: A Prescription for Action

The last book I read – “Ending Parkinson’s Disease” – was written by four esteemed doctors and experts who are affiliated with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. I’m learning a lot about the genetic research and environmental factors that are behind this disease which has affected members of my own family. It was an interesting read, and I finished most of it. I wouldn’t say it was entertaining, but it was a solid read and one I will keep on my bookshelf as a reference when I start writing my own book (whenever that is 😊).

Upcoming Books

As I said, I’m not sticking with any books that I can’t get into within the first 75 pages. I have already DNF’d Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson. I hear this book is fantastic, but because it is a book of essays about mental health issues, it doesn’t say “summer reading” to me right now. Luckily, I got it from the library and can easily access it again when I’m ready.

I keep picking up and putting down The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali. I’m going to give it another go because I love historical fiction novels. And if this one doesn’t work out, I have a backup that fits nicely into this genre – Eternal by Lisa Scottoline. You won’t find this book on any 2021 summer reading lists, but that’s fine with me. I love her books and her column in the Philadelphia Inquirer. She has yet to disappoint me and from what I’ve read about the book – this is the one she has always wanted to write.

I also have a nonfiction book called Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo. It is a short book about approaching your goals with a productive mindset. This is something I need to tap into right now.

I’ll save room on my list for whatever my book club wants to read next. I’m hoping for something light and easy.

Regardless of what I read – Above all, I am determined to have a much better reading month in August!

The Last Word

As always, I’m happy to offer up these book reviews to you. The only thing I ask is that you do not buy these titles from a big box company and support your local independent bookshop. I don’t about you, but I’d much rather support a family business than a man who uses my money to fund his personal space travel. Just saying…

Happy Reading!

Elisa

 

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