July Book Round-up

Picture Books

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No Nap! Yes Nap! by Margie Palatini

This adorable book was perfect to read in storytime to my 0-2 crowd. It uses simple language, with plenty of rhymes, and made most of the parents laugh (whether through empathetic tears or not, I’m not sure). Coupled with cute, easy to see illustrations this is a definite winner for very young readers.

Juvenile/Young Adult

Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

I have been working on the BBC Big Read and one of the items on the list is the Chronicles of Narnia series. I got confused by the numbering schema (you can read it in Harper Collin’s suggested chronological order or the original publishing order) and ended up reading this one third, after The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Luckily I think you’re pretty safe to enjoy these books even if out of order or as a standalone, and thus it didn’t make too much of a difference. I really liked this one, it was humorous, had nice illustrations, and was beautifully written. Since I’ve been re-listening to the Game of Thrones series it was very cool to read about another fantasy world that actually has a very similar structure.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Jenny Han is rapidly becoming one of my favorite YA authors. All of her characters feel very real and I unashamedly love following the boy drama. This is the second one in a three part series about long summers spent on the beach with cute and mysterious boys, and it definitely helped me get in the summer mood and ready for my own beach vacation!

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

This seems to be one of those books you either adore or despise. I fell squarely in the prior camp, devouring the whole book unintentionally in one day. It seems like a cliche story on the surface, but is actually full of surprising twists and turns and is a very interesting analysis of a family and the fruits of being over-privileged. I especially loved the short, staccato, poem-esque writing (though that tends to be most people’s complaint about the book), but all that said, I could have done without the overwrought riffs on fairy tales that were scattered throughout the book.

Adult

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I love love loved this book. Its main character actually reminded me a lot of Esther from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Despite being from two different decades, they share similar insecurities about being a woman in modern society, and the novels shared a similar style of writing. The key difference, however, is that Rebecca is, at least in part, a suspense novel. I must admit I found it to be lacking in the suspense, but it made up for it in intriguing plot and wonderful prose.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Jeremy McCarter and Lin-Manuel Miranda

I didn’t think it was possible to become more obsessed with Hamilton: The Musical than I was, but this “Hamiltome,” as it is sometimes called, did just that to me. I loved learning the history of  the show’s coming into fruition and even more interesting to me – I loved learning about the inner workings of Miranda’s brain. He truly is a genius, seemingly effortlessly weaving together the history of rap and the history of our country into one truly unique musical. I was astounded to learn about his thought processes and I only wish I could have his mind, even for a day.

The Girls by Emma Cline

Loved, loved, loved this one (one of the few times in recent memory an in-the-moment “trendy” novel has lived up to my expectations.)  Beautifully written and excellently capturing the seemingly universalthemes of growing up as a girl, this book definitely deserves the praise it has been given.

Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel

After loving Fun Home but being sorely disappointed by Are You My Mother?, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy Bechdel’s massive, multi-year collection of her long-running comic strip about a group of wildly diverse and unique lesbians and the political world in which they live. But I thought it was great. It was amusing to see how much in our political landscape really doesn’t change, and even more so to see Bechdel’s own feelings and politics change along side the series – most notably in her definitons of feminism and her understanding/recognition of transgender identity, and I appreciated that she chose to portray queer people who all have different takes on the same issues, who constantly challenge her own ideas. Definitely a solid read for anyone interested in LGBTQ+ issues.

Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North

Ryan North is a gift to us all and this updated, “Choose Your Own Adventure” spin on a Shakespearean classic is wonderful in every way.

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