It can be totally overwhelming to pick a new book and when reading time is limited I want to make sure that my choices are going to be well worth it. About once a month, I share my reading list in the hopes that it makes your reading list a bit easier to navigate and, more importantly, helps you discover books you really love. After all, life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy!
I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share my reading list this month.
On My Nightstand This Month
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This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
This is a book that’s getting a ton of buzz and for a good reason. The writing is stellar and evokes such thoughtful, strong characters that you’ll feel like you’re visiting them in person. This is the story of Claude who knows that he’s really a girl named Poppy and how his entire family walks through his childhood, searching for answers about how they will respond. This is not a political book or a social-minded essay, instead it’s a story about families and marriages and siblings and friendships and how we love each other through difficult things. You’ll want to talk with others after you read, so grab your book club and get started.
On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
I love a good apocalyptic YA novel and this one looks at a whole new side of survival, through the eyes of the autistic main character. With an impending meteor strike, decisions have to be made about who is allowed to board Lifeships bound for other inhabitable planets. Denise knows that her disability makes her a less desirable candidate, especially with her addict mother and transgendered sister in tow, but can she find a way to prove her value to the survival of the human race. The story is a bit awkward in places but the author’s (who herself is autistic) description of Denise’s experience and autistic lens is one of the best I’ve ever read and in the end I enjoyed its unique addition to this genre.
Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco
Since my book club finished up The Glass Castle last month, I’ve been on a memoir binge. Mastromonaco served in the Obama White House for 5 years and was part of his office as a Illinois senator as well. Her dishy inside scoop on life behind the scenes of government reads like a fun episode of The West Wing and while the story and writing can be choppy and a bit scattered, it’s worth it to get a look inside a presidency. There are echoes of Tina Fay and Mindy Kaling’s advice/lifestyle memoirs, which make this a light and quick read. Especially recommended if you are a political junky or avid fan of political podcasts. It’d also make a great college graduation gift for women just starting their careers.
The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner
Another memoir, The Sound of Gravel, is Wariner’s recollection of growing up as part of a fundamentalist Mormon (i.e. polygamist) compound in northern Mexico. One of 10 children born to her mother, Ruth recalls the difficulties of her transient life and her heroic efforts to provide stability for her siblings despite deep poverty. Huge trigger warnings on this book, as it deals heavily with physical and sexual abuse. But the redemption of the author’s story makes for a compelling read and emotional read. Ruth’s ultimate acceptance of her mother’s choices is grace-filled and tender but also demonstrates her own strength in such difficult circumstances. If you’re a fan of redemptive memoirs, this is worth reading.
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
You’ve probably already seen this YA book on several other must-read summer lists. After a body is discovered in Rowan’s backyard, she works to figure out just exactly what happened during a horrific and often unknown night in Tulsa in 1921. In alternating chapters, we also follow the story of William, a young man living in Tulsa during 1921 who witnesses the events firsthand. Their two stories, almost a century apart, are intertwined in a mystery that left me guessing until the very end. I love historical fiction that brings to light forgotten history and this book certainly does that. Another excellent book club suggestion!
I’d love to hear from you! Have you read any of these titles? What did you think? What’s been your favorite read this month? Leave a comment below with your book thoughts!
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Will have to add some of these to my summer reading list! I just came back from a lake vacation where I was hoping to get some reading in, but the kids had other ideas 🙂
Haha, I feel you on that Amie! I hope you get some more time to yourself this weekend 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Great reviews! I’ve heard so many good things about This is How It Always Is–I really need to check it out.
On the Edge of Gone sounds intriguing as well, especially for the perspective of an autistic character written by an author who also has autism.
Both are great titles for different reasons but I actually think both books tap into a great story because the authors have personal experiences and connects to their characters. Hope you get a chance to check them both out!
Thanks for the great book recommendations ~ I just added This is How it Always Is and Dreamland Burning to my Kindle and then Amazon recommended Beartown based on those choices so I added that too! I think I’m set for at least a week of binge reads 😉
That sounds like a fantastic reading list! Beartown is on my list too. Happy Reading!
Erin @ burdenfreecaregiving.com says
Lindsay, I love the summer reading program at my library. This is such a fun time of the year to grab new books and dive into reading.
The first one is on my TBR. Thanks for your reviews! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
Elena W says
I kept hearing Anne Bogel mention Dreamland Burning on her podcast and your review just made me finally add it to my TBR list!
Elena, I’m so glad I persuaded you! You’ll have to let me know what you think. It was such an interesting part of history I didn’t know about and I thought the story was thought-provoking.
Angie S. says
This Is How It Always Is about killed me (in a good way). I picked it for my neighborhood book club in August and can’t wait to discuss it with others. I just finished Dreamland Burning and really enjoyed it. Since you enjoyed it, you might like another YA historical fiction: Salt to the Sea by Ruth Sepetys (if you haven’t read it already). My favorite summer read so far has been The Dry by Jane Harper – a great summer thriller that I couldn’t put down.
We’re reading This is How it Always Is for August book club too! I can’t wait to discuss either (maybe we’ll have to make a mini-book club for ourselves). I did read Salt to the Sea and thought it was so fascinating. I’m glad you mentioned it because I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. The Dry is on my library queue but the line isn’t moving very fast for any of the ones I want to read and I’m in a bit of a book slump. I might have to treat myself to some Kindle purchases before we leave for the lake! Thanks for stopping by, friend!