Read, Watched, Wrote August 2017 Roundup

Read, Watched, Wrote: July 2017 Roundup

I’m late with my July update because I had a wonderful week of being completely disconnected at a lake in northern Wisconsin. The disconnection was unexpected—we knew there was no internet, but even our cell phones didn’t work. Not a bad thing, now and then! We spent the week swimming, boating, fishing, and yes, reading. Here’s what I read, watched, and wrote in July.

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit.

Read

I’m still trying to make audiobooks work without much success. In addition to Gold Fame Citrus (below), I started listening to Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck, thinking a humorous, short, non-fiction book was what I needed. But it wasn’t that funny, and even if she touched on many truths that resonate with aging women, I’m not quite at the point where they resonate with me. I found it a bit whiny and didn’t finish listening.

Aside from my audiobook fails, July was an excellent reading month. Here’s what I read:

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

I have mixed feelings on Jane Eyre. The positive: Jane is amazing. Charlotte Bronte's writing is amazing. The story is compelling and surprisingly readable, and it's one from my bucket list. The negative: those men! Rochester and St. John Rivers, both manipulating mansplainers. Maybe reading Jane Eyre in 2017 predisposes me to feel more bitterness toward them than Bronte intends. Jane herself is also frustrating in her deference to both men, but also admirable in her independence. In short, I haven't quite sorted out how I feel about Jane, and that's one reason I think she remains so fascinating to so many readers. More info →
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My Sunshine Away

My Sunshine Away

Author:
Genre: Fiction
The story of a boy's coming-of-age in an idyllic suburban neighborhood where a horrible crime is committed against the girl he loves from afar. He remembers the event from adulthood, coming to terms with his role in the crime and how it shaped his identity then and as an adult. The writing is fantastic, if a bit wandering at times. The mystery ties the story together, but it's more of a telling of how memory and perspectives on events change as we grow and have the benefit of hindsight, maturity, and experience. More info →
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All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

This Pulitzer Prize-winning World War II novel tells the story of a blind French teen, a young German soldier, and how they come together during the war in occupied France. This is a book to be read slowly to fully appreciate the rich descriptions and sensory-laden language. Almost all of the characters in this book--even the villains--are fully drawn as complicated humans. What I love about it, though, is how Doerr makes the experience of war personal. While the war was global, each person who lived and died experienced it through the small moments made large through their own senses: a girl finds refuge running her hands across the snails lining a grotto; a boy closes his eyes and visualizes the electrons allowing the voices to carry over the airwaves; an old woman whispers a few words to sustain a resistance, finding the only power she has. There are millions of these stories, many forever lost, and Doerr's telling is a reminder that wars aren't just history, but personal and deeply felt. More info →
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Gold Fame Citrus

Gold Fame Citrus

Author:
Genre: Fiction
Tag: Dystopia
This was another audiobook attempt, and it's another that I think I would have liked better in print. Luz and Ray are squatting in a movie star's abandoned mansion, trying to survive in a parched California of the near future. When a toddler enters their lives, they decide to escape the area in a search of a better life. Their trek across the desert brings them to a compelling group of people who seem to be thriving under their charismatic leader with a talent for finding water. This dystopian novel is bleak--not quite on par with Cormac McCarthy's The Road (the epitome of bleak novels, for me), but it evokes some of the same feelings. And while the narrator was good, the writing didn't lend itself well to audio; one part was so repetitious that I skipped ahead. Watkins is a talented writer, though, so check out the print version if the story interests you. I'd love to hear opinions from others who read this one. More info →
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A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

Author:
Series: The 12 Best Books I Read in 2017, Book 12
Genre: Fiction
Tag: Sweden
I've been hearing about this book for months, and I found it just as delightful as so many other readers. Ove is a solitary curmudgeon who is set in his ways and unreserved in his criticism of anyone who crosses his path. "Hell is other people" could well be Ove's mantra. But behind his rough exterior is a sweet, sad backstory and a soft-hearted man committed to his morals who is about to have his world rocked by several people (and a cat) who refuse to be held off by a few cranky words. More info →
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The Likeness

The Likeness

Author:
Series: Dublin Murder Squad
Genre: Fiction
Tag: Ireland
I loved this second book in the Dublin Murder Squad series, even having never read the first. My love for it, I'm sure, in part comes from my love for Dublin itself. I lived and worked there for a while after college, and French mentions enough familiar places that it feels like a mini-nostalgia tour. All this aside, The Likeness is less thriller and more exploration of the psychology of commitment, identity, and friendship. The premise of a murdered girl who looks exactly like Detective Cassie Maddox and calls herself by an old alias of Cassie's is implausible but intriguing. As Cassie goes undercover as the dead girl to find answers, the questions keep coming: Who is this girl? What motivated her? Who wanted her dead and why? Will Cassie be found out, and what will be the consequences? More info →
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Reading Now

I’m reading Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and enjoying the back and forth between 1960s Italy and present-day Hollywood. I also returned to tried-and-true David Sederis on audio, and I’m listening to Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. The short, funny vignettes really work for me. I can enjoy them while running errands but I won’t feel too bad if I don’t get to finish the whole thing before my library checkout expires.

Reading Next

I haven’t given much thought to my next read yet, but I might pick up The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. I’ve been curious about this book for a while, and the movie previews have piqued my interest even more—mostly because I’ve heard the book is dark, and the movie doesn’t seem to be.

Watched

I’m still working my way through Gilmore Girls. I also watched To the Bone on Netflix and was underwhelmed.

I did enjoy A Man Called Ove on Amazon Prime. I actually watched it the day after I finished the book–how often does that happen? The film is in Swedish, with English subtitles, and it was pretty true to the book. It was great to see Ove and all his buddies brought to life, as well as to see a Swedish neighborhood like Ove’s (not what I pictured as I read the book!).

And I have to add that we watched Forrest Gump–again–on vacation and were reminded of what a great movie it is.

Looking Forward To

Sing on Netflix. As much as I love Moana, we need a new kids movie around here.

Wrote

Not much to report here, other than my blog posts from July:

Recent Monthly Roundups

Read, Watched, Wrote July 2017 Roundup

7 thoughts on “Read, Watched, Wrote: July 2017 Roundup

  1. Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite books, but I completely agree with you on how horrible the men are. I love it because Brontë’s writing is so beautiful and I think she does such an amazing job of invoking that atmospheric gothic feeling. I also love Jane. I think it’s a testament to Brontë’s writing that I do love this book so much because usually I really hate love stories with “bad boys” and sketchy, manipulative men!

  2. You’ll love Sing! Lots of great music and characters. So many of your books are on my to read list. I read The Glass Castle a long time ago and watching the trailers makes me realize I don’t remember much of it, but do remember that I really liked it. I may need to read it again before I see the movie.

    • Sing was great! And my three-year-old picked up some of the funniest lines and song lyrics from it 🙂
      I really liked The Glass Castle as well, but I think it will be hard to see the neglect on screen. I would like to see it, but I feel like the happy-dreamer aspects shown in the previews are misleading.

  3. I LOVED All the Light! It is my favorite WWII novel and I have read A LOT of those! I am looking forward to reading Doer’s memoir on his time in Rome when he was working on the manuscript for All the Light, called Four Seasons in Rome.

  4. I’m currently reading A Man Called Ove and loving it. Very charming. I’m excited that there’s a movie to watch after I finish! I heard that they’re remaking the movie with Tom Hanks as Ove! I’ve had All the Light We Cannot See on my list for a while, but haven’t gotten around to reading it.

  5. I could not finish Gold Fame Citrus. Ugh. Those endless lists — reviewers seemed to love them; me, not so much. One recent dystopian novel I did like was The Book of the Unnamed Midwife. Bleak but worthwhile.

    Jane Eyre – one of my favourites! Yes, Rochester is domineering and manipulative; still, he does get humbled. I have loved this book since reading it for the 1st time at 13.

    And you should read The Glass Castle! The parents make you want to scream, but it’s a great read. It’ll stick with you.?

    • Yes, the lists! I had to skip them in the audio version. I liked the narrator, actually, but this was one I should have read and not listened to.

      I did read The Glass Castle and loved it, though I found it really sad.

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