April and May 2017 Roundup

Read, Watched, Wrote: June 2017 Roundup

June has been full of pool, park, and soccer time for our family. We’re in full summer mode around here. My kids are young enough that pool time doesn’t equal much reading time for me, so I don’t give a lot of thought to “beach reads”–maybe someday! For now I’ve got a pretty good mix of light and heavier reads for June.

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s monthly quick lit post.

Read

This month, I actually listened to a couple of audiobooks, which is rare for me. I just don’t find a lot of opportunities to listen. I work part-time from home, but I had to drive down to my work twice in June, which is a few hours of driving each day. I sometimes have trouble finding audiobooks I like, and I’m starting to figure out what works for me. Here’s what I read and listened to:

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East of the Sun

East of the Sun

In the 1920s, “the Fishing Fleet” was the name ascribed to young affluent women who left England for India in search of husbands, often after the social “season” had ended and they were left without marriage prospects. Viva, who has her own reasons for heading to India, is tasked with accompanying two young women and a troubled teen boy on the ship to Bombay. Against the backdrop of a politically unstable India, the women learn the importance of friends-as-family as they are thrust into a confusing world of wealth and poverty, isolation and scrutiny, and love and betrayal. This was a slow-mover for me, but was ultimately an intriguing and satisfying read with interesting historical context and complex relationships. More info →
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Commonwealth

Commonwealth

Author:
Genre: Fiction
I have a total author crush on Ann Patchett and her latest did not disappoint. She again brilliantly weaves together flawed families who fail one another over the decades but keep trying and trusting in spite of the failures. Where you would expect villains, she instead presents complicated characters struggling with their own hopes, inadequacies, and feelings about the past and how to move forward. Where you would expect broken, bitter relationships, she shows the enduring power of loyalty, love, and forgiveness. This is not an action-packed novel, but one where the subtle emotional tensions will resonate. Highly recommended, along with all of her other books. More info →
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Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)

Author:
Genre: Memoir
I am a huge Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, and Lauren Graham fan. I find her very charming in the roles she plays, and I will probably be re-watching Gilmore Girls until I’m old and gray. I listened to the audiobook, and hearing Graham narrate her own story only added to the charm. I enjoyed hearing the background of her unusual childhood and years as a struggling actor, along with her reflections on Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. There’s very little dishy gossip on her co-stars here—she seems to have real affection for them but is also open about her hard-won savvy about what to share with the public. What she does share with the public is a love for the families, locations, and stories she’s been privileged to inhabit as an actor, and she brings that nostalgia and affection to her writing and narration. Recommended for any other fans of the shows and her work, and get the audiobook if you’re missing Lorelai Gilmore or Sarah Braverman. One note: Listening at 1.2x speed actually sounded more natural to me because I'm used to her talking so fast on Gilmore Girls. More info →
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Lily and the Octopus

Lily and the Octopus

Author:
Genre: Fiction
Tags: Animals, Dogs
I can never resist a book about a dog, and this one promised to be quirky, sweet, and heartbreaking. It was all of those things, but I was conflicted while reading about whether it was the right book for me, mostly due to elements of magical realism throughout. I stayed with it, though, and ultimately it all came together to touch on love, loneliness, grief, and the beautiful companionship and memories we build with our pets during their short lives. More info →
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The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

Author:
Genre: Fiction
Tag: Classics
Somehow I got through high school without reading this book. I can't recall why, because it was definitely taught at my school. I'm guessing I either had a rogue teacher or an odd combination of classes that that enabled me to miss this one. Whatever it was, this was starting to feel like the most glaring gap in my reading, and I have to admit I knew very little of the story. I ended up listening to the audio book on a long drive. Audio books are hit and miss for me; I don't have a lot of opportunity to listen at home, and they need to be just the right thing when I'm driving. Humorous essays seem best for me, or I miss parts of the story when the drive gets stressful. So while there were parts of the story that didn't stick, I did actually enjoy this. Listening to the refined narrator read the lyrical language was a pleasure, and it's good to finally know the story of the rise and fall of Jay Gatsby. More info →
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Reading Now

Jane Eyre. It’s fantastic and I’m surprised how readable it is. Maybe I’m just getting more used to the writing from this time period, but I usually find I really have to focus and sometimes read sentences over again to grasp the meaning. I’ve had to do that very few times with Jane Eyre. I wish I’d read it sooner, but it will be another one checked off my reading bucket list!

Reading Next

I think it will be All the Light You Cannot See. I’m late to the game on this one and am really looking forward to it. I hope it lives up to the hype.

Watched

My husband and I started watching the new seasons of Orange is the New Black and Orphan Black, but we haven’t had a proper binge yet. Trying to avoid spoilers until we get a chance to watch.

Mostly I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls from the beginning…again. I’ve seen this show so many times, it’s my go-to when I want something on in the background but don’t want to pay close attention. Lauren Graham does a run-down of her own binge watch of GG in Talking As Fast As I Can, so it was fun to hear her reactions to the scenes and fashions from the early seasons while they were fresh in my mind.

Our family also watched Moana on Netflix and my daughters quickly became obsessed. We’ve been hearing snippets of the songs all week. It’s definitely one of our favorite Disney movies.

Looking Forward To

Best in Show is coming to Netflix. I totally love this weird, weird movie.

I’d also like to watch Lion and To the Bone, and possibly the new series Friends from College.

Wrote

I haven’t spent much time this month on some of the fiction projects I have going, so I’m hoping to get back to them more in July.

Blog posts from this month:

Recent Monthly Roundups

What did you read, watch, and/or write in June?

Read, Watched, Wrote: June 2017 Roundup

9 thoughts on “Read, Watched, Wrote: June 2017 Roundup

  1. I am absolutely giddy over the thought of your reading Jane Eyre for the first time, Allison! I LOVE that book!! Jane is such a real character to me, if that makes sense. I’ve always wanted to love Jane Austen’s books and characters, but I simply cannot; and I think it’s because I don’t see them as potentially real people like I do the Brontes’ characters. (Wuthering Heights is another all-time favorite of mine.) I’ll add Commonwealth to my TBR list. Several years ago I read Bel Canto and really enjoyed it. I just went back to read my review and it jogged my memory about how intrigued I was with her writing style.

    What are you finding really works for you when it comes to listening to audiobooks? I finally tried them a couple months’ back and failed at it miserably; but I think my mistake was trying to sit idly and listen. You mentioned driving. Do you also listen while working around the house?

    • I’m really loving Jane! But I have to admit I’m not totally sold on Mr. Rochester yet. I’m about 2/3 in, so he still has time to redeem himself.

      I didn’t love Wuthering Heights, but I read it as an early teen so my memory is foggy. I think I had trouble finding any characters to get behind; they felt overwrought and tragic. Maybe I’d like it better as an adult, when I don’t need to like everyone to appreciate a story 🙂 The Brontes do seem darker than Jane Austen (though I haven’t read any Anne), and Jane Eyre seems the most realistic of them all. I like Austen, but I’m not a die-hard fan.

      Bel Canto is one of my all-time favorites! I’m planning to re-read it soon.

      I’m actually working on a blog post about audiobooks. Light humor and non-fiction essays (like David Sedaris) seem to work best for me, though I don’t actually listen all that often. I’m thinking of trying to better incorporate them into my housework or short drives around town. I still tend to save the books I really want to read for physical books or e-books, though.

  2. I loved Commonwealth! I totally thought it lived up to the hype!

    Sidebar. I love your book archive. What program do you use to build it? (I find mine a bit cumbersome.)

    • Thanks! I’m using the MyBookTable plugin. It can also be a little cumbersome to enter the books, but I like how they can be re-used for entries and added into lists. So far (my blog is pretty new), I’m not planning to write long book reviews, so it works well for the shorter book blurbs in my blog posts. I do like how your archive is sortable and searchable.

      • I use the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin, but I have to re-enter them each time and I talk about the same books multiple time. I’m now researching MyBookTable! Thanks 😉

  3. I love that you listened to Talking as Fast as I Can at 1.2X! I listened to the book a while ago, but I might have to go back and speed it up that to get the true Lorelei experience 🙂

    • Yes! I started out listening to it at regular speed, and she did a good job reading it, but faster was better 🙂

    • Glad I’m not the only one who missed it in high school! How fun it must be to teach great books (especially when the students are into it).

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