Summer Reading – Am I Doing it Wrong? {July QuickLit}

July was a weird month of reading.

I listened to a couple audiobooks while ferrying the kids back and forth to VBS. Three hours of VBS is not really long enough when it takes 25 minutes to get to church. The audiobooks helped it to be more enjoyable instead of feeling like wasting alone minutes in the car, but I think I can figure out some better solution. Maybe next year I’ll figure out something to do nearer church so it feels like I have more time and less driving. We shall see.

The other odd moment was that we went on vacation and I read about half a book. It was a little ridiculous how much I brought to read and how much I didn’t read.

In spite of feeling like summer reading is not all it’s cracked up to be I did manage to finish 15 books last month. It all just felt a little less enjoyable (except for Toys Go Out. That book was altogether enjoyable) than I wished it had. I ended up downloading a couple apps and playing mindless games instead of reading.

Anyone have an explanation or tips?

Fiction:

  1. The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey – – 5 stars. I hope Sujata Massey keeps writing these Perveen Mistry mysteries. Like inspector gamache, except a feminist lawyer in India. So actually not like it at all. 😍
  2. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han – 5 stars. this was so fun. I didn’t even realize Jenny Han wrote To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before until I got to the end. This was another warm and real teen crush situation.
  3. Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi – 3 stars. Fun as an audiobook. About a Iranian- American teen who escapes his parents’ summer plans for him in search of grit. Enjoyed it and the memorable cast of almost bizarre, but also perfectly common, characters, but found some themes impressively distressing and unaddressed.
  4. Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin – 3 stars. a young woman involved in a political scandal/affair makes a career shift. I really enjoy how the story gradually unfolded in a non-sequential timeline and from several points of view. Didn’t appreciate some of the adult content. 
  5. Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai – 4 stars. Middle grade. Middle grade books written in verse consistently pack a punch. This tells the story of a young girl escaping Vietnam at war and beginning again in the US. Not a perspective I have read before.
  6. All-of-a-kind Family by Sydney Taylor – 5 stars. I read this one aloud to the kids and it is just as good as I remember from reading it when I was 8ish. Also a good reminder that just because the kids don’t know about things yet, like being Jewish, doesn’t mean that a chapter book isn’t a great way to learn. Fun to revisit a favorite with my kiddos.
  7. If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson – 4 stars. I liked it so much and then I really didn’t. YA. The story of the very beginning of interracial relationship in the 90’s. Weighty yet delicately done and still too accurate.
  8. It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han – 4 stars.
  9. We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han – 3 stars. the first book was fun and nice, the second book broke it all, but kind of worked, and the third patched it back together by the end, but was utterly frustrating in how it all panned out how there was no resolution until the very final pages. Not especially enjoyable while reading. I did not like the storyline as much as To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. But it had similar pacing of twists and drama.
  10. Trust Exercise by Susan Choi – 2 stars. I got it. It was ok. It was good enough, but then also felt contrived (like a literary experiment instead of a story). The end was beyond me, but I didn’t care enough to go back and figure it out. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention?
  11. Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, A Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic by Emily Jenkins – 5 stars. This was such a fun read-aloud and the kids loved it. We will definitely be finding the next books in this series. ‘Submarine’ messaging was my favorite and I will not be correcting my kids to ‘subliminal’ any time soon. Someone else will have disenchant that moment. :D

Non-Fiction:

  1. Loving My Actual Neighbor by Alexandra Kuykendall – Practical steps and interesting stories about how the author became more intentional and open in loving the people in the places right next to her. Similar to Invited, Finding Holy in the Suburbs, and The Ministry of Ordinary Places.
  2. Dear Fehrenheit 451 by Annie Spence – I enjoyed this one but I think I would have liked this better if I had read it instead of listening to the audiobook. I could have skipped between the books I wanted to hear about instead of being stuck suddenly listening to someone talking about reading horror. The letters about the familiar books were hilarious, however.
  3. Keep Going by Austin Kleon – 5 stars. Encouraging , smart and fun to read, especially if you‘re a little stuck or uninspired. 
  4. Invited: The Power of Hospitality in an Age of Loneliness by Leslie Verner – 5 stars. The ease, difficulties, faith-related commission, and everyday significance of hospitality in our normal, messy lives. None of us are excused, but at the same time Leslie presents many ways to be hospitable beyond the typical, and certainly we each could find something within reach for our own families and people. Inspiring and challenging.

What did you read last month? What was your favorite? Do you stand by summer reading as an enjoyable thing? What am I doing wrong? haha.

Let me know in the comments or on Instagram! :)

(Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s QuickLit. Because I like to nerd out about what I’ve read.)

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