July 2018 Reads

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I originally had a different post in mind for today, but then the internet reminded me that it's Book Lovers Day, and I had to write a little about the things I've read in the last month. One of my favorite things about this season of life is all the time I've been able to carve out to read just for reading's sake. I haven't read this much for years. And it's been good.  It's been interesting to see how my reading habits have changed, how my voracious reading speed seems only to increase with time.

I used to be drawn almost exclusively to fiction. Growing up, I had this perception that nonfiction was dusty and boring by default, the domain of the *other* part of the library where all the boring grownups hung out. But lately I've been reading a lot more poetry, a lot more about faith, a lot more of the true stories of the world. I laughed a few weeks ago when I realized that my trip to the library resulted in half a dozen nonfiction books and only one novel. And I'm really okay with it.

These days, the fiction that I am drawn to is very character-driven. I want to read stories where the people feel real. I think it's all tied up in my obsession with stories of the average joe human, the reason that I liked studying small town Canadian history so much more than the grand sweeping narrative of rulers and battles.

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So in celebration of Book Lovers Day, here's a summary of what I read in the month of July:

Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans (4/5)

I've been waiting for this one to be released for months, and it was definitely worth the wait. I flew through most of the book in an afternoon, thoroughly enjoying RHE's discussion of the genres in the Bible and wrestling with scripture in ways that leave you in awe of how big and wonderful God is. I loved her retellings of different stories from scripture that she has scattered throughout the book (hello, she wrote a screenplay version of the story of Job). I also own this book, so if you live close by and want to borrow it, shoot me a text!

Some Great Thing by Lawrence Hill (3.5/5)

I really like Lawrence Hill's work, and he writes the same way he speaks when you meet him in person. I always appreciate that in a writer, when their voice carries through their work in a very noticeable way. I read this one on a road trip and enjoyed it. Some Great Thing is Hill's first novel, though, and it's not as strong as some of his later writing. I think if I had read this before any of his other novels, I would likely have rated this higher.

Night by Elie Wiesel (5/5)

I've seen this book around, heard people talking about it for years, but only just read it a few weeks ago. It's small but packs a punch in its raw exploration of life in a WWII concentration camp. There's a reason that Elie Wiesel is the household name he has become, and this book will wreck you completely. If you haven't yet read it, do yourself a favor and curl up with it, a cup of tea, and a box of kleenex.

Morning in the Burned House by Margaret Atwood (4/5)

I don't actually like Margaret Atwood's fiction that much. (Does that make me a bad Canadian? Maybe. Do I care? Nope.) But the things that bother me about her prose are actually the strengths of her poetry. Because you can get away without using quotation marks or punctuation or paragraph breaks when it's poetry, and it's all beautiful and reflective. I liked this book because you can pick it up and put it down and still feel like you're getting all these little snapshots of stories. Tbh, I'm probably going to take this one out from the library again.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman (5/5)

In summary: lived up to the hype. I've seen Beartown everywhere for the past year or so, but just got to it now. Fredrik Backman knows how to tell a story that sucks you right in. Growing up in a little hockey town, I laughed out loud at the accuracy of some of his descriptions of the game. But fear not, the sport is only a platform for exploring humanity, so if you don't like sports stories you'll probably still enjoy the book. Backman's characters have depth and complicated history with one another, and he knows how to tell a dark story that pushes you through right to the end. Also, massive props to his translator for all the work in making this book available in English. So worth it. This one is also a part of my own library now, so feel free to borrow it and read it for yourself!

 

What did you read in July? Have you read any of these ones? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Happy Book Lovers Day, and happy reading.

 

Joyfully,
Alice