July legitimately feels like I blinked and it was over! I alternated between having some very low-key weekends at the beach and spending a lot of time in the car traveling to photograph weddings. Since I knew it would be a busy month with shooting weddings and working my full-time job, I didn't expect to read so much but audiobooks kept me company and lazy beach days provided a great mental escape. And I ended up loving most of what I read because I pulled largely from my shelves! Here's what I read this month.
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead | 5 stars. If you follow me on Instagram or have talked to me about books this month, you know I've been recommending this one to everyone! I didn't expect to love this expansive historical fiction novel but I was completely immersed. It was so well written, a powerful feminist story, and overall a really great read. This one will certainly be in my Top 10 this year.
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead | 4 stars. After finishing Great Circle, I decided to re-read Shipstead's first novel. I read it for the first time back in 2012 and really enjoyed revisiting it. In fact, I think I liked it more than I did the first time. I enjoyed the social satire part of this novel and it was well written. The New England summer setting made it the perfect, smart beach read that I read over the course of one weekend.
Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny | 4 stars. After ending June with a few 'meh' reads, I decided in July that I would pull from my own shelves and read more work by authors I know I love. I read Heiny's newest novel, Early Morning Riser, earlier this year and absolutely loved it. So I was happy to pick up her debut. This one was just as full of quirky characters, fast-paced dialogue, and hilarious family dynamics as her newest novel. If you are a fan of Gilmore Girls but wish it was set in New York City, this novel might be a good one for you.
Stray by Stephanie Danler | 4 stars. This memoir was very emotional and I really enjoyed learning more about Danler's personal life. I read her debut novel, Sweetbitter, a few summers ago and really loved it so it was interesting to read more about what was happening in her life while she was rocketing to literary stardom.
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller | 4 stars. This is one of the buzziest books that I read this month and I couldn't put it down! I don't know if I can say it was the *best* book I've ever read but it made for a really intriguing, well-written summer read. I especially loved the Cape Cod setting and the family dynamics. Heads up that there is sexual assault in this one, so keep that in mind if you're considering reading.
Milk Fed by Melissa Broder | 5 stars. I've wanted to read Broder's work for a while now and I finally picked up her newest release! It was SO good, I'm mad at myself for waiting for so long. Her writing is incredibly smart, clever, weird, and just all-around good! I was laughing out loud so much at this book. I listened to this on audio during a long car ride and it kept me thoroughly entertained.
Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi | 2.5 stars. Helen Oyeyemi is one of my favorite authors. This is her newest release and I thought it had her signature originality but I think this one crossed the line in to too absurd for me. I like how she blends the line of reality in her work, but this one went too far for me. I found myself very confused and disconnected from the story.
The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan | 4 stars. What a delightful, cozy summer read! I also listened to this one on audio on an 8-hour car ride home after a long wedding weekend when I wanted something cozy, comforting, and feel good. This fit the bill. This one reminded me a lot of Beth O'Leary's The Switch. Now I'm interested to check out more of Morgan's work.
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides | 3 stars. Wow, I saw so many differing opinions of this book on the internet! I enjoyed this one but I will say that I never read his first book, The Silent Patient. I'm also not a *huge* mystery and thriller reader so I didn't have much to compare this to. I enjoyed the dark academic setting, the fast pace, and the Greek mythology tie-ins. Some people compared this to Donna Tartt's The Secret History and I can see some similarities but this one is definitely a faster-paced, commercial mystery/thriller. I found it to be a great read for an afternoon on the beach.
Rock the Boat by Beck Dorey-Stein | 4 stars. After reading this, I am official a new Beck Dorey-Stein fangirl! This one was such a great, warm summer read but full of smart dialogue and likable and interesting characters. After reading this one, I immediately started listening to her memoir, From the Corner of the Oval, and have been thoroughly enjoying that as well.
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