Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. That’s a mouthful. I wouldn’t call this a book, it’s really more of an essay. I think I read it in 30 minutes. It’s written by a Nigerian journalist whose friend asked her for suggestions about how to raise her unborn daughter to be a feminist (did you not get that from the title?). It was interesting. Read it!
The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli. This is another non-fiction piece about the way we make decisions. It’s a lot of social and cognitive psychology. I thought it was interesting but wouldn’t really recommend it as an audiobook because it didn’t hold my attention very well while I was driving.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I LOVED this. It’s honestly unlike anything I’ve ever read. It essentially starts with two characters- sisters born by the same mother but in different communities- and branches off to each of their descendants. So it almost reads like a series of short stories- you never get the full “happily ever after” for each character, but they are all connected by the ancestor beforehand. Very cool.
The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn. This is about a married couple who decide to be in an open marriage for 6 months- they equate it to a “rumspringa,” and create a set of very specific rules that they’re both going to follow as they step outside the marriage. I could not put it down. I didn’t find it predictable at all- it’s very real, and there are parts that make you laugh out loud but also very sad parts. Loooooved it. Was seriously sad when it ended. You get it.
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. I was so so excited for this because of how much I loved Girl on the Train (again, if you haven’t read this yet PLEASE listen to the audiobook because it’s insanely good). This was… meh. I didn’t dislike it, but part of me wonders if I picked it up and it was by some unknown author if I would have even finished it. Has some of the same dark/spooky/British undertones as Girl on the Train but I just found it to be really unrealistic and not as gripping.
Our Little Racket by Angelica Baker. I feel that there is a trend now where people write books with interesting backdrops (in this case, the financial crisis 2008-2009) that are so boring you can’t believe they got published. This book SHOULD have been good. It had characters with interesting points of view, dramatic situations, love interests. But it felt like nothing happened. “Good writing” can only take you so far. Another Skimm read I didn’t love.
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. This is a memoir by a female scientist who studies plant biology. I liked it but didn’t love it. She’s a really good writer so I enjoyed her anecdotes about being a student, new professor, etc. but then she also writes in great depth about trees and soil and stuff and that didn’t hold my attention as well.
Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan. I live for these books. Crazy Rich Asians is the first one, then China Rich Girlfriend, and now this third installment. Again I really recommend the audiobook because there are tons of footnotes and it’s annoying to reference them on a Kindle, but in the audiobook the narrator tells you what the footnote is in real time. They are perfect because they’re a little bit trashy (think Real Housewives of Singapore) but also incredibly well-researched in terms of the Asian cultural and travel references. Great character development and dialogue. Love love love.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This was our Grown Up Conversation book club book for July! It’s a YA novel about a girl who witnesses her unarmed friend being shot by a police officer. It’s written the way a 16-year-old girl might actually speak which is slightly irritating at times, but the subject matter is obviously hugely important and I thought it was portrayed well.
The Heart Echoes by Helena van Zweigbergk. This was my Kindle First book for August and I only lasted about 20%. It was originally written in Swedish, so I’m not sure whether the translation to English was just really poor or if it’s overall not a good book. But I couldn’t stick it out.
The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo. An 8th grade girl witnesses the abduction of one of her classmates. It sounds good right?! It’s not. It almost seems like it should be a YA novel but doesn’t entirely fit into that category. And it has a REALLY unsatisfying ending. Pass on this one.
What’s on your summer reading list?! I already have 3 more books waiting on my Kindle and several more on hold- those will appear in Part 20!