What I Read in June and July

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post about what I’ve been reading, and since I do a lot of reading in the summer, the list is long. I’ve been making a point to read outside for a little bit each day after work, and it’s been so nice. So here are the books that I’ve made it through this far.

The Light We Lost
This is one of my favorites on the whole list. It follows the lives of two people who meet in New York on 9/11. You can really feel the connection between the characters, and I could not put this book down – I just needed to know what was going to happen. It’s not that the plot is something crazy, it’s that the characters are that engrossing.

Whisper Network
On the flip side, this was not my very favorite. It’s not bad, but it just didn’t grab me. It’s a mystery of sorts, and I just never felt like I really cared about figuring it out, which isn’t a great sign.

The Night Circus
This ties with The Light We Lost for being my favorites in the batch. Totally different topics, but equally engrossing characters. This is about a magical circus and a challenge between two magicians… but I hesitate to call them magicians, because it’s so different from magic in the way that you’re used to reading about it. I’d been meaning to read this one for a few years, and was reminded when I saw the author had a new book coming out later this year. Now I can’t wait for her next novel!

The Friends We Keep
This is definitely a summer read – it follows three friends from college through their adult lives, with some twists along the way. It’s not too deep, but it’s not too light and fluffy, either.

The Rainbow Comes and Goes
A few years ago we did a boat tour of the Ft. Lauderdale canals while we were there on vacation, and as we passed one of the Vanderbilt mansions, I learned that Anderson Cooper was one of Gloria Vanderbilt’s sons. I had no idea! After she passed away earlier this summer, I decided to read the book they’d worked on together. It’s a really honest look at her life, and beautifully written.

American Wife
This book follows the life of a woman who eventually ends up being married to the President. I loved the mix of political and personal – I think we all wonder about the behind the scenes lives of people who are so well-known, and what it would be like to go from a “normal” life to one without real privacy. I ended up really enjoying this book, even though I wasn’t sold on it when I started (based on nothing, honestly).

This is by the same author as American Wife, and after I ended up liking that so much, I decided to read her first novel, too. This is a story of a teenage girl in a private boarding school, and it captures the emotions of being a teenager so well – there were some moments I could feel myself cringing at the awkwardness and uncertainty. It’s a sign of a really good book when I have physical reactions while reading it, and this one definitely had that.

Manhattan Beach
This is a period piece, and I wasn’t exactly sure if I’d enjoy it. But I ended up really being into it – it had really strong female characters and a great feminist plotline, focusing on a female submarine diver and her struggle to prove her worth and be accepted. It was really deep and complex, and I enjoyed that.

Normal People
I couldn’t put this one down, but it wasn’t the easiest to read, at the same time. It was dark, and it was one of those novels where you just want to scream at the characters sometimes and tell them they’re being dense. But it really does live up to its name – it follows two very ordinary people through their lives.

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