A week in my reading life

I read like it was my job this week! Gosh, I wish it was my job.

Books I finished

The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat Goodreads

I needed a book set in the Dominican Republic for a ‘read around the world’ challenge, and landed on this one. Once again, I’m thankful for these challenges I do for leading me to books I might may not have come across otherwise. This book is beautifully written historical fiction about the 1937 Parsley Massacre, in which thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic were brutally murdered on orders of dictator Rafael Trujillo. I knew very little about this event before listening to this—I do love a book that gets me researching. Narration for the audio is great. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Mothers by Brit Bennett Goodreads

Upon finishing it, I flipped this book over and discovered that it was my October 2016 Book of the Month selection. Hooray for reading it in less than four years I guess? 😳 Like The Vanishing Half, this book is fantastically written.—Brit Bennett can beautifully tell a tale. There are many complicated issues in these pages, and some very imperfect characters, but I loved every bit of this book. I also loved the Greek chorus-style narrative of the mothers. Such an amazing debut! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Sense & Sensibility (graphic novel) by Jane Austen, Nancy Butler, and Sonny Liew Goodreads

A faithful adaptation & I appreciate all of the work that went in to it… but I’m not sure this sort of character-driven story translates well to graphic novel form. Also omg, why is Elinor’s forehead gigantic? 😂 Maybe I’m just not that into graphic novels. I will keep trying, though! This book was my last for our three-month journey with the Dashwood sisters for the Litsy Austen group.⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale Goodreads

How is it I’ve never read a book by this author? How is it this incredible book has sat on my shelf for years like an undiscovered treasure? This book is good. Gritty, dark, dazzling writing. So much going on—race issues in very rural Texas in the 1930s, a serial killer, multiple mysteries. Amazing characters! I think Harry Collins will stick with me for a long time. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique Goodreads

This book has sat on my tbr for years due to some VERY mixed reviews I’ve seen. I finally read it for the #ReadingWomenChallenge Caribbean author prompt, and I was entranced the whole way through. Yanique’s writing is lovely, the story is magical and engrossing, and the Virgin Islands setting is so powerfully drawn, I could imagine I was there. The characters are messy but believable, and there are triggers here. Excellent on audio, with multiple narrators and lovely accents. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Evelina by Frances Burney Goodreads

I read this book along with a few people from our Jane Austen group on Litsy. At times a bit over-the-top (looking at you, Captain Mirvan), this book is funny and satirical, but Evelina more than managed to endear herself to me as she tried to navigate 18th century English society with virtually no preparation. I love a good epistolary novel (and this is a good one), and could definitely see the influence Burney had on our dear Jane. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones Goodreads

Nudging the Lansdale out by a nose, this was my favorite read of the week. I blogged about it here. If you’re not squeamish and aren’t a fraidy cat, you should really this book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friends, I’m hitting my NetGalley backlog hard this month, so if you follow my blog (and if you do, THANK YOU so much!), prepare for some frequent emails. We will get through this together! 😂

July reading wrap-up

I’m fairly impressed that I managed to finish as many books as I did in July, considering I was busy at work with a new employee and, in my off-work time, hosted multiple Zoom watch parties for Sense & Sensibility, along with a socially-distanced graduation party for my daughter and 4th of July birthday parties for two of my other kids. There were times through the month that I felt I might never have time read again.

The numbers:

Some of the stats my reading log collects for me.

Here are the July numbers I find interesting:

Total books finished: 20

13 of these were audiobooks (155+ hours of listening, although I usually listed at a faster speed, so more like half of that).

5 print books + 2 ebooks (a total of 1926 pages read with my eyes)

12 #ownvoices books in July, including 10 books by Black authors and 2 LGBTQ+ books. 15 of my books finished were by female authors. I’m pleased with the diversity in my reading for July.

Things I’m not so pleased with: I only read 2 books for my various reading challenges, and only read 3 books from my #MountTBR. I read 0 books in translation, and all of my books were from US authors. Only 1 book read from my massive NetGalley backlog, but I have plans to fix that in August.

Another Austen-filled month

For our Litsy Jane Austen group, July was our month for reading Sense & Sensibility-related books and watching film adaptations. I finished these books:

Sense & Sensibility graphic novel by Jane Austen, Nancy Butler, & Sonny Liew Goodreads

Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters by Ben Winters & Jane Austen Goodreads

Willoughby’s Return by Jane Odiwe Goodreads

All of these were picks for me for various reasons, but of course none of them were as great as the original. Willoughby’s Return was my favorite of the three.

Our group also had multiple Zoom watch parties of three different film adaptations throughout July. This was done to accommodate as many of our members around the world as wanted to participate, and it ended up being a lot of fun.

As host to all but 1 of the parties, I watched the 1995 movie three times, the 2008 miniseries 4 times, and the 1981 (over the top, melodramatic) miniseries once. As much as I love the Emma Thompson movie—and I do!—, I really think the 2008 miniseries is now my favorite. 😯

My favorite books from July

The Mothers by Brit Bennett ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 Goodreads

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Goodreads

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Goodreads

The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Goodreads

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Goodreads

The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Goodreads

In August, I will be focusing on my NetGalley backlog with my unofficial #NetGalleyReviewathon. Since I blog about all of my galleys, that’s probably going to mean more frequent posts here. Fingers crossed that I can reach that elusive 80%!