What I'm Reading: Summer 2017 Edition
I read a lot. Like, a lot a lot. In fact, I'm usually reading several books at a time, switching between them when I need a change of pace. That probably seems excessive, but it's kind of my job. I have a BA and an MA in English and write about books for Bustle, so I need to be familiar with a lot of books. Plus, I usually like reading more than I like being around people, which frees up plenty of time to spend with my novels.
In total, I've probably read 10-20 books this summer. Now that the season's over, I've picked my seven favorite reads from the past few months. Genre-wise they're all over the place, but I like variety in what I read. If you pick up any of these, let me know what you think. And send any recommendations my way at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm always looking for new books.
Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
Say what you will about Lena Dunham, but you can't deny that she's a brilliant writer. I've only seen one season of Girls and knew Dunham more by reputation than by her work, but I was blown away by her memoir. Funny, poignant and unflinching, Dunham's self-awareness absolutely won me over. Plus, her prose is gorgeous.
Bridget Jone's Diary by Helen Fielding
Bridget Jone's Diary is one of my favorite romantic comedies (Mark Darcy, swoon), and I've been meaning to read the book for ages. Bridget is every bit as charming a protagonist here as she is in the film, and the book's the definition of a pleasure read: breezy and funny, perfect for when you don't want to think that hard about what you're reading. And I mean that as a compliment; sometimes I just want to read something fun and not overanalyze it, you know?
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
While not technically a scary book by Stephen King standards, there was something about The Virgin Suicides that I found so unnerving that I didn't want to read it while alone in my house. Beautifully written, unsettling and with a body count that rivals a Game of Thrones episode, I'd highly recommend it to anyone who's seen the film or is looking for an unexpectedly creepy read.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
The plot of this one is pretty self-explanatory. It's about...crazy rich Asians living in Singapore. But this book is SO. MUCH. FUN. If you like reading about crazy designer clothing, the social lives of the insanely rich and the headaches that come along with having more money than God, then you'll enjoy this. I'm impatiently waiting to get the sequel, China Rich Girlfriend, from the library.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
It took me MONTHS to get my hands on this book (I get nearly all of my books from my local library, so I usually have to fight the masses for new releases). I kept reading amazing reviews calling Perry a modern-day Jane Austen, so I knew it would be right up my alley. Plus, it's partly about a giant sea monster which may or may not be wreaking havoc on a small English town, which combines basically all of my interests into one book. It's more Brontë than Austen, but it's a gorgeous novel that I would definitely recommend to my anglophile friends.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
I love me some Sarah J. Maas (remember my rant about female-centric fantasy?), but even I'll admit that this isn't her best work, writing-wise. It's one of her early novel and you definitely tell: the writing is a little clunky and the "romance," at least at this stage of the game, is kind of cringe-worthy. And yet I found myself ordering the second book almost as soon as I finished the first. What spell do you have over me, Maas?!
Witches of America by Alex Mar
Partly a history of modern witchcraft and partly the author's spiritual memoir, Witches of America follows Alex Mar as she explores paganism in the United States. If you're interested in modern witchcraft or the occult (which I am), this is great as both an intro to that world and a first-hand look at what it means to be a witch in America. Some pagans have apparently complained that it's basically Eat, Pray, Love with magic (it gets terrible Goodreads reviews), but personally I liked it.
Also check out: In Defense of Fantasy