Books

What I Read in August

August isn’t completely over yet, and I’m at the very end of one book that I will loop into September’s list. But I wanted to get this up before the long weekend– especially if you’re in the market for some good books for a vacation!

Reading

THE STARS ARE FIRE: 3.5/5

This was my first Anita Shreve book and I honestly downloaded it from my library without reading what it was about. Overall, I liked the book and even enjoyed reading it… but I thought the plot was a little predictable. It’s about a young family living in Maine in the aftermath of a massive fire. It really follows the wife as she is left to care for her young children in the wake of tragedy while redefining her role as matriarch of the family and finding herself as a woman.

AMERICAN ROYALS3.75/5

I will say, as I have read so many books this year, it’s becoming harder and harder to rate them. This was a GREAT book, but because of a few shortcomings, I couldn’t rate it a solid 4…. yet, I still loved it and would 100% recommend it. It’s brilliant conceptually, as it is a “what if” America had been established as a monarchy and not a democracy and follows the future Queen (and friends and siblings). Ultimately though, it’s a chick lit book with not too much substance but it’s super easy to read and you’ll get sucked right into the plot and drama. Especially if you love Gossip Girl and/or following the Royal gossip. My biggest issue was that it was clearly written with a sequel in mind so the ending felt rushed and open. I wanted more!!! (And, I’m totally here for a movie.)

PS This book is available for pre-order– it comes out next week!!

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD4/5

I thought this was an incredibly powerful book. I thought through the first half of it that it was going to be a 5 out of 5 but the ending left me feeling a little iffier. The book follows Cora, a slave in Georgia, who is shunned from her peers and abandoned by her mother. Cora escapes and starts to head north on the Underground Railroad and the plot unfolds around her journey and also ties in some side plots of secondary characters. The first half was easy to follow, but I struggled with the pace of the second half and the back and forth between past and present. I also didn’t quite understand the choice of making the Underground Railroad an actual railroad… The writing though is amazing and it’s ultimately one of those books that stick with you for weeks afterward.

DARE TO LEAD4/5

I love love love Brené Brown. I love the way she makes research-based writing interesting to read. She truly tells a story without a plot. I read this for a mini book club with a friend and I don’t think I was the intended audience. It’s definitely written for a workplace/workforce market. (I actually felt like it was written to specifically be sold at conferences held by major corporations.) Despite that though, I still had plenty of takeaways that made the book well-worth reading. I might not work in an office, but I still work with plenty of people. I wish I had read this in college because it would have greatly helped me with both my college classes (and huge group projects!!!) and better equipped me for my first job.

THREE WOMEN2.75/5

Major unpopular opinion (although I know I’m not alone in this), I didn’t enjoy this book at all. It was lauded as a book about female desire…. and it didn’t do it for me. I think the premise of the book is necessary and interesting– the author spent years meeting women and listening to their stories about desire. The three women chosen for this book had three totally different sexual experiences (a wife in a loveless marriage, a former student who was groomed by a teacher, and a wife in a summer town who had sex with other people to please her husband). I get what the book is about and why it’s important, but I did not enjoy reading it. I found it exploitative and voyeuristic and even cringeworthy at times. It felt so singularly focused on sex (which, I know, was ~the point~) but it did a disservice to the women, whom, I think, came across as one-dimensional. I also had a major issue with the fact that while, yes, their experiences were vastly different, they were still all white women. To spend eight years researching for the book, it fell flat that there was a major lack of diversity. I will say I know this is a very polarizing book. From what I’ve gathered, you either LOVE IT or HATE IT. So it’s definitely still worth a read (if for the very least to participate in the conversation– which is half the fun of reading a book).

PS Barnes & Noble is having a major sale right now with so many titles 50% off….. My TBR pile is already huge but I can’t resist picking up a few more books at these prices!!!

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13 Comments

Kelsey

I LOVED Underground Railroad. I think the point of having the railroad be an actual railroad is that by taking away the gruesome details of the actual path to escape, the author could highlight other really horrific things that are lesser known but still tragic, like sterilizing women of color, etc.

You should definitely read Nickel Boys!!

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carly

It definitely helped the plot move around too- like they could get from state to state with more ease for the plot! Nickel boys is on my list!

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Sarah

I’m currently reading Three Women and was hoping to be captivated immediately (due to all the hype) but have yet to find myself CHOOSING to read it.

Hoping it gets better though!

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Grace K.

I always look forward to your monthly book posts–and can I just say what a relief to hear you didn’t like Three Women? I’ve been so turned off by the general descriptions but everyone else has raved about it! So weird.

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Brittany

Interesting perspective on Three Women. I haven’t read it but am intrigued now. Not sure if you’re the novel type, but have you read Mistress at the Ritz? It’s based on a true story and is FANTASTIC. That was definitely my favorite book I read in August.

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Kate Scott

I was very lukewarm on Three Women but do still plan to listen to Bad on Paper’s episode this weekend to see if they address any of the things I was less than thrilled about (diversity being one of them!).

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Carlee

Hi, Carly! Not sure if this has been answered before or posted on your blog so apologies in advance if it has but what would you say is your favorite book of all time? Or a must read book that you suggest to everyone that you meet?

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Kathy

I love your monthly book posts! Thank you especially for the review if Three Women. I have it, but I’ve been hesitant to read it. It’s one of those books getting a lot of hype, but from the sounds of it, I’m not sure it’s for me. Can’t wait to read American Royals!

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