Recent reads: July 2023
It’s been a while and I’ve been reading, probably not as much as in the winter, but still reading in the warm evenings after we open up the house to catch the breezes and listen to the crickets. As I look this over, it’s an eclectic grouping, but I’m back to my strategy of reading what’s available immediately at the library and it’s working out quite well.
Under the Banner of Heaven
Not gonna lie, this was on my list and available from my library digitally and so I read it. I find stories of faith and why people do what they do fascinating, but this was a hard read at times. The fundamentalists in the LDS church are, well, not very nice people and so reading about them for several hundred pages got depressing at times. That being said, I’d never read a book by Jon Krakauer and he’s a great writer.
For All the Tea in China
How in the world did the British East India Tea Company come to dominate the tea industry and grow it in India? Sarah Rose tells that story in this book and it was fascinating. Who knew that one man did several daring trips into China to get tea samples and figured out how to send them on so they would live and it would change forever how plants were transported. It’s, of course, a bit enraging at times, but, as a tea drinker who hates coffee, I found it really interesting to read about the history and battles over who would dominate the market of tea for the Brits.
What Fresh Hell is This?
I don’t have much to say about this book other than if you are going through perimenopause and want a book to help you figure out what the hell is going on, this is an option. The tone is a bit snarky at times, but I found that helpful because our society refuses to talk about this stage of life for the many of us going through it, hence me turning to a book. I’ve found this stage I’m in right now extremely disconcerting at times but this book helped me feel less of that and it helped me figure out ways I can help myself through it all.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
I didn’t really know what to expect from this book and I have to say, it twisted and turned in ways that I didn’t see coming. Eleanor is working a job, living her life, and I got the sense a bit unhappy right from the beginning of the book, but then the story really starts to get interesting. I don’t know how to talk about it without spoiling it, but the ending was beautiful and I’m glad I read it.
A Gentleman in Moscow
A reread, something I’m doing more of and loving. This book, THIS BOOK! I know, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s on my top five list because the story is so lovely and the descriptions make me feel like I’m in the hotel with the characters. Alexander Rostov lives for years in a hotel in Moscow after the revolution, his sentence is to stay there. He builds a life with people who become family. After the second reading, I find the family he created even more beautiful and the way in which Rostov remains optimistic and able to see the good in people amazing. Side note: Amor Towles books are all great.
The weather is heating up where I live and that means I gravitate to romance and lighter reading and this one didn’t disappoint. Emily Henry always makes me laugh out loud and I enjoyed that this story wasn’t just about the romance but also very much about the sisters as well.
Sea of Tranquility
A book about time travel, pandemics, how we view history, and a writer trying to make it through. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as Emily St. John Mandel’s last book, but I did find some of the themes here intriguing. Mandel is working through ideas of technology and isolation, while at the same time thinking about history and how we view it and how we’d like to change it. I’m still thinking about the questions it brought up.
A romance about two people who are diametrically opposed on paper, but who find also bring out the best in each other. Not the best romance I’ve read lately, but it did make me chuckle in a few spots and I admit, I loved all the talk about lettering.