{What I Read: July 2019}

I love summer vacation for three main reasons: 1.) lots of time to visit my niece and nephew, 2.) sewing, and 3.) reading. And read I did this July, making up for the months with only two books this year. Hey, I pledged to read 50 before the year is up. Given what I did this month, I may just get there!

Though I read a number of books, I’m going to count six of them in one group as I reread the Harry Potter series. I do this often, though less frequently than I used to. But every now and then, I just want to revisit Harry and Hogwarts, and so I read the whole series. I’ve got it down to an art, and can finish the books in no time. I also partially listened to them on tape while I was sewing, something I have been enjoying more and more especially as my free time gets devoted to sewing.

I mean, what can I say about the Harry Potter series that hasn’t already been said? I love it. I’ve read all the books multiple times and seen all the movies even more. I wrote my master’s thesis on the series, way back when there were only five books to speak of. I’ve been to the studio tour in London, to the Universal Studios Harry Potter world and everything in between (including a Cauldron potions making experience and any exhibit that’s within feasible distance for me). With all the though, my heart will always be with the original books. So every now and then I make my way through them again, enjoying the characters I grew to love in my early twenties.

The first of the non-Harry Potter selections this month was What You Did, by Claire McGowan. The premise of the book was excited – a group of college friends reunites for a weekend, but everything goes wrong when one member of the group claims to have been raped by another (who also happens to be the husband of her best friend). The main character must decide who is telling the truth: best friend or husband. The incident also dredges up an incident from college, as they appear to be related. I got this book through the Kindle First promotion, and it wasn’t fantastic. Despite the interesting premise, I found myself getting easily tired of the story after a while, and wanted to speed through to get to the end. I knew there had to be more than meets the eye to this story and I was eager to see if I was right (I was).

Next up was The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger. This was one of my Book of the Month Club selections, and it took a little while for me to get into it. It told the story of a group of friends who are all vying for their children to get into a new, highly selective gifted school in their community. Though the narrative switches from character to character, it mainly centers on Rose, who learns surprising things about herself the process of trying to get her daughter into the school. After the initial build up, in which you learn about the characters and their various connections, the book takes off and I couldn’t put it down until the very last page.

I followed The Gifted School with The Royal Runway, by Lindsay Emory. My main takeaway is this: if they ever make it a movie, I will see it in a second! It’s a ridiculous premise and plot that seems to have come straight out of a Lifetime or Hallmark Channel movie. However, as a book, it fell flat. The novel is about Thea, a princess of an imaginary country who gets left at the alter. She soon learns that this may be part of a larger conspiracy, and risks her crown to go off with a rogue she meets at a bar (who turns out to be the long lost brother of her fiancé). It was ridiculous, but I think would be an excellent movie.

Finally, we have The Upside of Falling Down, by Rebekah Crane. Of all the new books I read this month, this one was probably my favorite. I was into it right from the start. In this novel, Clementine wakes up in the hospital as the sole survivor of a plane crash, with no recollection of her life at all. As she becomes increasingly more and more frustrated with this, she decides to start her life over as Jane, a girl she invents who is traveling through Ireland. However, as these things go, the more she gets attached to her new life, the sooner her lies begin to catch up with her, and she wonders if she can risk it all for the truth.

I was completely delighted by this story, aside from any small parts describing the plane crash which I just don’t like to think about. However, I enjoyed the cute little story about a girl trying to reinvent herself, and the quirky people she meets along the way.

I doubt I’ll beat my July record this month, but it’ll be fun to try!

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