August 1, 2019

What I Read in July 2019

I read a lot this month, for a variety of reasons, including finishing two books last night just before it turned to August. (Ugh, insomnia / anxiety is not a good reason to read more… but it’s better than the alternative.) In July, I read twelve books, which I think is a record for me this year, and also means I’m actually starting to get back on schedule to have read 100 books by the end of the year. (Right now, I’m at 44 books read in 2019, which is 14 books behind – better than the 16 I was behind last month.) Frankly, I am hoping that August I get through some tough stuff and stop waking up in the middle of the night to read… but at least there is some upside to downside.

Two thrillers took my top ratings this month… I needed page turners to keep me from getting in my head!

5 stars:

The Escape Room, by Megan Goldin: Total page turner; I ended up finishing it in just two (late) nights! I loved the premise of the book, and also seeing the team dynamics at Stanhope, which reminded me a bit of my own management consulting training… though obviously we weren’t QUITE as cutthroat 🙂 While at first I wondered how this could realistically escalate to murder, that was eventually made clear, so the book didn’t seem quite as far-fetched as I initially thought from the first chapter. Highly recommend this as a fun thriller!

Lock Every Door, by Riley Sager: LOVED this thriller and read it in one night. Very creepy and the “why” wasn’t at all what I expected. I will definitely be looking for more by this author.

4 stars:

The Perfect Couple, by Elin Hilderbrand: I’m not used to Hilderbrand tackling the murder genre, but I liked it and by the halfway point, found myself unable to put it down. I had some guesses as to the culprit, but the actual ending was a total surprise to me – well done!

The Secrets of Midwives, by Sally Hepworth: I loved this novel and couldn’t put it down! At first, I was worried that the focus on a birthing center would be too hippie dippie for me, but I soon found something to relate to with each character, and found myself eagerly turning the pages to see what was going to happen. The story being told from three perspectives was well done and surprisingly didn’t disrupt my enjoyment (which usually multi-character books do).

Nine Women, One Dress, by Jane L Rosen: I loved this little rom-com! There were a LOT of characters, but they came together nicely and I thought it was really fun to see how they all interacted with “the dress.” Super cute and a quick read.

Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message, by Tara Mohr: I read this for my women’s professional development book club, and at first, wasn’t a fan. The first few chapters were REALLY woo-woo for me. I kept reading only because I had to… but by the fourth chapter, it got really good. I loved the excellent points made about how school preps women to be good at school (and how it actively preps people NOT to do well in the workplace), and I found the subsequent chapters to be equally compelling. Highly recommend this book to others wanting to figure out how to pursue bigger goals!

Dear Evan Hansen, by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul: Since I’ve already seen the musical, when I first started reading, I found it a little boring (since I already knew what was going to happen). However, after a few chapters, there were a lot of nuances that weren’t in the show, and I found myself loving the extra detail.

3 stars:

The Fates Divide, by Veronica Roth: I liked this and found myself eager to keep reading – even staying up late at night to finish! However, there was a LOT of gratuitous violence (I skimmed over one of the final scenes because it was just too much), and some twists and turns that seemed to be there purely for the drama, not because they made the most sense. I did like seeing how each of the fated children met their fate – not quite as it seemed!

Daisy Jones & The Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Taylor Jenkins Reid is normally one of my favorite authors, but this was SO totally different from her original writing style, and I didn’t love it. I miss Jenkins Reid’s older books, which were women’s fiction reads that made me think. If this were written by another author, I probably wouldn’t have read it.

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, by David Epstein: I loved the premise of this book, and Epstein did a great job exploring a lot of different examples to convey his point. However, I found some chapters incredibly engaging while others were only minimally so. It did make a compelling argument that there were SO many arguments for the benefits of range vs specialization, in so many disciplines, but once I understood the premise I felt that the subsequent example didn’t add a lot to my understanding. I’d suggest reading this over a long period of time – perhaps one chapter a week – so the concepts feel fresh with each new example.

2 stars:

The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care), by Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer: This was pretty dense and hard to get through. I felt like the authors were name dropping every person, date, and fact like a term paper, rather than telling a cohesive story that emphasized the main points with examples. Interesting subject matter, but really not a compelling read.

Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss: A Novel, by Rajeev Balasubramanyam: This had been recommended as a light, humorous read – but I found almost no humor in it, and the plot wasn’t very interesting. I didn’t love any of the characters, and I was also disappointed that while Chandra evolved as the book went on, it didn’t seem particularly revolutionary or with lessons for others. I finished it just to see how it would end, but wouldn’t recommend it to others.

Any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.


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