July Bookkeeping

Happy Friday Blogstalkers! (EDIT: Umm oops, it is not Friday.  Dumb Lauren.)

So as you probably know, when it comes to seasons, I much prefer Winter to the sweaty/sticky months of Summer.  My pale skin lends to sun burn/poisoning very well and I'm allergic to all things that sting. Plus, being pregnant this summer means that I am even more sensitive to the sun and that if a wasp decides to make a pin cushion out of me, I'm really supposed to make every attempt not to use my Epipen.  Because it contains hormones or steroids? And then my baby would be born with tiny baby muscles?  Something like that for sure.  My doctor explained it all to Ryan whilst I was coming-to after passing out during a routine blood draw.

And then Ryan got all annoyed with me on the way home in the car when I could not stop giggling at the mental image of me shouting "And the baby wins again!" He was all "For the last time, no I do not think the thought of a baby beating me in a pushup contest is funny."

But that is neither here nor there.  Today I'm starting a new sort-of-series in which I show you all the books I plan to read in the current month and then make pithy and intelligent comments about said books.

Here's where I am for July. (Links to all books on Amazon in caption, these are not affiliate links and I do not make any cash dollars off of them.)

In Order: The Princes of Ireland - Edward Rutherford, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan, Then Came You  - Jennifer Weiner, Whitethorn Woods - Maeve Binchy, The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown, Lord of the Flies - William Golding, Cinder - Marissa Meyer, Tell The Wolves I'm Home - Carol Rifka Brunt, Precious - Sapphire, The Post-Birthday World - Lionel Shriver.
As ten books a month is pretty much my average I'm a little bit behind right now because the Rutherford book took me FOR-E-VER.  The novel spanned a period of hundreds of years and thus the characters kept changing and I felt like I had to become reinvested in the book over and over again.  At one point I just threw the book down, covered my face with a pillow and was like "JUST TELL ME WHEN IT'S OVER" to Ryan.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore was at first a welcome relief from that drudgery but much like a milkshake, the beginning and the middle were delightful and the ending was a big let down.  It felt like the author got tired of writing and just summarily tied everything up.  So I was a little like, "Ohhh, that's it then? No more?"  Which is exactly how I feel about the ending of milkshakes.

The Jennifer Weiner book I snatched up at Target because it was about pregnancy and surrogacy and I needed a bit of a break after my first two forays.  I read it in a couple of hours and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'll never read it again and I'll probably not remember the name of the characters in a week but sometimes I think that's the grand thing about commerical fiction.

Thoughts on any of the ten books pictured?

I'm excited to finally read Lord of the Flies for the first time.  And I've not seen the movie based on the Push/Precious book so I have no idea what is in store for me there.  Maeve Binchy (especially Circle of Friends) is one of my guilty pleasure so I can't wait to dive into her book and I saved the Lionel Shriver book for last because I read We Need To Talk About Kevin and that book blew my freaking mind.

I'll probably do this post the 1st, 15th and last day of each month and they'll be filed under "Bookkeeping" in my header.  I'm trying to post a lot more in general so you should look at these as additional posts and not replacements.

45 comments:

  1. I love, love, love this series. I also love your take on Rutherford, because I read London a while back and I was just like... Wow. You weren't kidding. You're really going to cover a thousand years... And take more than a thousand pages to do it. There were also webbed fingers (which isn't as cool as it sounds.) Can't WAIT to hear your thoughts on Tell The Wolves I'm Home, The Weird Sisters, and Cinder (far fewer princes in that one, I assure you.)

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    1. One of the very few books I ever started and did not finish was Sarum by Edward Rutherford so I'm really surprised I picked up the Princes book. I know some people love him but I don't think I could do one of his epics again.

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  2. Pardon me if you have mentioned this before, but if you read 10 books a month why ohh why do you not have an e-reader? They really are ohh so fabulous.

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    1. I actually have Ryan's old Kindle as well as my iPad but I can't chuck the actual physical book habit. I love them too much. I like how they smell and feel and I get oddly happy when I'm reading an old favorite and there is spaghetti sauce all over one page and Past Lauren and I come together for a moment with our giant bowls of reading pasta. I'm weird but I don't think I'll ever really switch.

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    2. Very true, very true. I have all my original hardback Harry Potters that are worn in and I love them. I see the little kitten teeth marks ruining the corner of book 7 from when I let my mom borrow it and get re-filled with rage and have to call her and yell at her all over again. Ahh, good times.

      I've been made a convert though because I love to read in bed and I can fall asleep and not lose my spot from dropping the book. Plus I always have it in my purse so if I unexpectedly end up in a waiting room for 2 hours or something I have a plethora of books right there with me.

      Also I can read trashy celebrity bios and tell people its The Odyssey when they ask what I'm reading.

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    3. Ha! Kitten and puppy teeth are the sharpest things ever! I think I have a couple of semi-masticated books in my shelves.

      I just carry my current book in my purse at all times. Even if it is 800 pages long. And I'm odd but I don't fall asleep reading. It actually wakes me up more than anything since I'm awful at delayed gratification. I want to know what happens NOW.

      True story - I changed the covers of the hardcover Twilight books when I was reading them. So as not to be judged on the subway.

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    4. Lisa S7/15/2013

      An e-reader can never ever measure up to a real book to me. I get how it's convenient, but I feel like I'd be contributing to the death of real books if I used one.

      'Lord of the Flies' was horrible. Not scary, just... I don't even remember, but I didn't like it one bit. I was very young though, so I might see it in another way if I'd read it as an adult. I look forward to reading your thoughts on it and the other books.

      (My phone won't let me comment, grr. I had to get on the laptop to share my insightful thoughts about 'Lord of the Flies' and e-readers.)

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    5. Yes! The death of books is one of my greatest fears in this world. They actually hit on it in Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and I was like, "OK well no more talking about that please."

      And I hear such varied things about Lord of the Flies. It's short so hopefully I FLY (hyuck yuck yuck) through it.

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    6. I'm an ereader convert, but only after the birth of my child. I held on as long as I could, but a real book requires two hands and an ereader only requires one (can drop it quickly without losing a page), which meant I could read while I breastfed (or pumped) to take my mind off the dozens of tiny ninjas with swords and clothespins that were attacking my nipples.

      Not cool, tiny ninjas.

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  3. I HAD to read Lord of the Flies in 9th grade. hated it so much. gave me nightmares.

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    1. I'm not sure how I got out of it in high school because everyone I mention that book to read it in school. I know there are like...pig killings...in the book so that's what's got me worried. Animal stuff of any kind is my weakness in books.

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  4. Kai J.7/15/2013

    I want to know your thoughts on the Lionel Shriver! I read We Need To Talk About Kevin in college- whoa. Whoa. That is all about that.
    Ah, Lord of the Flies. Let's talk about terrifying.

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    1. Right!? I was NOT expecting anything like that book when I started it.

      And Lord of The Flies...you all are making me nervous!

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  5. I LOVED Tell the Wolves I'm Home. I've recommended it to everyone. The only downside is that I cried through the entire latter half.

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    1. I've heard such good things about that book so I'm really excited to get there. Almost excited enough to switch around my order of books. Almost.

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  6. I'm sorry you didn't like the Rutherfurd book! It was my suggestion when you were looking for books. I should have mentioned that I never liked the Princes...New York, Sarum and London are my favorites, not that you would ever trust my literary opinion ever again!

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    1. Oh! No worries! I'm trying to get through the books already on my shelves that I've never read and that was one of them. I didn't even connect the Princes book to your recommendation. I actually bought it like a year ago because one of my good friends said she LOVED it. So I'm blaming her. Not that I blame people for book recs... I've started Sarum a couple of times but I think I was really young (like 17) so I'd probably like it a lot more now.

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  7. The Weird Sisters is really nice- especially if you appreciate someone naming all of their daughters after Shakespeare characters (whoa, Ophelia?). It's a good coming of age story for grown ups, but not everyone will be "ready" to read that type of thing all the time. Hope you enjoy it!

    Precious- if you haven't seen the movie- is not for the soft hearted. Get ready to for some tears and anger. But it is really well written, and does reflect a terrible reality for too many people.

    Love this new series. Hope you enjoy it!

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    1. Thanks Stacey!

      The Shakespeare thing was what actually made me pick up the book in the first place. Is Ophelia the sister nicknamed Bean? Because I briefly paged through the book trying to figure out the names of the three girls and saw Rose and Cordelia and could not figure out the third. At which point I was like, OK you have been scanning this book for a name for 20 minutes, maybe just read it you loony.

      And the reason I chose the book Precious over the movie is because movies tend to really really affect my mood and I can tough it out through some pretty intense books. I don't know that I'll ever be able to see the movie.

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  8. I LOVED We Need To Talk about Kevin but HATED the Post Birthday World (unfortunate, I know). I picked it one month for my book club to read and the consensus was pretty unanimous that it sucked. Maybe you will have a different experience though?

    On a side note, Tell the Wolves I'm Home keeps screaming at me to buy it every time I'm in Target so I'm glad to see people liked it. I may just cave in by the end of summer.

    Happy reading! : )


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    1. I've heard that from other people as well but after We Need To Talk About Kevin I feel like I just owe her the fact that I will read every book she ever writes from now until forever because ERMAGERD.

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  9. I thought the world-building in Mr. Penumbra's Bookstore was interesting and creative, but you're right, it did just kind of end with a thud. I have Cinder on my to-read list, but I haven't gotten to it yet. I loved Lionel Shriver's Post-Birthday World, and have resolved to read her other books too. I think the Weird Sisters is on my list, but if not, I'm adding it now. And I vaguely remember reading the Lord of the Flies in high school. I remember Piggy and the conch shell and that's about it. I hope you make this a regular post!!

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    1. I was seriously like ENRAPTURED with Mr. Penumbra's at first and I kept texting my friend Katie who had just read it about how amazing it was and how I loved it and all that until I hit the last third of the book. Maybe I was so let down just because I'd loved the first part so much?

      And you HAVE to read We Need To Talk About Kevin. It's a bit disturbing but I can't even put into words how much that book impacted me. I couldn't even start anything new for like a week afterwards.

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  10. Andrea7/15/2013

    I love that you are doing this. I recently started reading some classic books I have never read. I started with "To Kill a Mockingbird" which I LOVED and can't believe I hadn't read before. I also enjoyed "Lord of the Flies", although it was a bit disturbing. I have to recommend you read "The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" by Johan Jonasson. It was quirky and crazy and fun. And how many books can say they have a hundred year old man making a break for it from his nursing home in slippers AND an elephant??

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    1. Oh I adore To Kill A Mockingbird. I reread it a couple of years ago and swore I was going to name my first daughter Harper for months afterward.

      I'll absolutely add that book to my list! It keeps reminding me of the premise behind Water For Elephants from your description (though I'm sure it's nothing the same) just because of the escaping old man and the elephant.

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  11. So everyone else made intelligent comments about the books you're reading... but I just wanted to say I like the end of milkshakes. Like if you get an oreo milkshake, when you read the end its all Surprise! Cookies! I like a dessert within a dessert.

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    1. Oh yeah the END of a milkshake is great. It's the ENDING I abhor. Like when it's completely over and there is no milkshake left and I am left with a sad glass and I look at Ryan and say "Please tell me you got me a backup milkshake."

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  12. Thinking about all your reading posts and I remembered a book I really enjoyed "The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde. If you haven't read it before I highly recommend it to all book lovers - very witty and is actually the start of a series if you enjoy it.

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    1. I second this, the Eyre Affair and the subsequent series of books are really fun, inventive and easy to read. Love them!

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    2. I've seen this book, I can actually picture the cover in my mind but have not read it. I'll absolutely add it to my list. I actually just read Jane Eyre for the first time like last year.

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  13. You may just want to hold off on reading Lord of the Flies until after the baby is born. Depends on how you handle stuff. I had to read it in high school AND watch the movie. I'm still grossed out and it's been over 25 years. That stuff scarred me for life. It was years until I would eat pork again. And even then, I generally only eat bacon. Because, well.. you know.. Bacon.

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    1. I'm pretty good with terrible gruesome awful book stuff as long as I don't have to watch the movie or something afterwards. I hit a wall with animal torture sort of things though so maybe I'll hold off. It's just been on my shelf for years.

      I was off pork for a couple of weeks myself in high school after we dissected fetal pigs and then my dad had packed me a ham sandwich for lunch.

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  14. I recently read The Weird Sisters & loved it. I'm also a big Maeve Binchy fan, will have to check that one out!

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    1. Have you read any Rosamunde Pilcher books? They remind me of Maeve Binchy and really great. Coming Home is tops of my favorite books list. She sadly only wrote a small group of novels, but they are really good.

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    2. Oh yeah Rosamunde Pilcher is another of my "curl up in an armchair with cocoa" pleasures. Coming Home is firmly on my list of my top ten favorite books of all time.

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  15. read the Weird Sisters, twice actually because the first time I read it on my e-reader as a library book and the second time I bought it in solid book form bc I wanted something to read on the plane that I didn't have to turn off during take-off and landing. I thoroughly enjoyed it, both times. The ending left me a little hungry for more about the characters, but the characters are very interesting and I found myself invested in them. I love character driven stories. Can't wait to see your review of it.

    Edited to add: AND OH MY HEAD, We Need to Talk about Kevin was UNREAL. I can't believe how much that story blew me away, just incredible. I can't bring myself to watch the movie even though it looks really well done. Just wow. I haven't read any other Lionel Shriver's though.

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    1. I'm so excited about The Weird Sisters!

      And SERIOUSLY UNREAL. That book shook my world for a little while. I didn't even know there was a movie, I'll probably not see it as well.

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    2. Butting in here (hehehe)...OMG--the movie for We Need to Talk About Kevin is seriously disturbing. It made me frightened to have children. So, yes, I would not recommend watching while you're pregnant! : )

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    3. I read "Weird Sister" recently at the recommendation of my sister, it was good. Now I have added "We Need to Talk About Kevin" to my "to read" list on GoodReads. :)

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    4. The only reason I kind of want to see the movie is because the cast is fantastic (Tilda Swinton as the mother & John C. Reilly as the father, plus if you watch the trailer for it, the kid that plays Kevin is completely chilling). I am so afraid to watch it though partially bc I think there are things in the book that I've blocked out of my memory & I'm not sure I need to see them in person, seeing them in my (over)active imagination while reading was more than enough.

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  16. Hi Lauren! I hope you are feeling well today. If you haven't read "Sunshine" by Robin McKinly, I recommend it. It's a bit prose-y, but it grows on you. Have a fantastic day. :)

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  17. If you can read We Need to Talk About Kevin, you can read Lord of the Flies!

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  18. Thanks for sharing your book list and thoughts about what you've read. I like how you have a mix of genres in there, I tend to stick to swoon-worthy totally-improbably hunky boy toy stories.

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  19. Cinder. Yes. Read that. And Scarlet. Because you won't be able to resist. A little heavy handed in the foreshadowing, but still a good read.

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