Books I Read June 2019

by - Monday, July 08, 2019

June was an excellent month of reading, thanks in large part to some lovely pool days and all the downtime I had while lounging on the beach in the Dominican Republic on my honeymoon.

I read nine books in June. The best one was a Goodreads five-start wrenching memoir that I highly recommend.

Books I read june 2019

Love You Hard: A Memoir of Marriage, Brain Injury, and Reinventing Love by Abby Maslin
I got to meet Abby and listen to her read a passage from this book at the Gaithersburg Book Festival. I also briefly got to chat with her in the book tent, while I was there to buy her book. I'm not sure if the fact that I met Abby in person or if the fact that her husband's attack happened not far from where I live made me feel more connected to her story, but this book made me openly weep. I'd be curled up in bed reading and just completely soaking my pillow case with tears. The story of what Abby and her family endured was heart-wrenching. Her ability to persevere through everything and find a way to re-build her marriage and discover a new kind of love with her husband is incredibly inspiring. Read this book.

Death Is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa
I thought this book was going to be a lot better than it was. It follows the story of three siblings trying to move their dead father's body across war-torn Syria, so that he can be buried in the family graveyard. For being such a short book (only 180 pages), it was a slog to get through. I expected it to be more fast-paced and tense, but even the many perilous and terrifying parts of their journey fell a bit flat and seemed to get lost in the longer, more rambling side stories.

The Guy Not Taken: Stories by Jennifer Weiner
I'm not much of a short-story reader, but my attention span was very short on my honeymoon so this was a great book to have handy. I enjoyed revisiting some of my favorite characters from Weiner's books and meeting some new people too. It was a light and fun beach read.

Disconnected by Jennifer Weiner
I read this short story while on an airplane and flew through it. It's the story of a girl who has been in and out of rehab, and this time promises to clean herself up for real. It was a compelling read, and I'd love to see Weiner expand on this story idea in a full-length novel.

The Friends We Keep by Jane Green
Three students meet as freshmen at college and this book follows them throughout their lives. They don't live glamorous lives and they make plenty of mistakes along the way, but this book celebrates the beauty of a life-long friendship and the bonds that hold those friendships together even through turbulent times. Jane Green is an excellent writer, and I enjoyed this book.

Cape May by Chip Cheek
This book in some ways reminded me of the Great Gatsby. We meet two goody two shoes characters that are newlyweds on their honeymoon in Cape May in the 1950s. They meet the mysterious and alluring neighborhoods down the street at a party and find themselves inseparable during the following weeks, even though they don't always enjoy each other's company. The booze fueled parties and outings test the limits of this new marriage as the characters question their roles and own expectations of the others. This book was an interesting read. It was slower than I prefer, but I also found myself intrigued to see what would happen.

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
This was a decent book about what happens after a politician cheats on his wife. It looks at the impact on the wife and the kids as they attempt to figure out how to live with the news. It was a good book, but I didn't love it as much as I've loved some of Jennifer Weiner's other books.

The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib
This books sucks you in from the moment you pick it up and I finished it in a day. The story follows Anna, a former ballerina, and her battle with anorexia. The book begins with her husband checking her in to an inpatient treatment facility and follows her journey there. Some of the most poignant parts of the book are the flashback scenes where she and her husband remember the same instance in very different manners. Even though the book is told from Anna's point of view, we catch glimpses of her husband's struggle to get her help and the toll this disease not only has on the person suffering, but everyone in their orbit.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep
To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books, so I was looking forward to this story about Harper Lee and the last trial she covered and considered writing about. The first two parts of the book, which tell the story of the mysterious deaths surrounding the Rev. Willie Maxwell, were fascinating to read and made it hard for me to put the book down. But I thought part three, the part about Harper Lee and her quest to write a book about the Willie Maxwell trial, wasn't nearly as griping. The story was interesting and Harper Lee is kind of a fascinating person in the literary world, but the pace of the book was just so much slower in the last third, which is why I only gave it three stars instead of four.

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