July Reads (2014)

July 2014

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

This month’s BEST OF pick is Graeme Simsion’s charming book The Rosie Project.  Don Tillman is a brilliant but socially inept professor of genetics.  He is ready to find a wife and believes a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey is just the way to do it. That way, he doesn’t waste time with smokers and the perpetually late.  Rosie Jarman is clearly not wife material according to the questionnaire.  And yet…

This book is delightful in every way.  It is joyful and poignant and insightful.  This book showcases all the beauty and charm of a mind that is wired in a non-neuro-typical manner.  You can’t help but fall in love with Don and the way he sees the world.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I really liked this book.   As I was devouring page after page, I would try to convince myself to slow down and savor it – knowing I would be disappointed when I finished.  But, I couldn’t help myself and in the end reached the final page too quickly.  So many books bounce between past and present, but this one uses that format with great artistry.  Diffenbaugh portrays a range of human emotions and experiences with such ease that this book feels at once life-changing and light-hearted.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

My expectations for McEwan are high.  This book didn’t meet them.  A story of Serena – a beautiful lover of books who is recruited to England’s legendary intelligence agency – who goes undercover to help manipulate a writer in the name of advancing the government’s objectives.  Along the way (gasp) she falls in love with the writer.  There are plenty of passages where McEwan’s writing shines, but there are plenty more that are average.  In the end, this book suffered most from a lack of action.

The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

Miller uses three narrators talking from different perspectives and different times to tell this melancholy story of Iris – a budding highschool journalist whose confidant is her conjured version of Edward R. Murrow – and her uncovering of a blackmail scheme at her elite prep school. This book is full of plot twists, revealed secrets, and the repercussions of grief.  I was impressed by Miller’s creativity and ability to create wonderfully eccentric characters.  It was an interesting read, but ultimately this novel was more clever than convincing.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

This is the first book I’ve read by Hosseini.  I will read more.  Clearly, he is a gifted story teller.  This book – which spans many decades and many lives – was beautiful and touching, though the pacing was a bit uneven and the last portion of the book took some determination to push through.

Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King

I picked this book up from the bargain shelf at Powell’s months ago.  It deals with important issues: abuse, bullying, sexual harassment, etc.  But the issues and insights weren’t put together in a story I found compelling.  In the end, the book was just weird…not in a good way.

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5 thoughts on “July Reads (2014)

  1. I never have enough time to read! Loved these recommendations — have had Rosie on my goodreads “to read” list for awhile. I highly recommend not only the Kite Runner by Hosseini but even more so I recommend his book A Thousand Splendid Suns. My book club read the Aviator’s Wife last month which has piqued my interest in wanting to read a more pure biographical version of both Charles and Anne. Finishing up Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken” now, which is as good as everyone has promised.

    1. If you do find one like that, please pass the recommendation along. That book was going to be my best of pick, but The Rosie Project hit my funny bone and seemed like a more appropriate pick for summer.

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