July’s Books: A Month in Review

A Quick Introduction

I have had the same New Year’s Resolution for the last three years: read one book per month.

The one-book-per-month goal started when I was in my last year of graduate school. Everything I was reading up until that point was purely research-based. Don’t get me wrong, I loved what I was doing, but…I had been an avid fiction reader up until undergrad. I missed it.

I had made the excuse that I didn’t have time for anything else but class and research material. But that’s all it was—an excuse. That’s when I decided to set a reading goal for myself.

I believe that reading from different genres helps me to be more creative and succinct in my own writing. After looking through my papers, I saw that my voice had begun to read blandly.

Yes. Writing styles are dependent on the content type. An academic paper is not going to (and shouldn’t) read like a graphic novel, I get that. I was (and am) in search of my voice. Reading helps me learn new ways of vocalizing my thoughts. Reading helps me examine societal issues. Reading helps me to be a better person.

The Good Stuff

Are you still with me? Yay! Thank you for indulging me in my prelude. The point of the monthly book review (this is the first!) Will be just as it sounds: a review. I’ll give the title and author’s name of the book I read, a quick synopsis and my thoughts.

And guess what: I read two books this month! WOO HOO! So, here it goes:

Title: The Glass Castle

Genre: Non-Fiction

Author: Jeannette Walls

ISBN: 978-07432-4757-2

The Glass Castle opens with a young woman taking a taxicab, as people do when they need to get somewhere in NYC. Stopped a traffic light, she sees a homeless person digging through trashcans. The homeless person is her mother.

A memoir written from the perspective of Walls in different periods of her childhood, the reader is introduced to a three-year-old girl child dressed in a pink dress who catches on fire. We meet an 11-year-old who with her brother starts digging trenches for the foundation of her father’s Glass Castle. We see a teenager who scrimps and saves what little money she earns as a babysitter and sales girl to help her big sister move to New York City.

Through the retelling of memory, Walls introduces us to her eccentric family. There’s the mother: an artist with hoarding tendencies. There’s the father, an alcoholic with big dreams but no follow through. One of four children, Walls describes what it was like to move from place to place and never really finding home. The memoir follows young Jeannette’s journey in learning who she is and eventually finding her place in the world.

Rating: Highly Recommend

Title: A Man Called Ove

Genre: Fiction

Author: Fredrik Backman

ISBN: 978-1-4767-3802-4

Following a suicidal 59-year-old widower, Backman’s A Man Called Ove tells the story of a man who can’t commit suicide because his good-for-nothing neighbors don’t know how to back up trailers, open windows or bleed the radiator.

Ove lost his mother as a child and was raised by an honest man killed run over by a train. Ove’s journey began with tragedy. And though is ways are set, the memory of his wife serves as his North Star.

Rating: Highly Recommend

Have you read the books above? What did you think of them? Have any books you recommend? Please leave your comments below!

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