Which books are worth the read and which should you skip? Find out what books I’ve been reading lately and whether or not I recommend them.
My nine year old keeps remarking how time has just flown by this year.
I beg to differ. I have felt every day of these last six months, having my children at home ALL THE TIME! Thank goodness my mother moved nearby or I might have completely lost my mind.
But now the kids are back in school, at least parttime, and we again have some structure to our days. Which will likely mean less time spent reading in the future.
So enjoy my gigantic August reading list while you can. I’ve been bingeing 2020 releases and researching for next week’s book list. (See if you can guess what the topic is!) No promises what my September reading list will look like.
August Reading List
Ella Berman’s debut novel shows the pain and confusion of a victim of sexual and emotional abuse. Former child actress Grace Turner is just trying to survive after being chewed up by Hollywood. When she is asked to present a lifetime achievement award to her former director Able Yorke, she wonders if she has the strength to finally reveal the truth about the manipulative director. An important topic in the #MeToo era, I stayed up half the night reading this powerful story. I’m glad I could read about Grace’s complicated emotions but sad that I live in a world where abuse in Hollywood is all too common. 4 Stars. Read more →
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Berkley through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Elissa R. Sloan
In 1918, Nurse Julia Powers struggles to manage an Irish maternity ward ravaged by influenza and short-staffed by the war. With the help of volunteer Bridie Sweeney and controversial Doctor Kathleen Lynn, Julia tries her best to save the lives of expectant mothers as they bring new life into the world. An interesting character study, Donoghue’s novel reflects the strain of being a healthcare worker during a crisis. A heartbreaking story that vividly describes the details of childbirth, The Pull of the Stars will remind you how hard life has always been for women. 3.5 Stars. Read more →
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Little, Brown and Company through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Sue Monk Kidd
Acclaimed author Sue Monk Kidd imagines a bold narrative about a fierce, intellectual Jewish woman who is the wife of Jesus. From a young age, Ana knows that she is meant for more, desiring to be a scholar and a voice. Although Kidd is a remarkable writer, I didn’t really get the point of this book. To avoid blasphemy, Kidd leaves Jesus out of the narrative as much as possible, so why even have Ana married to him? In humanizing Jesus, she makes sure Ana is not around for any of the miraculous parts of Jesus’s story, i.e., his Resurrection or any of his miracles. The story rides the line where it will irk the faithful, bore the atheist, and those in-between may or may not enjoy her thought experiment. 3 Stars. Read more →
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Viking through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
A gothic horror story set in 1950s Mexico. Sign me up! Noemí Taboada receives a frantic letter from her cousin accusing her new husband of trying to poison her. To help, Noemí travels to their estate in the Mexican countryside. She doesn’t fear her cousin’s husband or father-in-law, or the creepy house that is giving her nightmares.If I only had one word to describe Mexican Gothic, it would be delicious. Moreno-Garcia pulls you in with her rich details and perfect character descriptions. Noemí serves as an excellent protagonist, keeping things light as everything gets darker around her. Because the ascent is so much fun, I was willing to forgive the over-the-top ending. 3.5 Stars. Read more →
After shooting her mother, Rachel Cunningham has spent the last 15 years in a self-imposed exile living in a psychiatric facility. Now Rachel begins to question all of her memories. What if she is innocent and her sister is the wicked one? Dionne brings Michigan’s Upper Peninsula alive and I was enthralled but flashbacks of their mother’s story. Yet, the novel quickly reveals that Rachel’s sister Diana is the psychopath of the story. Thus, the book rides on building toward an epic showdown, which, unfortunately, didn’t quite pull off, falling into typical cliches for a mystery novel. 3 Stars. Read more →
I received a complimentary copy of this book from G. P. Putnam’s through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Ibram X. Kendi
A Book About Politics. With the renewed interest in the Black Lives Matter movement, Kendi has penned the premier work on racial justice in America. Kendi’s premise is that the opposite of racist policies is antiracist policies that actively aid in creating more equity between races. Using history, law, ethics and, science, Kendi shows what an antiracist society would look like and helps illustrate how we can contribute to the building of a more equitable world.Kendi is not shy from pointing out his own flaws, prejudice, and even racism as his views have grown and changed. He understands that humans are multi-faceted. A person is not racist – they can hold racist beliefs or uphold racist policies. I loved how he points out that we can only associate attributes to individuals, not entire races. Just with any other book, I didn’t agree with everything Kendi said, yet he gave me plenty to think about and I know his book will reshape my opinions going forward. 5 Stars. Read More →
Mary Laura Philpott
In our ultra-connected society, distractions are everything. In all this connectedness, we are losing the ability to work deeply, instead of getting sucked into the busyness of shallow tasks. Yet it’s this increasingly rare deep work that has the biggest impact on your success. Cal Newport outlines the importance of working deeply and suggests strategies to eliminate and balance distractions in your work life.
Newport’s concept of Deep Work is spot on – you need that concentrated focus to really dive into your big tasks. This just made me so angry, because realistically Newport’s book should be title “Deep Work for Men.” After reading Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women, the gender inequality in Newport’s work was glaringly obvious. I wanted to scream at the author that the only reason these men could do deep work is because of all the women doing the invisible work in their lives.
I know Newport didn’t intentionally set out to write a gender-biased work, but the fact is, he did. Women are rarely mentioned at all in the book, and of the scores of examples of people successfully working deeply – only one is about a woman. Maybe I’m being too harsh. There’s a huge chance that if I reread many of the productivity books, I’d see this same glaring problem, although I didn’t notice at the time. 2.5 Stars. Read More →
Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
One of the best perks of being a book blogger is receiving advance review copies (ARCs) of upcoming book releases from publishers.
At the beginning of each month, I cover all the new book releases coming out, and the September 2020 book releases are right around the corner. Here’s a peek at the September releases I’ve already read.
My To-Read List
What’s up next for me? Before I let you go, here are a few of the titles I’m hoping to get through this upcoming month.
Be sure to come back in September to see which ones I read.
What books did you read in August?