I’m only a few weeks away from my annual trip home to Milan to visit my family for the summer, and I’m getting super excited. For anyone out there who hasn’t traveled to Italy yet – don’t go in August. I pick times during the year (August and December) when my family has more time to spend with me due to vacation, but they are pretty much the two worse times of the year to visit my home country.
In August, the mosquitoes in Italy are enormous and out in full force, and the region I’m from – Lombardy – turns into humid wetland very similar to Thailand. the area surrounding Milan is actually filled with rice paddies because the plain it sits in is surrounded by mountains that trap in moisture from the coast. Sounds picturesque but really it’s just muggy.
I typically spend all my time indoors sitting in front of the air conditioner, and you know what that means! Lots of leisurely time to read, in addition to two 11 hour flights, which also helps. I’m planning to tackle three of the biggest baddest books sitting on my TBR so stay tuned for reviews of those. In the meantime, here are this week’s links!
Book Blog Posts I Loved
- I was planning on actively participating in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Reading Challenge this year, but with my new job and blog hiatus, I didn’t end up using it to structure my reading. I’m sure I’ve hit most of the categories already, however. I found this month’s particularly interesting – A Book In A Category You Usually Avoid. Out of the suggestions she lists, I think fantasy or short story would probably be the ones I typically end up staying away from. What about you?
- Jo’s Book Blog and The Reader’s Room posted the 2017 Man Booker Prize Longlist and it includes a few books I’ve read (like The Underground Railroad), a few that are on my TBR list (like Paul Aster’s 4321) and a few I hadn’t heard about yet. Lots of TBR fodder here.
- I loved this review of Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance on The Book Stop. It reminded me of all the reasons I found this memoir so engrossing, because it really opens your eyes to a reality of American life you might not be that familiar with. You can read my review of this title here.
- A serious round of applause for Janel at Keeper Of Pages, who impressively completed a 24/48 Readathon this past weekend, in which she read for over 24 hours and only slept 4 hours each night! The stuff of legends. I’m also so envious because she got through Dark Matter by Blake Crouch and part of A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (in addition to 3 more full books), and both have been on my TBR for a while now.
- The book club I participate in has picked Daring To Drive by Manal Al-Sharif as one of two book options for our August meeting. The other option is Headscarves And Hymens by Mona Eltahawy, which I think is a bit more controversial. The idea is to have a discussion about women in the Middle East based on reading either one or both of these two books. I really loved reading this review of Daring To Drive on Verily – it’s good to see nonfiction on such important topics getting featured.
- I keep hearing about the Down The TBR Hole Meme created by Lia at Lost In A Story and I feel I should use it to weed out my own TBR, even if I don’t end up blogging about it. The concept is simple – you order your TBR list on Goodreads by ascending date, and then you go five books at a time, and for each one determine whether you’re going to keep it on your TBR list or you’re going to let it go. What Cathy Read Next and Zuky at Book Bum posted their own accounts of the process for this week on their blogs if you want to check it out.
- In the absence of Top Ten Tuesday, a few bloggers opted to pick their own topics for this week, including the Birdie Bookworm Blog with a list of Desert Island Reads and Book Bum with a list of Books On Her Net Galley Shelf She’s Most Looking Forward To.
Book Reviews I Loved
- Here are the individual book reviews I read this week that inspired me to consider adding the titles they covered to my ever-growing TBR pile:
- Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel on A Dance With Books (Fantasy)
- The Children Of Henry The VIII by Alison Weir on JulzReads (Historical Nonfiction)
- Who Killed These Girls by Beverly Lowry on What’s Nonfiction (True Crime)
- Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips on Clues And Reviews (Thriller)
- The Unwomanly Face Of War by Svetlana Alexievich, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky on Doing Dewey (Historical Nonfiction)
- On Tuesday I published an Author Spotlight of Yuval Noah Harari, with reviews of his two recent nonfiction titles – Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History Of Tomorrow. I added Sapiens to my Favorite Nonfiction Books list on Goodreads and gave it a 5 star rating, but Homo Deus felt really problematic and biased to me, so I gave it a more modest 3 stars.
- On Thursday I published a review for my 1000 Novels Series of Gabriel García Márquez’ Love In The Time Of Cholera. It had all the makings of a really good classic – beautiful long descriptive sentences, a historical setting, a passionate love story at its center – but I failed to connect with it because the love stories in the book felt like they were really portrayed from a strictly male perspective.
- Next week, I plan to review the three books I picked for my May 2017 Book Of The Month Delivery on Monday (which are The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, Into The Water by Paula Hawkins and Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane). This will include a giveaway of a hardcover copy of The Nightingale, so keep your eye out for that. Then on Wednesday I plan to post a review of the audiobook version of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, which I’m almost done reading and (spoiler) really love.
- Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching The Property Brothers repeats on Hulu this week, but these new Samsung TVs that were just released that look like framed art when they’re off seem both revolutionary and like they should have happened eons ago. Read more about them on the Anne Sage blog.
- I watched the new Princess Diana documentary released by HBO a few days ago and I have to say that aside from hearing the Princes speak as adults of their mother, it didn’t feel like it added much to what is widely known about the Princess and her life. It did motivate me to seek out a biography of Princess Diana though, and hopefully review it before the 20th anniversary of her death on August 31st.
- By now I feel it’s essentially my sacred duty to keep you informed on any developments relating to avocados in this section. Well, when I first read about Avocado Rice on My Domaine I was worried they had somehow tried to turn avocado into one of those vegetable faux-rice substitutes like cauliflower rice. Fear not though – they just mean mixing mashed up avocado INTO rice as a sauce. Phew! That was a close one. Sounds tasty.
Any articles or blog posts from the book world that you really enjoyed this week? Share them in the comments!
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