What I Read in June & July 2018

I’ve been calling these my five-word reviews, but sometimes they are descriptive rather than evaluative. In fact, that is what happens most of the time; I guess these are really summaries.

Anyway, here’s what I read in June and July!




Idaho by Emily Ruskovich: murder and family don’t mix

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo: tradition meets modernity in marriage

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese: twins lives create medical epic

Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell: wife, Mother is lonely, unhappy

Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross by Sigrid Undset: dramatic medieval life story ends

Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman: possibly worst book ever written

The Widow Ginger by Pip Granger: so bad I couldn’t finish

The Round House by Louise Erdrich: gritty account of reservation “justice”

The Juniper Tree by Barbara Comyns: straightforward fairytale with modern psychology

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym: hilarious tale of smart spinster

The Power by Naomi Alderman: women in charge; conflict inevitable

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke: black America meets Texas mystery

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain: short on plot, long philosophizing




Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne: precise man unknowingly pursued, wins

Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction by J. D. Salinger: family described in perfect writing

The Moffats by Eleanor Estes: stories of a happy childhood

Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary: best tearjerker; Ramona helps dad

The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder: farming as hard as always

First Love by Gwendoline Riley: visceral domestic abuse poorly written

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: love everybody, even (especially) monsters

The Bell by Iris Murdoch: people, best intentions always fail

Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski: don’t take children from parents

The Road by Cormac McCarthy: there is always hope, hopefully

The Skin Chairs by Barbara Comyns: human skin chairs, bad childhood

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee: generational drama of poverty, immigration

The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence: tough old lady remembers life

Mr. Bridge by Evan S. Connell: stodgy dad reminded me of grandpa

Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock: whimsical love story through letters

The Little Free Library Book: all instructions with stories, inspiration

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells: invisible guy steals people’s clothes

Poetry of Langston Hughes: dreams recorded, prophesied: don’t defer

Have you read any of these?

21 thoughts on “What I Read in June & July 2018

Add yours

  1. A few years ago, I set up a little free library (I’m referring to your July reading list) and it’s been a source of great pleasure.

    There’s an adult section and a children’s section, and I put out a bowl of dog biscuits. I weed out inappropriate donations such as religious and political propaganda or S/M romance novels, Now there’s an oxymoron!

    I’m constantly refilling the bog biscuit bowl, and the children’s books fly out of the little library. It’s fun to think I’m feeding the neighborhood, literally and metaphorically.

    1. Judy, this sounds amazing! I love that you are feeding your neighborhood. After I read the book about Little Free LIbrarys, we ended up putting in our own. It is only a week or so old. I’ll post about it soon. The dog biscuit bowl is such a good idea!

  2. Thank you! Always love lists of books. I thought I had read everything by Erdrich, but now I have a new one 😊

    1. And apparently The Round House won the National Book Award, so when I realized that I felt like I had checked another worthy book off of my list. I hope you enjoy this one.

  3. I’ve been meaning to read Idaho. From your June list, I’ve only read Stay with Me, Cutting for Stone, Kristin Lavransdatter, Up the Down Staircase (oh, so long ago), The Round House, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and I think Excellent Women. From June, I’ve only read First Love, Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenter, etc., and that’s it! Hmm, much more reading to do. I’ve also been meaning to read Pachinko.

    1. Let me know what you end up thinking about Pachinko, Kay. I enjoyed the read, but in the end, I don’t think I really liked the book. It didn’t engage me as much as I thought it would. I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts.

  4. Emily, I have missed your recommendations. I hope you are well. I am into John McCain’s biography “The Restless Wave.” He is brutally frank about his history, which is refreshing. Take care, Keith

    1. Keith, I saw your post about that John McCain biography. I’ve been following your posts via email even when I haven’t spent much time on WordPress lately. I’m hoping to be back more often. Thanks for the comment!

  5. “Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction by J. D. Salinger: family described in perfect writing.” ❤️❤️

  6. I have to complete and post my review of Stay With Me–depressing would be my one-word review! All on the basis of “religion” and/or “tradition”! Ugh! I thought Cutting for Stone was well-written-I enjoyed it. I found The Round House to be so intense! I learned a lot about reservation law…and it made for a rousing book club discussion! Definitely want to ready more Erdrich! I am sorry about Up the Down Stair Case and The Widow Ginger! Ugh! The Juniper Tree, Excellent Women, and The Power are all now on my TBR list! (Thanks alot, Emily! lol) I loved Black Water Rising, Attica Locke’s debut novel and really need to read her others! Haven’t read A Connecticut Yankee since I was 12! Ditto for Around the World. Cleary is just great and Estes’ books always look like fun! Have yet to venture a try at Frankenstein or The Invisible Man. Pachinko is one I definitely want tor read! Ewwww! The Skin Chairs I believe I will definitely skip! 😦 Interesting about The First Four Years. I definitely felt there was a distinct difference between this and the rest of the Little House series books…and it was the only one that her daughter didn’t “edit.” Yes, farming is hard… Poetry and Hughes–got to be good! And The Road is one all my former Borders co-workers were always recommending…but I thought it would be depressing! But perhaps not, given your ‘review’! 🙂 Nice post! Adn I am so jealous of all the time you have for reading!! 🙂

    1. Lynn, I’m jealous of my reading time too, because with the new semester starting soon, I know it will all be gone! It has been a good reading summer. And I agree that The Round House was very intense. Such an important story to be told. I hope you enjoy the ones you put on your TBR list!

    1. Simon, I reread The Road for a book club, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first time. And you are right: it is very grim. My book club discussed how the boy was really a light in the whole story and how his future was about hope. We mostly concluded that there is hope even in the darkest of times. I feel like the book definitely portrays that, although sometimes that is hard to believe in real life when things get hard! It is nice to hear from you! 🙂

  7. Oh, Kristin Lavransdatter! I read all three in one shot and I so absolutely loved it… I went to Scandinavia some time after and visited reconstructed farm building from that time. Life in medieval times was tough.

    1. I’m so jealous that you visited! I guess there is a museum at Sigrid Undset’s birthplace, and I’m hoping to visit someday. I read all three of them over the last few months and loved the experience. What great books! Glad you enjoyed them too.

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