So July was pretty crazy. As some of you may know, I graduated from college in Buffalo last May. After graduating, I moved back to my hometown a few hours away to work part time while looking for a job back in Buffalo, a city that I love and the home of my boyfriend, Tom. It’s been a tough year, both because long-distance relationships are hard and because constant job rejection is disheartening. Finally, I decided that I was done waiting for everything to fall into place. It was time to make a change and make things happen. What are my 20s for if not taking risks? Tom and I decided that I would move to Buffalo and we would get an apartment together in August, job or no job.
Toward the middle of the month, we signed a lease on the first apartment we looked at, a tiny one-bedroom on the top floor of an eight-story apartment building in a great location… and then everything kind of did fall into place! Two weeks later, just over a week before our move-in date, I was offered a job! I’m going to be a Content Publisher for a tech company. You know those news slide show things on websites like the Yahoo homepage? Basically, I’m going to be choosing those stories, editing them, and posting them to mobile portals. I’m super excited about this position; it seems like really interesting work, and I’m beyond psyched that I’ll be able to pay my rent!
At the moment this post goes live, I will be moving into my apartment! After nearly four years together, I am so excited to finally live with Tom! It’s going to be a great adventure 🙂 And I start work on Monday!
– This is Paradise — Kristiana Kahakauwila
– Life After Life — Kate Atkinson
– Late Lights — Kara Weiss
– The People in the Trees — Hanya Yanagihara
– The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
– This month: 1,785
– Year to date: 11,810
In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell. Although this twisted fairy tale has stunningly beautiful language, I struggled with the unexpected darkness and grotesque descriptions. It’s a rather disturbing depiction of marriage and fatherhood, and I had mixed feelings about it.
Atonement by Ian McEwan. Spanning from 1935 to the close of the 20th century, Atonement is a brilliant novel that details the life-changing consequences of a lie told by 13-year-old Briony Tallis. With powerful descriptions of the drive to create fiction and the devastating effects of WWII on both France and London, this is a beautiful novel of love, war, regret, and seeking redemption.
The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. I re-read this book for the Beats of Summer event over at Roof Beam Reader, and I loved it. A semi-autobiographical novel about Kerouac’s time as a Zen Lunatic, The Dharma Bums has drunken orgies, months of mountain-top solitude, and Buddhist philosophizing; what’s not to love? My favorite parts were the descriptions of the thrill of being in the mountains.
This is Paradise: Stories by Kristiana Kahakauwila. Although tourists think of Hawaii as a tropical paradise of beaches, luaus, and surfing, these stories reveal the grittier side of the islands. Dealing with themes of what it means to belong to a place, the tension between tourists and locals, and father/child relationships, these stories are really beautiful.
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. After three months of waiting, I finally got a copy from the library! Following the life/lives of Ursula Todd as she repeatedly dies and is reborn, this novel explores the infinite paths a life can take. If you could do your life over and over again, would you ever get it right? This was the page-turniest book I’ve read in a long time, and I absolutely loved it.
Late Lights by Kara Weiss. This novella reads like linked short stories about three childhood friends struggling to understand their relationships with each other in their later teenage years. I would have liked more detail at some points, but Weiss is a strong writer who packs a punch in 123 pages.
Audiobook Mini Reviews, part 1: Bonk by Mary Roach, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.
Audiobook Mini Reviews, part 2: Memoirs: Bossypants by Tina Fey, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, and Marley and Me by John Grogan.
– Do You Audio? I recently discovered that I enjoy listening to audiobooks while exercising and driving long distance, but I’ve found that I look for different things in audiobooks than print books. There was some great discussion in the comments!
Books added to my collection
I was the lucky winner of Roof Beam Reader‘s Literary Blog Hop giveaway! I won a copy of A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, and I’m excited to read more of her writing!
I also received galleys of Burial Rites by Hannah Kent and Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain!
I was reallly good about not buying books this month… until I got a Barnes & Noble gift card from my credit card rewards program AND a coupon from my mom’s coupon book. I had the good fortune of finding a hardcover copy of The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman for $6 on the bargain table! I also picked up a copy of The Cuckoo’s Calling because, duh, J.K. Rowling wrote it. I’ve never really been into crime fiction, but I figured this is a good push to try it out! Who knows, maybe I’ll love it and find a new genre open to me.
Oh, I don’t have any plans for August… except for basically starting a whole new life. Moving out of my parents house and into an apartment with my boyfriend AND starting a full-time job is going to take a lot of adjustment! I’m super excited for all of these challenges.
As for reading, I’m going to finish Necessary Errors, read Burial Rites and The Returned (so excited for these), and enjoy a few backlist titles!
What did you read in July? Any plans for August?