July Reads

Posted August 1, 2013 by LeahAdmin in Miscellaneous / 37 Comments

Buffalo apartment building
My new digs!

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!

Books read
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

Pages read
– This month: 1,785
– Year to date: 11,810

Books reviewed
In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt BellIn 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 Ian McEwanAtonement 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 KeruoacThe 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 KahakawiliaThis 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 Kate AtkisonsLife 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 Kara Weiss 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 1Bonk 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.

Musings
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.

August plans

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?

  • Wow! Congrats on the job! It really is a scary thing coming out of college and looking for work. Hopefully we will still be hearing from you despite the busy new life changes!

    • It’s a tough job market, and I’m thrilled to finally have found a place 🙂 I may get a little behind on posting, but I will certainly still be around!

  • What fun news!! Congrats on the new adventure. 😀

    • Thanks! So excited to start this new chapter 🙂

  • Congratulations Leah! Having also been graduated and underemployed and living at home for a year before very recently (in May) finding a job and moving in with my boyfriend in my college town, I think I know how you’ve been feeling 🙂 So congratulations! Enjoy it! You deserve it.

    • Hah, I had no idea our situations were so similar! Thank you 🙂 I guess this is a bit late, but congratulations on having things work out so well for you, as well!

  • Congrats on the job AND the move! Awesome news for you. Best of luck as you make both transitions 🙂

    • Thanks Kelly 🙂

  • Your adventure sounds similar to what my husband and I did about five years ago, right after we got married. We just packed it up and moved from Michigan to Virginia, even though we didn’t have jobs and had just randomly picked an apartment. It ended up working out great, even though people thought we were insane. Congratulations on the job and the risk taking, it’s going to be fun!

    • That sounds so scary! But also exciting. I’m glad it worked out well for you two!

      Thanks! I’m so excited to be back in Buffalo and to finally start working in a job that requires a degree 😛

  • Woohooooo! Congratulations! So happy for you and good luck with everything! The job sounds exciting 😀 Hope it all works out

    Good job for being able to keep up your reading in the middle of all that 🙂 I’ve been reading mostly Writing books ahead of my program, but I also read Edith Frome by Edith Wharton and started Khaled Hosseini’s new one.

    • Ethan Frome* …. ya :p

      • Congrats on the new house and the job. Hope everything falls in place quick and you will be able to find a nice rhythm in your brand new life.

        • Congrats on everything! I’m so, SO happy for you and Tom! You both deserve it.

          I know you’re going to nail it at your new job and so does everyone, so just enjoy it 🙂 And keep us posted.

          • Thank you! I’m pretty excited to start tomorrow morning! I will certainly post some updates 🙂

          • Congrats on your new job and the new apartment! Have fun.

        • Thanks! The last few days have been so busy, but it will be nice to settle in and get to relax soon.

          • A big congratulations on all the new changes going on in your life!
            I’m reading burial rites now and really enjoying it. cant believe the author is only 28 years old! younger than me!

          • I didn’t realize she was so young! I’m really looking forward to reading it; I’ve heard such good things!

    • Thank you! I got a lot of reading done for most of July, but I’ve barely touched a book in the last week because of moving 😛

      It’s great that you’re getting a head start on your reading! I’ve had an Edith Wharton book on my shelf for a year, and I still need to get to it. How’s the Khaled Hesseini? I keep meaning to read him, but other books keep coming up.

      • Well I’m not very far into the new one yet so can’t really say, but I really enjoyed his other novels 🙂

  • Congrats on everything! Your new job is so exciting. Like I said when we chatted – you can choose the content that shapes the lives of people!

    • Thanks! I’m going to go mad with power 😛

  • Congratulations on getting the place with your boyfriend and the new job! It’s awesome when everything in life just falls into place like that, and you’ve definitely worked hard for it and deserve it! Very happy and excited for you! 🙂

    • Thanks! The last year has been pretty rough, so I’ve been like, “Finally! Everything is going right!” It feels good 🙂

  • Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader

    What a month! 😀 I can’t tell you how much I love the look of that building, so cool! Congrats on the apartment and the job 🙂

    • I’m in love with the building. Every time I walk up to it I think to myself, “I can’t believe I live here.” (Also, the building is called The Mayflower, and it feels too fancy for me, so I’ve taken to calling it Mayflower Abbey 😛 ) Thanks!

  • Pingback: Monthly Wrap-Up - July »()

  • Again, congrats on the move and all! My husband and I met in college, and when he got a job in Central FL, we decided to both move there and I’d find a job in the area. So I totally get the risk taking, and it’s worth it! This is the time to take those risks!

    Also. . . .great job on how much you have been reading! You’re making up for what you missed during your road trip!

    • Thanks! I actually didn’t read all that much last month; a good portion of the books I reviewed were ones I read on my road trip but couldn’t blog about at the time 😛

  • Great post Leah! I am pretty much doing the same thing – just got a permanent job, finally, and looking for a new place with my boyfriend. It’s so exciting isn’t it? Congratulations on your ‘new life’! 🙂

    • Congrats! You and I both have been underpaid at jobs we’re overqualified for, so we deserve this! Good luck at your new job and finding a place with the boyfriend 🙂

      • thanks! Just got a flat actually, thrilled! Best of luck to you too 🙂

  • Congratulations, both on your job and apartment. I envy you haha. I’ve been with my boyfriend for over 4 years, but we’re both still studying, so we won’t be able to live together for at least 2 years from now..

    • Thanks! Living with him is so nice, especially after having spent the last year doing long-distance.

  • Congrats on the job! (And what perfect timing!) I was unemployed for nearly two years and if I never have to look for another job again I will be very happy–I’m with you regarding the rejection thing. I wish you well in your new adventures and hope you have much happy reading in August!

    • Thanks! Isn’t job searching the worst?