Give me a high five. No, really. I finished 8 books this month. One of them was an audio book – John Scalzi’s “Agent to the Stars”, and it’s read by Wil Wheaton. It’s a very good book. A really good blend of cheeky with just the right hits of seriousness. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
The other 7 books were good, don’t get me wrong, but when I look back over this list, the only one I’m really raving about is “Agent to the Stars”. That one might be my win for the month.
Aside from that, I also recommend “The Vanishing Half”, which was the B&N book club pick of the month. There’s a lot going on there, and I already wrote a post about it (and I still don’t think I can do it justice), so if you’re interested give it a look at Fictional Discipline.
Other winners for me include “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand”, “Old Man’s War”, and “The Girl on the Train”. All of those are some years old now, but honestly, before I joined the B&N book club, I never read books that were recently out unless they came from a couple very specific authors. (Even then, I was inclined to wait for paperback.)
Major Pettigrew was witty, touching, and poignant. It tackles racism in a more lighthearted way than Vanishing Half, but is both fun and worthwhile – Vanishing Half ended up tipping towards the worthwhile side and less to the fun, so it really just depends what your mood is.
Old Man’s War is the first in the series that made John Scalzi sci-fi famous. I’ve read several of his standalone-ish works and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. OMW has been on my shelf for a few years now, so I thought it was time to give that one a go. It too was very good. Scalzi writes sci-fi in a way that feels more approachable to me than some of the old guard, and the cheekiness that I like about his other works is present here, too. All in all, he may very well be on my top 10 authors now. If you like Ender’s Game and are looking for something comparable, minus the super problematic author, check out Scalzi’s work.
The Girl on the Train felt a lot like Gone Girl. It was very entertaining, and probably not a book that I’m going to think a lot about in a year. Still, I enjoyed it and ripped through it in about 24 hours. It was a very good ‘escape’ novel, that took me well out of our current problems and plunked me down into an engaging fiction. If you like thrillers (which I apparently do now), give this one a try if you haven’t already.
The most disappointing book I read this month was “The Guest Book” – and it’s not that this book was actually disappointing. But I started it a year ago and got derailed. I’d heard it was very very good, and there was a lot I just couldn’t get into as much as I’d hoped. It was still decent, though, and I liked how things tied up in the end. It just won’t be a favorite.
I also read “Kindness and Wonder” which is part biography of Fred Rogers, and part guide to living out his philosophies. It was touching, and enjoyable, as most things about Mister Rogers are.
Lastly, I re-read Throne Of Glass. I read this book a couple years ago, but then recently picked up every book in the series in miniature form. I generally carry them around in my purse – they’re great for pulling out at the allergist, for instance – but with how infrequently I’m in public long enough to read a book, I was going to be reading this series for the next ten years. So I try to chip away at them from home now. I finished the prequel either last month or in May. I started the next one, but I’m betting I won’t finish it until September. I’ve got too much else going on.
So, our local movie theater was going to open up on July 10th, and some movies were going to start coming to theaters at the end of the month. But some large percentage of people decided to ruin it for everyone else, and now covid numbers have been spiking, and now the theaters aren’t opening until August. But now I don’t even dare pin my hopes on that. I did watch a fairly decent amount of movies from home this month though – oddly enough, the one that I liked the most (other than sentimental favs) was one that my friend Rho picked: Some Like it Hot.
I like old movies, but don’t watch them very often. I’d also never seen a movie with Marilyn Monroe. At any rate, that was a lot of fun, more so than I expected.
I hope this post finds you all safe, healthy, and finding ways to entertain yourselves.
Until next month.