Things have been busy in my corner of the universe lately and, while the reading hasn’t stopped, the recording of it definitely has.
In my reading update posts, I normally do an Inbox (what I’m about to read), an Outbox (what I’ve recently finished), and sometimes add a Currently Reading section. Because I haven’t done one of these in a month or so, I’m going to switch things up and talk about all the things I’ve finished.
Over the past couple of weeks, soooo many of the books I’ve been excited for have come in for me at the library. My pile is at least ten books high. It’s a bit overwhelming, but very fun.
So here’s what I’ve been reading lately!
Sarah Dessen is the queen of YA. She was writing honest, beautiful stories about girls dealing with real problems, learning to navigate the world, before many others. Her books have been my companions for nearly ten years, so of course I picked up her latest. One of my critiques with her books over the years is that, if you’ve read one, you’ve kind of read them all. They nearly all center around girls on the brink of college and summer romances. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I happen to adore the vulnerability that life transitions bring and Sarah captures it very well. Once and For All was a delightful read. It’s not may favorite Dessen novel, but I definitely liked it.
YA novels about kids who work in a secondhand bookstore? YES, PLEASE. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this for months. It was a quick read–took me less than a day–but lovely. It’s about two teens, Rachel and Henry, who were best friends growing up, but lost touch when Rachel moved away. When Rachel’s brother dies, she moves back and winds up with a job at the secondhand bookstore owned by Henry’s family. All the while, Henry, is mooning over his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Amy. It’s a sweet story and there are some really wonderful conversations about the importance of words and literature. For example:
“Words do matter. They’re not pointless. If they were pointless then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history and they wouldn’t be the things that you think about every night before you go to sleep.” Cath Crowley
This fantasy novel has been on my to-read list for AGES. I finally got to it this week! I’m so glad I did! First of all, the cover art is absolutely gorgeous. Even if I didn’t like the book (I did), I’d buy a copy for the cover alone. It’s a dark story about a magic and thieves and parallel Londons and extremely satisfying! I don’t think I’ll launch into the second book anytime soon due to a large pile of holds that have come in for me at the library… but it’s definitely on my list!
I love YA books about fandom. This one reminded me a lot of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. It’s about a teenage girl who is the creator of an internet-sensation webcomic and the queen of an entire fandom, but feels out-of-place and misunderstood at home and at school. When she becomes friends with a new boy at school (who happens to be the most famous fan fiction writer in her comic’s fandom), she grapples with real-life versus internet-life. The book is a celebration of internet fandom culture and explores mental illness. I really enjoyed it!
What better way to embrace summer than read a collection of love stories by a bunch of authors that I love? I really, really, really liked this one. The collection was splendidly diverse, featuring a wide cast of characters of all colors and orientations. I was surprised at how bitter sweet many of the stories were, but I really appreciated the more serious tone. Love isn’t all fluff–it’s about asking tough questions, making hard choices, and sometimes it doesn’t end well.
This is my current morning-with-a-cup-of-tea read. It’s about how churches (and other organizations) go about charity work in a way that is often really harmful to the people they’re trying to help. I found the book really insightful. I’m un-learning some of the perspectives I’ve grown up with and am learning new things about economics, community development, and strategic planning. I financially support several charities and friends who are missionaries and this book is gave me new questions to ask.
It took me a month to get through the first Stormlight Archive because I listened to it on audiobook. For the second, I read it in a week on my Kindle. IT WAS SO GOOD. I don’t give out five-star ratings very often… but this one gets five stars. Sanderson is one of the best storytellers out there. I’ve read many of his books now and have decided that I will gladly read anything he publishes. The best fantasy writers do very little hand-holding or explaining–they plop you in the middle of their worlds and let you learn through the eyes of the characters. The world building is so well-done, it actually feels like a real place. In The Way of Kings, the three main characters have their own distinct stories. In Words of Radiance, their paths weave together. I’m so glad that book three comes out this fall. I’m already on hold for it at the library.
Other books in I’ve finished that I’m not discussing today:
- Mosquitoland by David Arnold
- P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
- Heartless by Marissa Meyer
- Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
I’m hoping to be more regular about these from now on…
What have you been reading lately?
My next Inbox // Outbox will (hopefully) be July 3
For more of my reading adventures, add me on Goodreads