Reading Recap: June 2018

One of my motivations behind carefully recording my reading statistics this year is that I hoped to identify certain trends that emerge.  I’m into my seventh month of record-keeping and have started to notice some interesting things.

The most notable detail for me is that, even though I finished less books than May, I read almost 1,000 more pages.  It’s interesting to think about quantity vs. length.

Looking at this month’s finished titles, it has also become apparent that, when I am busy and stressed, I turn to old favorites.  Even when I’m exhausted and don’t have the energy to read, I don’t stop reading.  I just revisit what I’ve loved in the past.  As C.S. Lewis puts it, “I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.”  Some books are just as good as I remember, some grow and change with me, and others lose their shine.

Do you ever reread books?  Do they get old or are you always noticing new things?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

BeFunky-collage

Overall Statistics:

  • Number of books read: 8
  • Number of pages read: 3,974
  • Number of audiobooks listened to: 2
  • Number of rereads: 4
  • Longest book: Cress by Marissa Meyer
  • Shortest book: I’m Still Here by Austin Channing-Brown
  • Highest ratings:
    • Paper Towns by John Green (5 stars)
    • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (4.75 stars)
  • Lowest rating: Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver (2.5 stars)

Some notes on my stats:

  • Audiobooks are included in total page count.  It takes me longer to listen to a book than read it, so I count them
  • My ratings are on a 5-star system and are ridiculously subjective

If you want more information about each book, follow the links embedded in the titles.  That will bring you to the book’s Goodreads page.


Cress by Marissa Meyer

  • Pages: 552
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Format: Audiobook
  • Thoughts:
    • Even though I’ve read it before, I thoroughly enjoyed this installment in the Lunar Chronicles series
    • I adore this Rapunzel retelling.  Meyer hits all the right fairytale points with being wholly original.
    • The character development between Cress and Thorne is wonderful.  Both characters grow so much throughout the book.  At the beginning, Cress is socially awkward, lets her imagination run wild, and idolizes the idea of Thorne.  Given her circumstances of spending years alone in a satellite, it makes complete sense.  Thorne, on the other hand, is all swagger.  As the story progresses, the two fall into a situation where he must depend on her and she must take him off the pedestal.  She learns that the true person is better than her fantasies and he learns that actually caring for someone is rewarding.  I love the evolution of their relationship.
    • This book gives me so many fuzzies.  I love the heist at the end.

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

  • Pages: 390
  • Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Format: Print
  • Thoughts:
    • I love this YA contemporary.
    • I’ve never encountered a book that so accurately captures what it’s like to question your faith.  I love Lucy’s journey of doubt and deconstruction.  I especially love that, despite everything, she doesn’t walk away from faith entirely.  This is an important read for teens.
    • The secondary characters Lord creates are so wonderful.  I always enjoy a book with friendship at its heart and this did not disappoint.
    • This book brings me right back to my camp counseling days and I love it.
    • The ending is really ambiguous, but I’m okay with that.

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

  • Pages: 206
  • Rating: 2.5 stars
  • Format: Print
  • Thoughts:
    • I joined a Bible study this spring and this was the book we used.  While I’m grateful for the the conversation sparked by Weaver, this book was not for me.
    • Weaver examines the dichotomy between Mary and Martha in the Gospel accounts.  It uses them as a framework for how to live.  I did like that Weaver didn’t elevate a spiritual focus over a practical one.  Instead, she proposes a balance between the two that I think is really healthy.
    • What I disliked most about this book was that Weaver was constantly projecting more onto the characters than is actually in the text.  This was a huge stumbling block for me, actually.  At one point, my study leader pointed it out and I was SO relieved I wasn’t the only one bothered by it.
    • All in all, I do recommend this book to newer Christians.  It just wasn’t meaty enough for me.

Party of One by Joy Beth Smith

  • Pages: 217
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Format: Print
  • Thoughts:
    • WHERE was this book five years ago when my college roommate and I lead a Bible study on singleness?  We were stuck using When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy, which was awful.  Smith’s book is the one we truly needed to be reading.  I’m so glad it’s in the world now.
    • It was my same former roommate that recommended this to me.  I’m not particularly struggling with being single at the moment (although I wouldn’t mind a boyfriend), but this was still a good read.
    • Singleness is such a taboo subject in church.  Well-intentioned church goers don’t know what to do with unmarried people.  As I’ve been getting involved in church again, it’s felt like a never-ending barrage of people trying to set me up with their sons and mistaking me for someone’s wife.
    • This book is a breath of fresh air!  What a comfort to know I’m not the only one who both finds singleness frustrating and wonderful, who desires a relationship but also isn’t willing to settle.
    • Smith looks head-on at some pretty heavy topics!  I’ve never heard a Christian address female sexuality in such an open, affirming manner.  I wasn’t on board with all she had to say, but am so glad for the conversation!

Paper Towns by John Green

  • Pages: 305
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Format: e-book
  • Thoughts:
    • This novel is absolute perfection.  I appreciate it more with each reread.
    • I could say  more, but I already summed it up perfectly in this post back in 2015.  So just go read that, then read Paper Towns because it is masterfully written and its message is still culturally relevant.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

  • Pages: 531
  • Rating: 4.75 stars
  • Format: Audiobook
  • Thoughts:
    • I’m co-founding a book club at my local coffee shop this summer and this was our first pick.  It’s another re-read for me, but dang is this book good!
    • Doerr is a phenomenal writer.  His prose is of the highest quality, his characters are complex and well-formed, and he carefully constructs a narrative that is rich and insightful.
    • The layers of Doerr’s story emerged during our book club discussion and they run so deep.  So much of what he captures about World War II and the horrors of the rise of the Nazi regime raise questions that apply to things happening in the world today.
    • I want to go through this book, pull out all the references to light, sight, and blindness, and write a paper on it.  THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON AND I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING.

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing-Brown

  • Pages: 192
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Format: Print
  • Thoughts:
    • I couldn’t put this book down!  WOW, it is such an important contribution to the the current discourse in the United States on racism.  Racism is still living and active and it impacts people more than we understand.
    • That being said, this book deeply convicted me at so many points.  Even though I try to live with awareness that my white privilege brings, this book heightened that awareness.
    • Channing-Brown has written such a personal, honest book.  I don’t think I can respond in anything but humility.  I am grateful for this book.  I may not listen well sometimes, but I am listening.

Fruits Basket Volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya

  • Pages: 216
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Format: Print
  • Thoughts:
    • I was dissatisfied with the Black Butler volume I read last month for my YA lit class, so I picked this up instead for the manga unit.
    • What a fun, delightful story!  It was pure fluff and I enjoyed every page.
    • Basically, Tohru is left without a place to live when her mother dies.  She is taken in by a family of boys possessed by spirits of the Zodiac.  The boys turn into animals when hugged by people of the opposite gender.  The story centers on the relationship between all the characters.
    • I like this enough that I might just pick up volume two someday.

See you next month for another recap!

For more of my reading adventures, add me on Goodreads

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4 thoughts on “Reading Recap: June 2018

  1. jessplainsong July 12, 2018 / 6:31 pm

    I reread Jane Austen every few years; pride and prejudice keeps opening up for me. I reread a beloved sci-fi series from my adolescence a few years ago and was sorely disappointed, realised why this author hadn’t won any significant sci-fi Hugo awards. Gave the books away and put that series away for good.

    • Amelia July 12, 2018 / 8:28 pm

      Jane Austen is one of the authors I always come back to as well. Her work is so wonderful on so many levels. It’s amazing how the books that make impressions on us when young don’t always age with us well. I’m curious, what series was it?

      • jessplainsong July 19, 2018 / 5:45 pm

        The many coloured land series, by Julian may.

      • Amelia July 20, 2018 / 3:26 pm

        Thanks!

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