Summer Reading Roundup

August 22, 2014

Well kids, it's that time. Welp. I know. I'm crying too. I wish summer could last forever...but at least I won't be alone on campus anymore during the days. I'm excited to see the Starbucks line crawling around the entire cafeteria like a snake, instead of being able to just freely walk up at any ol' time. Call it, I'm a nerd. 

But while it's still fall and nice enough to grab a cup of coffee and sit on your favorite porch/deck/bench/park/butt/ass and read...I thought I'd do a roundup of everything I've read this summer! Because READING ROCKS. 

Into the Beautiful North, Luis Alberto Urrea
A fictional (based on true, sociological events) look into the question: what happens to Mexican towns when all the men are immigrating to the US for work? I wrote more in-depth about this book (and a corresponding documentary - excellent!!) here. The story was enjoyable, the characters were fun and it raised my curiosity about something I hadn't thought about before. My only critique would be that the author seemed to run out of steam at the end, but still well, well worth it. 
For fans of: sociology, traveling, human-interest stories, Tijuana, good books
Rating: 5/5

The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri
I've been a big fan of hers since The Namesake, and I pick everything up she writes. However, I was disappointed by this one. It tells the tale of two brothers, and how their lives continue to intersect while one deals with civil unrest in India and the other moves to America. The story was good, but it definitely didn't need that many pages to tell it -- resulting in a book that was slightly dry and stale. 
For fans of: Jhumpa Lahiri, India, family drama, slow stories, cross-cultural analysis, Freud
Rating: 2/5

Night Film, Marisha Pessl
This is a thriller, slightly about the film industry and slightly about the occult. I don't like occult books and am super superstitious about bringing that kind of stuff into my house (yeah, like....super superstitious, I know), so I wouldn't have picked this book up if I had known that was included (they don't get to the occult stuff until you're about 350 pages in). It's long, but has some cool interactive elements -- you can download an app for the book, and scanning certain images in the pages will bring up extra content so you can try and solve the mystery as they do. Ending though...super lame. They get you all hyped up and then...well, yeah, you can let me know if you read it. 
For fans of: Supernatural thrillers, occult, movies, gothic people, red coats, black eyeliner
Rating: 2/5

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark, Bill Dedman
HANDS DOWN, BEST BOOK OF SUMMER. This is a non-fiction piece about heiress to an American fortune larger than Rockfeller and Carnegie (and that's just 20% of her share!). She chose to live as a total recluse, and yet spent over $5 million in private charity every year, and funding the establishment of such schools as UCLA, Evanston, University of Virginia, University of Wyoming (and more), the LA Philharmonic and more. However, no one knows her or her families name from the history books - why? She chose to spend the last 20 years of her life living in a hospital -- even though she was perfectly healthy! When she died, her $360 million estate was disputed in court by family who said her doctors had trapped her in the hospital, and doctors who said her family was just in it for the money. 
For fans of: 20/20, American dynasties, history, wealth, hermits, intrigue, mysteries, LIFE
Rating: 9 million/5

We Were Liars, E. Lockhart
Rich kids get sad at being rich, burn house down. Blah blah blah. Oh the spoiled brats, how hard.
For fans of: Entitled rich kids, The Fault In Our Stars, Young Adult books, pre-pubescent teenage problems, boredom
Rating: .05/5

I also read some textbooks about grantmaking, as well as the 1969 Tax Reform Act -- but I doubt you want a review of that. If you read any of these as well, I would love to hear your take!

What was your favorite read of summer?
Will you add any of these books to your reading list?

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1 comment:

  1. I've been working on the same book all summer...and I'm still not finished yet. Why did I let myself get convinced to start reading the Game of Thrones series??


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