Summer Reading Update (Part 1)

It's pretty obvious that I love reading (you really have to if you're in law school), so getting to read for fun is always a highlight of summer. Since I'm working in the Woodlands this summer, I had to get a new library card, which delayed some of my progress a bit.

So here's what I've read so far this summer:

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam  3 stars

I wanted to like this book, but it was probably my least favorite on this list. The rhetoric was so beautiful, but the plot moved intentionally slow and I just could not get into it. The whole time I was reading, I kept thinking, surely it will get better. Eventually, toward the end, I was invested in the characters a little more and the ending wrapped up nicely, but I was happy to move on to a new book.

I was actually shocked when I found out it was written by a man... It's told from the point of view of a mother and felt so personal and real, so that was quite impressive.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett 3 stars

I was surprised that I didn't love this book as much as I expected. I was so blown away by Ann Patchett's Commonwealth and State of Wonder, so even though this one was okay, I had overhyped it in my head and was ultimately underwhelmed. It took me almost the entire book to feel invested in the plot, and then just barely. I have since watched the movie and, though marginally better, it wasn't fantastic.

It's the story of a Japanese businessman, a mesmerizing opera singer, a houseful of party guests, and the group of guerillas that bursts in and takes them hostage. It's based very closely on the Peruvian Hostage Crisis of the mid-1990s. I couldn't help but wonder if I would have liked it more if I had an appreciation for opera music, but I doubt it. It moved slowly and for a while, I felt like I was being held hostage. It really just wasn't my cup of tea, so I'd recommend one of her other books instead.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 5 stars

This book has been all over the internet, but for good reason. I was worried it had been overhyped, but I LOVED it!

Told from the point of view of a little girl who grew up alone in the swamp, it's a beautiful story of loss and love, both of people and of nature. As a sort of "marsh girl" myself (I grew up near the swamp on the bayous of south Louisiana, so that maybe counts), I felt like my quiet love of the beautiful trees and birds was amplified by 10,000 in Kya's character. I certainly felt all the emotions when reading this book; from loneliness and sadness to fear, betrayal, and even happiness, this book has it all.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray 4 stars

This is another book that I wanted to like more than I did. For some reason, it reminded me a lot of the Netflix show Orange is the New Black; the scenes where you learn about the characters' backgrounds are told the way this book was written.

I felt like the story would have been better had there been more of a mystery element or maybe if the plot progressed more quickly. Overall, it just felt like it was lacking something, and it fell a bit flat for me. It was still a heartwarming story, but it took too long to get there. 
It's a story of mothers and daughters, the chain reaction set off by a family losing their matriarch too soon, and a series of bad decisions the characters have to overcome to find what they are all looking for.

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay 5 stars

The Far Field was my second favorite on this list after Crawdads, but still absolutely fantastic! Even though there are parts that I probably lacked a complete understanding of the background knowledge, I was still able to keep up since the themes are universal. For example, I had no idea where Kashmir was on the map, but I understood the concept of different countries or religious groups fighting for control of certain territories.

Set in faraway India, at times this book felt both exotic and extremely familiar. The story centers around Shalini, a young adult who is trying to find her way after her mother's death. She takes off on an adventure to tie up loose ends and learns a lot about herself and her own family by observing others on her journey.

Remember you can always keep up with what I'm reading and what's next on my list on Goodreads! Just add me as a friend!

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