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Summer Reading: July

Happy August! I’d ask how we’re already here, but honestly, the days are blurring together and the only way I know it’s August is it’s HOT HOT HOT here in NJ right now. Anyway, I’ve been getting my reading ON, y’all! Just ripping through stories left and right and loving it. What’s better than sitting outside for a little while with a book and some sunblock and escaping for a bit? Or more often for me it’s lying in bed at 3 am with a blanket over my phone to kill the light and reading a library book until my eyes get heavy. I do what I have to do. Here’s what I read in July.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

This story got me hooked in the first chapter. A Black woman, Emira, is accused of kidnapping a child she’s babysitting while in a grocery store in an affluent part of town, and it just goes deeper and deeper from there. A younger version of me really felt connected to Emira as she tries to figure her life out in her 20s. I really enjoyed this debut novel from Kiley Reid and I look forward to reading more from her.

The Last Book on the Left: Stories of Murder and Mayhem from History’s Most Notorious Serial Killers by Marcus Parks, Ben Kissel and Henry Zebrowski

I’ve been an avid listener of The Last Podcast on the Left for years now, so I was really excited when Tom ordered this as a belated birthday gift for me. The style of the book is different from any I’ve read before and it was really fun – it’s narrated in the way the podcast would be listened to with Marcus telling the story and sidebar commentary from Ben and Henry. The illustrations in this book were incredible and some of the chapters scared the hell out of me. If you’re into true crime, you’ll dig this one.

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

Wow. This book was an emotional roller coaster. Set in Vietnam, it follows the Trần family through multi-generations before/during/after the Vietnam War. This book sent me on tangents several times as it sparked a curiosity in me to learn more about Vietnam’s history. It’s such a beautiful book. I still think about the characters because I grew so attached to their stories.

#VERYFAT #VERYBRAVE: The Fat Girl’s Guide to Being #Brave and Not a Dejected, Melancholy, Down-in-the-Dumps Weeping Fat Girl in a Bikini by Nicole Byer

This was a quick and lovely read. I felt so pumped up after finishing this one that I bought a few bikinis (which are sitting in my drawer, so maybe I need to re-read). I’ve been on a journey (suggested by my therapist) to connect with my body and surround myself with more body positive content. This one was definitely what I needed. Nicole is confident and funny and FROM NEW JERSEY, but if you’re looking for a memoir – this ain’t it. However, if you’re looking for badass and beautiful images of Nicole in countless bikinis with some advice, this IS it.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert I’ve gone back to Elizabeth Gilbert from time to time since college when I read Eat, Pray, Love. I’ve always really enjoyed her style and wit, and I enjoyed it in this book as well. I found it to be an inspiring and pleasant listen (I did the audiobook for this one from the Libby app). It was read by the author which is something I prefer in an audiobook, and it felt like getting much needed advice from an old friend. I definitely walked away feeling inspired.

I can’t wait to see what August brings in my summer reading. The escape is something I’ve really needed and leaned into during quarantine. What have you been reading? I’d love some suggestions.

-K

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