Tuesday, August 01, 2023

July: What I Read

I read 23 books this month, and some of them were terrific. 

I am SO EXCITED for next month-- new ones by Karin Slaughter and Ann Patchett!! AND I have the new Richard Russo on my Kindle, Elin Hilderbrand's latest on my shelf, and a couple others by authors I like in my TBR pile. CANNOT WAIT to dive in. But, in the meantime, here are my July reads listed from least favorite to most favorite:

Meh-- you can skip these:

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang: Did I like this romance? Not really. Did I also put holds on the other 2 books in the series? Yep. **Audio

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang: BETTER. **Audio

Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain: This book was sort of on my radar because I read a magazine review las year, so when it popped up as a skip-the-line book on Libby, I snatched it up. Rally fascinating, and if you like nonfiction, I recommend it. **Audio

The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Brummer: I really did not like this title (too try-hard), and the book was... just OK for me. I have actually read a better death doula book in the last year **shrug** *2023

The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston: I feel like I have read this gentle time travel story before... better. **2023

Sea Change by Gina Chung: I liked Shelby van Pelt’s octopus book better, and apparently there is really only room in my hear for one? **2023

Not this-year books, but still entertaining

The Housemaid by Freida McFadeden: terrible but also LOVED IT. **Kindle

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid: How did I miss this one?? **Audio

Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail by Ashley Herring Blake: Predictable but adorable. **Audio

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid: This was her second book, and it’s SO SO SO good. **Audio

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman: Late to the party but ALL IN. **Audio

A Very Typical Family by Sierra Godfrey: This was a library system common read, so I got it on my Kindle via Libby. Took me a second to believe the story line, but then I liked it a lot.**Kindle

Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood by Jessica Grose: This was terrific! I worry about how books like this one (written by a journalist) will do when they incorporate scholarship, but she wove an awesome narrative using stuff from all my favorite fields. I have read all of the scholars she cites, and IMO she used them perfectly.  By the time you read this, I will have probably written a whole post about this topic/book, but this one is a YES for me. **Audio

If you see these at the library, give them a read

She Started It by Sian Gilbert: This plot has everything, but still, this book was not amazing, IMO. It is entertaining, but only if you stick with it. **2023

Watch Us Shine by Marisa de los Santos: I wanted this to be awesome because I love her, and this book returns to beloved characters from 2 of her earlier books. But. Ugh. I HATE when all of the sudden there is backstory where there never was, and that's the whole premise of this book. Also! She is a poet, and her books are lovely, but this one was overwritten? Like, Cornelia was just a little too winsome. **2023

The Only One Left by Riley Sager: A really great twisty pot, but not my fave. Lots of tropes and cliches. **2023

The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams: This was just as brilliant as I thought it would be from the description-- so tense, so spare. **2023

Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby: The Sex and the City chapter! OMG I am still laughing. **2023

Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak: I did not like this one as well as his previous book (which I freaking LOVED), but I did like it. **2023


The Celebrants by Steven Rowley: LOVED this one. **2023

With my Little Eye by Joshilyn Jackson: If you have not read these thrillers with badass southern heroines, you gotta try them. Her audio books are terrific, but I actually read this one and liked it a lot, especially the end. **2023

Zero Days by Ruth Ware: SO GOOD and tense-- I really love her, it turns out. **2023

Everything's Fine by Cecelia Rabess: I loved every single word of this book, and it was so fun to imagine the story unfolding through COVID, etc. LOVED it. **2023

This Month:

23 books

13 books published in 2023

13 print, 2 Kindle, 8 audio

This Year:

134 books

68 books published in 2023

75 print, 7 Kindle, and 52 audio


  1. So much reading, Sarah!!
    I am a big fan of the Thursday Murder Club - I think each book gets better.
    My reading drops off precipitously in the summer, so I'm literally only managing to do the weekly chapters of ATGIB. It is what it is. I honestly have no idea how you manage to listen to so many books on audio? I cannot get into audiobooks to save my life. I get easily distracted and feel like I'm interrupted from morning to night so I'm forever pausing and restarting things...and I only have two kids?! Seriously - how do you do it??!! I think I've listened to two audiobooks in the last 5 years?

    1. If you fee your attention wandering, you need to listen faster in my experience. I usually start at 1.5 and work up to about 2.25-- I read in my head really fast, so this is what feels good for me. Definitely play around with speed. I also listen when I am alone n the car driving to work (25-40 mins each way including walk time to my building/depending on traffic) and when Ben is home after dinner and I am cleaning up the kitchen (not every day).

  2. I definitely need to read "Screaming on the Inside." Plus it's available immediately on libby! Score! Have you read "Pineapple Street"? It's a great summer read - rich people behaving badly but with redeeming qualities. I flew through it.

    1. YES-- loved that one for exactly those reasons.

  3. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Ooh, I just finished A Very Typical Family as well from the library - I had a hard time staying interested in it at first, but so glad I stuck with it - I ended up liking it a lot!

  4. I have read three Helen Hoang books and each one is very meh. I feel like I *should* like her books, but I don't.

    I was also meh on the Thursday Murder Club, but I've heard that the books get better, so maybe I should go back to them.

  5. What a fantastic reading month! I admit to feeling a little jealous that you read so prolifically and I don't -- not because I think it's a competition but because there are SO MANY BOOKS in the world that I want to read, and I simply cannot read enough of them. I like your advice to Elisabeth to listen at a faster speed. I listen to audiobooks at 2.0 or 2.25 speed and it definitely helps me get through them faster! I think once I get back into a walking routine (and then once I start having quadruple the daily commute wah!) I should be able to listen to more.

    Zero Days is definitely one I am excited for. I like Ruth Ware... although I admit that her newer books seem a little more rushed than some of her older ones.

    So glad you finally jumped on the Thursday Murder Club train! I love the series so much!

  6. Wow. When and how do you manage 23 books in your busy life. That's impressive!

  7. I am always SO impressed how you manage to read so much while being so busy! I am also a fan of speeding up audiobooks - 1.75x is my sweet spot but sometimes I'll move to 2x if I'm feeling it.

    The Kiss Quotient is my favorite Helen Hoang book so give that one a try if you haven't. Her books are SO STEAMY, though. Whew.

    I think After I Do is the final TJR I need to read to be a completist. I need to get around to it!