What I’m Reading Right Now: August Book Review

August Book Reviews

August was NUTS with returning from India, getting the kids ready for school, and starting up all of our fall activities. Plus late August/ early September is the busiest time of year for my job, when I’m supposed to be working 20 hours, but have to work hard to keep it under 40.

I used reading as self-care this month, abandoning a couple of books* I was struggling with, and stocking up on easy reads for the weekends when I had a free moment.

Easy to pick a non-fiction favorite this month, since I only finished one: But Sara Hagerty’s Unseen would have been my favorite even if I’d read 20 nonfiction books.

I loved all of the fiction I read this month, but The Almost Sisters was probably at the top of the list, it felt like a just-for-me book, and was just what I needed in the midst of the busiest week of my year.

Read on for more specifics about 5 really great reads (I think these might have all been 5 star books for me – that’s a great month!)

This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

If every book were like this one, compelling me to finish it in a couple of days, I would make my reading goal for sure. (Aiming at 100 books, I’m at 50 so….)

This is a great story, about a family who accidentally keeps a big secret, and how that secret begins to eat away at them. It is about parenting, and how sometimes, in an effort to protect our children, we can cause harm. It is about getting it wrong, and getting it right, and finding a middle way through the extremes that come naturally. It is about what a family’s love can and cannot do.

The title comes from a conversation the father and mother have, when she is freaking out about decisions they are making that will affect their child’s future, effectively guessing what that child will want as an adult. He tells her, “This is how it always is…” Parenting is all about doing our very best with limited information, doing what we can in love.

This story has stuck with me, and I am guessing I will continue to think about it for a long time.

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun Is Also A Star

I needed a light, happy read and this delightful YA Romance hit the spot exactly.

What a sweet romance, that would be light and fluffy if it wasn’t between a first and second generation immigrant, one of whom is about to be deported.

I loved the themes of fate and science and deep questions about God and love and the meaning of life, plus the conflicts created when parents do their best for their kids without considering that they may define “best” differently.

This was a quick, fun and satisfying read. They’re not really making romantic comedies anymore, movie-wise, so thank goodness for sweet YA romantic comedy books. This was my first Nicola Yoon, after reading it I requested Everything, Everything from the library, but I haven’t read it yet.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I remember exactly where and when I read this book for the first time (Kampala, Uganda in November 2011), and that I really liked it.

But I did not remember one thing about the plot, story, or characters. Maybe because that first time I was reading as an escape in intense circumstances? I don’t know, but I sure loved re-reading it and experiencing it as if it were the first time.

This is historical fiction, a WWII story, a travelogue, a letters novel, a character study, a love letter to books and reading, and a delightful love story all wrapped up in a sweet book I finished (this time) in less than 24 hours.

The Almost Sisters

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

I am not sure  how helpful my review will be for anyone who isn’t me, because I just want to say I love it I love it I love it!

This book seems like one a lot of people will enjoy, but it felt nearly tailored to me in particular, like it was written *for* me in so many ways.

Complicated sister relationships + Deep South small town + comics and super heroes + long hidden secrets + strong female characters + standing up to bullies and bigots + a really well written story = wow, I loved this book.

I put this on hold at the library before it was published and read it within days of receiving it. So I drove it straight over to one of my bookish besties and she read it in a couple of days (and loved it) too. I’ve started on another of Jackson’s books but am having a harder time getting into it – I think because I just really wanted more of the characters in The Almost Sisters. Highly recommend.

Unseen by Sarah Hagerty

Unseen by Sarah Hagerty

Best Non-fiction of the month, and would have been even if I’d managed more nonfiction this month.

I wrote about Unseen here, but I’ll add that I’m reading this with most of the college girls I’m mentoring this year. It has been a wonderful vehicle for discussing finding secret places to pursue Jesus, and meeting Him in hard things.

There’s a free discussion guide/supplemental Bible study that’s been very helpful for our discussions. If you’re interested, you can find that here.

I’ve got a lot of reading to do if I want to make my goal this year. I’m in the middle of some pretty great Christian books, and I have quite a fun pile of fiction in my TBR. Happy Reading!

What did you read in August?

 

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