Summer reads wrap up

The heat of summer still rests over Texas, so I don’t feel too terribly late with this post. I’ve also just started to get back into my reading jive this year (better late than never, right?). Therefore, my reads from May to August were pretty all over the place as I tried to tackle an overflowing TBR pile, many years in the making.

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My love for Tom Hanks prompted me to pick up this bestselling little book of short stories – and of course my longstanding affection for typewriters. Typewriters play the common element woven throughout the stories – sometimes in great odes to their craftsmanship and sometimes just with a single word mention. However, the true pull for me was the sense of nostalgia and longing for simpler times, paired with just the right bit of Hanks’ humor and wit embedded throughout. From millennial astronauts to war veterans to immigrants, his stories and their characters are wide-ranging. While I can’t say every one was a gem, they were perfectly light reads for summer. I am a little bummed I didn’t listen to the audio version with Hanks narrations. If anyone listens to the audiobook version, let me know if you think it adds to the storytelling experience!

Recommended if: you love typewriters, are an old soul, love short stories or enjoy anything Tom Hanks.

A Love Letter to Texas Women by Sarah Bird

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I’m not usually a gift book gal, but my Texas roots and this pretty little blue and yellow book pulled me in. I’ve always been fascinated by peoples’ opinions of Texas and the inhabitants thereof. Personally, I’ve been tormented between my own desire to be humble and my deep-rooted love of my home state. Thus, I was intrigued by this title and what it would hold – and even further interested when I learned Bird didn’t originally hold Texas in high regard (I thought that would sate my humble-inclinations by her being an unbiased observer). Her first encounters with Texas women began in the 70s when she moved to Texas as a college student, and her humorous insight into what makes a Texas lady kept me chuckling by the pool and had me reminiscing on all the personalities of some of the Texas women dear to my own heart. I truly enjoyed these 80 pages, but as it’s not a life-altering read, it will remain a humble 4 star rating. 😜

Recommended if: you love Texas or love (or have loved) a Texas woman.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I feel like my rating of this beloved classic is going to get me into trouble, but in my defense, I really wanted to love it. I understand a key element of Woolf’s writing style is stream of conscious. For her, plot is secondary to the thoughts of her characters – which explains why I was confused about what was actually happening for the majority of the book. I did finally get into a good reading rythym towards the end, and am still impressed that despite all my confusion, I did feel throughout the novel. While I couldn’t make my way through in the traditional arch of storytelling, I was made to feel the characters deeply. Stylistically its a feat, but it wasn’t exactly enjoyable for me. As a writer, I did enjoy the musings on the nature of art and the subjectivity of perception, but even just writing that sentence, I feel like I’m writing an English paper. Hence, my low rating stems from mentally being unprepared for this book and struggling through most of it.

Recommended if: you love philosophy, are a keeper of quotes (because there are lots of wonderful thoughts within its pages), don’t mind Virginia Woolf’s writing style or are an English major and want to dissect a novel.

The Mortal Instruments Series (Books One, Two and Three) by Cassandra Clare

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Rating: All three averaged out at 3 or 4 out of 5 stars

I’ll be honest, I felt a little too old to be reading these books. However, this is a YA series so I can’t fault them for that. The world-building felt fresh and the characters kept me coming back for more, even if I did have problems with some of the themes explored within the books (maybe going back to the YA-feel?). Nonetheless, I devoured them back-to-back which means I was duly invested. However, I have come to a halt now that I’ve finished book three (City of Glass). I’m worried because book three tied up most of the loose ends I wanted tied and that any continued storyline will ruin it. However, let me know if you’ve read the entire series! I wouldn’t mind jumping in the world of Shadowhunters again if I knew it led to more than I can currently foresee.

Fall TBR Pile

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

We Went to the Woods by Caite Dolan-Leach

Circe by Madeline Miller

Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Let me know if you have any recommendations – I think making my reading list is half the fun 😜