Oh my, this post is late.

First, we’ll review last month’s goal:

“Let’s shoot for 3 books, 1000 words? I’m trying to be more realistic this time around.”

That was because I hadn’t picked up any books as of the 5th, we had just moved, I had finals to complete, and I had committed to writing 25k words for Camp NaNoWriMo.

How did I do? (Link to my Goodreads 2016 shelf where you can find individual reviews that may or may not differ from what is posted here.)

The Vacationers – Emma Straub – 2* – (July 18):

vacationersThis book isn’t marketed as YA but it reminded me of YA. The protagonist is young and angsty, in the summer between high school and college (though she often acted more like she was 15). Her family has gone off on vacation (Get it? That’s why the title is The Vacationers!!!) even though everyone hates everyone. Her parents hate each other because her dad boinked his intern. Her older brother is coming and bringing his girlfriend that they all hate because she’s not as wealthy and stuck-up as they are. The mother’s ex-boyfriend-but-now-gay-best friend is coming with his husband, and mom and her BFF are so tight it makes everyone uncomfortable.

The only reason the book is set in Mallorca is so the girl has a reason to drool over some hot dude who comes by to give her conversational Spanish lessons. Otherwise, the vacation house is so far-removed and mom is such a control-freak that they don’t ever go into town or take advantage of the location.

This book reminded me a little bit of This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper as far as the dysfunctional family element. Except I liked most of those characters. Here, I wanted everyone to die. I wanted them to drown or choke or drive off a cliff. Even at the end as they returned “home” from their vacation, I hoped their plane would go down. The only characters I felt any sympathy for were the gay BFF’s husband and the brother’s trainer girlfriend.

I looked forward to this one for a long time, and it was a total downer. Also, I feel bad when I don’t enjoy a book I received as a gift, and my husband bought this for me (off my wish list).

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll – 3* – (July 26):

aliceinwonderlandI’m counting this as two books for the 2016 PopSugar challenge, even though they’re counting as one for the Goodreads Challenge, which is fine. They’re short and bundled into one book in the edition I have. I’m also going to review them separately, which results in a combined score of 3*.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was fun to read. I’ve seen several film adaptations, from Disney’s animated version to a 1985 made-for-tv version to the most recent Tim Burton big-screen version and a few in-between. I was surprised how familiar the book felt, though I suppose that’s silly; between so many interpretations, surely the various portions of the book must’ve been represented somewhere! 4*

Through the Looking Glass was much more disappointing to me. I found it less familiar and much more fluffy than expected. So many adaptations (I haven’t yet seen Burton’s, though my understanding is he really focuses in on the Hatter and deviates a lot from the book) focus in on the Jabberwocky and yet (spoiler alert!) he’s not a big part of the book at all. The ending of TtLG was very anticlimactic for me. 2*

I have three reading goals this year:

  1. Read 50 books: – I finished 2 in July, for a total of 33. According to Goodreads, I’m still ahead of schedule.
  2. Complete the PopSugar 2016 Reading Challenge: There are 40 categories, and I’ll count no book for more than 2. I also decided not to count re-reads (unless the category specifies it must be a re-read). Numbers below are new/add’l categories completed.
    1. January – 4 (blue cover, murder mystery, set in Europe, takes place in summer)
    2. February – 3 (culture unfamiliar with, translated to English, library)
    3. March – 10 (autobiography, political memoir, graphic novel, over 600 pages, satirical, guaranteed to bring joy, poetry, finish in a day, NYT bestseller, under 150 pages)
    4. April – 2 (road trip, published in 2016)
    5. May – 4 (YA bestseller, recommended by someone you just met, written by celebrity, protagonist with your occupation)
    6. June –  2 (Oprah’s book club, science fiction)
    7.  July – 4 (becoming a movie this year, 100 years older than me, takes place on an island, book and its prequel)
      1. (Total = 29)
  3. Read at least 3 classics from new-to-me authors: 
    1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Diversity? I finally knocked out one of my classics.

Star ratings: I base this on the flat stars Goodreads displays in list-view, not the quarter-star system I assign in my reviews.

  • 5 stars: 3 books (1 re-read)
  • 4 stars: 16 books
  • 3 stars: 11 books
  • 2 stars: 3 books
  • 1 star: 0 books
  • 0 stars: 2 books (both books I started and abandoned)

Pages read:

  • January – 1608
  • February – 1420
  • March – 2521
  • April – 1258
  • May – 2197
  • June – 886
  • July – 549

Because I’m counting the Alice books as two, I managed to read three books last month. However, the page count is dim. Part of that is because The Vacationers took forever to slog through. Then the book I started at the end of the month also took a long time to read. I also wrote almost 20k words in addition to spending a ridiculous amount of time on final exams. The good news is that I have no classes this month, and I’ve already finished three books and over 1000 pages. My goal for August is to finish eight books and 2000 pages, as well as cross off a couple of difficult categories on the reading challenge (currently reading my dystopian novel). It feels so indulgent and glorious to lose myself in books again! But September includes a week away from home and the beginning of another class so I’m going to enjoy it while I can.