What I Read On My Summer Vacation

I try to spend my summer vacation getting caught up on all of the books I’ve started during the year and haven’t finished. I have this awful habit of reading several books at once, which often spins out of control. I also feel obligated to finish any book that I start. I started the three and a half week holiday in the middle of twelve books. I finished eighteen.

In order:
The Silent Girl – Tess Gerritsen
Ice Cold – Tess Gerritsen
Nothing To Lose – Lee Child
A Short History Of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
Letters From Paris – Juliet Blackwell
Naked Statistics – Charles Wheelan
Mockingbird – Chuck Wendig
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari
The Girls – Emma Cline
Beyond Reach – Karin Slaughter
Permission Marketing – Seth Godin
Story Structure – William Bernhardt
The Circle – Dave Eggers
Ten Restaurants That Changed America – Paul Freedman
Maestra – L. S. Hilton
Spiral Hunt – Margaret Ronald
Wild Hunt – Margaret Ronald

The first three (The Silent Girl, Ice Cold and Nothing To Lose) I had started awhile ago. Update about these points in the series, I had really enjoyed the Rizzoli and Isles and the Jack Reacher series. But, as I find these sorts of books (and TV shows) often do, they had gone totally off the rails. Both sets got into these totally insane conspiracy theories with chemical weapons and cults and I could no longer deal.

I spotted A Short History Of Nearly Everything at the ABC a few weeks ago and thought it was interesting. It was a good palate cleanser after the first three. I enjoyed it, though it was a bit outdated now.

Letters From Paris was recommended to me at a writer’s conference during a workshop on memoirs. It was a very pleasant, if not especially deep, read that I got through in a single sitting.

Naked Statistics was also a book I was in the middle of. I had started it after I took a stats class a few months ago. I found it to be pretty informative and easy to digest.

Mockingbird is the second in Chuck Wendig’s series. I loved the first and loved the second even more. It’s a deeply disturbing book that I couldn’t put down.

In Cold Blood was a book club book which I hadn’t finished before the actual meeting. Truman Capote is such an amazing writer and I loved the book.

I took Yuval Noah Harari’s MOOC A History Of Humankind a few years ago and thought it was really interesting. This is his second book (after Sapiens) and I also spotted it at the ABC. It’s really dense, I flipped between this and In Cold Blood, but definitely makes you think.

The girls was a recommendation from someone in my book club and it may be my favorite read of the summer. The story follows a woman who was, as a teenager, involved in a Charles Manson-esque cult. It’s compelling, very well-written and reminds one, perhaps a bit too much, of their awkward teenage years.

I don’t like Seth Godin and I found this book to be mostly out of date and annoying.

The Story Structure book was another that I had previously started. I had a spate of reading books on writing for awhile. I don’t love everything he says but it’s got some good advice.

To be honest, I went into The Circle knowing that I would hate it and I did. Also, has anyone ever seen Jonathan Franzen and Dave Eggers in the same room? Because I think they are the same person. Unlike many people, my beef with The Circle isn’t that the the technophobe Eggers wrote a novel about some weird Facebook/Google hybrid taking over the world. It’s that Eggers can’t write a female character to save his life and also the sex scenes are the goddamn worst.

Ten Restaurants That Changed America was a really interesting dive into American restaurant history. The discussion went beyond food and into the social and cultural implications of the various restaurants. I recommend it highly.

Maestra I spotted in an airport bookstore and thought the cover seemed interesting. I looked it up and discovered it had some solidly terrible reviews. As part of the ABC 2017 reading bingo is to read a book with terrible reviews, I figured I’d check it out. It’s a total guilty pleasure. This book didn’t even start on the rails and ended up somewhere in another galaxy by the time it was done. I’m totally looked forward to reading the next one.

Spiral Hunt I had on my Kindle for a long time. I’m not sure where I even picked it up from. But it’s a solid paranormal detective thriller so I quickly scooped up the next in the series (Wild Hunt) and as I get on the plane home, am just starting on the third.