What I Read in July

beach reads



Even though I’m still not finished with rewriting and revising my new novel (I know, I know! But it will be ready for late November, I promise), I’ve been reading as much as I can this summer. So here’s what I’ve read in July:

Just Keep Going I worked with Judy Davis, and when I discovered she’d written a book about her cross-country bike journey, I grabbed a copy. You can get a copy HERE.

Starting at the Pacific coast in Oregon, Judy rode all the way to Providence, Rhode Island, and raised over $70,000 to fund a swimming program for children. Along the way, she kept journal entries and took photographs, which make for a most interesting book.

MAID I was attracted to this book by the cover, and I thought it was terrific. Stephanie Land writes a true-life depiction of poverty in America. It’s real and it’s difficult. And the author is remarkable – through determination and willpower, she does everything she can to keep her daughter. You can buy it at your local bookstore (do that first!) or here.

Crawdads My husband picked this one up at one of our favorite bookstores, Stillwater Books in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. And while he was reading it, he’d say “Martha, you’re going to love this book.” My reply? “Well, then, hurry up and finish it!” He did. I did. We both loved it – all of it, even the ending! Can’t wait for the movie.

Perfect Couple There’s a reason Elin Hilderbrand is called the “Queen of the Beach Read.” Here Hilderbrand ventures into murder mystery, but still set on the island of Nantucket, and still with a cast of memorable characters. I haven’t yet read all of her books, but I’m working on it! Pick up a copy here.

a piece of the world Did you love Orphan Train? I did, and it introduced me to the marvelous Christina Baker Kline. I also read Sweetwater and grabbed this book when I found it. If you’re familiar with Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World,” then this is the book for you. Described as “stunning and atmospheric,” A Piece of the World is a fictionalized tale of Christina, the subject, and Andy, the painter. Meticulously researched and written so beautifully, I loved this book. You can purchase it here.

Cliff Walk This one was fun. As a native Rhode Islander, I could relate to the names and places DeSilva sprinkles throughout his story. But even if you’re not familiar with Little Rhody, you’ll enjoy this ‘hard-boiled mystery.’ I picked up the hardcover at Stillwater Books.

The Identicals More Hilderbrand! And why not, I’ve been slathered up with SPF50 and reading on the beach (when I’m not jumping waves or walking the coastline). Loved this one, too. Reminiscent (slightly) of “The Parent Trap,” this book visits both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard (locals have strong ideas about their favorite island!). Although you can buy it online or at  your favorite indie bookstore, I actually downloaded this one from my library (shout out to the West Warwick Public Library!)

pumpkin Yes, it’s summer, and you may not be ready to think about autumn. But this book was a true delight! Set in New Hampshire and smack in the middle of fall, Beth Labonte has written a sweet and endearing romance. Loved it. Get yours here.

Islanders To finish out the month of July, I visited my other favorite Rhode Island bookstore, Ink Fish Books in the lovely small town of Warren, Rhode Island. Have you been there yet? Don’t you LOVE it? I picked up this one on the recommendation of a woman who was in the store, and I’m so glad I did! Set on Block Island (Nantucket and the Vineyard may belong to Massachusetts, but we have Block Island), Meg Mitchell Moore has woven together the stories of three individuals. I couldn’t put this one down, it was so good. Looking forward to reading more by MMM.

So, how about you? I’ve got six hardcovers and tons of digital books in my ‘to-be-read’ pile, but edits are calling to me. So, it’s back to my work-in-progress for now, but I always make time for reading in the afternoon.

See you soon for updates! Keep reading!

3 thoughts on “What I Read in July

  1. Of all the forty-nine books I read in 2018, Where the Crawdads Sing ranks as #1. The characters are compelling and believable. Kya, “The Marsh Girl,” is one for the ages. This is definitely one to be cherished and re-read.

    I have not yet read Hillenbrand but am interested in her newest, Summer of ’69. It is the summer before my senior year in high school and in all respects a pivotal year in America.

    Here is my list for July:

    A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey – marvelous

    Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – read in conjunction with watching the series. While I thought her newest, Nine Perfect Strangers was awful, I enjoyed this earlier work.

    Fosse by Sam Wasson, the biography on which the fx series was based. Fosse (Verdon as well) was a hot mess but fascinating character. I was not enthralled by the writing but it was interesting nonetheless.

    Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. I am re-reading the series, having wondered if it is as good as I remembered. It is. The sixth of seven volumes.

    The Miller’s Dance by Graham Winston, the nine of twelve Poldark novels. Not only is it a magnificent story of the life of the people of Cornwall from late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries, Graham’s writing is breathtakingly beautiful.
    This is the fourth time I read the first seven volumes. My husband surprised me this Christmas with the final five. The second time I read those, but now they are mine!

    Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, the biography, of course, on which the smash musical is based. This is a huge work. While it is interesting and thorough, I find it slow going so I am reading in in chunks.

    I began re-reading Pauline Kael’s movie essays, this time around one chapter at a time. In July I began I Lost It At the Movies.

    My TBR list is voluminous! Dozens of titles are included, but at the top are:

    . The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke (currently reading)
    Paris by Edward Rutherford
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
    A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
    The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
    The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
    The Alienist by Caleb Carr
    The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier

    By the way, I highly recommend for you The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell<i/. by Robert Dugoni. It's narrative is unlike Where the Crawdads Sing, but it will pull at your heart and soul in much the same way.

    Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

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