Reading is my oldest and favorite hobby. I literally can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love to curl up with a good book. Here are my reads for July, 2021.
Landscape in Sunlight, by Elizabeth Fair – I am so enjoying Elizabeth Fair’s quietly acerbic comedies of village life – first A Winter Away, and now Landscape in Sunlight, and both have been wonderful. Gentle scheming and romance abound, all set around that tense time in the annual country calendar – the lead-up to the annual church summer fete. Y’all know I can’t resist a summer fete.
Arsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen #1), by Mia P. Manansala – I’ve been waiting impatiently for my turn with the library’s copy of this one, and it didn’t disappoint. After a bad breakup, Lila is back in her tiny hometown trying to save her aunt’s failing restaurant. But when Lila’s ex-boyfriend – now a small-time food critic who delights in cruelly eviscerating local restaurants and seems to be trying to put Tita Rosie’s Kitchen out of business – dies of apparent poisoning immediately after arguing with Lila and eating Tita Rosie’s food – things go heavily sideways, and fast. There’s a brash BFF, a handsome defense lawyer, and an attractive dentist love interest who happens to be the brother of the lead investigator (who is devoting all his handsome energy to putting Lila behind bars). This was fun and the descriptions of food – Filipino and otherwise – were mouth-watering.
Tokyo Ever After, by Emiko Jean – I heard this described as “The Princess Diaries in Japan” and that’s a pretty apt take. Izumi is a modern young Californian, raised by a crunchy-granola single mom, who discovers one day that her father – who she’s never met – is actually the Crown Prince of Japan. Before “Zoom Zoom” knows what hit her, she’s on a plane to Tokyo, where a scheming extended family and a handsome but scowling bodyguard await. Hijinks ensue, and the story wraps up perfectly poised for a sequel.
Subpar Parks: America’s Most Extraordinary National Parks and their Least Impressed Visitors, by Amber Share – I’ve already written a few times about how much I love Amber Share’s clever, witty and ironic illustrations – one-star yelp reviews embedded over iconic images of our most beautiful national parks. So I won’t go on and on here; just to say, go check out her work on social media, and pick up this book! It’s hilarious, inspiring, meticulously researched, and will explode your travel agenda.
Noel Streatfeild’s Holiday Stories, by Noel Streatfeild – After enjoying Noel Streatfeild’s Christmas Stories last December, I was keen to check out this summer collection (also, the hardcover is so pretty!). This was a light and fun gathering of children’s stories with a loose summer theme. It was easy reading and charming, but didn’t hold my attention enough to keep me glued to the page.
Mrs. Lorimer’s Quiet Summer, by Molly Clavering – I’m always interested when Dean Street Press drops another collection, and having never heard of Molly Clavering I was particularly intrigued to learn that she was close friends with D.E. Stevenson. Mrs. Lorimer’s Quiet Summer is a loosely autobiographical novel based on Clavering’s friendship with her much more well-known (bestselling) neighbor. There’s reference to both women being writers, but the spotlight is on Mrs. Lorimer’s large and boisterous family of grown children (and a few grandchildren). I loved this delightful light read, and will definitely be picking up more of Clavering’s books soon.
Well – there we have it, a very light reading month. Partly, this has to do with the fact that on and off during the month, I’ve been working my way through James A. Michener’s doorstopping Chesapeake, with which I am still not done. And then I just spend less time reading in the summer than I do in the colder months, anyway. I did read some good ones this month, though! The two Dean Street Press books – Landscape in Sunlight and Mrs. Lorimer’s Quiet Summer – were definite highlights, as was Subpar Parks. I have some good reads on deck for August, too – just as soon as I finally finish Chesapeake. It’s gonna happen.
What were your July reading highlights?