Every month we've been rounding up the best things we read. July was very relaxing for both of us though it was easy to fall into a bit of laziness. Let's see how we did on the reading front.
- Nomadic Matt lists things to do in Vegas other than gamble.
- 20 Years Hence did one of their Chewing the Fat posts with Jill of Battered Suitcases, through which I learned of Jill's awesome Novelty Snacking series.
- Even bloggers get scammed – check out this Traveling Canucks post for more. Reading about what scams are out there will help prevent you from falling victim to them!
Books - I read 6 books this month. I could have done way more but I spent a good portion of my time watching Pretty Little Liars or reality TV. Also, playing with my parent's dogs.
- Crossed by Ally Condie – This is the second in the Matched series of dystopian YA novels. The first showed promise but this one was just boring. I think the author must not have had enough real content to fill three books but thought it was the thing to do anyway.
- The Arabian Mistress by Lynne Graham – A filler romance novel. Lots of miscommunication involved. Not that great.
- Sweet and Deadly by Charlaine Harris – One of Harris's first novels, and one of the only two she's written that's not in a series. I enjoyed it. It's also not in first person like most of her other stuff, but she still describes trivial things a little too much.
- Poppy Done to Death by Charlaine Harris – This is the eighth book in the Aurora Teagarden series. It's a cute mystery.
- Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier – I enjoyed the movie but the book kind of bored me.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – This was good but not as incredibly amazing as I expected given that it is by Neil Gaiman.
- Zeitoun, the hero of a book I read last month was recently found not guilty of trying to hire an assassin to kill his wife
- A mysterious restaurant that might not exist
- Building towers at the salad bar in China
- The different types of wild salmon
- Excellent reddit thread on intellectual jokes
- Human powered helicopter video
Books - I read 5 books this month.
- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – This book was absolutely superb. It follows several generations of historians trekking to obscure libraries in search of evidence that Dracula is still alive. Unlike Dan Brown whose intelligent academic characters are idiots, the depiction of research in this is actually believable. Furthermore, the book is set in many of the countries and cities we just went through so I could visualize the scenes vividly. This was the best book I read all month.
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier ad Clay by Michael Chabon – Like the previous book, the incredible amount of nonfiction research that went into this novel is blatantly apparent. It's an epic story set during the founding of the comic book industry. I don't know how to describe it in a way that will make you read it, so I'll only say this: it was the best book I read all month.
- Discover Your Inner Economist by Tyler Cowen – I've been following his blog for years, so when I saw one of his books in the library, I decided to pick it up. Have ready so much of his writing already, there were many concepts I was familiar with, but there was certainly plenty of non-stale content as well. If you like books that make you think in different ways, pick this up.
- Sex With Kings by Eleanor Herman – This history book is about the roles of royal mistresses in Europe over the last several hundred years. Unfortunately it is organized in a series of vaguely themed anecdotes that I was mostly uninterested in reading. The redeeming part of the book comes at the end with the story of Prince Charles and his longtime mistress Camilla. Since I knew almost nothing about this, I was happy to learn it.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – Definitely not my favorite Gaiman book. It was very stylistically Gaiman, but I just didn't like the story.
What did you read this month?