This Month in Reading

Each month we round up the best things we have read. July had some really nice weather. We didn’t do anything special, just hung out with friends and got into our routine, which can be nice.

Rachel’s Reads


Books – I read 16 books in July.

  •  Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris – I was part of the way through the first story when I suddenly realized these were nonfiction essays. Sometimes I just don’t pay attention to what a book is about before deciding to read it. Anyway, some of them were amusing, but most of them were not. They just weren’t my cup of tea, and I won’t be reading any more Sedaris (unless I confuse him with Dave Eggers again).
  • Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh – You may have heard of this as it was referenced in Freakonomics. A naïve (painfully so) sociology grad student wants to study poverty in Chicago and starts hanging out with a gang. It is really interesting though I couldn’t help but think he was probably doing pretty poor research at the beginning.
  • John Dies at the End by David Wong – This book is crazy. It’s also quite disjointed – the first two thirds are very distinctly different from the rest. I found it amusing but less so as it went on.
  • The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, & Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott – I read this for work. If you want to know how to use the internet for marketing in today’s world it is a fantastic resource.
  • Dog on It by Spencer Quinn – A detective novel told from a dog’s point of view. Definitely different and cute.
  • The One by Kiera Cass – The last book in the Selection series. It ends kind of predictably. It was fine.
  • There’s Only Been You by Donna Marie Rogers – This is a romance novel with one of those terrible-communication plots, involving a secret child! It’s really quite dumb.
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith – The second Cormoran Strike novel (actually by J.K. Rowling). Like the first, very well written and enjoyable.
  • Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang – There are eight stories in this book and I only liked three of them.
  • Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel – This graphic novel may not pass the Bechdel test. Which is sort of surprising. But it is about the author’s relationship with her father. It was okay.
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Actually this is a pretty accurate depiction of what it’s like to be young and have a crush and it feels like the most important thing in the world. Which makes it a little obnoxious to read. But since it’s relatable, not too bad.
  • Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide by John Jantsch – Another one read for work. Also a very useful resource, especially for new and small businesses.
  • Rogues edited by George R.R. Martin – I was excited to read the stories by George R.R. Martin and Pat Rothfuss especially. But the Martin story was written like history – dry history, which wasn’t something I liked in such works as the Silmarillion and I couldn’t even read it. The Rothfuss story was amusing but seemed pointless and I don’t think I learned anything new about the characters. I enjoyed the Abercrombie and Gaiman stories. I didn’t read everything in the anthology but I didn’t feel like it.
  • Thinking Like a Lawyer: A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning by Frederick Schauer – I thought this would be a helpful thing to read since I work in a law firm. I should have paid attention to the fact that it was recommended to law students – it’s written like a textbook. Couldn’t finish it.
  • Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson – This goes a different way than I expected. It’s kind of interesting but parts of it are unsettling (there is a rape at the core of the narrative, and I didn’t like the way it was apologized away).
  • Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King – A crime thriller about a very evil mass murderer versus a potentially-irresponsible former detective (seriously, eventually it gets hard to get with the fact that he never involves the real cops). Anyway I quite enjoyed it.

Jeff’s Reads


Books – I read 3 books this month.

  • Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh – This book is a visceral exploration of the pitfalls and rewards of a young sociologist’s first exploration into becoming an ethnographer.  It’s a fascinating read that I would definitely recommend.
  • John Dies at the End by David Wong – This is a weird book, but quite entertaining. It feels like it is one long joke and the joke is on the reader.
  • Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang – I liked several of the short stories in this book, but the quality wasn’t consistent overall. I might pick up a Ted Chiang book in the future, but I won’t seek one out.

What did you read this month?

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