Looking Back: The Best of July

It's been (yet another) whirlwind month over here. We were home for a little under two weeks at the beginning of the month before leaving for a wedding and then a trip to the Virgin Islands (no complaints!). As I wrote in this week's Week in Reading post, I've been surprisingly slow to pick up books this particular trip; I've sat and watched the ocean, boated around, drank (a few too many) rum drinks, and generally taken in the sights, but have only read two books in the last two weeks. So the books-read-in-July stack is woefully short, but full of powerful books that were strong enough to pull me away from the hectic worlds of work and travel...

July Books You Shouldn't Miss:

Here Comes the Sun, by Nicole Dennis-Benn: I cannot say enough good things about this book. Originally reviewed in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

The Sunlight Pilgrims, by Jenni Fagan: I never got around to Fagan's debut novel, The Panopticon, but her sophomore effort was a stunning reflection on rapid climate change and the day-to-day effort of living amidst chaotic shifts in the status quo. Reviewed in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

Run the World: My 3,500 Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the World, by Becky Wade: Wade's a runner, not a writer, by trade, but this memoir of her year-long journey through running cultures around the world is a fascinating glimpse into the ways global training methods are both the same and very, very different. Originally reviewed in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

On Trails: An Exploration, by Robert Moore: This book offers a view of the world through the history of the trails that criss-cross it--and it's fucking fabulous. On Trails scratched my narrative non-fiction itch in so many ways, and had me itching to lace up my trail shoes and go for a hike the whole time I was reading it. Reviewed in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

The Best Backlist Books I Read This Month:

The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater: I'm simultaneously trying to read this series as quickly as possible, and yet savor it for later. Someone tell me how to make that happen?

Roses and Rot, by Kat Howard: Howard's contemporary fantasy novel explores the role of magic and inspiration in creativity and art, asking big questions about how far we are willing to go for success, for family, for expression. The writing was a bit transparent at times, but overall, I really enjoyed this foray into fairy tales.

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates: There are no words I could say here that could do justice to the incredible power of Coates' writing. Suffice it to say that Toni Morrison was (not even a little bit surprisingly) absolutely write when she called Between the World and Me "required reading." Go. Read this. Now.

The Girls, by Emma Cline: I was facing a bit of a slump this week as I found myself (finally) itching to read something but unable to get into any new book I picked up. And then I started The Girls, which drew me in immediately. Cline's book is as much about a 1960s-era cult as it is about the roles that women and girls play--and are asked to play--in society, and it's spectacular.

Forthcoming Books (Stay Tuned for Reviews):

The Best Things on the Interwebs in July:

  • I could hardly call any writing about Alton Sterling a "favorite," because it's writing that shouldn't have needed to exist in the first place. But if you're going to read one article about Sterling's murder, this one by Roxane Gay is the one to pick.

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