I’m not going to lie, this month has been a lot. Stress levels at home and work were pretty high going on all month. Most days, I actively avoided reading because my brain could not comprehend stories. In fact, I picked up one of my poetry books this month (that I hadn’t read) because anything more complicated was going to make me simply cry. Jacob and I spent most of the month planning and getting ready for a month long working road trip (stay tuned!) which is equal parts exciting and scary, so the stress wasn’t all bad. But our taxes are done, the trip is booked, and it’s time to write about my month in books.
PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION by Emily Henry
The more I’ve thought about this book the more I’ve disliked it. This book has been selling out! It was a book given to me by a friend and I was super excited cause it’s been on my list. Well, take it off yours. I’ll start out with the fact that I don’t like the “best friends to lovers” trope. I don’t know why this trope really gets on my damn nerves so much but it makes me roll my eyes so hard that I think they’ll pop out. My second issue with the book is the title. WHAT PEOPLE DO YOU MEET ON VACATION?! NO PEOPLE. THERE’S NO PEOPLE YOU MEET ON VACATION. The main character never ONCE talks about another human being that they meet on their vacations. My third issue is WOW from page one the main character talks about being in love with her best friend. I get that things can sneak up on you and things change and WHATEVER but the main character is one of the dumbest characters I’ve ever had the misfortune of having to read the thoughts of. There’s never any reasoning as to why her and her BFF can’t be lovers. There’s not disgust or revulsion or literally anything. Reading through the pre-friendship break up reads like 2 people who are in the beginning stages of dating. Not friends. The entire book reads like literal lovers. It was so incredibly frustrating to read and even more frustrating to write about.
SWIMMING LESSONS: POEMS by Lili Reinhart
I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I have my Bachelors Degree in English. Well, have you ever met an English Major who hated poetry? My teachers would always give me shit for this. It turns out that I don’t like stuffy poetry from the 1800s. Since college, I’ve read several poetry books that make me feel something. This was one of them. I picked this up because I’ve always really liked Lili Reinhart and the cover looked cool. It was also like $3 at a used book store. I snagged this book when I was putting off Lisey’s Story because I just couldn’t focus but wanted to read. This book cut me deep. There were a lot of poems about heart breaks and missing what it feels like to have someone. It reminded me of break ups and times when I was devastated. The book made me want to hug Lili and tell her it was going to be okay. This probably took about 30 minutes to read but it did get me out of the funk I was in that day. This is why poetry books should be kept around. They help with the funk.
LISEY’S STORY by Stephen King
All my life, Stephen King has always been this dark cloud over me. Hear me out. My dad is a huge fan. He has read every single book Stephen King has read. I grew up watching Stephen King movies. My issue was that I tried reading him far too early on and it ruined me. I can’t remember the first time I tried to read a Stephen King book but was way too complicated for my kid brain and something broke. It was like… If I can’t read this Stephen King book now, I can’t ever read Stephen King! He kept intimidating me. A few years ago, I picked up a short story book and read The Mist because I liked the movie (boy is it different). I tried to pick up IT right after that and failed. I tried to pick up The Shining and failed again. But everyone just assumed I loved Stephen King so I went with it (I know, I know). About 3 years ago, I researched his best books and Misery popped up. So I snagged the book. THAT was the book that changed everything. THAT was the book that made me love Stephen King. I haven’t read a lot but I do hope to some day read them all. The used book store wouldn’t take hard cover books (?) so my dad had all these Stephen King books lying around. They’re mine now (and the reason Jacob had to build me another bookshelf).
I feel like this book was the result of someone telling Stephen King that he could never write a romance novel. It was a wild ride! There was so much going on but it somehow tied together so well in the end. It made my brain hurt at times. There were many parallel times and spaces and flashbacks. This was not a quick, easy read. This was a “What drugs does this man take in order to develop these stories?”. In the end though, it was a love story. Not just a romantic love story, but a story that showed how beautiful a relationship between two sisters is. It was very good but definitely something that you have to dedicate time to!
IN FIVE YEARS by Rebecca Serle
I read this in one sitting because it was a very easy read. It was a book my friend gave me and I knew nothing about it walking in. The author really knew how to rope you in! The first chapter has an engagement and then BAM a sudden premonition that’s exactly 5 years from now. Then BAM you’re back to the regular time line. It seemed like there would be a little more to the random premonition but no, there wasn’t. I think that I disliked the storyline so much because I am very much a person who believes in ~THE UNIVERSE~ while the main character was so strict and rigid and just… New York. I was screaming at her most of the time. I really really don’t want to give away too much but it’s hard because there’s so many things I didn’t like about the book but giving it away would… give it away. The way the main character hooks up with the man 5 years in the future is just… gross. That whole story line really just made me uncomfy. I would like to throw up a Trigger Warning though… One of the characters finds out she has cancer and it hits INCREDIBLY close to home if you have watched a loved one deteriorate and die from cancer. The only reason I put the book down was so that I could cry. My heart hurt after reading this and it wasn’t because of the story but because the horrific reminder.
HANGSAMAN by Shirley Jackson
I was that kid in middle school who read above their reading level because I loved reading and I was a pretentious turd who wanted everyone to know that an 8th grader was reading The Man in the Iron Mask (I blame my Leonardo DiCaprio phase). From 6th to 8th grade, I had one of the most amazing English teachers ever created. For one of our papers, we had to read a short story. Everyone got to pick which one they read… Except me. My teacher gave me The Lottery by Shirley Jackson because she said I would love it. Honestly, I’m flattered. Not only was I giving off Shirley Jackson vibes as an 8th grader but an adult recognized it.
This was a slow go but I was hooked immediately. There was something about how the story started that really intrigued me. Was I confused most of the time? Yes. Did I have to read some reviews to ensure that I’m not the crazy one? Absolutely (who is Tony?!). This book makes you figure out a lot and also not figure out anything because you’re left with a lot of “Oh hey, she never actually resolved that plot point did she?”. Who cares. I don’t. Shirley Jackson writes some of the most beautiful lines I’ve ever read. She weaves these sentences out of regular old words but makes it beautiful. I love reading her books because I always know it’s going to take me for a wild ride. I would absolutely recommend this to a Jackson fan. I can’t wait to read more.
Have you read any of these? If so, what did they think? Are any of these on your “want to read” list?