July reads

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At the beginning of this month I was still living in Milan but my obligations began to dwindle, so I had more free time to read in the park. On the 16th of July I travelled to Rome for two days, where I happily abandoned The One Plus One at Legend R.G in exchange for The Revenant. Then on the 18th of July I relocated to Switzerland where I stayed at friend's house until the 29th. Thankfully they have shelves full of books, so I was able to choose from a wide range of options. In Switzerland I had no plans besides eating, sleeping, and relaxing, so I read a lot during those ten days. On the 29th I flew to Gran Canaria, but since I planned to return to Switzerland on the 8th I borrowed a few books to take with me. I stumbled upon a few really great books this month!


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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

This book was really hard to get into a first. Although the countless endnotes were really interesting and provided context in regards to Dominican history and pop culture, I found them to be quite annoying and far too long. It was difficult to focus on the information in the endnote (which sometimes spanned two pages!) and then go back to the actual text of the story. However, the endnotes dwindled after the first part of the book, and I found myself enjoying it more. It's basically the story of a Dominican family and their history; one of those books that is just about everyday life but in an interesting way. I thought the writing style - combining English and Spanish - was a really interesting choice, but it might be frustrating for some. Although this book is significant because it is one of the few that discusses Dominican culture and history, but I'm not sure it's a 'must-read'.

 
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The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Again, I was stuck with this one while travelling since it was the only English option at the hostel. It reads like a romantic comedy film, which means you can predict the ending in the first thirty pages and there are numerous cringe-worthy moments. The main character is a single Mom who is struggling to make ends meet - until she meets a handsome stranger! Phew. I won't say it was terrible because I did read the entire thing, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're looking for something that doesn't require much thought.

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The Revenant by Michael Punke

Finally, a book worth recommending! Historical fiction will always be my favourite genre, and this book exceeded my expectations. If you're not familiar with the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this tale is based on the true story of a man who was attacked by a grizzly bear and abandoned by his hunting team in the American wilderness.  I'll admit I watched the movie long before I read the book, and I'm not sure which I liked better. Regardless, it's an exciting read and I devoured it in just a few days. The author does a great job at building tension and describing stressful scenes in a way that allows you to visualize every moment.

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Sold by Patricia McCormick

This is the sad story of a Nepalese girl who is sold into prostitution by her stepfather. I like how the author chose to separate the narrator's thoughts into little 'poems' because it really allows the reader to focus on each separate moment and thought. The innocence of the narrator is also portrayed in such a way that you can begin to imagine what it would be like seeing a big city for the first time. The content is certainly tough, but I think this book would be appropriate for young teens. That being said, I still enjoyed it as an adult and was able to read in one day.

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The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

I loved this book. Otsuka's novel follows the journey of  Japanese brides in the early 1900's as they travel by boat from Japan to San Fransisco and adapt to their new lives. I can see how the writing style could be annoying for some people, but I thought it was almost poetic. The author gives us little snapshots of different stories all at once without making the reader feel overwhelmed. I also appreciated how Otsuka included some positive aspects, rather than solely focussing on the negative aspects of these women and their families. I highly recommend this one!

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American Street by Ibi Zoboi

First of all, this is definitely one of those YA lit books that is really only suitable for people in that age category. As an adult, the main character was impossible to relate to. Secondly, even in the first few pages I found this story completely unrealistic. The main character's mother is detained at US customs, but her underage daughter is allowed to enter the country alone with all of their bags? Ya right. Then the main character continues with her life somewhat normally, despite being traumatically separated from her mother? I also felt that there were too many things going on in the plot, which made it hard to care about any of it. I appreciate what the author was trying to do in telling an immigrant story and sharing parts of Haitian culture, but I thought it fell short.

 
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What was your favourite book this month?

Want other book recommendations? Check out my reviews on Goodreads.