This Week in Books: 5/31/16 – 6/5/16

this week in books 20160605

It’s been a super productive week in reading as far as finishing books. Three books in one week!

I finished listening to the audiobook of Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927The title pretty much says it all: Bryson brings his smart, funny, and a little bit cranky story-telling style to the story of America during the Summer of 1927. I liked it a lot and reviewed it here.

I also completed Samantha Ellis’ How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned from Reading Too Much.  This book is one’s woman’s reassessment of the literary heroine’s from her youth and young adulthood. I expected to love this book – it’s a book about books! The early chapters were promising and had me wanting to go back and revisit classics from my youth, but in the later chapters, I started finding the author’s perspectives on feminism and romance to be frustrating. Too narrow, too proscriptive, and too judgmental. I should’ve known from the blurb: “her whole life, she’s been trying to be Cathy Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights when she should have been trying to be Jane Eyre.” WHO WANTS TO BE CATHY?!?! (Strict Jane Eyre partisan here). Also, it was murder on my TBR lost. Book worm problems are real, friends.

Finally, I read Octavia Butler’s this week in books 20160605.jpgParable of the Sower for the Read Harder challenge. Awesomely, this book could be used for three different tasks: 1) Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel, 2) Read the first book in a series by a person of color, and 3) Read a book about religion. I’m not doubling up on titles for this challenge, so I’ll probably be crossing off that first task since I have books I’m really excited about for the other two. This was my first book by Octavia Butler, and I loved it. Apocalypse fiction is one of my things, and this title is thoughtful and chilling and scary. I’m hoping to put together a proper review in the coming days.

No bookish activities this week, but I did go on a bit of a tear as far as adding books to my TBR:

  1. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. Bryson is really tops at self-explanatory titles, isn’t he? After finishing up One Summer, I had a taste for more. I’ll be trying to track down the audiobook for this one.
  2. Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton. Historical fiction about Margaret Cavendish, a 17th century Duchess who wrote feminist plays and utopian science fiction. After hearing it recommended on several podcasts over the past few weeks, I decided I needed this in my life.
  3. Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole. Another podcast addition. Post-apocalyptic romance ftw!
  4. Love and Friendship by Jane Austen. After reading and really enjoying Austen’s Lady Susan, I’m determined to go back and fill in the gaps in my Austen reading list.
  5. Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier. This is one of those TBR adds from How to Be a Heroine. 
  6. Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi. Another podcast addition. I didn’t realize science fiction romance was a thing I wanted in my life, but I do!
  7. Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. The sequel to Parable of the Sower. Need more Butler!

So yeah, 3 books read, 7 books finished. That math checks out.

Finally, I’ve decided to no longer hold myself to my pledge to write a review for every book I read. This came to a head when I realized I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write reviews of the last three books in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series. I love these books. I want to talk about them and think about them and make everyone read them, but I just couldn’t get my mind in order to write reviews because a) I binge read them in a haze of obsession and b) I suspect I don’t have the skill as a reader or writer to do them justice.

So, that was my week in books. How was yours?


  1. Damn. “How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned from Reading Too Much” sounds so promising. I’m disappointed that it petered out, as it were. Thanks for sharing your books – I’ve had Octavia on my TBR forever. I should bump her up!


    • A lot of people like “How to Be a Heroine” so take what I say with a grain of salt…I might just be that big of a Jane Eyre partisan! 🙂


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