Pull It Together: A Depressing Summer Reading List

I’m back with another ‘pull it together’ book list, and I have to get these off my chest right now and hopefully move on to happier material. Not all of these are depressing, but they certainly aren’t a walk in the park either. So here’s what I’ve read from April (though technically I finished City of Brass in late March) to June!

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Everything started out so well, with a relatively non-depressing book. I began with a fantasy adventure novel that I had been waiting for for months at the library. The City of Brass is told from three points of view: 1. Nahri, a girl with powers to heal and a mysterious past, 2. Alizayd, a prince whose beliefs don’t exactly line up with the rest of the royal family, and 3. a daeva enslaved to obey the command of a very powerful family who is sworn to protect Nahri. Without giving too much away, there’s an accidental summoning of ancient god-like beings, lots of near death experiences, and an all-powerful daeva who is afraid of water. It was a lot of fun to learn more about Middle Eastern folklore with djins and peri and the story was confusing be had me wanting to read the second one ASAP. The only problem was, I am now at the bottom of the holds list again at the library. Why don’t I plan these things better? Over all 3.5/5! [June Edit] I also read Kingdom of Copper the 2nd installment and it wasn’t quite as good as the first but I feel like it just needed to get some action and plot moving to get us to the 3rd which will be great. But it doesnt come out until January 2020 which is the most depressing part of this series lol (find it here)

The End of Loneliness by Benedict Wells

Thanks to a lot you guys suggesting this book, I had a very moody day of reading this all in one go. The story follows a man from his childhood to old age where we see all kinds of love lost either through death, misunderstanding, missed opportunities, and things out of his control. I hadn’t read anything like this in a while and it was so nice to return to this style, even though it was heart breaking. The imagery and characters had me hooked from the get go. It’s a quick and beautiful read, and I highly suggest it! (find it here)

Beautiful Boy by David Sheff

And then, because I clearly never want myself to be happy, I read Beautiful Boy. It follows a father as he helps his son through the many cycles of drug addiction. The way he wrote about his son’s childhood was so vivid and touching and even just reading the first few chapters is enough to fall in love with the book. To be honest though, I started to skim the book about 3/4 of the way through because the constantly falling back into addiction and getting better only to betray his family again was getting a little hard to take. I finished it in a day and a half and then immediately watched the film (which again, I found myself skimming because the cycle is so hard to watch - I can’t imagine living through it.) There were also some really interesting facts about meth and addiction that were really interesting, including how America really fails at helping people recover (are we surprised???) (find it here)

In The Woods by Tana French

I decided I needed a thriller after two very sad books, and luckily my copy of In The Woods came in just in time! Honestly, this book was such a mess. It starts with a flash back where 3 kids are playing in the woods, and without giving too much away, only one comes out. That one child grew up to be a detective, and he is our protagonist. He comes across another strange crime in his hometown and, against the advice of his (awesome) partner, he takes the case. 90% of this book was amazing and had me legitimately creeped out and on the edge of my seat. And then. It ended. I am sooooo upset over this ending and I truly believe that is why the second novel in this series had no waiting time - I almost didn’t want to continue either, I felt so let down. I would still suggest it though because it was fantastic until the last 20 pages lol! (find it here)

The Likeness by Tana French

I ended up reading the second book and thank god I did because it really redeemed Tana French in my eyes. The Likeness felt a lot like an Agatha Christie novel where there were so many suspects and suddenly everything comes together perfectly at the end (it felt like a modern ‘and then there were none!) The premise is a little unbelievable (our detective happens to be identical to the murder victim and she goes undercover as said victim to find the killer) but it was written beautifully. You could honestly skip In The Woods and go straight to this one! [June Edit] I have now read 4 of Tana French’s books and they’ve all pulled me in! (find it here)

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Hirashino

Another book came in from Libby right when I was looking for another read and it came in the form of The Devotion of Suspect X. This is apparently #3 in a series but I don’t think it mattered that much - Detective Galileo is meant to be a little like Sherlock Holmes in that the mysteries don’t necessarily intertwine. This followed a mother and daughter who committed a crime, and a man that is trying to help them escape punishment. Obviously it gets messier than he imagined, and Detective Galileo is on the case! It wasn’t fabulous, especially because I found myself rooting against the Detective most of the time, but its a quick and interesting read. (find it here)

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I finally read The Bell Jar all the way through after reading the first 2 chapters probably 50 times since high school. I still don’t get the hype. It reminded me a lot of a female version of Holden Caulfield and, though there were some illuminating moments, I just couldn’t get into it. I think you could look up the paragraph on the fig tree and call it a day. (find it here)

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston

I was feeling a reading rut coming on, so I looked for a book that was different from what I’d been reading lately, and stumbled across The Lost City of the Monkey God. It follows a team of scientists, explorers, and journalists who go deep into the jungles of Honduras to search for a lost city that has been in legends for centuries. No spoilers but, they found it! But then a few months later, most of the team finds out they have an ancient virus eating away at their skin and insides that has no cure. Fun! The background about the city as well as the actual journey into the rainforest was really interesting and Douglas Preston is an incredible writer! (find it here)

Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

This was a book that I had put on hold a long time ago and completely forgot about. I thought it was going to be about Hawaii when America decides to take over, disregard the native people, and get rid of their royalty (which it is, in a way) but it is mainly about a colony called Moloka’i where people with leprosy were sent. I didn’t know that it was such a huge problem on Hawaii and it was really interesting to learn about. There is also a lot of information about Hawaiian legends and the language as well as the clash between missionaries and local spiritual leaders. In American schools we learn little to nothing about Hawaii so I really appreciated this story and will probably read the second installment! (find it here)

And there it is, my depressing summer reading list :)