As you can see July was definitely not my best reading month by a long stretch. In fact, it was probably my worst reading month this year so far.
Throw in a road trip across the East Coast of America and some busy weeks at work and I guess this is the outcome.
Saying that, I did read some very good books this month, and one that I’ve been waiting to read for quite a while.
So, here are the ratings and reviews of the four books that I did manage to read in July.
Black Enough by Ibi Zoboi
Black Enough is a star-studded anthology edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi that will delve into the closeted thoughts, hidden experiences, and daily struggles of black teens across the country. From a spectrum of backgrounds—urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—Black Enough showcases diversity within diversity.
My rating: ★★★★
This book of short stories was eye-opening and educational to read, about young Black people across America and the trials and difficulties they experience during the normality of everyday life. Although this was geared towards Young Adult readers, I still found it beneficial to read but found some short stories much better than others.
Happy Place by Emily Henry
A couple who broke up months ago make a pact to pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends in this glittering and wise new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry.
My rating: ★★★★★
I’m always apprehensive when Emily Henry publishes a new book. She’s still quite new on the scene, but since her first books like Beach Read and You and Me on Vacation went viral, it’s expected that each new novel also be viral-worthy. Can you imagine the pressure?! However, I found Beach Read and You and Me on Vacation quite mediocre reads and actually preferred her newer work, Book Lovers a lot more. And dare I say it, Happy Place may now have taken its place of my favourite Emily Henry book. So it seems that I have nothing to be apprehensive about since each new book that Henry publishes, the better they seem to get.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
A brilliant depiction of a world hidden from view, Convenience Store Woman is an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures we all feel to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.
My rating: ★★★
I’ve had this book on my ‘to-buy’ list for quite some time now, but given the size of the book I didn’t really want to pay full price. So when I spotted it in my local library, I grabbed it up very quickly. I had read Earthlings last year by the same author which was the weirdest and probably most disturbing book I’d read in quite a while, so I didn’t really know what to expect with this one. I will say that CSW was strange, but I did quite like the characters and could understand the comfort in monotony that the main character experienced. As well as the light that was shone on cultural norms and what society expects of us, especially in the Eastern side of the world.
Factory Girls by Michelle Gallen
A funny, fierce, and unforgettable read about a young woman working a summer job in a shirt factory in Northern Ireland, while tensions rise both inside and outside the factory walls. Bitingly hilarious, clear-eyed, and steeped in the vernacular of its time and place, Factory Girls tackles questions of wealth and power, religion and nationalism, and how young women maintain hope for themselves and the future during divided, violent times.
My rating: ★★★★★
I picked this up in my local library as I had read Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen last year. I picked that book up purely because I liked the title, not knowing that it was actually about a girl that lived in a town in Northern Ireland. I loved that book, so I was definitely keen to read more of Michelle Gallen’s work. If anything, I actually liked Factory Girls better. It was raw, but touched on sad history of Northern Ireland while also making light of it and adding in jokes here and there which is very typical of how we deal with things in Northern Ireland. It made me chuckle out loud quite a few times and felt very relatable to me and the life I had growing up in a divided town in Northern Ireland. Michelle Gallen is definitely an automatic-read author for me now, and I’ll be recommending her to everyone that I can.