Mid-Year Reading Status (June 2022 reads)

At the beginning of this year, I decided not to borrow or buy any new books. I wanted to focus on books that have been on hold at the library for some time (I’ve been pushing them back several weeks out), books on my library wishlist, and books I’ve kept on my shelf and have never read. So far I think I upheld this challenge pretty well but I was not perfect. I did buy a couple of books to support Ukrainian authors so that’s on my shelf. And of course, I can never resist borrowing a cookbook that catches my eye. Also, I needed to borrow some light fluffy reads to balance all the heavy serious books I read. In March and April, I was reading a lot of graphic novels for a reading challenge at the library. Graphic novels were never on my TBR pile, but it was a nice change to explore a few. See? Not perfect at all and that’s okay.

I use the app StoryGraph to track what I’ve read. Here are some stats as of this year:

This progress bar is only for books I’ve completed. It does not count the two books I panned and did not finish. In total i read 28 books.

In reviewing the rest of the stats, I’m not surprised that most of the books I read are informative and reflective. More than half of the books I read are non-fiction. The genres page was very long — I could not fit all of the genres in one screenshot. It would be interesting to re-visit these stats at the end of the year.

Books read this month

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

All of us are lonely at some point or another, no matter how any people surround us. And then, we meet someone who seems to understand. She smiles, and for a moment the loneliness disappears.

I kept this book in my shelf for many years. I got it for book club and I never went to that meeting because of some work schedule conflict. The first time I read it about halfway through and stopped when I found out I was not able to attend book club. For the second round, I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time reading this book many years ago. It was so magical and adventurous! The golem is from Jewish folklore; it is made of mud bound to serve a human master. The jinni is a from Muslim mythology. I learned there were many types of jinnis, including the one who grants people three wishes like the one from Aladdin. This jinni in particular is a spirit that lives on earth with the ability to possess animals and humans. Taking place in New York City at the turn-of-the-century, we learn how their lives are intertwined despite many centuries between them.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.

The focus was not so much about her husbands and to find out which one she loved the most, but Evelyn’s relationship with the truth. I was impressed by Evelyn Hugo’s relentness and work ethic though I found a lot of it to be morally wrong. She really did whatever it took to be at the top, to be relevant. It kept me hooked. I also loved Evelyn’s and Harry Cameron decades long friendship. I enjoyed how Reid described the roads around Los Angeles since I drive through these roads everyday.

Though I found some favorite moments through the books, I felt there were moments that dragged and there were holes in the story. Overall I prefer her other book, Malibu Rising. It focuses on the children of famous people.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

“‘That’s right,’ she told the girls. ‘You are bored. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.'”

This book will make it’s way to my top favorite books of 2022. I feel it is so fitting to my word of the year, (re)invigorate. I may not be a certified genius and creative like Bernadette Fox, but I found her years-long stuck in the rut relatable. I’ve been feeling like I’ve been in a rut for the last two years. The one that is weighing me so heavily is dealing with family stuff — namely in-law problems. You would think that because there are more people living in the house, the house would be cleaner. For the last two years I’ve only worked on three tiny house projects.

**Spoiler alert and side note** I disagree that Bernadette has agoraphobia. I think she’s more of a misanthrope and she was depressed for a long time about an outcome of an incredibly ambitious project. A better picture of agoraphobia would be Sutton Foster’s mom in Hooked. It helped me understand someone I know who has severe agoraphobia. You cannot cure someone from agoraphobia by inviting them to parties or “getting out of their shell.” It’s not a shyness. I learned from Hooked to reframe it as a disability and it changed the way how I understood agoraphobia.

Cookbook(s) I read this month

Bestia: Italian Recipes Created in the Heart of L.A. by Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis

I’ve never been to Bestia in downtown LA. I would like to because most of the recipes in this book were pretty complicated and intimidating. I don’t think I’ll ever make any cured meats — I might get someone sick. The most approachable recipes were the salads and pizzas. I did save some of the ice cream recipes though it was part of some bigger, more ambitious dessert recipe. The roasted banana ice cream sounds delicious. I could throw in some chocolate and walnuts to make my own chunky monkey ice cream.

Tag: What’s On Your Bookshelf is a monthly link-up co-hosted by Debbie (Deb’s World), Jo (And Anyways), Sue (Women Living Well After 50) and Donna (Retirement Reflections). #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge

8 thoughts on “Mid-Year Reading Status (June 2022 reads)”

  1. Thank you for joining us at WOYBS. I am impressed that you have been (mostly) reading what is currently unread on your bookshelves. And that banana icecream dish totally has me drooling all over my keyboard! 🙂

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    1. Well I tried. I don’t think I’ll be able to complete all the books from my shelf at the end of the year. I also have books I’ve held in the library — I just kept moving the delivery date another several weeks :-P.

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  2. What a great way to read your way through your lists of borrowed books Julie. I’m really interested in the Bernadette one, sounds good! Thanks for joining us for WOYBS this month 🙂

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  3. At the beginning of this year I decided I wasn’t going to buy any books for 3 months – and have failed dismally. Likewise I absolutely wasn’t going to buy any more cookbooks. Yep, you guessed it. Evelyn & Bernadette both sound like my type of books & I was glad to see a cookbook there too! Thanks for linking up.

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  4. The. Bernadette book sounds like something I would enjoy. I’ve added it to my list. Like you I decided I wouldn’t be buying books this year and would read what’s unread in my bookshelf. I’ve totally failed at this. I get side tracked too often with new releases. #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge

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    1. Instead of buying books (…well I only bought two), I buy plants for my yard. Beautifying my yard has been a project that has stayed too long in the backburner.

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