Books Read in August 2023

Middle Grade

Squished: A Graphic Novel
Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter
Read for Librarian Book Group

There are still families with many children and I’m always happy to see them depicted in print. This graphic novel showed off sibling dynamics and individuality.

World Made of Glass
Ami Polonsky
Read for Librarian Book Group

I’ve been calling for more novels that discuss AIDS in the 80s and Polonsky has provided. Iris’s dad has AIDS and it’s not a thing she has shared with her friends (for good reason.)

Young Adult

A Scatter of Light
Malinda Lo

A summer spent with her grandmother before college changes Aria’s life. I really enjoyed Aria’s poor but inevitable choices rendered in sparkling prose.

Alisha Emrich

This was a nice little romance set among cosplaying teenagers.

Luck of the Titanic
Stacy Lee

It took two attempts to finish this book, mostly because I wasn’t up with a sinking that is much too familiar. But most of the book is Valora and her brother rebuilding their relationship plus the conditions for people of Chinese descent and how they were treated on the Titanic and in their lives. The sinking is a small part of the story. I found the ending rather brave. This book is filled with the historical fiction details that Stacy Lee is known for.

Grownup Fiction

Crying in H Mart
Michelle Zauner

A solid memoir with a lot of talk about Korean food. It’s a mom-has-cancer book, though, so be aware.

Legends and Lattes
Travis Baldree

It’s “Let’s put on a play!” but with an Orc. And the “play” is starting a coffee shop in a town where no one has heard of coffee. Given that coffee is an acquired taste for nearly everyone, I didn’t buy that everyone loved it on first sip, but this was an entertaining book.

Grownup Fiction

The Glass Hotel
Emily St. John Mandel

It took a long while for me to figure out where this story was going, but I didn’t mind as the writing and the characters were enough.

(August vacation Little Free Library contribution No. 1)

Bryan Washington

A good own-voices perspective with a two person narrative that didn’t bounce back and forth chapter by chapter. (Win!) The writing was spare, enough that there were no quotation marks.

(August vacation Little Free Library contribution No. 2)

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

I’m likely to enjoy a summer-at-the-lake book and this one had a mystery baked in. It got rather dramatic in an unsatisfying way at the end, but overall it was a good vacation read.

(August vacation Little Free Library contribution No. 3)

The Making of Another Motion Picture Masterpiece
Tom Hanks and illustrator Robert Sikoryak

This goes deep into the lives of the people who come together to make movies. While not the most succinct read (one of the people is the kid who grows up to write the underground comic the movie is based on) it was probably the kindest book I’ve read this year. The narrator is someone who loves people and finds their lives worth talking about.

I have a feeling this is a fantasy movie set though. Or the platonic ideal.

Grownup Nonfiction

Alright, Alright, Alright
Melissa Maerz

I loved this book! For fans of Dazed and Confused (all of whom could guess the topic from the book title) this book weaves together interviews from seemingly all the people involved in the making of Dazed and Confused, plus some people who worked with Richard Linklater before and after the movie, including people who went to high school with him.

It’s packed with a ton of interesting facts (Jason Lee was also there for filming; he was dating Marissa Ribisi at the time and went as her chaperone. Ben Affleck was tired of being cast as a bully. Filming was like summer camp for the actors and was hell for Linklater.) I especially appreciated the chapter that focused on the women in the film both how they interacted with each other and how the film shifted focus from them as filming went on. This is essential reading for Linklater fans, people interested in how movies get made, and people who still have crushes on many actors of early 90s cinema.

Personal story: In college my roommates were trying to decide which VHS tape to watch. “Let’s watch alright, alright, alright,” said one. We all knew immediately what she was talking about. And I’ve thought of that as the title every since.

Taking Stock: A Hospice Doctor’s Advice on Financial Independence, Building Wealth, and Living a Regret-Free Life
Jordan Grumet

FIRE-esque financial book from the viewpoint of a hospice doctor. Grumet suggests three different paths to follow in a way that FIRE advocates usually don’t.

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