Editor’s Note: The Wrap was late this month to accommodate the Fourth of July and The World Cup. Thanks for your patience!
Of the seven books I read this month, I’ve selected four of the most memorable to review here. Make sure you’re following me on Goodreads, though, for the fullest picture. I’ve also rounded up the best books for summer and podcasts for road trips. It’s finally summer! Enjoy time with those you love.
Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
One Sentence Synopsis: HardKill, the dynamic duo behind the hit podcast My Favorite Murder and the network Exactly Right enter print form for the first time in a self-help book no one was entirely expecting.
Review: I was pleased with how well their jokes and personalities shown through the written word as they do off the cuff. For die-hard fans of the show, and so many are, the stories did feel a bit familiar and overdone. The difficulty with having a biweekly show means being forced to rely on the same few stories again and again. Reading about things we’ve known didn’t add anything fresh to the experience. I was also disappointed with the experience overall, having walked into SSDGM anticipating a memoir and getting a self-help book. I look forward to what other products K&G put out, but this wasn’t a winner for me.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
One Sentence Synopsis: Guided by the Star-Trek inspired mantra “Survival Is Insufficient,” a traveling troupe of actors and musicians traverse an apocalyptic wasteland until they encounter a dangerous cult leader.
Review: I first read this novel in 2016 in its print edition. It’s a powerful and beautiful concept, exploring how people may do more than simply survive the end of the world, but thrive in it. Her prose is beautiful, and she shifts the narrative back and forth in time with expert craftsmanship, revealing tiny mysteries one after the other. This time around, I listened to the audiobook, which adds a haunting layer of texture to it that is necessary and beautiful. This is a rare book that survives a second read through and retains the same eagerness and love of the first go-around. I love this book.
Foe by Iain Reid
One Sentence Synopsis: In typical Reid fashion, nothing is quite as it seems in this tale of a rural husband and wife whose husband is being called to space.
Review: If you’ve been reading through my recommendations for any time at all, you’ll find it no surprise I read Reid’s sophomore psychological horror book after falling head over heals with I’m Thinking of Ending Things. The two books could not be more different in pace, twists, and content, but the same eerie knowledge that things aren’t quite what they appear is ever present. A long slow burn culminates with an answer to the question: who do we love? And at what cost?
Life Will Be the Death of Me… And You Too! by Chelsea Handler*
One Sentence Synopsis: A year and a half after walking away from her Netflix talk show to pursue action, Handler discusses her therapy, dogs, and the deaths that have marked her life.
Review: Unexpectedly heartbreaking and honest, Handler’s memoir is a powerful explanation of Hollywood’s reaction to President Trump’s election. While she dawdles a bit on things I wasn’t interested in, I’ve always been a huge fan of Handler, and it was fun to see her layers peeled back.
Looking Ahead: July
What to Read:
Got an upcoming trip the next few months? These books were hand selected based on what backdrop your summer has. Safe travels, friends!
If You’re Spending Summer on a Beach – The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green – A B-List movie actress is dying so she’s forced to call back her estranged daughters in this family saga full of heart.
If You’re Spending Summer on a Mountain – Idaho by Emily Ruskovich – A mother does the unthinkable on a family outing that unites two marriages of increasing complexity.
If You’re Spending the Summer at Home – The Themis Files series by Sylvain Neuvel – A sci-fi series sure to help in your escape from the real world, this action packed, emotionally chilling adventure of invading robots is the perfect summer treat.
Review of Book One |Purchase Book One
If You’re Spending the Summer with Family – Home by Toni Morrison – Exploring the housing crisis and the limits of sibling love, Morrison turns her career of speaking into unspeakable places with the story of Korean war vet Frank and his troubled sister Cee.
What to Listen To
Road tripping this summer? Bring along these podcasts to keep you awake and entertained.
Best Friends with Sasheer Zamata and Nicole Byer – SNL alum Zamata and Nailed It host Byer are best friends in real life, talking about friendship and interviewing famous duos. Start with Episode 2 or Episode 3.
Do You Need a Ride? – Listening to comedians driving around while you’re driving around is exactly what your next road trip needs. Chris Fairbanks and Karen Kilgariff interview funny guests, tell stories, and complain about traffic and bad drivers. Start with epsiode 127 or 120.
My Favorite Murder – True crime and humor meet in one of the world’s most famous podcasts. Start with episode 18, 107, or 174.
Homecoming – This fictional podcast that inspired the Prime series of the same name focuses on a caseworker in a mysterious government facility for returned soldiers.
*book received for free from Goodreads in exchange for a review.
Bryce’s debut collection can be purchased here. 25% of the profits go to organizations like RAINN, 1in6, and End The Backlog. He writes short stories for free here. Support him by purchasing your next book through this special link and get FREE worldwide shipping.
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