This month I filled by brain with murder mysteries, musical histories, travel anecdotes, high fantasy, and (auto)biographies of YouTubers and female saints. Real on-brand, if my brand is “EVERYTHING,” which it is.
Hamilton the Revolution
by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
THE HAMILTOME. My mom brought this to me, and it only confirms that LMM is a literal genius. The background information about how the Broadway musical came into existence makes the show even more impressive (how is that possible), and Lin’s notes throughout the lyrics highlight his intelligence, attention to detail, and humor. I’m forever grateful to know that he thought of the Hamilton/Burr rivalry as something akin to Harry/Draco.
by Dorothy Sayers
This little murder mystery was gifted to me by a friend who knew I love witty romances, and it totally scratched that itch! I did, however, accidentally solve the mystery within ten pages, so the actual plot part was not very exciting. But Lord Peter Wimsey and his too-good-to-be-true feminist feelings for Harriet Vane? I swooned all over their conversations.
Crazy Rich Asians
by Kevin Kwan
“I’m getting kind of tired of hundreds of pages of ‘They are SO RICH, check out this thing they own,’” I said to a friend. “Tricia,” she responded, “Look at the title, you should not be surprised.” Despite the almost comical portrayal of sickening wealth, I liked its message that all the money in the world will not solve your problems. Not an original concept, but I’m considering reading the sequel, so some part of me must have loved peeking into the lives of the fantastical Singapore elite.
by Emma Straub
I got this book because I THOUGHT Straub wrote a different book that I enjoyed. She did not, which is why it turns out I did not super love Modern Lovers. It’s not bad or anything, but the full extent of my notes on it read: “Eh – interesting but not memorable.”
The Road to Little Dribbling
by Bill Bryson
I love Bryson’s travel books, and this one commemorating the 20th anniversary of his Notes From a Small Island seemed like a good investment. Unfortunately, this time I found his wanderings around Great Britain to be wildly unpredictable – occasionally great, but too often boring. There’s only so often I can read about an old man being gently annoyed by the state of the society today.
A Contemplative Biography of Julian of Norwich
by Amy Frykholm
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of all things shall be well,” is one of my favorite quotes, so I was interested to read this the-best-we-can-do-with-limited-information biography about Julian of Norwich. It was very helpful to read about just how difficult it was for a woman to study the Bible centuries ago, let alone to have the freedom to write about her spiritual experiences and offer theological doctrines. I adore Julian’s message of God’s love and am intrigued by her mysticism, so well, I should probably read her actual book, Revelations of Divine Love, now. Whoops.
by Robin Hobb
A friend of mine fell in love with Hobb’s universe and suggested I start at the beginning. I’m glad I knew there was obsessive potential up ahead, because the first half of this book wasn’t enthralling. By the end, though, I was totally hooked, and I’m eager to see what political disasters Fitz diverts with the help of a little assassination and mind-melding.
It Gets Worse
by Shane Dawson
I love Dawson’s brand, whether on YouTube, his podcast, or in his books. He a furiously controversial figure, and he delights in crucifying himself…but running through the deliberately shocking humor is a wide vein of authenticity, vulnerability, and hope. He’s a mess, and he’s writing to people who know that they too are a mess, and somewhere in that I find a lot of beauty. Do many people call Shane Dawson’s work beautiful? They should!