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What I’m Reading: July 2018

By Logan Clements

· Reading

I do some of my best reading when I’m traveling. The photo from below was from the first of this month as I wrapped up a bachelorette party with some friends. I also had two six hour car rides to upstate New York for my US Bobsled team tryout.

With plenty of time in transit, I had a productive reading month, tackling murder mysteries (my favorite), cyber thrillers, a story about racism, and a memoir about sexuality. Hope you enjoy this list as much as I did reading them.

Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs

I’ve always been a fan of crime TV shows. Stick me in front of a Law and Order: SVU marathon and I’m a happy camper. In that same vein, there is a TV show called Bones, which follows Temperance Brennan, a somewhat socially awkward but brilliant anthropologist, who works with the FBI to solve crimes.

I was happy to learn that the TV show was created from a series of books by Kathy Reichs, a real-life forensic anthropologist. I’d had Deja Dead on my list for a year or two after picking up another book in the series in an airport. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with reading the Nancy Drew series in the exact order, all 52 books, starting from book one. It just seemed fitting to start another series from the beginning.

Deja Dead delivered on everything that I wanted: page-turning drama, a who-dun-it, and the origins of how Temperance first started her career. If you’re a mystery or detective story lover or a fan of Bones, I highly recommend any of the books in her series.

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz

Lisbeth Salander, the infamous hacker and all around kickass female lead returns for another adventure. You might recognize her from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo written by Stieg Larsson. David Lagercrantz carries on the series and he doesn’t disappoint.

The story follows several characters and jumps between past and present, making you hungry to learn how the stories all intersect. Lisbeth’s resolve and strength is a joy to watch unfold and you can’t help but root for her no matter how questionable her methods.

I recently purchased a Kindle so I could bring my library with me whenever I traveled. I love reading a real book so I’ve avoided using an e-reader at all costs but it makes sense as I will be traveling for the coming months.

To try and trick my brain into loving the Kindle, I picked this book to read so that I’d associate good reading with my new e-reader. Though it is more satisfying to see the progress you’ve made when looking at a book and the feeling turning the pages, I did enjoy my first experience on my Kindle. I also liked that it really didn’t feel like I was reading a tablet, unlike reading books on my iPad or Kindle app on my phone.

Regardless if you choose to read the real book or ebook version of this, you’ll enjoy jumping back into the world of Lisbeth Salander and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I received this as an ebook gift from a woman in my book club. It’d been on my reading list (which really never seems to get any shorter) for a while and so I decided to continue to take advantage of my new Kindle.

I. Could. Not. Put. This. Down.

I can’t say how much I loved reading this book even though at times the material was really hard to read. Racism, prejudice, and power are the three elements at stake throughout the book as a couple struggles to cope with the loss of their newborn and decides to hold the nurse who cared for him responsible. Never have I read a book that speaks more to the judgements we make on a daily basis about the people around us and the divides that racism creates in our culture in the US.

This book got me thinking about how I react and interpret situations from a far and wondering just what is the best way to talk with our friends, family, and children about race in America.

Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family by Garrard Conley

A heavy follow up to the last book, Boy Erased was this month’s book club pick by my group in Shanghai. Written about the author’s experience growing up in a strict Christian household, then being outed to his parents and going to conversion therapy that promised to “cure” him of his homosexuality.

It’s painful to read about the author’s struggles to reconcile his faith and his sexuality and the way he was treated by his family, church, and community. It makes you realize that even as we progress there are boys and girls growing up in communities where they aren’t accepted or feel comfortable to be who they are.

This book coupled with Picoult’s really has me thinking about the power of dialogue, cultural awareness and empathy. Imagine what would happen if we all listened more and empowered each other to share our experiences.

I’ve learned a lot of perspective and empathy from living abroad, in a country where I learned a new language and I will never look like a local no matter how I try. As a white American female, living in China was the first time in my life I’ve felt like an outsider, like someone who stands out and not always in a good way. Now this doesn’t compare to the characters experience in Small Great Things or Garrard’s but it’s something that had me feeling even more connected to each book that I read this month.

How have books that you’ve read inspired you to think differently? Any books you think that I should add to my never-ending reading list?

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