The unabridged list of books I read in July

My July reading highlight was finally reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and seeing how Rowling continued her story into the next generation.It felt like a slow month of reading for me. For good reason: It was. With six books read, July was my slowest month of reading this year. And it’s even slower than it looks since I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in one day, that day being July 31.

On the upside, my low reading tally is the result of spending loads of my free time with friends and family. And you definitely will not hear me complain about that!


* Asterisk indicates a #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks title

This was not a great month for reading my own books: Only two out of six were already in my library. So I didn’t meet my 50 percent goal this month. There’s always August…

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde *

Ah, the first book in the Thursday Next literary detective series is a fun read. More on it here.

An Accidental Greek Wedding by Carol Grace 

The descriptions of Greece were delightful. I won’t lie, though: It pained me a little to see Greek-Americans portrayed so ridiculously. More of my thoughts on it here.

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

The plot of this novel kept me engaged, though I found the ending quite frustrating. More extended review here.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

I chuckled often reading this novel. Ah, Riordan entertains me. More about my experience of reading it here.

Stargazy Pie by Laura Lockington

Oh, this book. I have more to say about it here and here.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling

I was counting down to when it would appear in my Nook (I preordered it). Since it’s a script, not a book, I can really only comment on the plot. How plausible is it given everything that has come before? To what extent does it embody the ethos of the original series? I’m going to address these as non-spoiler-y as possible.

As to the former, I would say one significant plot element stretches the bounds of credibility somewhat but not to the extent that it turned me off. It’s speculative fiction. It’s allowed to stretch the bounds of credibility to some extent. In terms of the original series’ ethos, this story captures it beautifully. My favorite things about the books – the importance of community, friendship, personal responsibility, listening and seeing each other as they really are, recognizing and honoring the complexity in people – were all here. I found my affection for the characters deepened by my experience of this script.

It shouldn’t spoil the plot to say there is a significant time travel element. I’m gaga for time travel stories. I love how they inspire me to think about cause and effect and recognize that even an event that feels small and insignificant can have far reaching consequences. The use of time travel in this story provides a powerful sense of closure to the series. Though I don’t completely believe Rowling when she says Harry Potter is now over. Time will tell…


I’m in the process of reading them, so I expect to see all on my “read” list by the end of the month.

The Odyssey by Homer

I have the Fitzgerald translation in paperback and the Fagles translation on my Nook. I’m alternating between them to see which one captures my attention most intensely. Though I worry the deck is stacked against Fitzgerald since Fagles has been more often recommended to me.

Harry Mount’s Odyssey: Ancient Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus by Harry Mount

I’m getting close to finishing this charming memoir.

Things Fall Apart by Chinue Achebe

So far, this classic is riveting, if deeply sad.


I’ve either read or begun reading quite a few of the books I bought this month. This pleases me! Also satisfying: I’ve only bought e-book titles already on my to-read list. This means I’ve found success resisting impulse buys. So the month was not a complete #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks fail.

Things Fall Apart by Chinue Achebe

This was a library sale find. It has been on my to-read list for several years.

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

I enjoy ballet books, and this one has been on my radar since it came out. By happy coincidence, it was offered at $1.99 in an e-book sale. Obviously, I snapped it up.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

I’d been toying with whether to read this new series and finally caved.

The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh

I don’t know why. I just liked the cover copy.

Stargazy Pie by Laura Lockington

This was a random find at a bookstore in Athens. It was inexpensive and hardcover, so I took a chance on it.

The Cretan Runner: His story of the German Occupation by George Psychoundakis

Another find from my Athens bookstore run. I cannot resist WWII books.

The 2 1/2 Pillars of Wisdom: The Portuguese Irregular Verbs trilogy omnibus (The Portuguese Irregular Verbs Series) by Alexander McCall Smith

Three novels in one: How could I resist?

The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah

Like Tiny Pretty Things, this book has been on my radar for a while. So I am at peace with scooping it up for $1.99 during an e-book sale.

How was your month of reading in July? Any great books to share? Have you acquired and/or read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yet?

2 Replies to “The unabridged list of books I read in July”

  1. So much to love here!

    First, “recognizing and honoring the complexity in people” as one of the main things the HP series is about is just so perfectly put. I never thought if it that way, but yes – and like you, I think that’s one of the things I love best about Rowling’s characters, come to think of it! Thanks for that insight.

    Speaking of HP, I chuckled to see that you’d already pre-oredered and READ the newest one. I totally expected it but knew you were busy and traveling, and yet – nothing can defy the love we have for some books. I haven’t read “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” yet, for a number of reasons, but you’re making me more intrigued than I already am; I had no idea time travel was involved!

    I loved reading your list of finished books and books-to-be-finished, but “The Night Tourist” especially caught my interest – that sounds AMAZING! I have put it on my book wishlist (I’m trying to be disciplined for the moment and not get distracted from “Wolf Hall”, which I’m really loving, but which is really long and heavy (literally and figuratively, since I’m reading the brick-sized paperback version, har har har).

    And lastly, I think it’s such a cool idea to flip between translations of a book to see which version you like best! I remember LOVING the Fitzgerald translation, especially how he translated the poem’s opening line, but then, I never had the dedication you do to compare translations beyond the very beginning when I was deciding which one to read. I would love to see a post from you on which translation ultimately seemed the best one to you, and why!

    1. Thank you, as always, Alysa! With HP, I can understand how it’s hard to get over it not being a book. It would have been an awesome book! Personally, I enjoyed seeing what she did with the characters and the story, and you know how much I love time travel stories. 🙂

      I’m so glad to hear you loved the Fitzgerald translation. I started with that one and have to say I really enjoyed it despite coming into my reading biased in favor of the Fagles. I’m working hard to stay open to Fitzgerald! I’ll need some time to really concentrate and think about them.

      “The Night Tourist” does sound fascinating, right? It’s the first in a series, which is kind of exciting.

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