You would think that traveling would be good for getting reading done, but that’s not the case when you’re the one doing a majority of the driving! June was one of those months that had loomed large on my calendar for quite some time because I knew it would be crazy. Crazy with all good things, but crazy nonetheless. I hosted a quiet bachelorette weekend in Birmingham for my best friend from college, I went to the beach with my extended family, I completed my first spring triathlon, and I participated as a bridesmaid in the aforementioned friend’s wedding. And on top of that, I accepted a job that I started on June 29, so I found myself also wrapping up work with my freelance clients in preparation for that. So, I only read 4 books. Womp womp. Two were for Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, though, bringing my total left to complete on that list down to 7, one of which is well under way.

I bought this one on sale for Kindle some time ago and finally was in the frame of mind to read it. I loved Winner’s Girl Meets God, so I had high hopes for this one, but unfortunately it fell flat for me. I hoped to feel some kinship with the author on her journey through doubt, but it felt different from mine in a fundamental way: it seemed like, at the root of it all, Winner always knew faith would win out. Her struggle was more with the day to day of believing and not so much believing as a whole. A valid struggle, but I wanted meatier doubt. It felt much more disjointed than Girl Meets God, more like a journal than a cohesive book, which I supposed is why the subtitle includes the word “notes.”

I devoured this one at the beach. It was a good beach-y read: rather predictable, rather heartwarming. The premise was more creative than your typical chick lit novel, but it read much the same, and I enjoyed it well enough to stay up late one night on vacation plowing through it, but I won’t claim that it’s going to stick with me.

This was a difficult book to read because of its subject matter, not because of its writing. The writing, as one might expect from Erdrich, was extremely good. For whatever reason, I did not find myself heavily invested in this one, but I would definitely say it was a good book. Just be prepared for some intense and uncomfortable topics should you decide to pick it up. Sadly, that intensity is par for the course on many Native American reservations, and, in that sense, it’s good that this book got so much acclaim and adds to the repertoire of stories bringing the deplorable conditions many living on them face to light in the popular domain. This satisfied Task #9, a novel by or about a member of an indigenous culture.

I feel like a terrible Southerner, but I just Did. Not. Enjoy this book. I think I’ve also tried to read McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding and couldn’t get into it, either. This was the road block that led to my only finishing four books this month! I wrapped it up on the evening of June 29, and I’ve made it about a third of the way through an entire other book in the 2 days since then. This one didn’t hold my attention, I wasn’t invested in any of the characters, and I don’t understand what it was trying to do. I apologize to the Southern literary gods, but it was not my cup of sweet tea at all. Since I muddled through it, though, I can cross off Task #1 from the Book Riot challenge, a book published by an author under the age of 25.

I’m back to having a commute by train to my job, and I’m making sure to be intentional about reading during those ~40 minutes rather than piddling around on my phone. If the last two days are any indiciation, I will be back in business for getting some high numbers! The trick is just to make sure I look up long enough to get off at the correct stop…

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman