Reading roundup! July 2018


Sea creatures!
Water all up in your hair
Mermaids coming out of your ears
Aquatic romaaaance
Yaaas henny-maid werk

I accidentally read a lot of nautical stuff this month? The Fisherman: cosmic lake horror! The Merman: Hansel and Gretel meets The Shape of Water meets… Saw?? Something in the Water: A couple’s honeymoon goes wrong when they find something… in the water!!! Even Before and Afterlives, which you’d think would be a safe ghost book, ended up full of mermaids.

Sadly, my experience this month went a little like–






Here’s what I read in July.

The Fisherman

John Langan

2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

My first dive into the sea this month, or more accurately, the lake.

This book was the most frustrating of all, because it could have been SO GOOD! The prose and characters were as seductive as the promise of the legendary fishing spot. And then.


They meet the diner chef – the true horror of this novel. Before the fishermen set out to the elusive fishing spot they heard about, the chef pins them down for OVER A HUNDRED PAGES to tell them about THE ENTIRE GOD DAMN HISTORY OF THE WHOLE TOWN. You guys. You guys. Don’t do this. Don’t halt your narrative for over a hundred pages of exposition. By the time it was over I had zero care in the world for what happened to the two fishermen, because I forgot who they even were by the time we got back to them!



Something in the Water

Catherine Steadman

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Ahhh, much better.

Okay, the allure here isn’t so much in the story itself. Something in the Water is maybe slightly above average for your typical thriller, but not by a whole lot. Where this book truly excels is in the audiobook narration.

It’s narrated by the author, who happens to be an actress from a little show called Downtown Abbey. (You may have heard of it) Listening to it is like sitting down for a friend confiding in you – but the friend you like, not the annoying one that complains too much. She pulls you into the story effortlessly, with distinct voices for each character that make you forget you’re listening to a friggen book.

Generally, I avoid listening to fiction on audio. It goes in one ear, right out the other. This is a truly rare gem that kept me captivated from beginning to end, despite the fairly average story. If you have difficulty listening to audiobooks, give this one a shot!

Goodreads | Audible

Sharp Objects

Gillian Flynn

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Ahh, a break from water. Unless you count all the scenes in bathtubs, I guess.

My first attempt with Gillian Flynn did not go so well. I couldn’t stand the characters in Gone Girl and opted to just watch the movie instead (which I loved).

Complete opposite experience here. The show, despite Amy Adams, is a total borefest. If I hadn’t picked up the book, I don’t think I would have made it through.

And I’m glad I did, because this story is DISTURBING and I LOVE it. Flynn writes fully realized, flawed, and deeply troubled humans. Understanding her strengths now, I wonder if I would feel differently about Gone Girl if I went into it with an adjusted mindset?

Anyway! If you’re as bored with the show as I am, try the book.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Merman

Carl-Johan Vallgren

1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5)

Fuck everything about this book. I’ve wasted too much time on this thing already to bother with further elaboration. If you really want to know, check out my Goodreads review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Before and Afterlives

Christopher Barzak

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Thank god, a high note to end the month on.

Before and Afterlives is Barzak’s short story collection, filled with ghosts and magical realism. He packs a real punch in every story, though the theme is more often hopeful than it is macabre. There were even two mermaid stories to fit in with my accidental theme of the month, and they blew away the actual sea creature books I read.

This will be my first recommendation for anyone looking to try Barzak. Look for: Map of Seventeen and The Language of Moths. Absolute standouts.

Goodreads | Amazon

How was your month in reading? Anything good? Terrible? Didn’t get to what you wanted to? Let’s hear it!

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