August Books: Read or Run?

Welcome to my attempt to recommend books. I’m going to try to do this once a month (these blog-series really don’t work for me, see: every other series I’ve tried) to show what I’ve read and let you know if you should read these books too.

August was a slow reading month for two reasons: one, I moved across the country. Two, I was finishing reading a series that truly was a struggle for me get through. Seriously, finishing this series was like trudging up Mount Doom after the longest quest, with the weight of my precious, the bane to Middle Earth’s freedom, the Ring of the Lord of the Rings.

[That was so nerdy but now you know what series it was.]

Anyway, I only have three books, and with the title, I’ll give my review and then tell you if I think you should read it or run from it.

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

JRR Tolkien
Released in 1995

Honestly, I’ve talked about reading this series with a lot of people recently, especially in California, and turns out that almost no one has read this series, they just watched it. Those movies are 4 hours a pop, totaling at 12 hours. Then again, it took me 6 months to read all the books.

It’s a tough read. I walked into it comparing J.R.R. Tolkien with the fondest writer of my childhood (and his bestie) C.S. Lewis. I’ve always been on the advanced side of reading, but The Chronicles of Narnia was written as a fairytale that children could understand. I would have never read another book again if I tried reading Lord of the Rings at age 7.

Tolkien writes as if the story not ending would save him from the trenches of World War II. And then once he was home free, he wrapped up loads of loose ends in a single knot and called it a day.

Return of the King is on the better side of the books, though I personally think I liked the first book more. But still, we got to see my favorite characters, Sam and Pippin, in action, and it was a good ending for such an epic adventure.

But my recommendation: run from these books. Just watch the movies.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Mark T. Sullivan
Released May 2017

What a beautiful, adventurous, and heartbreaking story about a 19 year-old Catholic boy growing up in Venice during World War II and the Nazi occupation of the Italy. [Not spoilers, it’s written on the back of the book] The protagonist spends part of the occupation and war saving Jewish people from the Holocaust by bringing them to freedom in Switzerland. And when he gets old enough to be drafted, his mother forces him to enlist in the Nazi army to save him from death on the Soviet front. But his mission to survive until the Allies liberate Italy changes to a mission to spy for the Allies as a driver for Hitler’s right-hand man stationed in Italy.

And it’s a true story.

Absolutely fascinating, such a different take on the World War II era, and just overall such a beautiful story.

My recommendation: Read! Actually, run to read it.

Big Little Lies

Liane Moriarty
Released July 2014

I did not watch the show before reading this book. Actually, I haven’t watched the show yet. But this is like Desperate Housewives meets True Crime. Rivalry, marriage problems, and an unfolding murder case really makes it such a captivating story. It follows a single mother, Jane, who is new to town; the pot stirrer of the crew, Madeline; and Celeste, the perfect woman in a seemingly perfect marriage.

I really don’t know how to keep writing about this story without spoiling it.

Anyway, my recommendation: read!

Let’s hope two things: (1) that I can read more books in the month of September, and (2), that I remember to do this again with those books.

Happy reading!


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