Books Read in June

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“The Last Days of California” a novel by Mary Miller

It was Wednesday and we hadn’t even made it to Texas yet.

It’s a coming-of-age novel set on the precipice of the Second Coming. Fifteen-year-old Jess is on the road with her mother, rebellious sister and a father on a mission to save as many souls as possible before the rapture. As the trip goes on, Jess begins losing enthusiasm for their cause. Is she losing her faith as well? Dealing with all the angst that goes with being a teenager, Jess meets strangers along the way that open up her secluded world, often making her own family seem like strangers, if not herself at times.

A beautifully humane, funny and dark exploration of the complexities of family, faith, sexuality and growing up in modern times.

Favorite sentences:

My father drove faster and faster, the land so barren it was easy to imagine the world had already ended and we hadn’t heard,

I didn’t know how I could want things so badly while making it impossible to ever get them.

“One Step Too Far” a novel by Tina Seskis

The heat is like another person to push past as I make my way along the platform.

Emily Coleman seems to have it all—a happy marriage, beautiful family and home, a successful career as a lawyer. So what would make her leave it all behind, assume a new identity and disappear into the depths of London?

Told in alternating chapters of the present story and flashbacks, it is slowly revealed what exactly made her run away from a so-called perfect life.

“What Comes Next and How to Like It” a memoir by Abigail Thomas

I have time to kill while waiting for the sun to dry, and I’m mulling over the story I spent year swriting and failed to turn into anything, trying not to be depressed.

I swear, I’d read a grocery list if Abigail Thomas wrote it. Her writing is sparse, but deep, funny and heartbreaking. She gives herself no place to hide in these short chapters (some only a few sentences) and an entire life is revealed as the pieces are stitched together. Just a beautifully breathtaking exploration of her days, her past, her future, her life.

Some favorite sentences:

On sleeping in bed with her dogs: I feel like the ruler of a small, rumpled country.

I have learned to love the inside of my own head.

After a date she had great time with: I didn’t call him back: I did not spend any time wondering what I’d done wrong, or what I could or should have done differently,whether I was too old or too fat or ask too many questions. I am who I am and it has taken me a long time to get here,

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