Hi lovely readers! July has come and gone in a blur of work, copious amounts of reading, and as of right now, travel preparations. Last summer I hiked the Inca Trail, which I posted about, and in the hiking group, I got close to siblings from Buenos Aires, Argentina. So tomorrow, I leave for BA to stay with them and their family for a week! In 20 years of life, I’ve traveled frequently with my family, but this will be my first solo trip abroad. Stay tuned for a week of travel blogging; I’m excited to share with all of you yet another corner of our vast world. In the meantime, and a tad late, here is my monthly favorite list for July!
- After the Parade (Lori Ostlund)– I wrote a review about this book recently because I was so blown away by it. Ostlund is an immensely talented writer, with a gift for crafting compelling characters and character driven stories. Aaron, a gay man with a scarred past who leaves his longtime partner, takes the reader on a journey of heartbreak, trauma, love and forgiveness. This book is insightful, heartbreaking, uplifting and powerful.
- Great House (Nicole Krauss)– I picked this one up because of how much I enjoyed Krauss’s novel The History Of Love (now one of my all time favorite books). The reviews on Goodreads for Great House were quite low though, so I wasn’t expecting to really like it. Turns out, it was actually an interesting read. While the story definitely jumped all over the place and required concentration to connect the dots, I found it beautifully written. The various plot points that are all interconnected in certain ways make for an engrossing experience. If you want to exercise your brain and enjoy Krauss’s detailed yet beautiful writing, check it out. Although, History of Love is still her best by far.
- Harry Styles– His solo album is excellent! I never never never thought I’d have an obsession with a member of One Direction because their music was pretty awful, but I’m loving solo Styles. His album has a sound influenced by the likes of David Bowie and The Beatles, with hints of Fleetwood Mac. I love the throwback to classic British rock and his voice is amazing. He has talent I never would have noticed before.
- Everything Now (Arcade Fire)– This song off their new album of the same name is amazing. It definitely represents a new sound from them but I love how it’s reminiscent of ABBA in certain ways. Especially in the chorus parts. The lyrics are also honest, full of emotion and relevant to the times. Too bad the album as a whole is nothing spectacular. As a huge AF fan, I was looking forward to its release, but after listening to it, there were only a few songs that stuck out to me. While I appreciate musicians changing up their sound, I feel that Arcade Fire dropped the ball on this one.
- Something to Tell You (HAIM)– Their new album just released and overall, it’s pretty good. I like most of the songs but there are a few that sound overproduced and boring. Their vintage/rock and roll/70’s sound is what sets them apart from a lot of other mainstream artists, and the songs that channel this vibe are the best ones. My favorites off the album: Want you Back, You Never Knew, Found it in Silence, and Nothing’s Wrong.
- Dunkirk– Nolan has done it again, folks. He’s created another masterpiece. And with a genre that’s out of character for him. The experience was an incredibly tense, emotional and extraordinary experience. The cinematography was breathtaking, the score by Hans Zimmer (one of my favorite score composers) enhanced the intensity of the scenes, and the acting was phenomenal. There are no central characters or backstories and the dialogue is sparse. But that’s one of the reasons I loved the film. Nolan made a war movie stripped of its typical tropes- the big speeches, drawn out deaths, etc. I thought it was fitting to the portrayal of Dunkirk and by casting young, unknown actors, there was an authentic feel to the film. Also, to my surprise, Harry Styles did extremely well in his role. If he continues to pick the right directors and films to work with, I can see him forming a solid acting career.
- Baby Driver– I watched this on a whim, not sure what to expect and ended up loving every minute of it. I loved it enough to go see it a second time. Edgar Wright has breathed new life back into the summer action movie, especially in terms of car chases. Never before have I enjoyed watching an action/car chase movie until Baby Driver. The way every scene was choreographed to the soundtrack blew my mind; the car chase scenes were on point with the music and everything was basically a dance between sound and visual. Not only was the music great, but the writing and performances were refreshingly good for the genre.
- Lovesick– This is a great little British show on Netflix that I recently got hooked on. It falls under the romantic dramedy category. The main character Dylan, finds out he has chlamydia and has to tell all of his previous sexual partners so that they can get tested as well. All of the performances are excellent, especially from Antonia Thomas, who plays Dylan’s best friend/love interest. There are extremely funny moments but it can also be deeply moving at times.
A let down
- Number9dream (David Mitchell)– I thought I’d like this one by him since I loved Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten, but I was sorely disappointed. It was quite a confusing read and many parts dragged. I did enjoy the end, though, and thought that certain parts were well done.
Month in a quote
“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.” Andrew Murphy
Comment any recommendations you might have for me! I always love to hear about new things. Also, feel free to share your own thoughts on the movies/songs/books reviewed above 🙂 Here’s to a great August for everyone!