Two big summer releases and a glitzy classic

Hey, readers!

Happy Fourth of July to those who are celebrating! I’m planning on seeing some friends for a barbecue and hopefully fitting in some reading time. This last week has been incredibly busy, and I’m looking forward to a little down time.

Since we’re now halfway through the year (wild, right?!), I’m also spending some time putting together my best books of the year so far list. This has been a great year of reading for me and I’m looking forward to reflecting on those books and sharing them with you soon.

This week in books.

This week I read…

  • Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor. I was really excited to see how Taylor’s incredible writing translated to short stories, and I wasn’t disappointed. This collection alternates between linked stories about a group of friends and standalone stories who’s characters are distinct but delve into similar these. Like many collections, I felt that some of these were stronger than other, but I highly recommend picking it up if you’re looking for a quick read with strong style. Amazon | Bookshop

  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. I loved rereading this for an upcoming July episode of Novel Pairings. It’s much more readable and compelling than I remembered it, although I do have a few qualms with it. Chelsey and I already recorded the episode, and it’s a super fun one…I’m excited for that to drop on July 20th! Amazon | Bookshop

  • The Guide by Peter Heller (out August 24th). I’m still processing my thoughts on this one. The pacing was off and the writing just wasn’t didn’t for me—especially in the first half. But I was caught up in the plot and ultimately found it to be a fun reading experience. I think if you liked The River or are looking for a smart summer suspense novel, it’s worth giving this one a shot. Amazon | Bookshop

Now I’m reading…

Links I love.

On the blog, I shared six books with engrossing structures that will keep you turning pages.

I wasn’t aware of the Twitter pile-on transgender author Isabel Fall received for her Hugo-nominated short story, but this article touches on so many things I’m interested in, including troubling internet culture and the problematic expectation that authors out themselves to their readers.

10 book to screen adaptations to watch this summer.

A friend sent me this list of the 18 Best Baby Books of 2021. It’s a fantastic book list to bookmark if you have kiddos of your own or little readers whom you enjoy buying books for.

8 funny books recommended by comedians.

The Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino piece about the Britney Spears conservatorship is a must-read.

I appreciated these ideas about finding satisfaction in the ordinary.

Rifle Paper Company is having a 25% off sale.

I appreciated these answers to five summer-vacation questions that go beyond the CDC’s tips.

End notes.

Watching: I’ve been hyping up this season of Top Chef so much and I was really disappointed to hear about the harassment allegations against the winner. You can read more about that here, but it does of course include spoilers for this season. I hope the show finds a way to address it, because harassment in the restaurant industry is not new.

Listening: I’m listening to Nobody Will Tell You This But Me on Libro.fm*. I also loved this episode of The Ezra Klein Podcast about why we work so much.

*You can get two LIBRO.FM audiobooks for the price of one with my link or by using code FICTIONMATTERS.

Making: We’re having friends over for the Fourth of July and are making my favorite meal: pulled pork (made in our sous vide, of course) with the very best Lillies Gold BBQ Sauce, quick pickled cucumbers, and potato salad.

Loving: My Simple Modern tumbler. I don’t know why exactly, but I find I drink so much more water from a vessel with a straw.

For more on what I’ve been loving lately, be sure to check out my May and June Favorites post on the blog!


Readers, I hope you’re enjoying your weekend—holiday or otherwise. For questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out by emailing fictionmattersbooks@gmail.com or responding directly to this newsletter. I love hearing from you!

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Happy reading!

Sara


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