Reading wrap-up: August
September, it’s September, 8 months of the year have gone. That’s crazy. Anyway, looking back at my August reading I realise what a mixed month it has been, not necessarily for ratings but for books that I have remembered the details of, that have stuck with me, or made me want to share.
Here’s what I read in August:
The White Book
The first book I read in August, writing this post, it’s one of the books I could remember very little about. Written in short passages which could be read independently of each other, there is little plot but a lot of emotion. The timeline is non-linear, and the passages do not connect to each other. I enjoyed the reading experience. However, it was a slow process getting through it – surprising, considering it is only 161 pages in length and does include some double-page photographs. I enjoyed it but I wasn’t blown away as I was with The Vegetarian. I wonder if poetry enthusiasts would be a better audience for it. It is not a poetry collection but it had the same sense of whimsy, emotion, and musings that I often associate with my minimal experience of poetry.
A spoke in the wheel
I was sent this for review, and I loved it. You can read my full review here.
Nevermind (Patrick Melrose #1)
This is another book which I enjoyed but which didn’t elicit very strong reactions. I was repulsed by many of the characters and their actions, however, after finishing it and moving away for even as little time as half-an-hour, I had, for want of a better expression, forgotten about reading it. I am interested in continuing the series, especially as I want to follow Patrick and see how the events have affected him (I predict not well), I also feel as though I’ll relate more as he gets older.
Hold back the stars
Gifted to me on my birthday by the lovely Amy, I immediately fell in love with the cover; it’s so pretty and subtle and it reminded me of The Book of strange new things‘ cover, a book that I have been trying to match for a long time. Read in, I think, two sittings, this was a welcome break from the slightly heavier books I had been reading and I was glad for something that would just take me along with it. Following Carys and Max, this is a love story which, if you’ll excuse the pun, is out of this world. While the present story is one of survival in space, it runs parallel to the story of their individual and shared stories on earth; earth in the future. Part post-apocalyptic, part dystopian this earth is one where global borders don’t exist and love is banned.
Engaging, fun, tense, with an interesting premise, this is a book I would recommend. However, I was slightly let down by the ending. It’s hard to elaborate on without giving spoilers but I feel as though I was reading the author trying to work it out for herself.
To all the boys I’ve loved before
Ps. I still love you
With all the hype about the film (which it thoroughly deserves – the film is excellent) I thought I’d give To all the boys I’ve loved before a second chance. I read it a few years ago and felt decidedly disappointed. I knew I wasn’t going to carry on with the series so passed my copy on. This time I decided to try the audiobook. I still have very mixed feelings. It was the perfect thing to listen to cosy in bed. It’s sweet and doesn’t require too much effort to be able to tell what’s happening. However, I could never wholly settle into it – there was something that made me want to roll my eyes and shake a lot of the characters. Many appeared to either be immature or overly mature for their age. Lara-Jean’s under-confidence and introverted nature seemed to be illustrated by an inability to be able to function without her sister but predominantly towards the everyday things like making coffee, not in social situations which I would better understand.
Furthermore, many of the characters were just unlikeable, Chris especially. All that being said, without hesitation I downloaded Ps. I still love you and I listened to it in a day. I’m not sure if I enjoyed it any better, the characters were still unlikeable and the explanations for frankly shitty behaviour seemed half-formed and flimsy. I have Forever and always Lara-Jean ready to play but if I do finish the trilogy it’ll be mostly due to my dislike of leaving series unfinished.
We are our brains: From the Womb to Alzheimers
This is a book that is hard to write about. Fascinating, enlightening, and also completely and utterly mind-blowing, this had me muttering ‘wow’ under my breath within the first 30 pages. Talking about the brain and the way it influences everything, right from the first pangs of labour, even before, to death and how our brains can be useful afterwards, this is a relatively accessible and engaging read. There where moments towards the end when it became a bit more of an effort to carry on, however, I am very glad I perceived. Occasionally, I would have appreciated a few more sources and evidence. Swaab is quite obviously very accomplished and highly intelligent; however, there were occasions especially in the more controversial chapters where it felt as though we were expected to just take his word for it. Although, I suppose this can be said for all information and may be a smart way of approaching information.
NCIS Los Angeles: Bolthole
I love NCIS LA, it’s ridiculous, completely unbelievable, but it’s also utterly engaging and addictive. If you haven’t seen it do – Hetty is everything! So, when I spotted this title peaking between the other crime titles at work, I couldn’t resist. I don’t really know how else to comment on this, it was engaging and I read it really quickly. However, I have to admit that I prefer the TV show – it’s original manifestation – the connection between the team members is much more prevalent and tangible, which is the part that really hooks me.
Notes on a Nervous Planet
Although I pre-ordered this the first chance I got, it took me a while to pick it up. However, I’m happy that for whatever reason there was the delay between receiving and reading this book. This was one of those wonderful occasions where it was read at just the perfect time. I turned 24 last month and it’s been a strange adjustment. I struggle with comparing where I am in life to others. Rationally, I completely understand that everyone’s life moves at different speeds and in different directions; however, I still find myself becoming anxious and pressured to be doing more, etc. etc. I picked this up during an especially meh week and it was perfect. Written in an almost list like way this is not necessarily a one sitting read, I read it a couple of chapters at the time adding page-markers as I went. It was a non-patronising, non-condescending, conversation about social media and its perceived effects. It reminded me of chatting with a friend, a gentle hand on the shoulder, and a reassurance that these feelings exist. I hugely appreciate this book and Matt Haig for writing it.
The Not-So-Very-Nice Goings On at Victoria Lodge Without Illustrations by the Author
A short, sweet, amusing read is essentially all there is to be said about this book. It’s wonderful. Able to read in 10 minutes or so this book is perfect if you want a laugh.
A Court of Thorns and Roses
The book community has ardently loved this series for years, it dominated Booktube, Twitter, and, I would imagine the blogs. I stood firm in my belief that it wouldn’t be for me. I don’t tend to read fantasy and as I saw more and more descriptions of it, I became more and more certain. However, with #soapgate and the conversations surrounding that Subscription box it was on my mind when I came across it at work. With a week off looming, I figured I had nothing to lose, checked it out, and bought it home. It followed me around the house for days until I finally decided to sit down and see what all the fuss had been about. Oh my! This book, this series (I’m 200 pages into A court of mist and fury) is incredible. I could not stop reading, I gasped, I cried, I was literally on the edge of my seat. It’s so rich, so detailed, and, what I didn’t expect, so relatable. I never thought I would thank phallically shaped soap for anything but here we are.
What did you read in August? Did you read any of these titles? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
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Thank you! And you 😊
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