August Round Up

After writing my last post, we had a rather spectacular power outage which rendered me internetless for about three days! I was subsequently in the throes of birthday fever (I’ll do a post about my birthday haul later in the week) and, finally, got the call to return to work full time. As such, not so much time to blog! I’ve got a new plan for a work-friendly schedule starting with this wrap-up post and I’ll hopefully be deploying that this month with more regularity than I have been.

With that out of the way… how did August go?

WHAT I READ

The stats: I read 35 books in August. That’s pretty good going, and I broke my previous record of 31 books in one month. I also read 5,821 pages which for a month where I didn’t really read many long books is not too shabby! I gave an average rating of 4.44 stars which is a very strong showing! I did read a lot of middle-grade, kids, and other things that don’t take me as long to read, so that definitely had an impact on how many books I read.

The favourites: I read some really fun books this month and some really great ones too! Before I talk up my favourites I just want to give a shout out to the Paddington series and The Worst Witch series, both of which I had read parts of as a child. I finished TWW during August and will be continuing on with Paddington throughout the coming month (and possibly beyond). I’m not going to talk about these too much here but I think I’ll do a post about revisiting some of my childhood favourites in the future!

Predictably, because I read a lot this month, I have a LOT of favourites.

I’d previously read All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman. The Tiny Wife has the same tone and the same slightly whimsical, slightly poetic prose. I like that his stories are basically just the real world, skewed a little bit, like he just things “what if…” and then runs with it. In this one, a number of people are held up in a bank, and asked to surrender their most precious possession. One by one, they start to suffer from strange side effects, including the titular wife, who begins, little by little, to shrink.

The Mussel Feast was a really tough read, more because of its subject matter than the prose, though the stream-of-consciousness style takes a bit of getting used to. The narrator recounts an occasion where her family are getting ready to have a meal together and waiting on her father returning from a work trip. The nature of the relationship of each family member with the father, who is abusive both emotionally and physically, is explored, as it seems to become increasingly uncertain as to whether he will return. Beautifully written and utterly harrowing.

I honestly cannot express all of the ways I love Giant Days. I read the first two volumes, as well as the volume which collects the original web-comic and I am utterly charmed by it. The first volumes take place during the first year of university, with three girls and an array of supporting characters navigating the ups and downs of all that entails. The three main characters Susan, Esther, and Daisy are all absolutely different and absolutely relatable in different ways. I was genuinely invested in all of them and I cannot wait to continue this series. Especially perfect if you were at university in the late noughties/early 2010s as I could see a lot of my own experiences in their experiences.

I genuinely thought I hadn’t read The Railway Children previously, but as I read it recently I realised I definitely had. There were images from it that I could remember as clear as day once I re-encountered them. This is extremely Of Its Time and though I haven’t noted specific examples, I would keep that in mind if you’re going to seek this one out. I enjoyed the very straightforward story telling and all the little authorial asides. The basic story is that the titular children and their mother are forced to relocate to the country in relative penury after Something Happens which is not revealed until much later in the narrative. The children accept this all in relatively good grace and learn to love the countryside. It’s all twee, and a bit naff, but I will never, ever not cry upon reading/hearing “oh daddy! My daddy!”

I might be the last Internet Bookworm who hadn’t read Throne of Glass. Until this year, I hadn’t read any Sarah J. Maas at all; I picked up the ACOTAR trilogy in January and absolutely flew through it . Now, granted, she gets a fair bit of stick for her books, a lot of which I can understand, and especially with reference to this one as it’s very white and pretty heteronormative so far, but I really, really enjoy her writing and storytelling. No, it’s not the most polished, it is a bit purple-prosey, but it has great momentum and I really enjoy her characters, in particular her female leads. I can’t wait to keep going with this series.

The Realm of Possibility was not a book I was overly excited about, but I always try to read anything I’ve been given as a gift. I was very, very pleasantly surprised! I’d read some of Levithan’s writing before and not been particularly enamoured but this was really lovely. It’s a set of prose-poems about a number of high-school kids going through all the many and various wonderful and horrible experiences that you go through in your teenage years. Some parts where better than others, but as a whole I felt like it was a really sympathetic capturing of a really weird time in most people’s lives, and I think it really respected the intelligence of that age group, which is something I always look for.

READ UNTIL YOU DROP-ATHON

This month I was taking part in Read Until You Drop-athon hosted by Cerys! The aim was to read as much as possible throughout August – with a loose goal of 31 books in 31 days. As mentioned above, I read 35 books! That’s not quite as many as I wanted to get through, and I had a chunk of days where I didn’t read at all in the middle of the month, but I finally got my TBR under 600 for the first time in years, so I’m obviously happy with that. Knocking a lot of short reads off my TBR gave me a lot of “easy wins” so to speak.

The readathon also had an associated bingo card, just for a bit of extra fun. You can find the blank one here, but here’s mine:

16 out of 30 challenges wasn’t too bad! I wish I could have finished more of these. I struggled with some of the more unusual ones and I’m really mad at myself for not managing a sapphic book but given how busy my month was, I don’t think I did too badly!

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