August Reading Round-Up

My August reading was dramatically impacted by the fact that I was obsessed with watching all of the Olympics and learning the rules of all the bonkers cycling races. There was a three day period when I didn’t even finish a book. This was catastrophic. Thankfully, I got back on track and ignored everyone to finish some more books and, in even better news, some of them were brilliant.

  1. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
    I read Miss Peregrine so long ago that I had forgotten pretty much everything, but this was entertaining anyway. I really enjoy Riggs’ writing style, although this had a niggling case of Second Book Syndrome.
  2. Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer
    This was completely superb; it’s out at the start of September and I urge everyone in the world to read it. It’s about a Jewish family in the USA, a catastrophic earthquake in Israel and the ways in which the two are linked. Just so, so good.
  3. What’s A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne
    This was my favourite of the Spinster Club trilogy (which I discussed in more detail here). Lottie’s righteous feminist anger had me cheering all the way through.
  4. Suicide Squad: Basilisk Rising by Adam Glass
    I think I may have started reading these in the wrong order; this was very confusing and I was only really interested when Harley Quinn was involved.
  5. Notes on Being Teenage by Rosalind Jana
    Useful self-help resource for teenagers with some good advice. I had a couple of books like this when I was (much) younger and I can imagine teens finding this engaging.
  6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
    I really enjoyed this; all dreamy fantasy and mystery. Please can the Night Circus be a real thing so I can go? Thanks.
  7. Dietland by Sarai Walker
    Another blogger recommended this to me as an excellent feminist read and it was; there was so much in it that I found really interesting, especially everything to do with Jennifer. My review is here.
  8. Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz
    This YA comes out later in the year; it’s about a high-achieving teen who discovers her family is in the USA illegally. It was good to read a young adult book with so much political content, although the teen angsty stuff was less interesting to me.
  9. Purple Hibiscus by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
    I’m becoming obsessed with Adichie; her books are so elegant and economically written, with so much emotion beneath the surface. I can’t wait to read Half of a Yellow Sun in September.
  10. As I Descended by Robin Talley
    This comes out later in the year, but if demented reimaginings of Shakespearean tragedies are your thing, you should look it up.
  11. Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
    After I read this, I posted something on Twitter about how angry it made me and I got trolled by two accounts which clearly exist solely for having a go at feminists. This a) proved that I have finally made it as a political activist and b) that this book is completely necessary. I’m going to see Laura Bates speak at a local literary festival in October and I can’t wait. I hope I get to meet her and embarrass myself with feminist fangirling.

  12. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
    I really liked parts of this; the magical realism of the beginning was ace, and there was plenty to enjoy for the discerning YA fantasy fan.
  13. I’ll Be Home for Christmas by UK YA authors
    This is an anthology of short stories, and it’s out in September. I enjoyed it a lot, especially the stories by Marcus Sedgwick and Lisa Williamson.
  14. The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
    This was a very weird book; it’s another one which appealed to me after someone mentioned it on Twitter as a good feminist novel. It starts with a group of women waking up in a remote location in Australia, having been taken from their normal lives, before being forced into manual labour while dressed like Victorians. It had me completely intrigued from start to finish.
  15. Replica by Lauren Oliver
    I won a proof copy of this in a Twitter competition but my excitement was short-lived as I found the book pretty underwhelming. It’s split between two narrators, but with all of one, then all of the other if you flip the book. I don’t know if you’re supposed to keep turning the book over to alternate the chapters, but that sounded like far too much effort so I read all of Gemma’s story (boring girl discovers bogus stuff about family/science), then Lyra’s (clone discovers bogus stuff about everything).
  16. I Call Myself a Feminist by various writers
    This is another anthology, consisting of essays by women explaining why they call themselves feminists, oddly enough. There was nothing new here to me but it would be a useful introduction to the subject for someone who hasn’t already read much about feminism.
  17. Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
    Terrified by the tiny number of books I’d read in August (damn you, amazing British athletes), I grabbed some graphic novels from my shelves. This one, focused on a couple from different sides of an interplanetary conflict, was really good.
  18. Suicide Squad: Monsters by Sean Ryan
    I have now learned that all Suicide Squad books are basically the same: the team gets sent into a ridiculous situation, Deadshot gets annoyed and Harley is the best one.
  19. Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck
    This was a bit of an unexpected treat; creepy, atmospheric, featuring wolves and lots of cool Swedish punctuation. It’s set in 18th century Sweden, focusing on a family who move to a remote and extremely snowy region and are immediately confronted with a dead body.
  20. Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins
    Another short story anthology: this time, featuring US YA writers and focusing on romance. It didn’t do much for me, to be honest; I found the stories too long and it turns out I don’t actually like romance very much. Who knew?
  21. God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
    It’s been ages since I read any Morrison and now I’m wondering why; the character of Bride in this book was so compelling, and, as elsewhere in Morrison, ideas of race and the supernatural mix to create something harrowing but quite special. Also, it’s short. Win.
  22. Blame by Simon Mayo
    This is a pretty good dystopian YA by legendary radio presenter Simon Mayo; it imagines a world in which people can be imprisoned for the unpunished crimes of their relatives, which is quite horrendous.
  23. How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
    Centred on the shooting of a black teenager by a white man, this focuses on the responses of his community, with friends, family and onlookers recounting the aftermath. It’s inspired by the death of Trayvon Martin and is deeply affecting.
  24. The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
    This was quite stunning; a post-apocalyptic Paris, ruled by fallen angels with gang warfare. It’s really different to anything else I’ve read.
  25. Vivian Versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle
    I’m really pleased that I randomly discovered this book through another blog; the Christian fundamentalist America obsessed with the Rapture (not the cool, indie-dance New York band of a decade ago, mind) and preparing for the apocalypse is a great set-up, and I really liked Vivian too. I’ve already ordered the next book in the series.

A pretty successful month, all in all; mainly, I’m happy to have read some genuinely excellent books in August, like Here I Am, Purple Hibiscus and God Help the Child. I’ve got a ridiculous TBR for September, which can commence once I’ve finished Joe Hill’s insanely long The Fireman.

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2 thoughts on “August Reading Round-Up

  1. elimadison2019 says:

    I’ve read a few of the books on here, most notably Labyrinth Lost and Something In-Between, but Adichie’s book is what caught my eye. I’ve seen her TED talks a few times but never picked up her book. I guess this would be a good time to start! This is great list, and thanks for sharing it 😀

    – Eli @ The Silver Words
    #commenting365

    Like

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