We have officially made it to the second half of 2018. I hope you’re doing well, and really hope you had a better reading month than I did. Is there a term for when you think you’ve read a large number of books, but when you look back at your actual stats the number is far fewer?
Delusion! That’s it. Anyway, although I did not finish as many books as I wanted to in July, it was quite a leisurely month. And that has been good for my soul. August is always the time of year when things feel busier for me, so all that R&R has hopefully prepared me to kick it into high gear. Anyway, before I get any further sidetracked and rambly, here is my July Wrap-Up.
Books I Finished in July:
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch – I read this book to prepare for the book club hosted by An Historian About Town, for which the discussion will be going on throughout August and September. I listened to the audiobook and the reader, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, is fantastic! Peter Grant is the main character and narrator, and to be honest I’m not a big fan of his. But the story and details kept me hungrily listening up to the very end (get more details about the book club [here], and this book [here]).
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – This was a reread for me, and I had such a deep reaction to it this time around. The first time I read Mrs. Dalloway was in college, and I enjoyed it, but not to the extent I did this time. I’ve put some better thoughts down in a journal and in a blog post draft, so you may see an elaboration in the future.
The Unexpected Inlander by Kellyn Thompson – I enjoyed this book very much, and I won’t say any more – because I have a book review for it [here] – apart from if you have the time to read it this summer please do so.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – This was my July Book of the Month pick. I’ve read a few story re-tellings/adaptations in the past couple of months, and was excited to dive into another. This Rumpelstiltskin-esque, fairy tale-inspired novel is full of detail, wit, extraordinary characters, kingdoms, and details that at first seem like charming tidbits, but then make major contributions to the story. As I was reading I kept thinking that this would be the perfect book to read aloud – one chapter at a time (each chapter contains at least two characters’ perspectives) – because of the drama, the richness, and the fantastical appeal.
Books I Did Not Finish in July:
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – I have seen this book everywhere, and prior to reading it myself, had only heard good things about it. At the beginning, I was intrigued. But for most of the time I was just bored. Blake Crouch did a great job setting up the science and theory that made up the plot of this story, but his sparsely detailed scenes and short lines of prose just weren’t for me. I need embellishment! An emphasis on character development and richness! And that’s not how this book was written. I DNF’d it on page 284 (342 pages in all), skipped to the back to read the very end, then without attachment, returned it to the library.
Books I Added to My Bookshelf in July:
I treated myself to a couple of bookstore shopping sprees, the main one being the Barnes & Noble (read about it here) and The Briar Patch (read about it here) spree (which I documented in my Instagram stories), as well as a Sherman’s Bookstore visit that had a purpose: to purchase the beautiful, shiny hardcover edition of Circe in time for a Madeline Miller discussion, and book signing, at my library. The bargain books were too enticing so I also picked up two more books there.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
The Story of Kullervo by J.R.R. Tolkien
Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray – read the post that this new edition (alongside an old edition) inspired me to write.
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Cove by Ron Rash
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Circe by Madeline Miller
Books I Am Unhauling:
None. Because I’m a Reading Challenge failure.
Don’t read that as an invite to a pity party, because it’s not one – it’s true. The Reading Challenge I set for myself this year – back in December when I was much more optimistic – will not be completed. At my current reading rate, it’s just impossible. SO. Because I’m notoriously awful at the Reading Challenges I set for myself, I’m just going to ride this one out for the foreseeable future. Hey look, I’ve already planned something for 2019!
Now that my Debbie Downer speech is over, I can honestly say that I’m excited for the next couple of months – the end of summer, the beginning of fall, my birthday month, and a lot more reading. I hope you’ll share at least one book you’ve read this month down in the comments, or at least something you’re looking forward to in August. In the meantime, happy reading, blogging, writing, and living.