My reading life in lists: my last post about a monthly book haul and TBR went pretty well and helped motivate me to make August a big reading month, so I thought I’d try again. Below, I have (in this order): a list of books I’ve bought in the past month, a list of the books I read in August with brief commentary on how well I stuck to my plan, and a new list of to-reads in September.
First, my book haul:
I tried not to buy many books in August, because I’m determined to get to all of the unread books on my shelves before the piles grow so much that I’ll be crushed to death beneath them. There could be worse deaths though, right? I did get a little carried away again at the end of the month, so I ended up with eight new books in August. Here’s what I bought:
- Since You’ve Been Gone, by Morgan Matson. I’ve heard a lot about The Unexpected Everything this summer, and it made me determined to try one of Matson’s books, but after perusing the titles I decided that Since You’ve Been Gone was the one I wanted to start with, rather than her newest book. I found it cheap when I wasn’t even looking, and it seemed like a sign that it was time I picked it up and delved into a Matson novel. If I like it, The Unexpected Everything will probably be next.
- Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. There are so many new YA fantasy and dystopian series out there now that I want to sample, but this one seemed like a good place to start. I was on the fence about buying it, because I’ve heard it’s one of the more predictable choices, but sometimes I want something easy to binge on and this one’s easily available. Again, I found it cheap when I wasn’t looking and just couldn’t help picking it up.
- The Girl Before by Rena Olsen. I found this one in the book section at Target. I had never heard of this title before, but I was so surprised at how many great books I found at this Target that were already in my master TBR list that I was a little overwhelmed trying to choose between them; in the end I bypassed the choice by picking up this one that hadn’t even been on my radar. It sounds like just the kind of psychological thriller I’ve been into lately, so I have high hopes.
- Siracusa by Delia Ephron. This is one I’ve had my eye on for a little while, so when I saw it on sale I grabbed it. It seems like an obvious summer read about a sunny vacation, but with summer winding down I might save it for colder months and try to imagine I’m on a warm vacation myself. I think this is another book with a lot of suspense and plot twists, but it’s also very focused on relationships, as far as I can tell from the book jacket, which sounds like a fun combination.
- Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. This one was on my radar, but I was not in a hurry to get to it and I wasn’t intending to buy it at all, but then I saw it on sale… (are you noticing a trend here?) So I picked up a nice hard cover copy for under $7, and after reading the synopsis again–reincarnation is a factor–I’m pretty glad I picked it up and I hope to get around to reading it before too long.
- Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. This YA novel is a twist on the classic Wizard of Oz story, which I’ve always liked, and twisted adaptations fascinate me. The third book in this series came out recently and heightened my interest in the set, so I picked up the first book and decided to give it a chance.
- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Here’s another YA novel, this one the first in a fantasy series that’s growing in popularity. Obviously checking out the first book in a new (to me) series is another trend this month. I like stories that go on and on, and reading a series can seem less daunting than one giant book. I don’t always buy the rest of the series, but getting the first book prompts me to get started.
- We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach. I didn’t set out looking for this one at all, either. I saw it on a store shelf, thought the title was interesting enough to pick up the book, and then fell in love with the soft matte black cover. The premise of the book sounded intriguing to me after reading Station Eleven in August; I like books that speculate about the end of the modern world, so I think I’ll enjoy this one.
Next, the August Wrap-Up:
I had a big goal of ten books to read this month, and I did succeed, though I didn’t entirely stick to my plan. A few books in, my tentative schedule for the month was more or less demolished. I had some personal things to deal with this month, and an unexpected rereading binge took up a good week in the middle of my month, but somehow I must have made it work because much to my surprise I reached the end of August with everything crossed off my list. Here’s what I read this month:
- After You by Jojo Moyes. This is the follow-up to the popular book/movie story of Me Before You, which I read in June. You can find my reviews here for Me Before You and After You for my complete thoughts on the duo.
- If There be Thorns by V. C. Andrews. This is the third book in a relatively old modern gothic series that was recommended to me, and I plan to review the entire series in one post once I finish the final two books.
- Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes. I have never loved a sequel as much as I love this one. I’d been itching to read this one since it came out earlier this year, and it easily tied for a top spot in my favorite summer reads. You can find my reviews here for You and Hidden Bodies for my complete thoughts on this duo.
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling. The whole world has been awaiting this addition to the Harry Potter series, it seems, and it did not disappoint. This was also a favorite of mine this summer. You can find my complete review here.
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This is one I had been interested in reading for months, and I finally decided to pick it up at the library. It was nothing like I expected, but I liked almost everything about it anyway. The end of the modern world is an intriguing possibility. You can find my complete review here.
- Grey by E. L. James. This is where my deviation from my reading plan for the month really starts to show. I ended up rereading parts of the Twilight saga in a fit of nostalgia for my teenage years, including the free online draft of the incomplete novel in Edward’s perspective, Midnight Sun. The fact that it was unfinished left me hanging, so I started rereading the Fifty Shades trilogy as well, just because that originally started as Twilight fan fiction and I was hungry to find those similarities. Even that wasn’t quite enough to satisfy my weird reading cravings, so I picked up Grey, the Fifty Shades equivalent of Midnight Sun, even though I had decided months ago never to read Grey. Luckily in my August TBR I left a space for a to-be-determined library book, although I had a few specific choices in mind other than Grey, but I picked it up anyway and let it fill that 10th book slot. I was actually really disappointed by this one, as you’ll see in my upcoming review, but it put me out of the rereading mood and back on track with my August TBR, so maybe it wasn’t so bad in the end. I read it in one day.
- The Girls by Emma Cline. I’d borrowed this one from a friend and had been wanting to read it so badly, and after Grey I finally stopped making myself wait to pick it up. By this point in the month I was on a serious reading binge, and I couldn’t put books down for anything. This was the second book in a row I read in one day. You can find my complete review here.
- With Malice by Eileen Cook. Another borrowed book, my YA read of the month. I was not entirely in the mood for this one when I stared it, but it was quick and easy and I liked it more than I thought I would. I also read this one in one day. You can find my complete review here.
- The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware. This was an unread book from my own bookshelf that I was dying to read, and I figured that as long as I was on a break from library books and was reading so fast that I might as well dive in to this one, as well. I finished it in one day. This was another highlight of my summer reads. You can find my complete review here.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I was so in the mood for this book when I initially checked it out from the library at the end of July. But I didn’t start it right away, and i have been so out of the mood to read it ever since. I just kept putting it off, and eventually I had to renew it, but I’m too stubborn to renew more than once or return a book unread, so I did start reluctantly reading it at the very end of the month. It was the last book on my list to check off, and after I’d gone so far off schedule and ended up so close to my goal anyway, I was determined not to let this one hold me back from my goal. I’m on the fence about writing up a review for this one. It’s a fairly well-known classic with much already written about it. Thoughts?
Technically I read more than ten books this month (if you count rereads, which I’m not counting for this list), which seems a little insane, but it was my coping mechanism for troubling times and really it turned out to be a great reading month. I was quite surprised I ended up meeting my goal after it seemed like I’d gotten so off track. I had my doubts early on about my ability to stick to such a planned reading schedule, but having a list to stick to proved to be highly motivating for me even if I didn’t follow the set dates for reading each book that I had planned at all. I rather enjoy reading for pleasure with some self-inflicted time pressure–like “this will be fun, but I have to do it.” What’s not to like?
And finally, my September TBR:
I’ve decided to take it a little easier this month. Apparently if I set myself a high goal that seems crazy, I will meet it, but at the detriment of other projects I should also be working on. September tends to be a busy month, so I’m only assigning myself six books this month, although it’s not as though I’d be heartbroken if I finished early and decided to read more. Here’s my tentative plan:
- Red Rising, by Pierce Brown. This is the first book in a relatively new series that a friend pointed out to me in a bookstore last month. I didn’t buy it, but it’s been on my mind ever since. I already checked the first book out of the library a few days ago and I’m looking forward to giving it a try.
- Library of Souls, by Ransom Riggs. This one’s my YA read for the month, and a loose end to tie up. I read the first two books as they were released, but time has somehow gotten away from me with this one and not due to lack of interest. I finally tracked down a copy and am excited to see where this third volume in the Miss Peregrine series will take me. I’m not sure if I’ll be reviewing this one on my blog, since I haven’t reviewed the first two here, don’t remember my specific opinions on them very clearly, and don’t want to take the time to reread them all just now. If you want to vote yay or nay on my reviewing only this third book for now, feel free to comment below.
- All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda. I bought this book last month, and wanted to get to it before summer was completely gone. I’m cutting it pretty close, but I think this will be good timing for me. I’m very intrigued by the fact that this is a mystery written backwards. Definitely stay tuned for my review of that.
- The Killing Forest by Sara Blaedel. This is another loose end of sorts. I read Blaedel’s first book in the Louise Rick series several months ago. I didn’t love it, but I liked it enough to give its sequel a go and I finally checked it out of the library. I have high hopes that this one will be even better than the first (you can find my review of Blaedel’s The Forgotten Girls here).
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I bought this book last month after literally years of trying to track down a good copy at a reasonable price, and I wanted this to be a summer read, as well. It might feel a bit like fall by the time I get around to it, but I’ve enjoyed other Russian works and I think I’ll love this one regardless of the time of year I finally get around to it. It’s been a little while since I’ve read a good classic, so this will be a nice change of pace, as well, and maybe get me back into reading those a little more regularly.
- The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane. This is another book I bought last month and am impatient to get to, but I don’t mind so much about what time of year I read it so I’ll let this one be the last book of the month. Unless, of course, I finish early and can dive into some of my exciting August buys.
That’s a lot of numbers, but we have finally reached the end. Thanks for sticking with me. What are you looking forward to reading this month? Are there any of my August books you’d like to see a review for soon?
Happy reading, bibliophiles!
The Literary Elephant