I have way too many reading commitments stacked up for August, so the books I acquired in July that I’m *supposed* to be reading next month are probably going to take a backseat for now. Nevertheless, since reading my newly acquired books by the end of the following month was a goal I set for myself this year, I still want to track my progress even though I’m expecting it to be an utter failure this time around. So I’ll do a quick run-through here of the books I’ve hauled this month, followed by an overview of other books I intend to read.
New (unread) books on my shelves this month:
- Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. My July BOTM selection, a new nonfiction about female desire I’m very intrigued about!
- The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan. I picked this up in an excellent secondhand bookstore that I visited with a friend on her birthday; it’s one of McEwan’s titles I’m most curious about, and strangely unavailable at my local library and bookstore.
- Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I’ve yet to read anything from this author (regrettably!) and fortuitously came across this one in the same secondhand shop.
- After Dark by Haruki Murakami. I read and loved Murakami’s Norwegian Wood earlier this year, and have been wanting to try more of his work. I found this one at another secondhand shop.
- Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney. (There aren’t any secondhand shops close to where I live, so when I had the opportunity I went a little crazy!) Beowulf has been on my TBR for ages, so this was a rather arbitrary time to pick it up, but perhaps having a copy on hand will give me the motivation to finally read it. This edition shows the full Old English text alongside the translation, which appeals to me because I studied Old English in college and want to see how much I remember!
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. My last secondhand grab this month. I included this title in a Top of the TBR post this month and have suddenly been itching to start in.
- Wilder Girls by Rory Power. A lot of attractive new releases came out in July, but this is one that fascinated me the most. YA usually goes quickly for me and the synopsis looks great; I expect to be reading this one soon!
- The Philosopher’s War by Tom Miller. This is a sequel to Miller’s The Philosopher’s Flight, which was one of the weirdest and most fun books I picked up from BOTM in 2018.
- Different Seasons by Stephen King. Barnes and Noble was having a B2G1 sale on SK material (plus discounts!) which I couldn’t pass up. This story collection includes “Shawshank Redemption” and “The Body,” two SK stories I’m most excited to read!
- Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. I know less about this story collection, but I do find it easier to read thicker books when I don’t have a library due date looming ahead, so have been waiting for a good opportunity to pick up a copy of this one.
- Strange Weather by Joe Hill. I’ve not yet read any of Joe Hill’s work, but given my appreciation for Stephen King’s writing (SK is Hill’s father) and the similarities in style/content that I’ve heard the two share, I really need to remedy that situation. I’ve had my eye on this one since it was released, and like the thought of starting with a set of shorter pieces. (This is a set of four short, related novels.)
I’d like to pick up as many of these new-to-me titles as I can, because I am pretty excited about this month’s haul list, but I do also have a few other reading plans in mind.
First, August is Women in Translation month, so I want to be sure I’m supporting some translated women writers in my reading and reviewing throughout the month. The titles I’m going to aim for picking up in August are:
- Human Acts by Han Kang. I bought this after loving Kang’s The Vegetarian last year; I expect I’ll love this one as well, and it’ll feel good to tackle an owned-unread book that I’ve neglected too long!
- Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi. This is another owned-unread book, though much newer. I was hoping to get to this one in July, but it just didn’t happen. This is the 2019 winner of the Man Booker International Prize.
- The History of Bees by Maja Lunde. I recently rediscovered this book on my TBR, and feel that it’s time to finally pick it up.
August is also prime time for the Booker Prize longlist; I don’t think I’ll be able to read the full roster, but I am expecting to pick up these titles within the month:
- Lanny by Max Porter.
- An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma.
- The Wall by John Lanchester.
- Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson.
- Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry.
Additionally, as though I didn’t have enough to read, I’ve tentatively agreed to another Stephen King buddy read, which will necessitate my completing:
- Finders Keepers by Stephen King. This is the second book in the Bill Hodges trilogy. I own a copy, and enjoyed the first book, but have been slow to pick this one up.
- End of Watch by Stephen King. The third book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, which I also already own.
- The Outsider by Stephen King. A related follow-up to the Bill Hodges trilogy, and the actual title I expect to buddy read, if I manage to complete the others in time. They’re all of reasonable length, by King standards, and the first book was a pretty quick and immersive read, so I’m hoping I can fly through these pretty quickly.
And last but not least, I also have two books already checked out from the library that I was hoping to squeeze into the end of July, which didn’t quite happen.
- Lock Every Door by Riley Sager. I’m actually planning to start this one today, and am really looking forward to it!
- The Need by Helen Phillips. This is a short thriller that looks pleasantly disturbing, and is a new release I was really excited for. I’m not sure I want to read these two thrillers back-to-back, but they will be due for return soon and I expect to finish them both within a week or so.
All in all… 23 books. There’s no way that’ll happen, so I’ll certainly have to prioritize some categories here above others. I managed to finish 9 books in July (and am expecting to finish a 10th tonight- my wrap-up should be coming up tomorrow!), so I’m realistically hoping to complete about half of this absurdly ambitious TBR.
Have you read any of these? Anything you particularly recommend?
The Literary Elephant