August Book Haul, Part 2: Library Book Sale(s) Haul!

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I actually went to 3 library book sales in August, and I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as many books if one of those sales hadn’t been having a “bag sale,” which is when you can fill an entire bag with books for only $1. Here’s what I picked up:

The Stranger by Albert Camus – this is the first book that I ever added to my TBR shelf on both Shelfari (miss you, Shelfari) and Goodreads, and I haven’t read it yet. I’ve been looking for an inexpensive copy for awhile and finally found it for $1 ๐Ÿ™‚

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – Apparently I’ve confused my goal of reading more classics with buying more classics; I have yet to pick up a single classic this year, but yet I keep hauling them. I read Woolf’s To the Lighthouse in high school and didn’t feel like I was mature enough to fully understand it; I’m ready to give her another chance and this book sounds like something I could get really immersed in.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters – I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about Sarah Waters on BookTube but never had been inclined to add her to my TBR. However,ย  I found this gorgeous hardcover book for only $2 and couldn’t resist! I like a good historical fiction book every now and then, and hopefully I’ll enjoy this one set in 1920s London.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – this is the only book on the list that I’ve read already; I initially had borrowed it and wanted my own copy, especially one with this gorgeous cover:

Middlesex

It’s a fascinating book, very detailed, which I liked, and if you haven’t read it you should definitely pick it up.

Greywalker by Kat Richardson – this is a UF book where the protagonist can move between the world of the ordinary and that of the supernatural that I’d added to my TBR awhile ago.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway – From Goodreads, “A Moveable Feast is at once an elegy to the remarkable group for expatriates that gathered in Paris during the twenties and a testament to the risks and rewards of the writerly life.” I’ve wanted to read this ever since I watched Midnight in Paris, which is a wonderfully bookish movie.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison – Beloved is one of my favorite books of all time, and it was so emotionally devastating I have yet to pick up another book by Toni Morrison. I really need to, though. I’ve also heard that this is President Obama’s favorite book.

The Name of the Rose

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco – from what I know, this is a complex historical mystery set in Italy in 1327; it sounds fascinating.

Trespass by Rose Tremain – this was a total impulse buy purchased on the last day of a book sale where you could fill a bag of books for only $1. Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

“In a silent valley in southern France stands an isolated stone farmhouse, the Mas Lunel. Aramon, the owner, is so haunted by his violent past that he’s become incapable of all meaningful action, letting his hunting dogs starve and his land go to ruin. Meanwhile, his sister Audrun, alone in her modern bungalow within sight of the Mas Lunel, dreams of exacting retribution for the unspoken betrayals that have blighted her life. Into this closed world comes Anthony Verey, a wealthy but disillusioned antiques dealer from London. When he sets his sights on the Mas, a frightening and unstoppable series of consequences is set in motion.”

The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks – I’ve never read anything by Banks, but this science fiction read involving high-stakes, complex game-playing between aliens sounds super intriguing.

The Uncertain Places

The Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein – I’ve had this on my TBR for so long that I can’t remember who recommended it to me. It’s a fairy tale retelling focused on a mysterious family of sisters, and it won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in 2012.

Miserere: An Autumn Tale

Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock – this is a high fantasy book about a man who abandoned his love to save his sister, who it turns out didn’t want to be saved. Ilona Andrews, one of my favorite authors, recommended it on her blog.

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson – another impulse buy at the library bag sale. There’s a movie coming out soon (I think?) based on this book, which is about the children of dysfunctional performance artists.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld – another impulse buy! This has been on my radar for awhile–it’s the coming-of-age story about an outsider at a prep school in Massachusetts.

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde – I’ve actually read one other book by Fforde (The Eyre Affair) which I liked in some ways; I thought it was really interesting and creative, but never felt really interested in the characters or story itself. I’m definitely willing to give him another shot, though, and this book comes highly recommended by a friend–it’s set in a society where status is determined by the colors you are able to perceive.

The Islanders

The Islanders by Christopher Priest – THIS BOOK SOUNDS AMAZING. Not only is it recommended to fans of Haruki Murakami and David Mitchell, but seriously, read this Goodreads description:

“A tale of murder, artistic rivalry, and literary trickery; a Chinese puzzle of a novel where nothing is quite what it seems; a narrator whose agenda is artful and subtle; a narrative that pulls you in and plays an elegant game with you. The Dream Archipelago is a vast network of islands. The names of the islands are different depending on who you talk to, their very locations seem to twist and shift. Some islands have been sculpted into vast musical instruments, others are home to lethal creatures, others the playground for high society. Hot winds blow across the archipelago and a war fought between two distant continents is played out across its waters. The Islanders serves both as an untrustworthy but enticing guide to the islands; an intriguing, multi-layered tale of a murder; and the suspect legacy of its appealing but definitely untrustworthy narrator.”

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden – this is an epic historical fiction work told in multiple perspectives and I’ve heard it’s excellent.

 

Phew! So that’s all of the books I hauled in August. See anything you’ve read? Let me know what you think I should pick up first!

August Book Haul, Part 1

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I may have hauled a lot of books in August; at the beginning of the months, I entertained hilarious thoughts of a book buying ban, which were quickly destroyed when a few coveted books became available on BookOutlet.com and several library book sales happened within a few weeks. Here are the books I bought during my Book Outlet binge:

Arcadia by Iain Pears – I saw this recommended on BookTube by Erica’s Epilogues and it sounded right up my alley; from what I understand, it’s an adult portal fantasy with several different worlds.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – this fantasy book has gotten awesome reviews and comparisons to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which is one of my favorite books.

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan – Goodreads calls this “a lyrical and moving debut in the tradition of Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood.” Um, yes please. In this world, people are divided between those who live at land and those who lives with see; this one was also recommended on Erica’s Epilogues.

Find Me by Laura van den Berg – this is a near-future science fiction read where an epidemic that causes memory loss and death spreads across the country; the main character is somehow immune and embarks on a journey across the country. I really don’t think I will ever get sick of this type of story.

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson – I’ve never read anything by Nalo Hopkinson, and how awesome does this Goodreads description sound: “The rich and privileged have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways-farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets. With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother. She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.”

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the book haul–library sales!

Bout of Books Days 3&4 Updates

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And Bout of Books continues! I’m a little late posting this update, but here’s how days 3 and 4 went for me:

Wednesday was my day off from work, so I was able to sleep in and read in bed that morning. Morning reading is such a luxury and is getting to be rare for me, so it felt really nice to just be able to delay responsibilities for a bit and focus on my book. After running some errands (and hitting a library used book sale) I read on the roof for awhile in the sunshine, another thing I haven’t done in awhile but that I absolutely love. I was able to finish both my audiobook, The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg, and Everneath by Brodi Ashton; I ended up liking Everneath so much that I stopped by the library and got both sequels (Everbound and Evertrue). I’m heavily on Team Cole, although I have a bad feeling about how it will all go down in the end. Has anyone else read these books??? I would love to chat about it in the comments ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyways, on Thursday I wasn’t in an audiobook mood; I downloaded the Suicide Squad soundtrack and was listening to that during my commute instead. I did start Everbound, the second book in the Everneath trilogy, and am really enjoying it so far, although the beginning was frustrating as I really wanted the action to get going.

So, I always do this thing where I tell myself I’m going to #readmyowndamnbooks during readathons, and then I end up getting hooked on a new series and reading a bunch of library books instead. I tend to get quicker reads (especially YA) from the library rather than buying them because it’s hard to justify spending money if I’m going to read something so quickly and am not planning on re-reading it. I’m trying not to feel guilty about abandoning my goal; I’ll have plenty of time to #readmyowndamnbooks after I finish this trilogy ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are my stats:

Day 3

  • Audiobook time: 73 minutes
  • Pages read: 314
  • Books started: Luckiest Girl Alive
  • Books finished: The Underground Girls of Kabul, Everneath

Day 4

  • Audiobook time: none
  • Pages read: 109
  • Books started: Everbound
  • Books finished: none

 

I hope everyone’s Bout of Books is going well! I’m hoping to get a bunch of reading done this weekend and finish strong.

Bout of Books Days 1&2 Updates

Have I mentioned how much I love Bout of Books?

I had such a stressful week last week, and so far the readathon has really been helping me to relax after work. I’ve been listening to an audiobook during my commute, and last night, although I went for a walk with some friends after work (OK, fine, we were hunting Pokemon) I ended up getting a bunch of reading done anyways.

 

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On Day 1, I was able to finish Everything is Teeth by Evie Wyld, which I really loved–I’ve always been into sharks, and I loved how her graphic memoir dealt not only with her literal shark obsession but also with sharks as a metaphor for dangers lurking below the surface of things. I also started Everneath by Brodi Ashton, which is a YA book that I had actually started reading a year or two ago and had put down, I can’t remember why. During my recent BookTube binge-watching, I saw that Thoughts on Tomes had mentioned she’d read it, and although she wasn’t a huge fan, I was reminded that I’d liked the plot idea and decided to give it another try.

On Day 2, I spent a lot of time listening to my audiobook (The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg) and only a little time reading physical books. This book is at times devastating, but I’m also amazed by the strength of the women that Nordberg writes about. I started Pretty Monsters, a short story collection by Kelly Link, that night, but didn’t get very far as I was super sleepy. The fact that I fell asleep was not at all related to the awesomeness of the story, which is about someone digging up the wrong grave.

Here are my stats for the first two days of the readathon:

Day 1

  • Audiobook time: 58 minutes
  • Pages read: 190
  • Books started: Everneath, Everything is Teeth
  • Books finished: Everything is Teeth

Day 2

  • Audiobook time: 187 minutes
  • Pages read: 16
  • Books started: Pretty Monsters
  • Books finished: none

Wednesday is my day off, so hopefully I’ll be able to get a lot of reading done then. How is everyone else’s Bout of Books going so far?

Bout of Books Sign-Up and TBR!

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 22nd and runs through Sunday, August 28th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.ย For all Bout of Books 17 information and updates, be sure to visit theย Bout of Booksย blog.ย – From the Bout of Books team

I’ve become a big fan of readathons, especially low-pressure ones; it’s a great way for me to devote more time to my TBR and get inspired by all of the wonderful bookish things on social media. This will be my third time doing Bout of Books (here are links to my firstย  and second times doing the challenge) and I’m excited for a reading-focused week. Work has been super stressful lately, so I think focusing on bookishness will be a perfect antidote.

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Goals for this Bout of Books:

  • Read at least 4ย  books
  • Finish 1 audiobook
  • Track my audiobook time and number of pages read

Here’s what I’m planning on reading during Bout of Books:

Love PoemsEverything Is TeethThe Bone KnifeThe Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)

I’m in the middle of two books right now; one of them (Nobody is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey) I don’t think I’ll read during Bout of Books; I’ve been using it as a right-before-bed book and prefer to keep it that way. I might read some of The Story of the Lost Child, my other current read, during the readathon, but I also feel like it might work better to save it for afterwards; I tend to prefer shorter, quicker reads during challenges.

For that reason, I picked out a good variety of books that I’d like to get to this week: a short collection of poetry (Love Poems by Pablo Neruda), a graphic memoir focusing on sharks (Everything is Teeth by Evie Wyld), a fantasy ebook short story (The Bone Knife by Intisar Khanani), a YA fantasy with a love triangle and alleged references to Greek mythology (Everneath by Brodi Ashton), a short dystopian science fiction novel (Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World by Donald Antrim), a collection of slipstream short stories (Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link), and a long-awaited fantasy sequel novel (The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin).

Everneath (Everneath, #1)Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better WorldPretty Monsters: StoriesThe Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)

I also like to have an audiobook option for readathons, and right now I’m in the middle of The Underground Girls of Kabul (so far it’s so interesting and very well-written). I’m anticipating finishing it this week, in which case I’ll pick up Luckiest Girl Alive, which just became available from my library. I own a physical copy of this book too, but I feel like the fast-paced plot would be good on audio.

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in AfghanistanLuckiest Girl Alive

 

Who else is participating in Bout of Books?? Feel free to link me to your sign-up posts!

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMG_2096It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly bookish feature hosted by The Book Date (http://bookdate.blogspot.com/).

August feels like it’s off to a slow bookish start; I was in a wedding this past weekend, so that’s where a lot of my time has been going, but I’ve also been reading more slowly than I typically do and it feels sort of strange. Let’s figure out why!

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I decided to kick off August with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; I bought it on July 31st (I’m not a midnight-release-er) and, although my expectations weren’t sky-high, was intending on binge-reading it that day so that I could experience it before being accidentally spoiled somehow. This…didn’t happen. Instead, I read about 30 pages of the play and it started to make me really sad because I just wasn’t liking it/connecting to it. It took me several days to work up the desire to pick it back up, at which point I sort of forced myself to accept it for what it was and was able to enjoy some aspects of it. I’m not going to do a whole review here (I might do one later, though…) but I think that a lot more thought and detail should have gone into any sequel to the Harry Potter series.

The second thing that’s been slowing my reading down is that I’ve (finally) discovered Booktube! (I know.) (Yes, it really did take me this long.) For some reason I hadn’t thought I’d enjoy watching YouTube videos by fellow bookish people; I thought it wouldn’t hold my attention as much as reading bookish blogs. Turns out, I was very wrong, and BookTube is awesome, and I’ve already added a ton of books to my TBR based on recommendations that I’ve gotten on there. So far, these three are my favorite Booktubers that I’ve found:

Erika’s Epilogues https://www.youtube.com/user/erikaraeable

Under the Radar Books https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu1Yn5B7KGk3OWT1fcQko_Q

Thoughts on Tomes https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpnjp7mgeQGdtesz5v6xY_A

If anyone could recommend me more Booktubers to follow, or if you have a channel, please let me know! As I said, I’m a newbie, and I’d love to find more awesome bookish people to get recommendations from.

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan

I was also having some audiobook issues this week (shocking, I know). The audiobook I intended on listening to this month, Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, was…not great. The writing was pretty good, but I only listened to about half an hour of it before realizing that I really did not like it. I went on Goodreads to check out reviews and see if I should push myself to keep reading, and I actually saw in a bunch of reviews that Burroughs had been sued for misrepresenting the family he talks about in his books, and that large parts of the “memoir” had been fabricated. I did not know this when I picked up the book; if I’d wanted to read fiction, I would have! So I went ahead and DNF’d.

That actually worked out well, since my library had The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg available. I started it today and it’s fascinating; it focuses on the lives of women in Afghanistan and particularly the custom of disguising and raising some young girls as boys.

I’m also in the middle of Vicious by V.E. Schwab as my main physical book–actually, it’s the only physical book I’m reading right now, which is super weird! I’m typically such a multi-book reader. Anyways, I’m a little more than halfway through, and I sort of thought I’d have finished it already, but like I said, August has been a slow month so far. I really like the characters and how the book jumps back and forth in time to tell the story; however, I’m not absolutely blown away by this book. It’s good, but not amazing. So far.

 

What are you guys reading? Let me know!

 

#ReadThemAllThon Reading Challenge TBR!

ReadThemAllThon

The awesome Read at Midnight is hosting a 3-week reading challenge from August 14 to September 4th: the #ReadThemAllThon! Essentially, your goal is to read at least 8 books that correspond to Pokemon badges; there’s also a points-scoring aspect of the challenge that involves picking a Pokemon and potentially earning a prize, but I think I’m going to sit that part out and just try to get some books read. You can sign up at the link below:

Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon Sign Up

I haven’t done much reading during the first week of August, and although I’m planning on participating in Bout of Books (August 22-28) which always re-inspires me to dive into my books, I figured that I’d like to jump-start my reading sooner if possible and join another challenge. So here are 8 books that I’m going to attempt over the next 3 weeks!

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Lailah by Nikki Kelly – the first book in the Styclar saga! What is Styclar? I guess I’ll find out. I’ve heard so little about this book but it looks like romance-focused, angsty, post-apocalyptic YA.

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The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante – I’ll probably be sobbing during this book. I just have a feeling that we’re not in for a happy ending. Plus, just the idea of finishing Ferrante’s gorgeously written quartet makes me sad.

ReadThemAllThon-Badge03-Thunder

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – everyone seems to love this graphic novel; I’ve even heard of several colleges assigning it as a freshman read. I’ve seen the movie already but hearing all the hype made me want to pick up the source.

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – I have yet to read a less than stellar review of this multi-generational saga that follows the descendants of two half-sisters in the U.S. and Africa after they are set on two very different paths.

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Love Poems by Pablo Neruda – this is sort of cheating, but since Neruda is acclaimed for his romantic poetry, I feel like this collection will work fine for this challenge.

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Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link – Kelly Link writes gorgeous fantasy/horror/fairytale/occasionally scifi short stories that I suppose you could categorize as “slipstream,” so this should work perfectly.

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Afterparty by Daryl Gregory – science fiction involving the widespread use of designer drugs that involves some sort of murder mystery, I think. I’ve read some good reviews and this sounds fast-paced and creative.

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Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World by Donald Antrim – this is supposedly creepy post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a small town; it’s also a very short book, which works well for readathons.

Let me know if you’re participating, and feel free to link up to your post!

August TBR!

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Somehow, I feel like I’m more excited about my August TBR than any of my other TBR stacks from this year. This month, every book on my TBR is one that I physically own, and I have no urge to hit the library and go off the rails (yet). There are a few new releases on here, and a few that I feel like I’m playing catch-up on because I’ve heard so much positive hype. But what these books all have in common is that I can’t wait to read them! ๐Ÿ™‚

HomegoingVicious (Vicious, #1)The Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)Pretty Monsters: StoriesLailahRunning with ScissorsThe Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

So, here’s my August TBR – as usual, I ranked the books in order of how likely I am to read them, but this month I honestly do think I’ll be sticking pretty closely to this stack. So my ranking system might be a little off.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling – OK, so I bought this book on July 31st and couldn’t wait to get started; I figured that I could binge-read it that day to see what happens before I accidentally read a spoiler or something. And…I’ve started it, but I wasn’t liking it that much (which is such a terrible thing to say about Harry Potter! I feel guilty about it). I’ll absolutely finish this book, but I’m not sure that I’m going to end up enthralled.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book. It’s the story of two African sisters who are separated and whose descendants go on to live very different lives; I have no idea how this author is going to tell the stories of so many generations in such a relatively slim book, but from what I heard, I’m going to be blown away.

Vicious by V. E. Schwab – this book about two best friends/enemies who (I think?) develop some type of superpowers sounds like the type of book I can get completely sucked into. I’ve read the first couple of chapters so far and I really like what I’ve seen; V.E. Schwab clearly knows what she’s doing and I’m excited to see where the story goes.

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante – I am terrified to read this book; I also can’t wait. Ferrante’s books get me into this intense reading trance; Elena and Lila’s relationship is consuming and powerful. I’m anxious to see how their lives end up and to finally get a resolution to the mystery presented at the beginning of My Brilliant Friend.

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin – this book comes out on August 16th and I am soooo excited; either I’m going to jump straight in and read it immediately or save it until I have big chunks of uninterrupted time to binge-read. It’s the sequel to The Fifth Season, one of my favorite books of last year, and takes place in a world that has suffered multiple apocalyptic-type natural disasters. The people there are survivors, but the first book began with the end of the world; in addition to the intricate and fascinating world-building, the characters are incredibly real and I need to know what happens RIGHT NOW.

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs – I got a copy of this at a library used book sale because I vaguely remembered one of my friends telling me she’d read it. I started listening to it on audiobook and am interested so far; I like how detailed Burroughs’s writing is, and he easily and quickly creates a sense of place.

Lailah by Nikki Kelly – if I am in the mood for YA this month, I’m picking this one up and seeing if the angel/vampire love triangle works for me. Fingers crossed! I’ve read zero reviews on this one and haven’t seen it on bookstagram or any blogs, so this is a bit of a risk.

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link – I’ve read two short story collections by Kelly Link so far, and own two unread ones. Link’s stories are this gorgeous, mysterious, and atmospheric blend of fantasy and horror with occasional hints of science fiction and fairy tales; the stories tend to get under your skin and stay with you after you read them. I absolutely love her writing and am interested to see what other stories she has in store for us.

 

What do you plan on reading in August? Let me know!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Buy if I Was Given a Loaded Gift Card

11a7d-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish (http://www.brokeandbookish.com/)

If I was given a gift card good for any ten books, I’d head straight to the bookstore and probably spend hours agonizing about what books to buy. I tend to really limit my buying of new books to highly anticipated new releases, or only buy new/full-price books if I have a gift card; most of my bookish purchases are from library used book sales (although lately I’ve been binging on BookOutlet since the prices are so great). So my list has a lot of pricey and/or new hardcovers on it, because it would be such an indulgence to hit the bookstore and pick up a bunch of new releases all at once!

The Age of InnocenceArcadiaBats of the Republic: An Illuminated NovelIn the Night Garden (The Orphan's Tales, #1)

I’d love to get a really nice edition of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence; from what I’ve heard about this book I think it will be a classic that I’ll end up loving.

I’ve heard that Iain Pears’s Arcadia is a creative book about traveling between worlds, and that there are multiple ways to read it; it’s definitely one I have my eye on but probably won’t get around to buying unless it pops up on BookOutlet.

Bats of the Republic by Zachary Thomas Dodson is an illuminated novel that contains illustrations and different documents; it sounds like such a cool reading experience but it’s definitely a bit pricey.

Yes, I have 2 unread books by Catherynne M. Valente on my physical TBR shelf already, but In the Night Garden just sounds so good, and I haven’t seen a copy of it anywhere.

The Last OneSleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)The Regional Office Is Under Attack!All the Birds, Singing

Three new releases I’m really interested in are The Last One by Alexandra Oliva, Sleeping Giants by Silvain Neuvel, and The Regional Office is Under Attack by Manuel Gonzales; I also think All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld sounds amazing, but I haven’t seen it around at many bookstores.

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And I know this is cheating, but I love these colorful editions of the Harry Potter books; my hardcovers are completely falling apart! I’d love to pick these up someday. I counted these as my last 2 books even though it’s really 7 ๐Ÿ™‚

July Reading Wrap-Up & Mini-Reviews

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So, July was an absolutely fabulous reading month for me; I think it was actually my best reading month of the year. The books, as a whole, that I read in July were really great; I had a lot of fun and got a ton of reading done during #24in48; and I did a pretty great job of reading my own damn books.

Number of books read: 14 (!!!!!)

Audiobooks: 4 (!!!!!)

#readmyowndamnbooks: 7 (!!!!!)

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge tasks completed: 4

โœ“ 2. Read a nonfiction book about science
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

โœ“ 16. Read the first book in a series by a person of color
Binti (Binti, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

โœ“ 18. Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie. Debate which is better.
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

โœ“ 21. Read a book about politics, in your country or another (fiction or nonfiction)
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3) by Elena Ferrante Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

 

So, here’s what I read this month, ranked (as usual) in order of awesomeness, with favorites first:

milk and honey by Rupi KaurThose Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena FerranteConfessions by Kanae MinatoMen We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (4.5 stars)ย  – This is my preferred style of poetry to read – short poems in free verse with huge emotional impact. The middle two sections of this book absolutely blew me away. I read each poem at least 2-3 times because it’s impossible not to savor her words. Will definitely be re-reading this.

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante (4 stars) – the third book of Ferrante’s four Neapolitan novels deals with adult Lila and Elena, delving into their careers and politics and still maintaining their complex friendship. This may have been my least favorite of the quartet so far, but it was still very good; Ferrante’s writing remains excellent and I only care more about these characters are the books continue, no matter what crazy choices they make.

Confessions by Kanae Minato (4 stars) – this was a psychological thriller where the twists just kept on coming. The premise is that of a middle-school teacher confronting her class about the death of her daughter and accusing two of them of her murder; it only gets more intense from there. I read most of this in this sort of deep trance and literally could not stop reading. Definitely recommend this for fans of well-written, intriguing dark books.

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward (4 stars) – it’s hard to talk about this book. It’s devastating and powerful, and it should absolutely be read by everyone. Jesmyn Ward is an incredible writer, and I admire her so much for being able to tell this story.

Binti by Nnedi OkoraforSaga, Volume 6 by Brian K. VaughanSecond Star by Alyssa B. SheinmelShrill by Lindy West

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (4 stars) – this is a science fiction novella about Binti, a brilliant girl living in an isolated community on Earth who is selected to attend the most prestigious school in the universe. Going to school involves breaking with her cultural traditions, but she is determined to remain herself and honor her heritage on her trip. On the way, she faces an unexpected enemy. I thought the worldbuilding was fantastic, especially considering how short this was, and I LOVED Binti as a protagonist. I found out that there will be at least one sequel to this novella, which I’m very excited for.

Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (4 stars) – the latest volume in this science fiction/fantasy mash-up graphic novel series about an unconventional family defying the odds to try and stay together was really good; there’s only been one volume of Saga that I really didn’t like. This was not it. It was sweet and exciting and exactly what I was looking for. Can’t wait for Volume 7.

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (3.5 stars) – this was Peter Pan, if the characters in Peter Pan were surfers living in Southern California. Essentially, straight-A student Wendy Darling is searching for her brothers who went missing and during her search meets and falls for both Pete and Jas (Captain Hook, although with a very odd name choice and two hands. This really bothered me. Why couldn’t he have a hook??). I’ve mentioned before that YA is really hit or miss for me, but this totally worked. It’s full of romance and drama and I enjoyed the entire thing.

Shrill by Lindy West (3.5 stars) – this memoir was somehow both very funny and very important and relevant. I wasn’t familiar with Lindy West prior to picking up this audiobook; I’d definitely recommend it now that I have.

The Quick by Lauren OwenThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootGods Behaving Badly by Marie PhillipsBitch Planet, Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick

The Quick by Lauren Owen (3 stars) – I wanted to like this book more than I did. Vampires in a historical setting? A sister going to rescue her brother? Sounded great. The Quick is essentially about James, a young writer who moves to London and gets pulled into mysterious circumstances that he wasn’t aware of or looking for; it’s also about his older sister, Charlotte, who travels to London to look for James after she hasn’t heard from him in awhile. It’s hard to say much more than that without spoiling things. There were some things I really liked: I liked both romance storylines in the book (the romance is very light, though, it’s definitely not a romance-oriented book). I also liked Charlotte’s devotion to her brother, and I thought the writing itself was good overall. There were a lot of issues, for me, with the storytelling, though–the first 200 or so pages are from James’s perspective, except for the first chapter, which is in Charlotte’s, and after that it switches around sort of randomly between five or six character perspectives. A lot of this felt really unnecessary to me; we didn’t need a lot of the extra information and perspectives, and it threw the pacing off quite a bit as well. Overall, I liked this, but definitely didn’t love it. I wouldn’t highly recommend it; if you really enjoy historical fiction and vampires, though, you may like it also.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (3 stars) – Henrietta Lacks’ story is an important one, and I was so intrigued and shocked by the journey of her cells. I thought all of the scientific information was really interesting; where the book didn’t work for me was how much the author inserted herself into the story.

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips (3 stars) – this was a funny, quick read satirizing Greek mythology by bringing all of the Olympians to modern-day England and seeing how two ordinary people fare when brought into the mix. It’s not at all deep or emotional, but if you’re a Greek mythology fan, it’s definitely enjoyable.

Bitch Planet by (3 stars) – I loved the feminist concept and creepy worldbuilding in this graphic novel, but for me there wasn’t enough characterization and it really took away from the story.

Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane AndersThe Jane Austen Book Club

Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders (2.5 stars) – this is technically classified as a “novelette,” although it seemed like a short story to me. I enjoyed Anders’ novel All the Birds in the Sky and had her shorter work on my TBR for awhile; it ended up unfortunately being a disappointment. I feel like the characterization was really lacking, and although the concept was sort of interesting, it was a letdown overall.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler (2 stars) – I LOVED Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which was this really unique and emotionally gutting novel that was one of my favorite books of 2015. Unfortunately, that book and this one had absolutely nothing in common. I went in expecting a cute story of friendship and romance; The Jane Austen Book Club ended up being about 80% backstory with almost no plot taking place in the present. It was really frustrating to listen to because nothing ever happened; even the discussion of Jane Austen seemed really lacking to me.

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So, what did you guys read in July? Let me know!