August was a busy month, mostly spent planning for our trip to Spain. We are super-excited to finally be off on our adventure to London, Barcelona, Granada, Seville, and Madrid. But August was also a really upsetting month, due to the horrible deaths in Charlottesville and Barcelona and finishing up with the flooding in Texas. We’ll be staying very near the street where those people were run over in Barcelona, and it feels somewhat wrong to be going there as a tourist — except that not traveling can’t be right either. The truth is, I’m scared for myself and I’m scared for everyone, because we don’t know when and where these things will happen. But it feels like the world is getting uglier all the time, and violence and hate are all around us. I suppose that’s kind of overdramatic, considering I didn’t live through two World Wars. But it feels very strange to be planning something as frivolous as a vacation in Europe when so many people are suffering.
Here’s what I read in August:
- The Song of the Orphans by Daniel Price
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart
- Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
- Reading the Bones by Sheila Finch
- The Power by Naomi Alderman
- Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
My favorite read? The Power was everything I wanted it to be. So, so good. The Baileys Prize got it right again. Homegoing was also a powerful book. At first I didn’t like how quickly it moved from generation to generation, because you don’t get to know the characters as well. But the way each generation tied together worked. When I was finished I felt like I understood something more about what it means to be African-American in the U.S. and what it means for those who stayed in Africa.
I’ve got mixed feelings about a few books. Housekeeping was beautiful and terribly sad, but I felt I’d been built up for a more intense read. I struggled with Difficult Women, a collection of short stories that range from sad to brutal. The first story gave me nightmares, and I almost didn’t want to keep going after that. I’m also struggling with The Three Musketeers. I loved The Count of Monte Cristo, but that book is so much about the main character, and this book feels like a random series of adventures by four guys who don’t seem that interesting. I’m hoping it picks up a bit.
Books for challenges:
- Reading All Around the World: Homegoing is set in present-day Ghana, except for the portions that take place in the U.S.
- 20 Books of Summer: I read 15 — see my progress here.
- Read Diverse: Homegoing and Difficult Women
What I’m reading now: Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir, My Beloved World. This was recommended after I wrote about law school recently. I got into it right away, and I’m looking forward to learning more about her.
What’s coming up: Vacation, that’s what! My Kindle is stocked and includes: The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken, The Good People by Hannah Kent, The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett, and Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather. I’m supposed to read something set in Cuba for the Read Around the World Challenge, if anyone has suggestions.
Two things that made me happy this month: Broadchurch – I can’t believe it took me this long to watch this show! I love mysteries and everything about this show was brilliant, especially David Tennant and Jodie Whittaker, the new Doctor Who. I just finished Season 1 and cried like a baby.
Thing #2: a friend gave me a S’well water bottle as a gift. It’s the best water bottle ever –beautiful design, easy to carry, no condensation, and water stays cold all day, even in the sun. I’ve already bought one as a gift.
Books I added to my TBR Pile: The Gowk Storm (a Scottish classic recommended by Fiction Fan), and memoir Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi, which was on sale and sounds fascinating.
Book deals you might want to check out (courtesy of BookRiot):
- Forward by Abby Wambach for $2.99
- Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman for $1.99.
- A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan for $1.99.
- Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshi for $1.99.
- Fledgling by Octavia Butler for $3.99.
- The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin for $9.99
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for $2.99
And that’s August! Happy reading everyone, and a fond farewell to summer.