August started strong, but then I stumbled for a couple weeks in terms of reading. I just wasn’t motivated to dive into (or finish) anything. Distressingly, I set two titles aside for later — not quite giving up, but waiting for a better time. In better news, I did complete by Dusting Off The Bookshelf challenge — more to come on that this week.
By the numbers: 8 books, 8 reviews on Goodreads, 3 reviews on alenaslife, 1 oldie from my shelf – #dustingoffmybookshelf, 1 from my 2014 personal challenge (non-fiction), 2 audio, 2 set-aside
From most to least favorite: (Overall, I really ended up liking everything I read this month)
Shotgun Lovesongs, Nikolas Butler, already reviewed
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, Susannah Cahalan, already reviewed
The Flying Troutmans, Miriam Toews #DustingofftheBookshelf
So wonderful and quirky and unexpected. Black comedy at its best. I am ashamed that I have not gotten around to writing the review this book deserves.
“It’s impossible to move through the stages of grief when a person is both dead and alive, the way Min is. It’s like she’s living permanently in an airport terminal, moving from one departure lounge to another but never getting on a plane. Sometimes I tell myself that I’d do anything for Min. That I’d do whatever was necessary for her to be happy. Except that I’m not entirely sure what that would be.”
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Novel, Alan Bradley (audio book)
I am very sad to have completed this book, as it is the last in Bradley’s 6-book Flavia de Luce series. I have truly adored each and every installment in the series and The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches is no exception. This is the only one, however, that I don’t think would stand alone without reading the preceeding novels. This finale ties together many outstanding questions left from the 5 murders Flavia has “solved” in her 11th year. I listed the audio versions of all these books except the first. Jayne Entwistle does a magnificent job bringing these books to life.
“Why is it that the facts closest to our noses are the ones that are hardest to see?”
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, Allie Brosch
Not my typical read at all — a collection of comedic illustrated essays — but I had heard really great reviews from readers I trust. And I’m glad I snapped my mini-reading funk with this book. I read this in one sitting with no problem. Fast-paced, acerbic humor (as in I was laughing out loud at the pool) balanced with heartbreaking honesty. I recognized myself several times throughout. It’s really good read.
“But trying to use willpower to overcome the apathetic sort of sadness that accompanies depression is like a person with no arms trying to punch themselves until their hands grow back.”
Fourth of July Creek, Smith Henderson, already reviewed
We Were Liars, E. Lockhart
Despite my “advanced age,” I love that the YA fiction genre really coming into its own, filled with great characters, sharp writing and high emotion. We Were Liars has all of these qualities, plus some additional twists and turns. It just didn’t quite reach the level of an overall great read for me. Wounded and vulnerable and misunderstood teenagers make for great books. I just never quite fell in love with this set the way I think I was supposed to. The other problem here is that I predicted the central plot twist very early on in this novel.
“Silence is a protective coating over pain.”
Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen (audio book)
Perfectly pleasant, very readable, likable characters, good story, interesting setting. Nothing earth shattering here but I can never go wrong reading Anna Quindlen.
“Then when she really thought about it she realized she’d been becoming different people for as long as she could remember but had never really noticed, or had put it down to moods, or marriage, or motherhood. The problem was that she’d thought that at a certain point she would be a finished product.”
What I set aside this month…
The Rise & Fall of Great Powers: Good book, bad narrator. Set aside the audio 25% in. Must get print version.
A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Ripley. Lost momentum 2/3 the way through. Will finish this month (?)
My August Photo Collage is comprised of book covers uploaded from Goodreads.