Book Chat

Reading Log: August 2011

It’s time for another monthly update on my Reading Log!  I used to post every month…but then things got a bit wonky when we moved… took a bit of a toll on my reading, what with all my books being in boxes.  And my mind being boggled, and all.  But then I had some surgery, and I’ve been forced to stick close to home for 8 weeks, so I’ve lots of time for reading now!  I’m officially a Lady of Leisure.

So here’s my Reading Log for August 2011, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month of August, even if I started some of them outside of this month.  Also, I like to give a rating to each book I read and I like to keep track of the binding of the book, don’t ask me why.  HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.

Word for word, straight from my diary:


Start Finish Thoughts Grade/
The Annotated Sense and Sensibility,
Edited by David Shappard
6/8/11 8/27/11 Took me a long while to get back into Austen mode, especially since this novel has never been a favorite, but it was infinitely better with Shappard by my side.  Love his annotations and can’t wait for his next.  First time I read this in HS, I loved it; second time, hated it; this time, understanding helped me see its value but it is still too didactic for me to really esteem it.


Best Friends Forever,
by Jennifer Weiner

7/24/11 8/5/11 Fun and light adventure story, but Weiner is always good about bringing depth to her female characters.  Reminds me of Firefly Lane but much better.  2nd book club book with Heather. B

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter,
by William Deresiewicz

8/2/11 8/4/11 I’m not sure I really buy that Jane Austen completely changed his life and made his outlook completely different–sometimes it seems like he wrote his dissertation on Austen, then dumbed it down to be a “novel” about his grad school years, but I can’t help but like the premise anyway.  I like how he succumbed to Austen’s characters and came to appreciate Austen’s writing.  I would totally recommend this to anyone who complains about Jane Austen.   And, of course, it has a happy ending.


The Annotated Anne of Green Gables,
edited by Wendy Barry, Margaret Doody, and Mary Jones

8/4/11 8/17/11 Breakfast book.  More fuel for my obsession.  Loved rereading the novel portion, although the annotations sometimes seemed irrelevant.  Some went on too long, some were too short, some seemed too obvious to need an annotation at all.  But a lot of interesting information too, especially in the essays after the novel.  Went a bit too far with some of the interpretations, but that is bound to happen with academic overanalyzing; on the other hand, I have new appreciation for Montgomery’s literary allusions and the thought that went into her writing.


The Imperfectionists,
by Tom Rachman

8/4/11 8/17/11 Short stories centered on an English-language newspaper in Rome, with flashbacks connecting the beginning of the paper with the ending of it.  I liked the character sketches, although the ending was sad.  Not unsatisfying, though. B

A Gathering of Days,
by Joan W. Blos

8/15/11 8/16/11 I read this when I was in the 4th grade, but I can’t imagine that I understood half of it.  It took me a while to get into the language, and some things are distinctly of the time (1831-32) are not even explained—like a real diary rather than historical fiction, which I would imagine to be off-putting as a child reading.  But I remember loving the quilting scenes, and appreciate them even more now, 15 years later.  As slow as the beginning was, the last third was very quietly heartfelt and meaningful.


The Tales of Beedle the Bard,
by J.K. Rowling

8/17/11 8/17/11 Why am I so obsessed with annotations?  Something about hearing little bits of background information, I guess.  Felt the need for some Potter nostalgia; this was perfect.


Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith,
by Deborah Heiligman

8/17/11 8/23/11 Premise: how Charles and Emma Darwin reconcile their religious differences in their marriage.  Seem almost like a modern couple in their letters to each other, until you remember how radical Charles’s doubts were.  Written for YA but isn’t very emotionally appealing—author doesn’t quite have that touch to make history seem like fiction. A-K
Anne of Avonlea,
by L.M. Montgomery
8/21911 Still Listening


The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World,
by  Eric Weiner

8/24/11 Still Reading K
by Paul Harding
8/28/11 8/30/11 Uncle Brad picked this up at the airport and passed it on to me when he finished.  Disjointed memories of a dying man, which include the experiences of his epileptic father.  The seizure scenes did not exactly make for an appetizing read at the table.  Pulitzer Prize, but I can admit that I like more straightforward novels.  Maybe I’m a lazy reader, but I don’t like to have to work at reading!  Some interesting phrases and descriptions, but no plot or characterization. Ending wrapped things up, at least.


So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of August.  Anyone else reading a good book?

7 thoughts on “Reading Log: August 2011

  1. My book club just finished “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro… it was amazing! Are you on Goodreads or anything like that? If so, we should definitely link up – we have a ton of the same tastes (I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who reads annotations for fun!)


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