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Reading Log: August 2015

It seems like just a couple days ago I was writing about July… the whole month of August just flew by. My reading was pretty light this month but it was fun stuff. All I want to read lately is fantasy and children’s lit – nothing too series! Maybe it’s because I just can’t believe summer is coming to a close and Fall is around the corner already…

Below is my Reading Log for August 2015, 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 (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  And of course I keep track of my rating on the grade system, the binding, genre, etc… just for fun!

August 2015

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.
F = Fiction, HF = Historical Fiction, NF = NonFiction, YA = Young Adult,
CL = Children’s Lit, B/M = Bio/Memoir, SFF = Sci-Fi/Fantasy, C = Craft

 

 

Title Start Finish Grade/

Format

Genre
How to Cook Everything Fast,
by Mark Bittman
7/19/15 8/9/15 A
LB
C
Go Set a Watchman,
by Harper Lee
7/26/15 8/10/15 A
HB
F
Invincible Louisa,
by Cornelia Meigs
8/4/15 Still Reading TBD
PB
CL
My Salinger Year,
by Joanna Rakoff
8/7/115 8/16/15 A
LB
M
The Night Circus,
by Erin Morgenstern
8/10/15 Still Reading TBD
AB
SFF
Princess Academy,
by Shannon Hale
8/11/15 8/23/15 A
LB
CL
Sorcery and Cecelia,
by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer
8/23/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
SFF
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir,
by Roz Chast
8/28/15 8/29/15 A
LB
M

Thoughts:

How to Cook Everything Fast, by Mark Bittman – A

The Amateur Librarian // July 2015 Reading Log

A whale of a cookbook, especially in library format! What sets it apart is the extra prep instructions at every step for the most efficient use of your time while cooking, and most recipes come together in less than 45 minutes. Lots of useful info and a TON of recipes included. I liked the recipe-free basic techniques like stir fry, pasta, casseroles, etc. too. It was a bit overwhelming since it doesn’t stick to a theme, and because of its size I’m not sure it would become a go-to cookbook after you’ve got a few techniques down. But fun to read and I tried out a couple recipes, which is the whole point right?

Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee – A

The Amateur Librarian // July 2015 Reading Log

Upsetting at times, and thought provoking always. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, and the conflicting reviews and controversy around the release don’t help. The story is meandering for sure, with plenty of flashbacks that don’t really connect to the story but are still enjoyable to see glimpses of beloved characters. I did not re-read To Kill a Mockingbird on purpose, to read this one with a fresh set of eyes without the baggage of the one-hit-wonder overshadowing it. Despite everyone’s horror that Atticus is not the paragon of Right and Wrong that everyone thought him to be in TKAM, I can see how he’s a more realistic and nuanced character twenty years later when Scout finds him entrenched in racist activities in the 1950s. Sad but true. I still can’t figure out if it’s best to look at it as a sequel or a companion piece or a first book (with TKAM being the prequel) or just an interesting look at one writer’s process and how her writing evolved. Still glad it exists and that I read it, especially since a year ago no one would ever have thought another book by Harper Lee would be published.

 

Invincible Louisa, by Cornelia Meigs – TBD

 The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Still reading. I love biographies about Louisa May Alcott, but her father (and the men of the Transcendentalism movement in general) has always rubbed me the wrong way… and this book starts out with a LOT of info about Bronson Alcott. So far, it’s been hard to get into, but I’ll keep plugging along.

My Salinger Year, by Joanna Rakoff – A

The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Joanna Rakoff’s year of working at the literary agency that represents J.D. Salinger makes for a charming memoir. The beginning echoes The Best of Everything so closely that it has to be intentional, and it makes me wonder how many similar references I’ve missed in other books-about-publishing; it’s almost like a sequel, 40 years later, and it shows how little the publishing world had changed from the 1950s to the 1990s. It’s pretty obvious from the beginning that Joanna will break up with her socialist boyfriend of the time, and the passive aggressive disdain toward him is pretty hilarious – oh, hindsight! The fan letters that Joanna has to respond to on behalf of J.D. Salinger are interesting, but I wish there was more on that front. I’m not sure that the closure was as convincing as the author intended, but it was a satisfying memoir even without the end cap of Salinger’s death to bring it full circle.

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern – TBD

 The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Still reading (or listening, rather). Love, love, love Jim Dale’s narration of this tale. I’m about halfway through and so far there is lots of magic, circus shenanigans, and mystery all around. If I were reading the book, I might be wondering where it’s all going, but I don’t mind the pace with the audio version.

Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale –A

The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Don’t let the “princess” in the title fool you… this story is much more about empowerment and education than pretty dresses. The girls of a remote mountain town must attend an academy to become worthy of the prince, but along the way their newfound knowledge helps our main character and her village in surprising ways. By the time the prince arrives, he’s somewhat beside the point, and the girls have to rely on working together to make their lives better. Add some fantasy and compelling characters in there, and I was no longer surprised that this tale claimed a Newbery Honor award.

Sorcery and Cecelia, by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Still reading. I forget how I heard about this one but I’m glad I did! Witty letters between cousins in Regency England + a bit of magic thrown in = delicious reading!

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir, by Roz Chast – A

The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

A really frank and hilarious look at caring for aging parents, from an only child forced to address the facts of life that her parents never wanted to talk about. The graphic novel approach is perfect for showing the funny side of the otherwise mixed emotions of the sad/uncomfortable/tedious process of watching both her parents die. I loved the photos interspersed throughout, especially the collections of junk she had to clean out of her parents’ apartment – eyeglasses, pencils, purses, kitchen appliances, the contents of the fridge, piles of notebooks – it had to be thrown away, but not before documenting first. Even though Roz had a difficult relationship with both her parents, and especially her mother, you can tell that she did the best she could and showed her love the best way she could, through the sketches and drawings that made up this book.

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of August.  I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

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