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August 2016 Reading Log

August always feels like the end of summer, even though the hot weather will be with us for another couple months. But even the mention of Fall brings all sorts of feelings – I have the itch to plan ahead, organize all the things, and buy a new planner, of course – but this year I also have my due date looming in October and a big Before/After dichotomy in my mind. Aside from all the other life changes coming up, there’s the Big Question for my reading life: Will I ever have the time or energy to read again?

I know the answer is yes… (…eventually?) but it’s just one minor worry that gets entangled with all the other questions about the next chapter of life. But we’re not quite there yet… another month or so to go!

With all the upcoming changes consuming my thoughts, a bit of variety this month was just what I needed – a couple audiobooks, a graphic novel, children’s lit, a mix of fiction/nonfiction. Of course I still have a bunch of half-read books that I might never finish, but that’s one thing that will probably never change!

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log

August 2016 Thoughts


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two, Special Rehearsal Edition Script, by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

The Amateur Librarian // August 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 8/4/2016
Finish date: 8/9/2016
Grade: B-
Genre/Format: Children’s Lit / Hardback

If you love Harry Potter, you probably have to read this. Whether you actually like it or not probably has a lot to do with how you feel about the characters, and the series’ legacy, and what you consider canon, and J.K. Rowling’s writing, and the differences between the mediums of a novel vs a play script, and on and on. There’s no denying that it comes with a lot of baggage. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about it, as you can tell!

I enjoyed visiting old characters again, meeting the next generation of wizards, and there were some poignant moments that were really great. The plot itself was intriguing but overall a bit of a letdown – plot twists were too conveniently resolved, the character motivation was difficult to understand and read like fan fiction (I think I like Draco now?), and the action wasn’t very compelling (but again, it could be entirely different when performed on stage).

No matter what I think of the actual plot or characters, I would still LOVE to see the play and I think seeing it performed live would fill in a lot of holes and problems I have with the printed book. But as a reading experience the script itself fell flat for me. The characters aren’t well developed, the stage directions are minimal, and I especially miss the descriptions and magical details that J.K. Rowling injects into all her novels. The actors and stage would make all the difference, which of course is the inherent flaw with continuing the story as a play at all – only a limited amount of people will ever be able to experience it as it was intended, and the rest of us get a script that can never live up. (Full disclosure: I’m still a tiny bit sad that we actually had tickets to see the play in September and were planning a big trip to London… but then a baby happened instead and all our plans changed.)

I know I have a lot of complaints, but for the most part I was glad to visit the Wizarding world again despite the flaws. And I will probably always harbor some regret that I didn’t get to see it live during the first run, the way it was obviously meant to be experienced, but it would probably feel worse if I liked the plot more than I did.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, by Cary Elwes and Joe Laden

The Amateur Librarian // August 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 8/12/2016
Finish date: 8/17/2016
Grade: A-
Genre/Format: Memoir / Audiobook

This behind-the-scenes of the making of the movie The Princess Bride was a really fun memoir, and as an audiobook it felt like a super long (and interesting!) podcast. The writing isn’t anything special but funny stories and inside jokes abound and it sounds like everyone had a great time making a memorable movie. I heard the audiobook was the best way to experience the memoir and I agree – Cary Elwes is a great narrator and many passages are read by other stars and main players so it was fun to hear their voices.

This is Not My Hat, written and illustrated by Jon Klassen

The Amateur Librarian // August 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 8/14/2016
Finish date: 8/14/2016
Grade: A
Genre/Format: Children’s Lit / Hardback

Such a great gift – fantastic art design and subversive humor – just like my friend 🙂 Also, a Caldecott Award winner. Can’t wait to read picture books like this one when baby is finally here.

Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol

The Amateur Librarian // August 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 8/27/2016
Finish date: 8/27/2016
Grade: A
Genre/Format: Young Adult Graphic Novel/ Library Book

Sometimes I go down the rabbit hole of “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” links on Amazon and add a ton of books to my library hold list – and that’s how this graphic novel landed in my hands. I love how graphic novels can convey a character’s backstory in a few frames, instead of pages of text. Although the plot of a teenaged girl stumbling upon a ghost who takes an interest in her life seems simple, there are so many other undertones woven throughout which deepen the story – immigration, body image, friendship, self worth, culture clash, etc. Such a fun, quick read.

Still Reading:

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), by Marissa Meyer

The Amateur Librarian // March 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 3/29/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Young Adult / Library book

Still reading. I don’t know why some books are quick reads, and other ones languish. I absolutely loved the first three books in this series (and the prequel) but I got stuck on this one and haven’t picked it up in a couple months. One day I’ll finish the series!

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson

The Amateur Librarian // May 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 5/14/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Nonfiction / Paperback

Still reading, Or rather, I still have the book lying around but I haven’t actually picked it up again this month. One of these days I’ll get back to it… or not.

Longbourn, by Jo Baker

The Amateur Librarian // Reading LogStart date: 6/9/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Historical Fiction / Audiobook

Still listening. A couple other audiobooks grabbed my attention and with library due dates I had to let this one slide to the backburner.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay

The Amateur Librarian // June 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 6/25/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Children’s Lit / Hardback

Still reading. I really love this illustrated edition, although I put it away when I needed to clear the coffee table for guests and haven’t had time to pick it back up. I used to re-read the Harry Potter series every summer so it always reminds me of lazy days and nights.

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, edited by Stephanie Perkins

The Amateur Librarian // July 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 7/10/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Young Adult / Hardback

Still reading. This collection of YA short stories is not grabbing me like the winter-themed stories from the first anthology did. I might end up skipping around – summer’s almost over already!

Truly, Madly, Guilty, by Liane Moriarty

The Amateur Librarian // August 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 8/10/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Fiction / Audiobook

As soon as I heard that Liane Moriarty had a new release coming out, I got on the library waiting list and luckily the audiobook was available first. I just love the Australian narrators! I try not to read reviews before I start reading but the one thing I heard beforehand was that it takes a super long time to get to the big twist (there’s always a big twist) and that is VERY TRUE. Almost 50 chapters in and I still don’t know what happened even though every single chapter alludes to some big secret. BUT, knowing that upfront has given me more patience to just enjoy the character development instead of trying to figure out what happened.

You Learn by Living, by Eleanor Roosevelt

The Amateur Librarian // August 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 8/13/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Memoir / eBook

I don’t even know why I picked this one up, except that Modern Mrs. Darcy recommended it and the ebook was on sale. And when I was looking for a new eBook, I chose this one. So far it’s pretty standard memoir stuff but the political name-dropping is really interesting.

Books read in August: 4
Books read so far in 2016: 43
Still reading: 6

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of August, the eighth (!) month of 2016.  I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

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2 thoughts on “August 2016 Reading Log

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