Wrap Up | August 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my August Wrap Up. Life wise, August has been a bit of a non-month. Nothing terrible happened, nothing amazing and new happened. It’s very much the month of transition, as summer has its last gasp and we begin to head into Autumn. For me, August has been the month of trying not to spend too much money because we’ve started to pay off a lot of the holiday to Disney and saved for our upcoming trip to Barcelona at the beginning of September.

Meanwhile, reading-wise, August was the month I finally finished The Count of Monte Cristo – let the hallelujah chorus begin… I’m so glad I managed to finish that beast of a book and, despite some rocky patches where I considered throwing in the towel, I did end up having a tonne of fun doing weekly updates for it as part of the Full Monte readalong, hosted by Laura of Reading In Bed. Aside from finishing that tome, August was mostly dedicated to the NEWTs Readathon, as hosted by Gi of the Book Roast. I was very excited to take part in this and I immensely enjoyed the theme of the readathon. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan my TBR with enough care or realistic idea of what I could actually get read in the space of a month. I think if I’d been better at planning, and putting in some shorter books for the first grades, I would have done much better than I ended up doing. Still, it helped me to read a bit more than I would have, and it did tick off some books I’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also meant I’ve half-read quite a few other books which isn’t ideal considering we go into September with a trip away looming during which I can’t pack hardcovers, so most of these half-read books will have to wait until a week or so into the month to be completed. Such are the troubles of a reader, eh?

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves with what I’ll read in September without first taking a look at what I read in August…

In August, I read a total of 9 books 8 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 4181 pages in total.

In terms of format: 3 were hardbackswere paperback2 were ebooks/eARCs and 2 were audiobooks.

And as for genre, 2 were fantasywere YA fantasywere YA contemporary; and were classics; and was an autobiography/memoir.

Onto the books themselves…

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: YA fantasy
Format: hardback
Pages: 421
Read: 1st – 3rd August
Challenge: NEWTs Readathon
Review: I liked the dragons, but I remember very little of this book a month later. I requested the sequel on NetGalley so I really should get around to properly reviewing this, and then reading Caged Queen. I’m mildly surprised that I don’t really remember the story, as I did think it was “my jam” whilst I was reading it. I remember, however, that the world was quite complex and, at times, I found myself lost and confused about who (or what) a “namsara” was. Sometimes it seemed to be a ceremonial role, sometimes the name of an actual person, sometimes an ~idea~ so there were elements which either I just didn’t pay enough attention to, or that weren’t decided upon with any sense of finality by the author. I tended to like the side characters more than the protagonist, Asha, which is probably an unpopular opinion – I found Torwin, the Dragon King aka Asha’s father, and her brother Dax to be much more interesting than Asha… but perhaps that’s because we never fully got to know them so there was always more intrigue there? All in all, it should make for an interesting reading experience when I try to read the second book…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

Rating: 3/5
Genre: fantasy
Format: ebook
Pages: 304
Read: 3rd August
Challenge: NEWTs Readathon
Review: This book was what started my feeling that the ‘Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling’ is becoming more and more of a money grab. There’s no reason for this book to exist, really, as screenplays are rarely published with such fanfare or popularity. I like the film because of its 1920s New York setting, most of which reads completely flat on the page here, so half of the magic of the film is gone straightaway. The plot? It’s fine. Newt is an adorable character, as portrayed by Eddie Redmayne, but I think Newt reads slightly more darker and intense on the page than he appears on screen, and if nothing else then reading this screenplay was good for that alone because it adds a further depth to his characterisation. All that being said, this book doesn’t need to exist, and it’s simple profiteering because the publishers know Harry Potter fans will be suckered into buying anything Potter, but I still gladly give them my money every time so who’s the real fool here?

Giant Days by Non Pratt

Rating: 4/5
Genre: YA contemporary
Format: eARC
Pages: 288
Read: 3rd – 4th August
Challenge: NEWTs Readathon
Review: “[The author has] captured equally well the cocktail of personalities which often causes less than pleasant scenarios in those first few weeks of term – making friends with people who turn out to be not nice people, struggling with bouts of anxiety and homesickness, feeling like you don’t know where you belong in this new and scary place. The fact that Non Pratt takes the time to capture the less-than-glamorous minutiae of the university experience (whether that’s having to listen to a mansplaining dude in class or needing to put up with ‘rugby lads’ on a night-out) was something that definitely won me over to this book.” (full review here)

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman *

Rating: 5/5
Genre: fantasy
Format: hardback
Pages: 424
Read: 7th – 13th August
Challenge: NEWTs Readathon
Review: This remains one of my favourite books of all-time and each re-read highlights a new section or joke I didn’t get last time around. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of reading this barmy story, and it’s tone is exactly what I like in “humorous fantasy” books. Of course, underneath the wackiness, there are some actual comments on the state of society and nature vs nurture etc. but there’s also dick jokes so… you know… Also, Crowley and Aziraphale have become two of my favourite characters and this time round I was pretty firmly decided that they acted like enough of an old married couple for me to then go away and consume A LOT of fanfiction on the topic. No regrets.

Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

Rating: 5/5
Genre: YA contemporary
Format: paperback
Pages: 442
Read: 13th – 16th August
Challenge: NEWTs Readathon
Review: “It really felt like it was being written by someone who had not only done her research into the technicalities of putting on a theatre production but also felt the same way about theatre as her characters did. The love and passion for it just springs off the page, and this, combined with the simple but humorous narrative voice, makes the whole story extremely easy to slip into and begin to empathise with the weird and wonderful cast of characters.” (full review here)

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: classics
Format: hardback
Pages: 1276
Read: 2nd July – 18th August
Challenge: The Full Monte Readalong
Review: All in all, I’m glad I made it through this because it was an adventure and a half. There were moments when I LOVED this narrative because it was so funny and dramatic, but there were other moments when I HATED it because it was being dragged out unnecessarily by Dumas. I wish I felt strongly one way or another but what we have instead is ambivalence. (weekly updates here)

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo *

Rating: 5/5
Genre: YA fantasy
Format: paperback
Pages: 536
Read: 17th – 24th August
Challenge: NEWTs Readathon
Review: With each re-read I love this book more and more. I love my gang of morally suspect criminals very much and Nina has my heart and soul so I will NEVER get over that at the end of the book. (2016 review here)

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick [read by author]

Rating: 4/5
Genre: non-fiction; memoir
Format: audiobook
Pages: 279
Read: 24th – 29th August
Challenge: NEWTs Readathon
Review: If you enjoy Anna Kendrick, you’ll love this memoir, and I’d highly recommend listening to the audiobook narrated by Kendrick herself, otherwise I’m not sure if her manner of speech and sense of humour would come across properly on page. I didn’t know the slightest thing about Kendrick’s background before starting this so I enjoyed her insight into child acting and also the oddity rampant in being dressed by designers for events only once you were rich/important enough to have clothes given to you for free. I was pleasantly surprised by how insightful Anna Kendrick was, as well as being hilarious throughout.

Therese Raquin by Émile Zola [read by Kate Winslet]

Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: classics
Format: audiobook
Pages: 211
Read: 30th – 31st August
Challenge: Classics Club, NEWTs Readathon
Review: If I hadn’t listened to this on audiobook, I’m not sure I would have given this as a high a rating, however Kate Winslet’s narration was superb. For such a short book, this classic really packs a punch, and is very French about it too. The real heart of the story lies in the oppressive guilt which strangles the lives (and love) between Therese and Laurent once they have killed Therese’s husband, Camille. Their decline into brutality, violence, and pure hatred of each other is overseen by Camille’s infirm mother, Madame Raquin, from whom they try to hide their crime (and their guilt). This felt like a study of what extremes lust can drive people to, and the consequences which getting carried away in a crime of passion can lead to after the event, days, months, and even, years later.

How did your August reading go?
What was your favourite book you read this month?
Please do share in the comments below and let’s chat books!

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3 thoughts on “Wrap Up | August 2018

  1. bathandbooks 02/09/2018 / 18:00

    I love the Fantastic Beasts films but I agree that the screenplay didn’t need to be published. I haven’t bought it because it just felt like money grabbing unfortunately


  2. Jess @ Jessticulates 02/09/2018 / 12:40

    August was a great reading month for me, too, I think the N.E.W.Ts Readathon helped so many people set time aside for more reading than usual. :) I salute you for finishing The Count of Monte Cristo! One of these days I’m going to read it, and I’m glad to hear you ultimately enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bookishluna 02/09/2018 / 03:16

    I love you stats breaks downs, it is interesting to see format, if it is a reread or not, and genre. Looks like you had a great reading month, I hope September is just as good if not better.

    I think my favorite read last mont would have to be The Missing Girl by Shirley Jackson.

    Liked by 1 person

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