Goodbye to Sweltering Days and Hello to Beautiful Autumn – August Wrap Up!

Posted September 6, 2021 by Amber in Checking In / 0 Comments

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Hello everyone!  As I am every year, I am so excited to be slipping gently into autumn and leaving all the sweat and misery of summer behind.  What can I say?  I’m not a summer person.  Our summer has only had two modes here in New England – withering heat with miserable humidity or rain. Rain, rain, rain.  We got a new hammock chair for the deck back and June, and the weather said, “That’s hilarious!” and assured we could only rarely enjoy our deck.  Alas.

There’s been a lot of positivity in August as well.  For starters, we came back from Greece!  The trip was incredible and if you’ve been following the travel posts the last couple weeks (we have travel posts again!) you’ll have seen that.  It was so nice to mentally escape the demands of daily life.  Books can only do so much, you know?

That said, I’m actually really happy with my reading this month largely due to going on vacation!  So there’s a lot of sunshine here.

All the things I’ve been reading

While we were cruising Greece, I read FOUR hardcopy books.  Yup, that’s my whole month’s goal (more on that later).  On the other hand, I got a bit stuck on A Promised Land because while it was interesting, it was also extremely grueling so I ended up having to take it bit by bit.  Usually I can sit with an audiobook for several hours because I get engrossed – an hour was about my maximum for A Promised Land.  It’s a dense memoir.  Good, but dense. Overall, August has been my highest reading month in pages, and makes a decent contender in number of books.

13 books found
A Promised Land by Barack Obama

★★★★½

Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

★★★★½

Battle of the Bands Short Story Collection

★★★★

★★½

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

★★★½

A woman in a white dress standing overlooking a balcony from a brick tower while immense blue-green waves reach for her. "Given to the Sea" is written large in gold stylized letters with "Mindy McGinnis" in smaller white text at the top

★★½

Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices

★★★★★

★★★½

★★★★★

★★★

★★

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

★★

★★★★½

 

This month, I had a three-way tie between informative, emotional, and adventurous books.  That’s a bit of a change from my usual reading!  I favored medium-paced books that were between 300-499 pages, and I read a good mixture of fiction and non-fiction this month (thanks, Great Courses!).  My most read genre in January was young adult followed by fantasy (as usual) but for a change this month we had history in third place!  Of all my reading, 53% were audiobooks, 41% were print, and 6% digital.  My average rating was 3.59 stars so this was one of my lower months.  In hardcopy, I read a total of 2,354 pages.

My favorite physical copy was Star Crossed.  I’m convinced this one is a bit of an under appreciated diamond so I hope my review encourages some folks who have never heard of if before to give the book a try.  My favorite audiobook was Once Upon an Eid, because even though it’s middle grade and out of season, that collection brought me so many smiles and I want to recommend it the most.  I also liked Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? and Witchcraft in the Western Tradition, but if I have to pick only one audiobook, Once Upon an Eid is the one I want y’all paying attention to.

Readathons & Reading Challenges

I’d say reading went really well this month for hardcopies, as I mentioned above.  Were they all excellent? Absolutely not.  But that was good in its own way as well because it means I made some room on my shelf.  I picked up three books in August (pre-orders and ARCs) and found two intriguing ones left in my Little Free Library that I snagged.  It didn’t quite even out, but all things considered, I don’t think it was too bad.

7 books found
Battle of the Bands Short Story Collection

★★★★

★★½

A woman in a white dress standing overlooking a balcony from a brick tower while immense blue-green waves reach for her. "Given to the Sea" is written large in gold stylized letters with "Mindy McGinnis" in smaller white text at the top

★★½

★★★½

★★★★★

★★★

★★

So I actually ended up reading quite a few hardcopy books, which I feel like I rarely do.  None of them were too thick, not like July, but when you’re stuck in an airport for six hours, well, you read the entirety of Given to the Sea and that’s that.  I ended up unhauling Given to the SeaThe Girl Beneath the Sea, and Fallen which is excellent.  Conveniently, I finished Given to the Sea and The Girl Beneath the Sea while I was still aboard the Jade, so I left them on the boat for the next person, the crew, or the on-board library.

Magic and Mischief on the Blog

Unfortunately, I had to add both Margaret Atwood and Shaun David Hutchinson to the Code Red page of the problematic authors list. I’m so bummed out about Atwood, really I am. I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve read of hers and just to find out that she’s said and supported things that go so opposite from my takeaways in her books and actively dismiss sexual assault victims… it’s so disappointing.

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Meet the Norwegian Jade

What Have I been Scribbling?

You know, there was a hot moment where I sat down one day after work and scraped away at Rhapsody in Blue.  I do like the characters and their stories, but I remain drained of all energy.  My therapist says I need to stop trying to do everything because I’m causing myself unnecessary anxiety and lowered perception of quality of life.  Thing is, I want to write! And blog. And game. And draw. And paint. And keep up with TV shows. And sleep. And eat. And have a social life. And work. And travel.  Really, it’s the universe’s fault for not providing more hours in a day. Bleh.

I have chatted with my lovely beta reader who is working through Fate.  She’s point out some things I knew, but didn’t want to know.  I think the next version of that story is both going to be broader and less tangled, and I’m vaguely terrified of it.  But I’ve written out characters already in this story – surely it can’t be any more difficult than that?

Adventures in the real world!

We came back from Greece at the beginning of the month and I’m not quite sure if August breezed by after that, or if it just dragged.  I feel like our lives were ver full this month – between birthdays and trying to catch up on the things we missed while we were away.  There was a large event at work I helped to run that I feel took up so much of my time.  Even though it was very exciting, I’m glad to have that part of my life back.

I said goodbye to another work friend who is off to work her dream job – what a rare and amazing thing.  I’ll miss her very much, but I couldn’t be happier for her.  Otherwise, August has been a quiet month and I mostly feel as though I’m just sitting in wait for the next two vacations – Alaska in late September and Orlando barely a month after that.

I wish I had more exciting things to share, but I simply don’t! Much reading, much working, much existing. No small adventures – only big ones that get their own posts.

What’s Coming Next?

There is so much more of Greece coming up in September!  Every Friday, there’s a dedicated post to one of the days of our trip.  I’ve enjoyed going through the pictures and preparing the posts for you all!  It’s been too long since we’ve had proper travel posts, honestly.

Here’s what I’ll be reading in September and beyond, as far as hardcopy goes.  By now, you know the drill, audiobooks are free game depending on what’s available on my very large wishlist.

I’ve got some mixed feelings about this TBR.  Mainly, I feel like there are a lot of re-reads on here.  I guess that’s fine but it also means that there won’t be new posts on them.  I suppose that’s good for y’all, though – no pesky reviews cluttering your feed!

Whelp, that’s it for August and now here we are in September with autumn upon us and so many upcoming adventures to be had!  I hope your life is overflowing with joy and love and that you all have a most marvelous September!

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What did everyone do this month?  Did you get a lot of reading done?  Did you start on a new WIP?  Did you go on any grand (or small!) adventures?  I want to hear all about your experiences – let me know in the comments!

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