Posted in Books, Real Life

August Wrap-Up: The dog days are NOT over

WHY HELLO. DID ANYONE ELSE HAVE AN INCREDIBLY BAD TIME DURING THE MONTH OF AUGUST?

I think, in truth, August was probably a “normal” quarantine month.

“Normal” during a global pandemic, though, is still PRETTY BAD.

In August, I was rejected for my dream internship and hit a wall after two months on OkCupid. MY OPTIMISM IS DEAD AND MUST BE REPLENISHED.

Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman (43) died of colon cancer at the very end of the month. His death hit my friends and I really hard.

On a more positive note, I received a sizable raise at work. It feels nice to be compensated.

This weekend, I’m at my parents’ house. (In case you were wondering, I DID find my copy of The Unexpected Everything, thank you very much!)

Last night, I made my parents watch Love on the Spectrum on Netflix. My brother and sister-in-law are arriving later tonight with their dogs. I’m really grateful to be spending time with my family.

Sure, we can talk about reading stats.

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August Stats

In June, I completed 10 books and DNFed 2 books.

[Edit: thank you, Holly, for catching an error in my stats! 😓

Of the books I read,

  • 83% were fiction
  • 27% were non-fiction
  • 100% were new books
  • 58% were Young Adult
  • 42% were Adult

My average rating for the month was 3.8.

I TOLD YOU IT WAS A BAD MONTH.

For my rating breakdown:

  • 2-star reads: 2 books
  • 3-star reads: 2 books
  • 4-star reads: 2 books
  • 5-star reads: 4 books
  • Unrated books: 2 books

I read some really lackluster debuts last month. That’s all I’m going to say for now.

Genre breakdown time!

Look at that horror slice! Look at it!

I am learning and growing as a person and as a reader!

Let’s forget for a second that I DNFed 40% of the fantasy books I started this month! Focus on the positives!

Maybe I had a rough month because I neglected to read memoirs.

I’VE MADE A GRAVE MISTAKE.

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Notable Books

Still Waters

Sometimes I read books that restore my soul.

Photography book The New Art of Capturing Love, YA debut The Falling in Love Montage, and fun sci-fi romp Heart of Iron filled my heart with so much joy (and potentially made me cry for hours.)

Honorable mention goes to Unspeakable: A Queer Gothic Anthology for making me misty with an epic afterlife romance.

How DARE you and also thank you. My shriveled little heart ate that story right up.

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The Depths of Despair

Gideon the Ninth and The Fever King both destroyed me.

Gideon was especially surprising – I did NOT expect to care so much!!

I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TALK ABOUT THIS BOOK AND I’M AFRAID TO READ THE SEQUEL.

IT WAS THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME.

The Fever King was an interesting case. I am not in the camp that loves this book more than my own flesh, though I did feel for Dara and Noam. They go through so much and I want them to be okay.

I wasn’t expecting to read a situation that, though set in a fantastical version of the United States, mirrored my own so closely. Civil unrest? Protests? Violent police? A dangerous virus that very few survive?

WOW, I LOVE BOOKS, THEY HELP ME ESCAPE MY REAL LIFE.

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Not Today

I feel like I might disappoint some people with this confession:

In the beginning, I was really, really into There Will Come a Darkness.

I lost interest and I’m not totally sure why.

I know it was partly because my One True Ship was derailed. (I’m still mad about it.)

I hope those kids…stop global warming or whatever they were trying to do.

Also, for all my hyping the book, I decided to DNF The Good Luck Girls.

I checked out the book before quarantine and never felt like I was in the right mood for it.

I might pick it up another time.

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It’s FINE, Derek

Monstrous Regiment released a book of essays about bisexuality in 2017 and published a follow-up in 2019.

I didn’t like the follow-up so much.

I thought the quality of the writing took a dip and I really did not take kindly to the essay that thanked cis straight men for their contributions to the queer community. The author pitched the casting of straight actors in queer roles as a benevolent choice on the actors’ part. Uh…how about queer actors can’t get work, friend?

I also read Andrew Eliopulos’ YA debut The Fascinators and thought it was…fine?

For others who have read it: did you hate James as much as I did? Am I being too harsh?

Honestly, I liked Delia the best. I kind of wish she had been the protagonist.

I would gladly read Eliopulos’ next project – I like his writing style and The Fascinators had some touching emotional beats toward the end.

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Weak-ass Revenge

(Spoilers for The Year of the Witching and Cinderella is Dead)

CW: racist violence, lynching, murder, sexual abuse, misogyny

Okay.

My two-star books for this month were both debuts, so I feel torn about trashing them.

Friends, I REALLY did not like them.

I want more f/f love triangles, Black-led fantasy/sci-fi/horror, and fairy tale retellings by Black authors. Publishing, make it happen.

However, I don’t think this year’s “dark and edgy” f/f retelling of Cinderella by Kalynn Bayron was successful.

I was not into Cinderella is Dead at all. I think there are better fairy tales out there.

(A note: I didn’t like Ash either, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.)

I liked Cinderella more than I liked The Year of the Witching, however, if only because Cinderella didn’t offend me to my core the way Witching did.

Witching started off REALLY strong with a creepy atmosphere and surprising violence. I was into it.

Then the story abandoned all nuance, drawing lines between Good and Bad in ways that made even less sense than the rules of the religious cult.

What bothers me most: WHY was this book pitched as a revenge thriller when it is so decidedly not? (If I understand correctly, this is on the publisher, not the author.)

Instead of taking revenge on the society that looked down on her, abused her friends, and killed her parents, protagonist Immanuelle spent the bulk of the narrative trying to save her horrible religious society and I don’t understand WHY.

She rerouted all of the blame that rightly belonged to the Prophet to the Witches of the Wood.

HOW DARE THESE WITCHES HELP IMMANUELLE’S MOTHER TAKE REVENGE ON THE CHURCH THAT LYNCHED HER LOVER???

THEY MUST BE DESTROYED.

Both of these books win the Obvious Moral Award of 2020: Misogyny is WRONG and BAD.

Whoops. Maybe don’t kill off your morally-ambiguous witches then?

ALL THAT BEING SAID: I am in the minority with my opinions. Both of these books are beloved by the book community and I want them to succeed!

I have a sneaking suspicion the publisher tried to tank these books by marketing them incorrectly. Buy these books (if you can) and let me know what you think.

Talking about those books got me ALL HET UP.

I’m off to eat burritos and calm down.

Crossing my fingers that September is better than last month in every possible sense.

Author:

Lover of cheese and performative angst. I love to call out, complain, overreact, analyze, and reimagine. This site contains the fruit of that labor.

3 thoughts on “August Wrap-Up: The dog days are NOT over

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