August Reads and an Update – Bookish: Reads

Welcome to August Reads! Overall, I read 7 books, including 2 audiobooks, 2 nonfiction books, 1 ARC, 1 eARC, 4 diverse books, and 2 books written by women. This month, 57% of the books I read were diverse, which is over my 50% goal. For July and August combined, 60% of the books I read were diverse, which I very happy with. Only 29% of the books I read this month were written by women, which is below my desired 50% goal. For July and August combined, 55% of the books I read were written by women, which meets my overall goal of at least 50%. The biggest change this month was not listening to audiobooks. This was due to my dog’s sudden and critical illness and the toll it took on me. It’s also why it took me longer to get through books as there were some days I just didn’t have the energy to read. For an update on Nica’s health, please scroll all the way to the end!

the judgment of richard richter coverThe first book I started and finished in August was the Judgment of Richard Ritcher. This was an interesting change of pace from my normal reads and I am so glad I decided to grab it through the Kindle First program. It’s been a long time since I read an Eastern European/ Russian author and it wasn’t the only book by such an author this month. This was a 4 star read for me, though note that it comes with trigger warnings.

The Power of Habit coverThe next book I finished was a hard one for me to determine what the star rating should be. I ranged from giving it a 2 to a 4 and finally settled on a 3.5. There are parts of The Power of Habit that are really good, but ultimately, there were several flaws, which are common in pop science journalism, that got under my skin as a scientist. But, I was able to take a few useful things away from it, so I decided on a positive star rating. This book was reviewed on Goodreads.

The Shadow of the Wind coverMy next read was also challenging to figure out a star rating. I was so excited to read The Shadow of the Wind and so let down by its sexism and poor finish. Honestly, this book combined with The Power of Habit probably contributed to the reading slump that was excerabated by my dog’s illness. This was not exactly my month for great books. But like The Power of Habit, there were things I enjoyed in The Shadow of the Wind and it made it hard for me to give it a low rating. Again, I was between a 2.5 and 4, but settled on 3.5 stars.

Still Here coverOnto a book I greatly enjoyed reading, even if I barely remember it now. Still Here was a book I couldn’t put down and read in no time at all, but it wasn’t that memorable. Because I enjoyed it so greatly while I read it, it was a 4 star read, but it won’t end up on a favorite list. I do expect to read Vapnyar’s books in the future as I loved the tone of this book. Plus, it was great to have a second Eastern European/ Russian book in one month!

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music coverI finally finished an audiobook I started back in June. It was very long, though it generally kept my interest and I moved through the early sections pretty quickly. Then I took a break and powered through again. How to Listen to and Understand Great Music is definitely an audiobook I would recommend to anyone interested in better understanding orchestral music. This was a 4 star read and I have already stated another audiobook by this author! This was reviewed on Goodreads.

The Circle coverAh, The Circle. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a movie more than the book before, but it happened here. I chose to read this book to meet a reading challenge requirement to read a book that was being turned into a movie this year. This book sounded super interesting and I was really excited going in. Unfortunately, I didn’t much like the main character and the ending was the worst. Oddly enough, those issues were fixed in the movie, which was coauthored by the book author. So, maybe he ended up agreeing with me in the end. This was a 3 star read for me since the plot was interesting. It was reviewed on Goodreads.

Little Gold coverThe last read was Little Gold which was a unique story for me that was hard to get into, but absolutely worth sticking it out. I fell in love with Little Gold (the character) and was satisified with the book, even though the ending was a bit too perfect. This was one of those books that is hard to describe, but I want to push on everyone. I’m not sure it’s a book for everyone, but for that certain reader, it is a wonderful treat.

update-1672349_640Lastly, an update on Nica. Nica (pictured in the profile picture) has been recovering a little more every day from a major surgery which removed a large tumor, her gallbladder, a lymph node, and a small mass. Before surgery, she was suffering from severe adema and would have died without the surgery. Going into surgery, there was a greater than 50% chance that this was liver cancer, which has a median survival time of 2 years. Unforunately, this was a rare presentation of bile duct cancer, which is an aggressive, fast metatsizing cancer. The vet expects her to live 3 to 6 months, though median survival time in the medical literature is 6 months. I will try to keep up with this blog through this challenging time, but I may not go back to doing reflections for awhile. They are simply too much for me in terms of emotional energy and time. As it nears the end for Nica, I will likely take another hiatus. She is my world, my child, and my spirit animal. Losing her will be an incredible blow and I’m simply not sure at this point how it will affect this blog. I will keep you updated as I know more.

What book did you enjoy most in your August reads? Please comment below!

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12 thoughts on “August Reads and an Update – Bookish: Reads

  1. Awww…so sorry to hear about that upsetting news with Nica. You take all the time you need to be with her now and then to recover after she is gone. Losing a pet is never easy, and I think it is especially difficult when you have to watch them fade.

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    • I suspect you are correct. When I had to let go of my bunny, it was rather sudden, though I had a few days with him before I had to make the final call. But this linger timeline, where she’ll soon be back to her old self and I almost forget she’s ill until she starts showing signs. It’s going to be more challenging than I’m prepared for. She’s been chronically ill from the day I adopted her, so I thought I’d be better prepared, but I prepared for other scenarios, not this one. But I’m taking it one day at a time. Thank you for your support and kind words ❤

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  2. So sorry about your dog. A similar thing happened with my dog. She was given three months to live when she got cancer and had a tumor removed in her leg. Was so devastating and wouldn’t wish it on anyone. She was my joy and best friend. It was six years ago now and I still have her pictures all over my walls and she’ll always be in my heart. At first I was so sad and almost wished I never had her so I wouldn’t feel the pain but with time the memories of her gave me more joy than sadness and I’m so thankful I had ten years with her. She showed me unconditional love and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
    Hope you continue blogging cos I love reading your reflections and maybe it will help to write, but totally understand whatever happens.

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    • Thank you so much for the support. It’s been hard to continue blogging partly because I’m just sad and overwhelmed, but also because I’m not really sure what I’m doing here matters to anyone. Sometimes I feel like I’m writing only for myself, and I’m not sure I want to do that over spending more time with her. Knowing someone enjoys what I do really helps. Thank you. ❤

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      • Have you thought about blogging your journey with your dog? Maybe it will help. And posting pictures and writing memories with her.
        The first thing I did when my dog died was write a post on my old blog called Ode to Diva. I should post it on this blog actually. It was to help me capture everything I wanted to remember about her and to help me deal with things. I was so glad I did that but I would have loved to document things while she was still around too. Definitely love reading your reflections.

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      • I hadn’t thought about doing that. I tend to compartmentalize things and since this is a book review blog, figured it shouldn’t be able me or my dog. But I do think it would help me process and hopefully find a healthy way to cope when the time comes. I will think on this. Thank you for the suggestion!

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      • Oh of course, maybe you could start another blog or I don’t think it would be a problem having a section of your book blog as a personal blog or even many sections. I guess cos there is a person behind the blog and so the person can come through the blog rather than the blog restricting the person. Plus blogs evolve as we do. But, definitely understand that thought process, it’s why I’ve had about 100 blogs over the years cos I keep blogging about a topic then change topics. So now I try to have one that focused on a few of my loves but isn’t restricted to that. Sorry, rambling again, I’m still figuring out the blog thing too.

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      • This wasn’t rambling; it was very useful in fact. I need to give myself permission to let myself come through on the blog. The human connection through blogging was a surprise to me, but I love it and am working toward embracing it more. 😀

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      • Love that human connection, it’s one of my favourite things about blogging. I guess that’s partly why I love hearing your reflections around books you read and other things. As much as I love books I’ve discovered reading book reviews on blog isn’t something I’m in to, but having that personal reflection makes it so interesting.

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  3. I have to agree with you on The Power of Habit. It was great at first and the hype machine really built it up, but as I finished it and I got further and further from it, the methods and book just fell for me. It was very much a meh a week or two after I finished it.

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