I can’t believe how quickly August went by. I didn’t have the best reading month, both in quantity and quality. But let’s just get into talking about my favourites and disappointments!
Serious Moonlight by Jean Bennett
This was part of my ‘bestie picks my TBR’ challenge with Angel. This was my third read from that list, and I absolutely loved it. Honestly one of the best things about doing this challenge with Angel is that we know each other’s reading tastes pretty well and we usually agree on books. It just makes the challenge a whole lot easier and much more fun if we know chances are we’re going to love the books as much as each other. Anyway, this was my third Jenn Bennett book—the second of her YA contemporaries, and I think it’s my favourite so far. It’s just full of things I love—mystery novels, David Bowie references, some cats…perfect!
With The Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Poet X was one of my favourite books of last year, and I picked this one up straight after reading that. Naturally, it took me over a year to actually get to it because that’s just the kind of person I am. Either way, I absolutely loved this. It wasn’t quite as heartbreaking as The Poet X was, but I didn’t really need the extra heartbreak this month so that was probably a good thing. I loved Emoni and her passion for cooking—it made me super hungry, but it was also just really nice to read about a character having a real hobby and passion for something different than my own. It’s made me think that I need to read more books about food because I actually really enjoyed that.
Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai
Makkai is one of my favourite authors, but I was a little hesitant going into this one. While I’ve been enjoying short story collections more and more, I still feel unsure about them when I start. However, this one totally knocked it out of the park. A lot of the stories in here feel like precursors for The Great Believers, which was my first Makkai and one of my top 3 books of all-time, so I really enjoyed it for that. It does make me a little sad that I have finished this one now as it means I only have one Makkai left unread. I don’t know why I dislike finishing author’s published books so much, but apparently I do.
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
I’m sad that this was disappointing. I figured since I loved Mrs Dalloway when I read it for class a few years back that I’d probably really enjoy this one too. I really didn’t. It was boring and confusing and I finished it feeling very underwhelmed by the whole thing. I was really hoping this would bring me out of my classics funk as of late, where I haven’t been able to enjoy any that I’ve read for quite a while now. But instead it made me have a bit of an existential crisis as to whether I even enjoyed classics at all anymore. The jury is still out on that one, but I’ll be jumping back into some good old Austen soon to make me feel better.
Monkey Grip by Helen Garner
Again, I expected as I was blown away by This House of Grief that I’d feel the same about this one. This is Garner’s first book and it’s considered a bit of an Australian classic. I almost feel like I read an entirely different book to everyone else because I just did not enjoy it at all. It’s a lot about drugs and toxic relationships in 1970s Melbourne, based on some of Garner’s own experiences, but honestly she lost me in all the drug-related stuff. I just got bogged down in trying to understand what was actually happening and I was annoyed by all of the characters so much that I couldn’t even enjoy Garner’s usual writing style.
The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott
I think this month was really a case of me needing to lower my expectations. I was fully ready for this to be one of the best books of 2020 after having loved Flames, which was Arnott’s debut. But this was, again, boring and confusing. It felt like it was trying to do too much and ended up not doing any of it properly. I feel very conflicted about the whole book in general. It’s been like two weeks and I can’t decide if I liked it at all or not. I don’t know that it’s one that I’ll ever make my mind up on. Maybe one day I’ll reread it and see how I feel then, but until then I guess I’m just going to go back to crying about Flames.