August/September Summary and Plans for October

The last two months have been very busy for me so I’ve read about half as much as I normally would. I’m not worried about this as I had a fantastic summer with my family and there have been lots of great reads in there, but now the weather has made a turn for the worse I’m making up for my poor summer and have read 4 books in the last week. I’ll tell you all about them soon!

Books of the Month

Tell the Wolves I'm HomeNative Son (Vintage classics)

Books Reviewed in August/September

Native Son by Richard Wright 

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt 

The Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks 

The Lighthouse by Alison Moore 

Thinking in Numbers by Daniel Tammet 

Restoration by Rose Tremain 

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien 

The War of the Wives by Tamar Cohen 

The Plague by Albert Camus 

The Watch by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya 

Communion Town by Sam Thompson 

Plans for October

I hope to finish sampling the Booker shortlist and write a post summarising my thoughts before the winner is announced on the 15th October.

I also hope to read most of these books:

Merivel by Rose Tremain

So Big by Edna Ferber

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

Jamilia by Chingiz Aitmatov

Arcadia by Lauren Groff

Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World by Haruki Murakami

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Have you read any of these?

I hope that you have a wonderful October!

22 replies on “August/September Summary and Plans for October”

That’s still a lot of books, despite summer! I look forward to your Booker summary, as I’m waiting to hear what other bloggers think of the books before thinking of reading them myself.

Charlie, It is only 4 or 5 books a month, which is very slow for me, but I’m speeding up now so will hopefully have a Booker summary up for you soon.

I usually read much less in the summer months too, but didn’t go anywhere this year so I read the usual amount. I’ve only read one of the books on your list which was ‘The Lighthouse’, though I do have a few of them – Banks, Groff, Powers, Brunt, Stedman, Thompson, Tremain. I’ve been meaning to read Tim O’Brien for years (somewhere I have a copy of ‘July, July’) so your review has definitely reminded me of my intention and I suppose I should start with the novel I have before buying any more!

I’ve still got two of the Booker shortlist to go and since they’re the ones I fancy least I don’t know if I’ll get to them (I’m still daunted by ‘Umbrella’). I had been meaning to read my way through the Giller Prize longlist, but have given up a bit after four books – all of them are good but they all tell very similar stories and I don’t think the longlist represents the best of this year’s Canadian fiction, or at least it is a very narrow view of it. I’m hoping the Governor General’s Literary Award shortlist (which I think comes out this week) is more exciting.

August and September were (unintentionally) very much a summer of American fiction for me. A few authors who I’ve read for the first time (Dan Chaon, Andrew Porter, Patrick Somerville, Sam Shepard, Nathan Englander, Christian Kiefer, Julie Orringer, Alan Heathcock, Hanna Pylväinen), all of whom I shall be looking to read more by.

I also read a few of the ‘big name’ British releases – Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith and Pat Barker, and thought each of them very good (especially McEwan’s).

I read Ernest Hemingway for the first time (‘The Old Man and the Sea’) and have to admit to being slightly underwhelmed!

I think the stand-out book for me from the past two months has probably been Christian Kiefer’s debut novel, ‘The Infinite Tides’. Which surprises me as I read it in early August and, whilst I thought it was very good, I thought I would have forgotten it within a few weeks. But it is the one book that I’ve read recently that just won’t let me go – images and characters from it keep popping up in my mind and I find myself longing for the feeling of being in the world within its pages, and that’s the mark of a great read for me.

David, I’m sorry to hear that the Giller longlist isn’t living up to expectations this year – I enjoy seeing which books are selected (although I try not to look too closely as it can lead to expensive book importing!) I tend to browse older shortlists in the hope that more if the books are available in the UK. Let’s hope the Governor’s list has a better selection.

Thanks for letting me know about ‘The Infinite Tides’. I hadn’t heard about it, but I’ve now added it to my wishlist. I’ll probably try a few of the big name British releases at some point in the near future too. Glad to hear they were enjoyable reads. Have a wonderful October!

Diane, Thanks for the kind words. It is wonderful to know that you loved ‘Tell the Wolves I’m Home’ too. I think word is slowly starting to spread in the blogging world. Let’s hope it gets the attention it deserves.

Jamilia is one of my top 10 all time favourite books. I saw on Stus’ blog recently that it has finally been either translated or republished. There is a movie as well.
I just left a comment on Tell the Wolves I’m hoe as I hadn’t seen the review and it sounds very good.

Caroline, It is good to know that you love Jamilia – I’m even more excited about reading it now. I hope that you enjoy ‘Tell the Wolves I’m Home’ as much as I do – it is such a good book 🙂

Hi Jackie, I also had time off the book blog due to work commitments – now limbering up for the Asian season – DSC and MAN Asian longlists coming soon! Delighted to hear you’re planning to read Jamilia – I loved it. Also be interested to hear what you think of Narcopolis. Another one I liked, pleased to see it on the Booker shortlist.

We don’t overlap much at the moment. I didn’t read any of your books from September. But… I read The Light Between Oceans (okish) and Hardboiled Wonderland, which is odd, but I loved it. The setting and ideas behind the story

Have a good month!

Judith, Hopefully we’ll overlap a bit more when I add a few random selections onto my list. 🙂 Glad to hear that you loved Hardboiled Wonderland. I’m looking forward to more Murakami weirdness!

I must definitely definitely read Tell the Wolves I’m coming home!! You have a great month Jackie, you should be proud.

Hard boiled wonderland was my first Murakami and it was nothing I have ever read before. Suppose it would be hard for others who read his masterpiece and come back to this, disappointment is inevitable because it is his earlier works but I hope you like it as much as I did.

Jo, I’m sure you’ll enjoy ‘Tell the Wolves I’m Home’ so I hope you can get hold of a copy soon.

It will be interesting to see how ‘Hardboiled Wonderland’ compares to the other Murakami’s I’ve read. I just enjoy seeing into his amazing imagination so will be happy with just about anything (I hope!)

You have some wonderful looking reads coming up! Out of your October reads I’ve only read Arcadia, which I thought was lovely. I’ll have to look up some of the others, especially the Murakami. I read his IQ84 and was kinda blown away 🙂

Jennifer, I haven’t read IQ84 yet, but I’ll get to it at some point. I love starting a new Murakami! Glad to hear ‘Arcadia’ was lovely. I hope I enjoy it too.

Most of your ratings are still pretty high, so your reading picks were good ones overall 🙂

Hard-Boiled Wonderland… is the only book in your to-read list that I’ve read. It’s one of my least favourite Murakami books, I’m sorry to say. Perhaps you will think differently: am looking forward to reading your opinion on it!

Chinoiseries, I’m still abandoning about 80% of the books I start so my reading picks aren’t any better than normal – I’m just getting better at rejecting them 🙂

Sorry to hear that you didn’t love ‘Hardboiled’. I’m interested to see why it is dividing opinion. 🙂

Hahaha, yes, but you sneakily don’t list the ones you abandoned, giving the reader an impression that you didn’t DNF a single one 😉 I may have to learn to scrutinise better… no use to continue reading when the novel is not appealing.

Chinoiseries, I don’t list my DNFs in the monthly summary, but there are a few sprinkled through the month. I used to mention them all, but then I thought my blog was getting overly negative. This blog is supposed to encourage reading, but when I abandon such a high percentage of all the books I try I felt as though it was getting a bit depressing. Most of the books I abandon are debut/unfamiliar authors that most readers wont have heard of. It seems a bit pointless to say “I abandoned this book you haven’t heard of after 20 pages. I don’t really know why – it just didn’t grab me.’ Far better to just talk about the ones I enjoyed?

I don’t know. It is a tough one as I sometimes feel I should be more open in the ones I try?

It is a tough one indeed, I can see why people would interpret the many abandoned books as something negative, and don’t see the list of books that you finished and liked.

Yes, I think you’re chosen well to post about a few abandoned books (especially the better known ones, like the Booker nominees) but not include them in your monthly overview.

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