Monthly Roundup – August 2017

August was a really nice, easy-going month. I visited a few places, watched a few musicals and read a few books so it was all good!

The first book I finished in August was Shakespeare by Bill Bryson, which I started reading on holiday. Although this book was quite interesting, I felt like in the end it was basically a lot of words saying that we pretty much don’t know anything for certain about Shakespeare!

Next, I moved onto A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. Again, I think it’s fair to say I was quite indifferent to this novel come memoir. It’s basically about the author’s life in the aftermath of the death of his mother and father, when he becomes his little brother’s guardian. The parts where he talked about his little brother were really interesting although I found the bits where it digressed away from this (like a very long part about the magazine Eggers worked at) less engaging. All in all it was an ok read that I’m glad I read because it had been on my Amazon wish list for quite a while.

When I had finished A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius I moved onto History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera which follows Griffin dealing with the death of his first love and ex-boyfrien, Theo. So, I’m pretty sure this is an unpopular opinion because I have read so many reviews and seen so many people say how much they love this book but I just really couldn’t get into it. I will say, I think my lack of enjoyment might come from the way that I read the book namely I read the first half really slowly, a few pages at a time, and then powered through the second half all in one go on the train back home from London. Aside from that, I guess the characters just weren’t really my favourites; Theo I thought was quite manipulative in the way he treated Griffin and I found it really difficult when Griffin was putting Theo on a pedestal when actually he wasn’t that great (maybe that was the point, I’m not sure?). The only character I did quite like was Wade. I think I had a problem with the cheating in this novel too, like when Theo kisses Griffin when he is with Jackson. No matter the story or the context or the characters, I always find cheating difficult to deal with in stories so maybe that contributed too. Despite all that, I will say, I think the layout of the novel was really clever, having History chapters between what was currently happening, and the use of the second person ‘you’ because Griffin was talking to Theo was effective. I’m also still really looking forward to reading They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera!

After History is All you Left Me I read another contemporary YA in One of us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. I absolutely loved this novel, it was honestly one of the best I have read all year. This was mainly down to the characters, because it is narrated by four characters that I ended up loving who all had interesting and engaging stories to tell. The only thing I would say is that I would perhaps have liked even more from these characters. But, with there being a central mystery to the novel too, I’m not sure it could have been done within the context. With this in mind, I think this novel would make a really cool tv show because it would give more time to really explore all of the characters and what they’re going through as well as the mystery!

Next I read Weird Things Customers say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell which is literally a collection of weird things people have said in bookshops. This book was just a really nice change of pace after reading a couple of YA on the trot and really made me laugh. I would highly recommend it as a quick read for some fun!

Next was Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard which perhaps suffered a bit from my high expectationsย  (I read Barnard’s other novel A Quite Kind of Thunder a while ago and loved it). Perhaps because I had just read One of us is Lying which had four really interesting narrators, I found the single narrator, Caddy, quite frustrating at times. It was a nice change though, to have a novel that focuses on female friendship as aside from a couple of mentions, there was really no kind of romantic subplot in this novel.

Last in August was The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson which, following a similar pattern to Beautiful Broken Things, I expected to really like this novel because I loved I’ll Give You the Sun when I read that a while ago, but just didn’t (I would start to think more about whether the fact that these books were the second I read by these authors made a difference in my feelings towards them but I much preferred The Names they Gave Us by Emery Lord to When We Collided which is the first book of hers I read, so who knows?). Anyway, I enjoyed the poetry in this novel but the story itself wasn’t my favourite.

Currently I am reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I have almost finished and it is amazing! I genuinely have no idea where it is going to end up which is kind of terrifying me though!

Top Pick

One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus

top pick

So there we have it, my August roundup. I think it’s fair to say it was a pretty up and down month but I did read one of the best books I have read all year in One of us is Lying so that’s all good!

Anyway, thank you for reading, I hope you had a good August and happy reading in September!


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