Here are the books I’ve read in August, in chronological order. I was pretty happy to have read such a diverse mix of genres this month, and I’ll try to keep it up going forward!
Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven: This has been on my to-read list for such a long time, and once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it back down. I read for an entire day on the couch until I finished the book. I’ve seen a lot of people describe this as a “slow burner” but I didn’t find the book slow at all. I found this to be a thoughtful exploration into the necessity of art, technology, and human connections. However, I didn’t connect with or even like any of the characters, but I think Mandel did such an excellent job creating this post-apocalyptic world that it doesn’t even matter.
Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl: I will admit that for the longest time I didn’t “get” Lena Dunham’s appeal. This has been my summer of Dunham – I binge watched all the seasons of her show “Girls” and then read her book as soon as I could get my hands on it. I “get” it now. She’s funny, thoughtful, and self-deprecating. She is insightful and self-aware to the brink of an egomaniacal obsession. I related to her book much more than I did to her show, and I feel like I have a new found appreciation and respect for her.
Adrienne Rich’s Diving Into the Wreck: I am slowly making my way through all of Adrienne Rich’s works. Reading a book of her poems is like exploring a sunken ship, you uncover new verses and meaning each time. This book has stood the test of time, and her eponymous poem gets better with each read.
First the air is blue and then it is bluer and then green and then black I am blacking out and yet my mask is powerful it pumps my blood with power the sea is another story the sea is not a question of power I have to learn alone to turn my body without force in the deep element.
Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone: This book will make you cry and cover your eyes a thousand times. It is heartbreaking but hopeful. Ishmael Beah has gone through hell and then some, and he is still able to find beauty and joy in life. I really admire his spirit, and I am glad to have learned a little more about the Sierra Leone civil war. If you only read one book on my list, make it this one.
Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane: I think at the heart of it, this is a book about childhood and the painful realization that the line between children and adults is kind of arbitrary.
“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
Ernest Poole’s His Family: I read this for my Pulitzer reading project. This isn’t something I would have read on my own, so I am happy to have branched out. I don’t think I’ll read anything else that Ernest Poole has written, though. I’m currently starting Booth Tarkington’s “The Turmoil” because apparently his Pulitzer Prize winning “The Magnificent Ambersons” is the second book in a series. I’m not sure if the books stand alone on their own, but I figured I might as well read the first one for the sake of it.
What have you read this past month? Have you read any of the same books as me? What should I read in September?