Books

What I read in August 2020

I feel like August was a strange sort of month overall. I spent a lot of it in a state of profound anxiety so I wasn’t as up for reading as much as usual. But that said, I still managed to cram in some amazing reads.

For The Read More Book Club this month the prompt was “Read a book by an author of colour in a genre you would like to read more of/have never read before or have never read.” I chose sci-fi and in doing so completely effed up my own prompt. First of all I picked Zone One by Colson Whitehead which is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic zombie novel. Guess whose literal dissertation title was “Representations of Humanity in Post-Apocalyptic Horror Literature”? Yes, this idiot. I suppose, in a way, I could say I want to read more of it to shoehorn it into the prompt but come on? I read nothing but that genre for over a year. See the full review over on my Instagram but in brief: I liked it but didn’t love it. Then my second pick was The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin which is on the fantasy borderline – a genre I read avidly. Sigh. BUT, I’ve seen the book described as science fantasy which is definitely new to me so going with that. I freakin’ adored this book, again the full review is on Insta, but in short: I am so buzzed by it and can’t wait to complete the trilogy. Other paperbacks I read this month were Followers by Megan Angelo (brilliant social media dystopia) and So Lucky by Dawn o’Porter (readable timepasser).

In another something new for me this month, which funnily enough matches the Read More prompt, I read an epic poem: my first since uni and Beowulf. I won an Instagram giveaway of The Half-God of Rainfall by Inua Ellams – this is an epic feminist poem blending mythology, philosophy and basketball in such an utterly breathtaking way, I’ve never read anything like it before and urge everyone to give it a read.

I had a great month of reading NetGalley ARCs and read some amazing books including The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste, Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham and Last Case at a Baggage Auction by Eric J. Guignard. I really enjoyed all of these books but The Shadow King just blew me away entirely. As I spend all my days writing about Africa – albeit just one aspect of the economy (oil & gas) throughout the continent – I’m making a conscious effort to read more books by African authors or books that are set in Africa. If you have any recommendations please give me a heads up! Other e-ARCs I read were It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan (a brilliant, fresh take on the haunted house); You Are Invited by Sarah A. Denzil (a mess); and The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk (typical Palahniuk).

I got through two audiobooks – the wonderful Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko which I read as part of a Tandem Collective listenalong (nigh on perfect YA fantasy); and the insidiously boring Wonderland by Zoje Stage (woman with obnoxiously named waens gets haunted by trees).

I didn’t read as much non-fiction as usual this month but still managed to fit in two very interesting books: Hood Feminism – Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot and Irresistible – The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. Hood Feminism is an absolutely vital read, with it being American centric I feel like I learned so much about what happens over there but it also resonates no matter where you live or where you’re from. Irresistible was an intriguing look at social media and other technologies and how we get so addicted to them and how they’ve managed to infiltrate our lives so insidiously in such a relatively short space of time. This is something I’ve been getting more and more interested in so I’ve been enjoying this – I’ve not quite finished it yet though.

How was your reading life in August? Have you read any of my reads? Tell me your thoughts!

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