August was a self-indulgent, leisurely reading month for me. Remember when I said I don’t read much fiction? That all changed this past month. I reread the first five books in the Harry Potter series, indulged in a couple of best sellers, and finished the month with an excellent poetry collection. Overall, an exciting–but totally out of the ordinary–month.
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
After spending the month of July navigating Moby-Dick, I needed to give myself a week of self-indulgence. That week quickly escalated into the entire month of August, and I’m okay with that. Lately, I’ve been turning to comics whenever I really want to escape into a piece of literature, but the hobby can get expensive really fast. Since I didn’t have any new comics on hand, I decide to escape into the world of Harry Potter. I was obsessed with the books as a child, but hadn’t read them since the last book came out years ago. I powered through the first 5 books this month, getting completely lost in the series and loving every minute of it.
I’ll do a more detailed post once I finish the series, but have to say that Harry Potter was every bit as enjoyable to me now as an adult as it was when I was younger. If you haven’t read the series, please do yourself a favor and jump on the bandwagon.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
This is the first book in a trilogy that is widely regarded as “Harry Potter for adults.” I picked this one up in the midst of my Harry Potter fandom with high hopes that I would fall in love with the trio. But of course, comparing anything to Harry Potter (arguably the most influential children’s book series in recent history) can be problematic. Sure, I get the comparison. The Magicians follows the protagonist, an unhappy young man who feels that his life is devoid of meaning until he’s admitted to an elite school for magic. So, you can see why it might be comparable… But I think it’s an unfair comparison. Personally, the world of The Magicians felt more like a nightmare than anything else. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s certainly not a world I’d like to escape to. But the aspect that’s really preventing me from going forward in the series?
Quentin Coldwater is one of the most self-absorbed, selfish, moody, immature, miserable characters I think I’ve ever encountered in a book. He’s a hypocrite and an asshole. At one point (and then again, later), he makes a mistake that ends up killing a fellow classmate and then shows remorse for about 5 seconds before moving on to mope about his own pathetic problems. Even though this book just simply wasn’t for me, I have to give Lev Grossman some serious cred. He knows how to write a character that can illicit palpable anger. Impressive.
The Martian by Andy Weir
[No photo because my boyfriend is borrowing my copy]
Add this to your sci-fi TBR immediately if it isn’t there already. This is such a cool new twist on the classic adventure story, and I found myself absolutely powering through this novel last month. When an unfortunate series of events leaves astronaut Mark Watney stranded on Mars, he’s forced to rely on his own ingenuity to survive. The writing is exceptionally well-done, Watney is a character with an awesome personality and sense of humor (you’ll root for him!), and the problems and solutions along the way are just plain smart. What’s more, this is just plain a good book to support. Evidently, Weir originally self-published the book chapter by chapter on his website until fans asked him to put it online as an e-book. The publishing and movie deal came later, within a week of each other. Overall, it’s a great story and a great book that I highly recommend reading before the movie comes out.
Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon
This was the August selection for the Rumpus Poetry Book Club, and per usual, the selection was fantastic. Limon’s poems are stunning, and she was an absolute joy to speak to during the month-end online discussion. Please, read her poem “How to Triumph Like a Girl”.
Overall, it was a pretty fun month. What did you read?