Balancing the Books – August 2021

So that was August. It brought a trip to the seaside, 2p slot machines, fish and chips and buckets and spades. It also didn’t see a lot of reading. Sometimes the mind doesn’t always want to get stuck in a book, no matter how much the body is willing. It started out so well, as I raced my way through the first book. Then I hit a bump in the road. It seemed a slog to finish a book. And not because I wasn’t enjoying whatever I read, I was. I just couldn’t get in the right mood to read. Many readers find themselves in this position from time to time. When I asked on Twitter it appeared that August had been the same for them in a reading,  or rather not reading capacity. I did feel guilty, as if I was letting down all those books, and all those authors, waiting to be read. But then I realised I shouldn’t (obvious to everyone else, I know). The pressure to read a certain amount of books each month is self imposed. It doesn’t matter if you read one page or 30 books. It doesn’t matter if you don’t read any books. There is no right or wrong number. This is after all a hobby, a way of escape, and to make it a competative sport can negate that. That said, because I am nothing if not contrary, after I wrote this I found that my reading suddenly picked up in the last two weeks so I managed to finish more than I expected I would.

August was not only a quiet month for reading. It wasn’t as busy for books arriving into the household.

Here’s what arrived:

  1. Dare to Know by James Kennedy, sent for review by Quirk Books.
  2. The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana, sent for review by Pan Macmillan.
  3. Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman, sent for review by Vintage Huddle.
  4. Till Death Do Us Part by John Dickson Carr.
  5. Murder by the Book edited by Martin Edwards. These last two sent for review by the British Library.
  6. The Good Death by S. D. Sykes, sent for review by Hodder & Stoughton.
  7. Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty, sent for review by
  8. The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser, sent for review by Simon & Schuster.
  9. The Editor’s Wife by Clare Chambers.
  10. Back Trouble by Clare Chambers.
  11. A Dry Spell by Clare Chambers. All three Clare Chambers books sent for review by Arrow.
  12. Storyland by Dr Amy Jeffs, a sampler sent by Riverrun.
  13. The Murders on the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe, a holiday purchase.
  14. The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman, sent for review by FCMC Associates.
  15. Holy Island by L J Ross, a present for my mum which she of course gave back to me to read once she’d finished it.
  16. The Song of Youth by Montseratt Roig, translated by Tiago Miller, sent for review by Fum D’Estampa.
  17. The Art of Death by David Fennell, sent for review by Zaffre.

As for what a read, there were very few this month that saw me turn the final page.

  1. Piranesi by Susannah Clarke.
  2. Skin Care by Caroline Hirons.
  3. Murder by the Book edited by Martin Edwards.
  4. Dreaming of Rose by Sarah LeFanu.
  5. Miss Marple’s Final Cases by Agatha Christie.
  6. The Song of Youth by Montserrat Roig.
  7. Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer.
  8. The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan.

I also gave 6 books to a friend, which may or may not be returned by I’m counting them as an outgoing for now. So that’s 17 in and 14 out. So close but not quite a balance. I hope you enjoyed whatever it was you read in August, be it a page, copious amounts of books, newspapers or even just the back of your cornflake box. Next month I’m trying to challenge myself to read more, in an attempt to reduce the TBR even further. But we all know what happens to the best laid plans…

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Are you a Piranesi fan, Janet? Not one I thought I’d read but Annabel over at Annabookbel has convinced me I need to get a copy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      I am a fan Susan. It’s quite fantastical but it swept me up into the world she had created. I have said to a couple of people it’s the kind of book that would do well on a re-read so that the finer points of the story can be revealed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had the same strong start and painful slog through my August reading too! I felt bad because the books were so good but I was taking forever to read them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      It’s how it goes sometimes. I hope you are back to your reading comfort zone and are enjoying whatever you are reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kath says:

    I don’t know if it helps but I prefer to think of them as reading lulls where I might not be reading as much or anything but I know I need those as a break before things pick up again. And August or any of the other summer months is a time when people expect you to go out on day trips more anyway, so there is less time to read from that perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      Very true. I think we all have reader burnout at some time or other. We just have to wait to get through it 🙂

      Like

  4. That is some impressive balancing Janet, especially as you started in a lull!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      I surprised myself in the end! I think September will be even closer as I’ve had few books and read more already. Famous last words perhaps!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. An impressive amount of arrivals and you still managed to read a lot! Hope you feel happier about reading in September!! ;D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      September seems to be going well so far. And the majority of those I have read are older books. So perhaps that’s the way to go for a bit!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. BookerTalk says:

    Good news that the reading lull didn’t last too long. I had to laugh at your comment about the book coming back from your mum. Mine does the same but since her reading tastes and mine are so different anything she returns to me ends up straight in the charity bag.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      It must be a mum thing! I’m sneaky. I often buy books for her that I want to read, knowing she’ll give them back to me 🙂

      Like

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