And like that, it’s September already! To be honest, I’m not sorry to see August go. It was a perfectly fine month, but I don’t like Summer. Heat and I do not get along, and August always has more than its fair share of heat and humidity. I’m looking forward to September’s cooler temperatures and all things related to Fall!
Except for pumpkin spice lattes. They could never offer those again, and I wouldn’t mind.
I read seventeen books in August! Seven were graphic novels, three were eBooks, and the rest were traditional print books. I finished one ARC from NetGalley, which means I’m already ahead of schedule when it comes to the ARCs on the docket.
- Star Trek: Discovery: Fear Itself by James Swallow
- Gom on Windy Mountain by Grace Chetwin
- The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
- Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman
- The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman
- The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
- The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman
- The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Humphrey Carpenter
- Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor
- The Sandman, Vol. 3: The Dream Country by Neil Gaiman
- Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World by Verlyn Flieger
- Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
- The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain, translated by Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Tales by Washington Irving
- The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman
- The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You by Neil Gaiman
- The Spellbook of Katrina van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo, ARC provided by NetGalley
Though I like to have a 50/50 or better parity of female to male authors, in August only 41% of the books I read were by women. Which means that 59% were written by men, while 35% of my total August selections were written by Neil Gaiman. I guess that happens when you embark on a reread of The Sandman series.
A whole 1 book counts toward my Read the World challenge. Ugh.
Genre-wise, eleven of my August reads were fantasy or fantasy-adjacent, two were science fiction, one was a contemporary fiction, and three were non-fiction. I didn’t read as many of the short stories available on Tor.com as I thought I would. I thought they’d be quick, easy reads I could tackle during downtime at work, but I ended up not having much downtime. Perhaps in September!
I posted the review for my first NetGalley ARC approval, Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennet. It’s been receiving great reviews since it came out on the twenty-first, but I did not enjoy it. I thought the characters were poorly drawn in addition to sounding like they were from 2018, rather than from a Renaissance-era Venice and there was endless infodumping about the magic system. Now, I admit that the magic system was creative, but I don’t read fantasy specifically for the magic. Characters come first for me, and I found the ones in Foundryside to be uninteresting and flat. I gave this book two stars.
My next NetGalley ARC approvals were The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo, which I enjoyed but will be reviewing a little closer to the release date, and The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston, which I have not begun reading yet.
What’s on the agenda for September? A lot! In addition to my upcoming ARC reads, I’m hoping to get to one or two of the second books in a couple of series I started over the summer, namely When True Night Falls (The Coldfire Trilogy #2) by C.S. Friedman and Traitor’s Blade (The Greatcoats #2) by Sebastien de Castell. I’d also like to start on The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1) by Sarah Beth Durst, which Danielle at Books, Vertigo & Tea has been recommending to me for ages. I have a few other books in progress that I’d like to finish up over the long weekend: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee, Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth by A.O. Scott, and The Road to Middle Earth: How J.R.R. Tolkien Created a New Mythology by Tom Shippey.
But my major project for September is my upcoming The Lord of the Rings reread, in which, 1-3 chapters at a time, I will be slow-reading my favorite book of all time. I have been immersing myself in all things Tolkien of late, and it has only deepened my love for the world of Middle-earth. To finish preparing for this, I will be reading The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, and the newly published The Fall of Gondolin. There are the three great stories the rest of Tolkien’s legendarium was built upon. He began working on them as early as 1914, and was continually revising them until his death in 1973. Since then his son, Christopher, has been editing the massive amount of material his father left behind. Though the stories of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, and Gondolin are told in The Silmarillion, the standalone editions greatly expand upon them, as well as providing context to the various revisions. I also plan to read J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf, as there are many elements from the old Anglo-Saxon tale that figure in The Lord of the Rings. A buddy read of The Hobbit seems to be in my future, too!
I’ll be writing some introductory posts about my history with Tolkien and the background of The Lord of the Rings, and then the reread itself will begin on Frodo and Bilbo’s shared birthday, September 22nd! I am so excited to begin this journey, and I hope you’ll join me on it!