Pinch, punch, first of the month! Hello everyone and welcome to my monthly wrap-up post! It’s the beginning of a new month, so I’m excited to recap what I’ve been reading with you.
At the beginning of next week I’ll be sharing my September reading list with you. I hope you can join me for that on Monday. In the meantime, let’s take a look at my reading progress compared to last month’s TBR! I had high hopes of completing this TBR even though I put more on it in anticipation of reading more in my time off work. I did read more, but I had a good number of books on the list… and a few chunky ones as that.
Let’s recap my reading progress throughout August!
The City of a Thousand Faces
August’s TBR was a mix of genres, mediums and book lengths. I started the month with my ‘fixed read’ that fell in middle ground in terms of length.
The City of a Thousand Faces is not your typical fantasy in terms of setting. We explore a city in a fantasy setting that reminded me very much of real life cities like Istanbul. Think arid landscapes, powerful sultans etc.
At 560 pages, this fantasy made for good exploration of a new world. The book can only be titled The City of a Thousand Faces as each character seems to have at least two – metaphorically of course! The characters and the plot are political in nature, and there was an awful lot of backstabbing!
The City of a Thousand Faces made for an okay read. It wasn’t my favourite book of the month, but I was interested to see how events concluded. It’s the most neutral review in this monthly wrap-up; the experience got better from here on out.
The first a non-fiction book I picked up throughout August was Spike. If you think it is a little early to pick up and read books about the pandemic, then maybe hold off this one for a little while. If you do decide to pick it up, then I hope, like me, you find this an interesting and insightful read.
The book offers insight into the handling of the pandemic. We start looking at events from a global scale before narrowing its focus to the UK’s handling of the pandemic from the point at which it landed on our shores. There were insights in this book that are both shocking and in equal measure unsurprising. That may sound contradictory… but hear me out. What is shocking is how lackadaisical some of the approaches were when the pandemic was in its early phases. In ways, it is unsurprising based on who those individuals are!
I quite enjoyed this read, even when you take into consideration the topic and the consequences of this event has had our lives as we know it. The pandemic has impacted us for a number of years already and will continue to do so. This book only touches on a relatively short period of time and there may well be more to add to this at a later date. Should such a book come out, I would definitely read this one as well.
Ship of Destiny
The longest book on my August TBR that we’ll talk about in this monthly wrap-up was Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb. I’ve been looking forward to this conclusion to The Liveship Trader trilogy – and for very good reason! These books are very quirky in their fantasy set up, and at last we see the events over the prior 1800 odd pages lead characters into their destinies.
With prior Hobb books, I have on occasion felt the length and depth of the storylines. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed them. However, I am very conscious of the fact I’m reading them, and that I’m having to read quite a lot in order to get through the page count. That wasn’t the case with Ship of Destiny at all. I was so invested in the narrative that the pages flew by, despite the dense storyline and events to take in. I’d go so far to say that I think Ship of Destiny is my favourite Hobb book so far!
A Brief History of Time
My second non-fiction read of the month was A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. This book pushed me out of my comfort zone because it is quite technical (and I am not). I enjoyed the concept of science and space despite not being so versed in complex, physical and mathematical equations and concepts. This book has those in abundance, although Stephen Hawking does do his best to explain these in simplified and practical examples.
Even though I’m not technically minded, I was able to read A Brief History of Time on a relatively superficial level and still find it interesting. I’m sure there is plenty more that other readers could get out of the book. However, I will save that for them. Although it is a science book, you don’t have to be too scientifically minded to understand the theories, principles, and discussion points that Stephen Hawking brings up throughout.
Leadership and Culture
Non-fiction isn’t a genre I read a whole lot of, although you know by now that I am trying to read more it. My third and last non-fiction on my August TBR and for inclusion in this monthly wrap-up is Leadership and Culture. I read this book whilst I was off work and managed to read it quite quickly. As someone who is invested in improving office culture and would be interested in a management position in future, I wanted to read this book ahead of that time to effectively set myself up.
This book has a lot of practical examples of do’s and don’t’s when it comes to management versus leadership. These are all examples I have seen in the workplace and felt their effects as well. I’m sure everyone has! For anyone who currently is in a management position and wishes to make improvements, the book is full of practical tips in order to identify or work on sticking points. Although I’m not necessarily in a position to adopt any of these now, I am in a position to encourage the healthy habits that some of these tips try to adopt. I can help encourage others to speak out by speaking out for myself, for example.
Wizard and Glass
The last book to feature in today’s monthly wrap-up is my final read of August, Wizard and Glass by Stephen King. I was determined not to leave it another four years before I returned to The Dark Tower series. It’s not even been four months… I’m sure you’re proud of me! On a serious note, I really enjoyed going back to the series and exploring the narrative and history of the world in a little bit of a different way. Whereas previous books hint at prior events and leave a lot to the imagination, this book seems to have more of a focus on building up that backstory.
It’s no wonder I didn’t get to the end of this before the end of the month, all things considered. This book is nearly 900 pages in itself as well!
Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get to Lost Solace. It was ambitious to try and tack this onto the end of what is already an extensive reading list. It’s not going away though. As I didn’t get to it in August, expect this to feature on September’s TBR coming out on Monday next week.
Over the course of August I read in excess of 2,500 pages. That’s an average of 80 pages a day, so not insignificant at all. I needed to read 107 pages a day in order to get through my reading list. That was quite an ambitious target! If I had no other plans for my time off work, this may have been a possibility. The fact is, I did use that time off for other things as well. I still made fantastic reading progress and I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved!
That concludes this monthly wrap-up post. What books have you been reading recently? Do you have any recommendations for me?