Reading Recap: August 2020

Hello! We’re still in the middle of a global pandemic! Did we all think it would be over by now? I did. Ah, that naive past Haley. She was so precious. One of my favorite people on Instagram to get book recommendations from is Annie Jones, owner of The Bookshelf independent bookstore. She confesses every year that August is her least favorite month and I as I agree with her about books, I also agree with her about this. Except for maybe January, August feels like the longest. month. ever. and the weather is usually awful.

This August was different from every other summer only in the lack of travel that I did. (Oh, and the wearing masks everywhere and the much overdue racial reckoning in the US.) Otherwise, everything was normal! I stayed inside with the AC on and read a lot.

I also set up my affiliate store! You can go here and find all of the books I’ve read and recommended:

If you want to know more about what I’m reading, you can follow my Bookstagram @thelazybookshelf. Or you can follow me @heymeff for general silliness and sporadic posting.

If you’re a fan of Mary Poppins or stories about orphans set in London, I’d recommend Sweep! This is a middle grade novel that follows a group of chimney sweeps (aka child labor) all over London as they struggle against unimaginable circumstances. This book had a hopeful ending, but it was kind of sad. One thing I need in my middle grade books is a bit of humor and this one lacked in that area for me. It didn’t lack imagination or magic, and I still enjoyed it. I’ll pretty much read anything set in London.

I read two books this month that felt a little like riding an actual roller coaster. The Death of Vivek Oji starts as the title says, with Vivek’s body on the porch of his mother’s house. But this isn’t a thriller or mystery. Although we do find out what happened to Vivek, the story is about who Vivek was and who they wanted to be. It’s fairy short, the writing is so good, but it’s not for the feint of heart.

I heard about this book on an episode of What Should I Read Next. I think. I know it was The Lazy Genius Kendra Adachi who said she couldn’t put it down. And it was a page turner! It was fine. I’d recommend it for a beach read where you don’t have to pay too much attention. It follows a Canadian detective who moves to a compound for people who are trying to escape their lives. It’s in the middle of nowhere which made the setting really unique. It was a little melodramatic, which I find a lot of detective novels to be, but I finished it. It’s the start of a series and I probably won’t be reading the second.

This book has Big Little Lies vibes mixed with Girl on the Train and a little Ruth Ware thrown in. It was a thriller in every sense of the word. It was set in NYC which I loved. I was supposed to go to New York in May (INSERT CRYING EMOJI) so it was fun to read about the city. There were shady characters and it kept me guessing all the way to the end!

Oh Auntie Poldi. Everyone needs a slightly promiscuous sixty year old detective in your reading life. Start with the first one; this is the third in the series. It doesn’t need much set up: Poldi’s nephew is the narrator who recounts all of the adventures and trouble Poldi gets into. This mystery involves a murder, a car chase, a fist fight, and a brief kidnapping. The writing is witty and descriptive. Don’t we all wish we could’ve traveled to Italy (or anywhere besides our couch) this summer? Poldi was my mental escape to pasta country.

This is the second book that made me feel like I was on a roller coaster. It also kind of felt like an emotional punch in the face. At the beginning, Ruby arrives home to find her mother shot in their living room. Her father is abusive and their family history is tough. It’s set in South Chicago and it was really eye opening. It was really powerful and also challenging. What do I turn away from because of my privilege? What stories can I ignore because they’re “too tough” to pay attention to? I’m really glad I finished this one, even though it was heartbreaking.

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What did you read in August?

What else do you want to know about the books I’m reading?

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