Books I Read in August 2017

August was overall a nice reading month, but not as terrific as July had been, or as great as I’m anticipating September being.

August 2017 Reads


  1. This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

    (Review book.) I enjoyed the premise and setting quite a bit. One of the secondary characters was also someone I’d like to see in future books, assuming this is the start of a series. Part of the premise behind the mystery was not very convincing, so it detracted from the book as a whole. It also reminded me quite a bit of several other titles, especially And Then There Were None, thanks to the secluded island setting. Overall though, I will happily look for future titles if this does become a series. Enjoyable and fun.

  2. Peril at End House by Agatha Christie

    I hate it when I catch on to some of the biggest clues in the book, and guess the culprit, but don’t figure out some of the intermediate proof and still end up having to wait for Poirot to reveal all. At least I’m not as clueless as Hastings. Another fun mystery by Christie.

  3. A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd

    Next in the Bess Crawford series. I feel slightly ghoulish for saying I don’t want the war to end, but I love these books and am not sure what Todd will do with the series post-war. Perhaps I’m just afraid that they’ll lose something without that backdrop. As it is, this was a typical book in the series, and won’t convert anyone who isn’t already a fan.

  4. A Pale Horse by Charles Todd

    I listened to this, and I’m not sure if I missed some details because of the audio, or if the book really did kind of gloss over a few things. As it was though, I’m still slightly confused by a few aspects of the book.

  5. A Most Novel Revenge by Ashley Weaver

    Light and fluffy murder mystery, if that’s not a contradiction in terms. It fit the reading mood I was in, and it’s an ok series if you’re looking for that type of historical mystery.

  6. Wednesday’s Child by Peter Robinson

    Continuing on with my re-read of the Alan Banks series. I’m enjoying them more as we get to the more recent ones; the earliest ones are so dated that it’s jarring at times.

  7. Other Fiction

  8. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

    Loved this fun start to a lengthy series. Historical fiction set during the Napoleonic wars, but with dragons. I listened to it, but it’s not the easiest on audio unless you’re much better than I was at keeping track of lots of unfamiliar names and terminology. Highly recommended.

  9. Plainsong by Kent Haruf

    Book club selection for September. The pacing is very slow, compared to some of the other books I read this month, and the writing style was unusual. Overall I enjoyed it, although I’d have liked it more with a few of the graphic lines omitted.

  10. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

    A re-read for September’s in-person book club. Lots of fun the second time around, although it also had some more s*xual content than I’d remembered. Very different in tone though than Plainsong! I love the touch of magical realism it includes, and am looking forward to reading the sequel.

  11. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

    August’s book club selection, and I didn’t finish it until the discussion had begun. I *struggled* through this one. It’s long and so detailed at times. Parts of it were interesting, but other sections were so dull. And some sections were just baffling, or gross, or gross and baffling. I know it’s an award winner, and many people love it and recommend it, but I was not a fan.

  12. Nonfiction

  13. Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela J. Hanscom

    Love the premise behind it, and it was amazingly convicting. As an audio book though, it seemed very repetitive and like it could have been trimmed substantially. I expect it’d have worked better as a print or electronic version, where it’d have been easier to skim sections.

  14. Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu

    Really interesting (and reminded me quite a bit of a Laura Vanderkam book), but I’m not sure how much of it really applies in my life currently. I would recommend it to others though! And maybe some of the “nice but not for me” feeling is because I already am fairly good at not doing some things, even when there might be societal pressure on me that I will.

  15. The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures by Library of Congress

    Fun to flip through, but get the print version – the electronic one is very hard to see the small images and they’re the best part of the book. If you’re not interested in books or library history I don’t think it’ll hold much appeal, but if you are, you should give it a glance.

  16. Cookbooks

  17. One-Pan Wonders: Fuss-Free Meals for Your Sheet Pan, Dutch Oven, Skillet, Roasting Pan, Casserole, and Slow Cooker by Cook’s Country

    Love the premise behind it, but sometimes it seemed like they were making more work to try to keep it to one pan. And sometimes it seemed like they were stretching the allowed definition of dishes. If the point of one pan is to minimize cleanup, then having a separate bowl to cook things in the microwave seems like cheating a bit. Those quibbles aside, there were a LOT of dishes that I flagged as ones I’d like to try.

  18. Food52 A New Way to Dinner: A Playbook of Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead by Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs

    Loved the premise behind this one as well, but probably won’t be making anything from it. Eating styles are different enough, or I’m not interested in enough of one of the week’s menu that it takes away from the advantage of their structure, that using the book kind of becomes a waste. If your tastes match theirs, however, this is a terrific idea and it’s well-structured.

  19. Salad for Dinner by Jeanne Kelley

    I might just have not been in the right mood when I was flipping through it, but none of the recipes tempted me enough to want to make them. Beautiful pictures, and a range of what counted as a salad, but not the book for me.

  20. Kid Lit

  21. Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

    A fun listen, and I’m looking forward to listening to the sequel in September.

  22. Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr

    Grabbed this to pre-read to decide if I want to pass it along to my kids. There’s nothing in it that would keep me from doing so, but it’s not one I think my son would like right now. I’ll keep it in mind in the future, either for him if his tastes change a bit, or for one of my daughters as they get older. It’s fluffy entertainment, but not a must-read for any of them.

  23. Ice Road by Joan Lennon (The Wickit Chronicles #3)

    Finishing the series. I’d happily pass this along to my son – it’s an easy read, with short chapters (he is all about short chapters right now), but he has zero interest in anything smacking of fantasy. And a flying gargoyle would definitely count as fantasy for him. Sigh.

  24. A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

    Recommended if you’re looking for a middle-grade book dealing with the Berlin Wall and the time immediately after it was installed. Lacks the depth adult or even young adult fiction would have about the topic, but for what it is it was good.

  25. Did Not Finish

  26. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

    Read the first few chapters and wasn’t caring about any of the characters. I’m saving my reading time unless I end up being convinced it’s worth another try.

  27. The Brontë Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne by Catherine Reef

    Fine, but I’d just finished the adult biography on Charlotte and didn’t feel like this was adding anything extra to my knowledge. I read about half of it and mostly looked at the pictures.

  28. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

    Read one chapter and was really bored by it. Should I give it some more time? It had to go back to the library but I could request it again. Not sure if it was just a case of bad timing and it’s one that I’d like if I would give it a real chance.

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  1. Elizabeth Enright’s Thimble Summer was a favorite when I was a girl. I need to look into Gone -Away Lake.

  2. I put His Majesty’s Dragon on my TBR right after finishing Uprooted. Good to know it’s better in print than audio. My library has it available both ways, so I’ll be sure to get it in print when I can actually get around to reading it. 🙂

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