Today’s Blogtober post comes a little late because wrap ups are always long and tricky to write. But I’ll return to the previous posting time tomorrow.
August and September 2022 were two strange months in our lives. We moved countries and it took us a month to move into the place we’re now living in. The temporary living conditions were a pain in the bum. I couldn’t get a library membership because of this, which is why I read A LOT of ebooks. I mean, there were a few physical copies, but the ebooks vastly outnumbered them. However, I found some favorites in these two months, reread a favorite, too, and I’m super pumped, especially because my attitude towards reading has changed.
I read a total of 17 books – 11 ebooks and 6 physical copies – in August and September 2022, of which 2 were DNFs. I’m pretty happy with my reading because I’ve taken to taking it easy. I’m no longer pressuring myself into wanting to read my whole TBR at once. I know it’s not possible and I know it will take time to get through the number of books that I have. It’s a freeing feeling to have and I’m hoping to continue in this vein for as long as possible.
Before I start recounting these books, two important things:
- There’s a trilogy in here and I will review the trilogy as a whole even though I read the first book in August and books 2 and 3 in September.
- 4 of these books are part of a secret project that I’ve been doing for BookTube. So I won’t explain much about those books. Maybe just a little hint or two. 😉
Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you about the books that I read in August and September 2022. 😊
BOOKS I READ IN AUGUST 2022
1. The All for the Game trilogy by Nora Sakavic
This trilogy starts off with The Foxhole Court, followed by The Raven King, and rounds it off with The King’s Men. And what a fantabulous trilogy this is!
Neil Josten transfers high schools to become a part of the Exy (a fictional game which seemed to me a cross between hockey and lacrosse) team Palmetto State Foxes. Coach David Wymack, someone who gives chances to children with troubled pasts, has brought him in. Neil is now confronted with a bunch of people who have their own issues. He butts heads, he gains confidences, he learns friendship, and he begins to understand the politics of the game that is bringing this bunch together. But his past is threatening to catch up with him. What will he do when it does? What does that deadline mean for him and the family he has just found?
This story, with its found family and second chances, filled me up and forced me to look past the characters’ jerk behaviors. If it hadn’t been for these arcs, I swear I would have jumped into the pages and punched them in the faces. But their growth and development saved them. The conflicts and their resolutions, the ‘villains’ and their comeuppances, the behaviors and their reasons – there are so many layers to this trilogy that will keep you invested from the first page of Foxhole Court to the last page of King’s Men. Highly recommend!
2. Untangled Chords by Shreya Karn
A collection of poems, short stories, and thoughts, Untangled Chords is a simple, sweet, quick read that has something in it for everyone. The writing is a little raw and awkward and there are some instances where it can get controversial – not because of the topic, but because the usage of a term is uncalled for. But on the whole, books like these take us back to the basics – something that we need to do from time to time, to introspect and re-evaluate life.
I did a full video review of this book on my YouTube channel. If you’d like to go check it out, here’s the link: Untangled Chords by Shreya Karn.
3. Salt by Danielle Ellison
Okay, look. Listen. I’d be lying if I said I wanted to like this book because just a couple of pages in and some inner feeling began tearing up my insides, clamoring to be let out of reading this book. This is a story about witches and when the book starts, we see Penelope trying to get rid of a demon using salt. But she doesn’t have the power, for the demon who killed her parents when she was a child, robbed her of her powers. So the demon she is trying to ‘kill’ in the present realizes that she can’t do anything and begins to gloat. But somehow, she manages to finish it off. What is happening with her powers? Will they return? Or will their absence leave her more vulnerable than before?
I want to put out layered, nuanced reasons as to why I didn’t like this book but I can’t. Because I found this story simply annoying. It’s whiny. That’s what it is. And that’s all there is to it. I was about 8% into the story when I went, “THAT’S ENOUGH!” and DNFed it. Thank heavens I did!
4. Our Nana Was A Nutcase by Ranjit Lal
THIS! This, oh, this is such a beautiful story of the relationship between a grandfather and his grandchildren. I’ve never seen either of my grandfathers since both of them passed before I was born. So this book was like a punch of nostalgia for people I’ve never met and never will meet, but who I have a strong blood connection with.
Our Nana Was A Nutcase is about 4 children and their Nana (maternal grandfather). The kids’ parents are diplomats and have to travel around a lot, which is why they’ve left the kids in their Nana’s care. Nana, a retired Army Colonel, brings them up in a loving atmosphere. From waking the children up with a bugle to addressing them with Army ranks to taking them out on adventurous ‘missions’ – Nana does the whole thing. And the kids obviously love their Nana to no end. But what happens when Nana starts forgetting things? What happens when the world they know is about to be upended?
I bought this ebook AGES ago and I kept putting it off for some reason. But I’m so happy that I decided to pick it up and read it. It’s beautiful, it’s warm, it’s heartwarming, it’s nostalgic, it’s like a warm embrace, it’s like a story by the fireplace, it’s everything good! If you haven’t read this book, I beg you, please read it. Please, please go and pick it up. It will be worth it.
5. I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
I’d heard a lot of good things about Teresa Driscoll’s writing and was really excited to read her works. And I was not disappointed. I mean, I wasn’t jumping with joy but I did like it. Okay, enough of talking in circles.
I Am Watching You is the story of Ella, who on a train journey, overhears two guys hitting on two girls. She feels that something is off and wants to warn the girls against it. She makes to do so as well, but she sees something that stops her and decides not to. She gets back home and soon, news is all over the place that one of the girls has gone missing. Guilt eats away at her for not having warned the girls. Fast forward one year and the girl still hasn’t been found. Ella is now receiving threatening, mocking notes. But slowly and surely, new developments are happening and they are not what anybody – least of all Ella – could have expected.
The journey, the moral dilemmas, the intrigue, the games – all of these were very interesting to read. But the ending was way too underwhelming, in my opinion. In order to have that sort of an explanation, you need to have signs sprinkled throughout the story. Otherwise, it just becomes too convenient, like an Indian soap twisting the plot in 10 billion ways just because. Anyway, it’s a good one. Just don’t expect too much from it.
6. Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino
A Detective Galileo murder mystery, Salvation of a Saint took my breath away! It’s so gripping, with every page bringing out new details, new twists to the story. Some, you’ll see right off the bat but others, you’ll have to squint to see. And that is the fun (for lack of a better word) of the whole exercise.
Yoshitaka is murdered in his home. Given the fact that he was about to leave his wife, Ayane, she becomes the obvious suspect. But Ayane was hundreds of miles away the night of his murder, visiting her parents. How could she have done it? Detective Kusanagi is assigned the case and immediately decides that Ayane is innocent. But his assistant, Utsumi, is convinced that Ayane was the one to do it. As facts emerge and turn everything topsy-turvy, Utsumi calls on Professor Manabu Yukawa to help them with the case. And the moment you realize what exactly happened is a huge jaw-dropper.
What a fantastic book this is! Every dot connected, every eventuality accounted for, human biases becoming clear, detective work becoming finer with each page – Salvation of a Saint makes for a gripping read. Instant favorite!
7. Do Epic Shit by Ankur Warikoo
Another DNF that I gave up at 8%.
This book was everywhere last year, I think, and I thought I’d see what exactly this author is talking about. He’s basically saying, “Look, you’re not successful because you’re lazy.” And this book is a bunch of sayings he put out as tweets, each becoming more toxic positive than the next. This isn’t self-help. This is deriding the person reading the book for actually wasting time reading the book. Gah.
8. Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz
I picked this book up after seeing it on a recommendation panel from an amazing creator that I follow, and I’m so happy I did! This is about 2 sick kids who meet at a hospital and fall in love. Yup, that’s the story in a nutshell. 😛
But I loved the book more because the female main character has rheumatoid arthritis, something that I do, too, and the way she talks about the pain that we live with on a day to day basis made me feel seen. Their banter and their jokes while laced with a solid understanding of each other’s pain and issues was a big plus for me. There’s not much else I can say about this book. The title is self-explanatory, honestly.
9. Translating Myself and Others by Jhumpa Lahiri
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m a HUGE Jhumpa Lahiri fan. The mania started for me last year with Whereabouts and exploded this year with In Other Words, even though I’d read The Clothing of Books and The Namesake before. I did a whole blog post about how much I loved In Other Words, especially because I’ve been learning a new language this year and the book just got me, you know? My relationship with Jhumpa Lahiri, languages, and translation is way too strong at the moment.
So when I learned that Lahiri’s new book, Translating Myself and Others, was out earlier this year, I lost my mind and immediately bought it. And I ended up reading it in August. In this book, she talks about translating her own works versus translating others’ works, her relationship with the languages she writes in, and so much more. She dissects a couple of the stories she has translated and gives insights into the original authors’ styles. This book is more academic-sounding than In Other Words, but it is eye-opening and engaging nevertheless. I could read Jhumpa Lahiri talk about languages till the end of time, to be honest. And this is why I highly recommend this book. HIGHLY.
BOOKS I READ IN SEPTEMBER 2022
Two of the books I read in September were part of a trilogy and I’ve already mentioned them earlier in the blog post. Here are the remaining books that I read in September 2022.
10. A Trip to Remember by Aditya Choudhary
An excerpt from my Goodreads review of this book:
A Trip to Remember is an anthology of short stories that ask relevant questions of humanity. It is chock full of emotions, offbeat manners of looking at the world, and an easy acknowledgement of the human dilemma of living. Some are relatable, some are eye-opening, some are like a warm embrace on cold uncertain nights, and yet others are reflections of reality. Be it talking about the power of a sunrise to the darkness that comes with a failing marriage to the dreaded small talk to a trip that you will definitely remember – most of these stories have open endings that give you the freedom to decide what happens next.
The writing isn’t top notch and easily sways into awkward territory in places. But it makes up for it by handling the topics it takes upon itself with an ease that is sometimes hard to find even in veteran writers. There is confusion of the tenses, but context helps you out of that swamp. There are contradictions, but not so big as to have an impact on your view of the story. It’s the little details in this collection that hold the fort.
11. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
This is a tricky book to review, mostly because it talks about the ‘troubles’ of white men without explicitly saying so.
It’s about two men trying to make it in life during the Great Depression. George and Lennie go to work on a farm but they have big dreams. While George is the one keeping them together, Lennie doesn’t understand the ways of life. He’s like a child even though he’s one of the biggest men around. Things happen on the farm that push George to do what he thinks he has to do. What does this kind of survival mean?
I liked reading about what men (mostly white) thought of as achievable goals way back when. But if you think of it, those goals are nowhere near even imaginable in this time and age. The problem I have with this book is that the author, a white man, has used racist slurs liberally. I don’t care if he was a product of his time blah, blah, blah. The number of times he used them in here just made my skin crawl. So if you’re picking this book up, please keep this in mind. That’s all I will say. That’s all I can say.
12. 4 Books for a Secret Project
This is a series that I read and loved to no end and I finally got my hands on the paperbacks after moving to Australia. I DEVOURED them and I’m hoping that the video that I’m working on comes out like I want it to. Argh, I cannot wait to finish that video because I know of at least two people who will be excited for it! ❤
If you’d like to stay updated, then don’t forget to subscribe to my channel. Here’s the link: The Melodramatic Bookworm on YouTube.
So those were all the books that I read in the months of August and September 2022. Which of these have you read? Which ones did you like? Which ones did you not like? What did you read in August and September 2022? Did you find any favorites? Did you find something you didn’t like? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you! 😊
I’ll see you in tomorrow’s Blogtober post.
Until next time, keep reading, and add melodrama to your life! 😊