Monthly Roundup – August 2019

I decided at the beginning of the month that I would concentrate on my neglected TBR pile throughout August, reading books I had long been looking forward to but that kept getting bumped by new releases. With such a vast choice I enjoyed an embarrassment of riches. Why had I left these titles gathering dust, unread? Naturally there were exceptions but mostly this has been a good month for reading.

On a personal level I celebrated my birthday and then flew to Prague for a short break. This post is scheduled for the day after I return – on a late flight. If posts have been a little less polished than usual this past week, or if links have still to be added, then blame the WiFi at my hotel. Scheduling during an absence can be a risky strategy!

I reviewed 12 books in August: 7 fiction (2 translated), 1 short story collection, 4 non fiction. I attended no literary events. Click on the cover below to find out more, or on the title to read my review.

A short story collection I recommend you read

Witches Sail in Eggshells by Chloe Turner, published by Reflex Press

Fiction from my TBR pile

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, published by Picador
Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill, published by riverrun

Girl meets Boy by Ali Smith, published by Canongate
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (translator not credited), published by Harper Collins

Non Fiction from my TBR pile

I started strength training at the gym after reading these two books – their arguments are persuasive.

Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training by Mark Rippetoe & Lon Kilgore, published by the Aasgaard Company
The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life After 40, by Jonathon M Sullivan & Andy Baker, published by the Aasgaard Company

A pictorial history of my local canal network, the remains of which I seek out on my regular walks through fields.

Wilts and Berks Canal Revisited by Doug Small, published by The History Press

New fiction releases I couldn’t resist

The Offing by Benjamin Myers, published by Bloomsbury
The Complex by Michael Walters, published by Salt

New Non Fiction

Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent, published by Pushkin Press

A new purchase

I foolishly went out for the day with just one book in my bag and finished it on the journey. Luckily there was a local branch of Foyles available…

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori), published by Granta


Following some online furore over a couple of Lucy Ellmann interviews in which she came across (in the opinion of myself and other commentators) as arrogant, dismissed crime fiction – all of it – and was then defended by her fans who objected to the reader reaction, I decided to answer some of the questions she was asked. I did this for fun.

The TLS didn’t ask but I’m answering anyway – Twenty Questions

Despite this month’s efforts, my TBR pile is as vast as ever. This is a good thing in my estimation but also something I plan to put more effort into tackling. I have ARCs of some fabulous new releases to look forward to but also plan to read more older works in the coming months. One of the wonderful things about books is that they don’t have a Use By date.

As ever I wish to thank the publishers who send me their titles to review – the arrival of a book parcel remains a cheering event in my day.

My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your continuing support is always appreciated.

3 comments on “Monthly Roundup – August 2019

  1. BookerTalk says:

    That was a good idea of yours to focus on the TBR for a month, I think I’ll follow your good example for September having acquired yet more books this week. How is the strength training going?

    • Jackie Law says:

      I’m pleased with the training results so far although still early days. The key seems to be taking it slowly and focusing on technique but not being afraid to gradually up the weights. I’m fortunate that the gym I attend has PTs who are always willing to advise.

      • BookerTalk says:

        I used to do a lot of strength training when I was younger and the body does quickly adjust – taking it slowly to begin with is crucial though. If you don’t get the technique right you can injure yourself badly

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