We finally managed to join the real world in August. The month was easier for everyone with me off work, Al on leave for a week and M on school holidays. Rather than going on a big summer holiday, we read books, went on walks, visited bookshops and spent a few days in London with family which led to a lot of creative productivity.
Blogging has been brilliant fun and I’ve been working on a couple of new series which I’ll share in the next week or so. Bookstagram has had it’s fair share of nice surprises too although some of these are still in the balance. It feels amazing to be back into the habit of posting on both. Here’s our reading update:
So I went a bit crazy on the audiobooks this month! I love how I can fit them into little nooks and crannies of my day without compromising my other reads. All of my audio picks were top quality but The Great Godden just inched above the others for sheer mood. After seeing loads of recommendations, I also read Where the Crawdads Sing. Despite having lots to offer, especially from an environmental stance, I didn’t connect with it as much as I thought I would. At first I wondered whether was because it didn’t have a fantasy element, but now I’m not sure. Maybe it was the combination of romance and crime – not my favourite genres. How did everyone else find this one?
- Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid AUDIO (4.25/5)
- The Binding by Bridget Collins (4/5)
- The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff AUDIO (4.5/5)
- The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall – Gifted (3.75/5)
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (4/5)
- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig AUDIO (4.25/5)
Honorary mention to Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, an absolutely amazing book which I finally reviewed this month.
Neither of these books held Al’s interest completely, although there was value in both. To be honest, it’s been ages since he really enjoyed a book so hopefully he’ll pick a winner soon!
- Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (4/5)
- A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor (3.75/5)
The Demon Headmaster addiction continues, but my favourite this month was It’s OK to Cry which was gifted to us by Bloomsbury Publishing. This carefully thought-out picture book talks about emotions and how to deal with them in a lovely way. I plan to write a longer review soon. Apart from the below, Little M has been reading Mr Men books out loud quite a bit!
- Facing the Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross (4/5)
- The Secret Rescuers: The Storm Dragon by Paula Harrison (4.25/5)
- It’s OK to Cry: A picture book to help children talk about their feelings by Molly Potter and illustrated by Sarah Jennings (4.5/5)
Movies and TV
I scaled back on movies and TV in August to concentrate on reading instead. The one series we did watch in full was The Umbrella Academy despite nearly DNF’ing at times. Two things kept us watching – the characters and the soundtrack. I thought the pacing in the second season was poor. No progression of the major plot arc (where do the kids come from for instance) and too much repetition from season one. Let’s hope questions are answered in season three (yes I will give it a chance!). I’m not sure what to watch next because I’ve lost enthusiasm for Westworld and The Witcher S2 probably won’t air until 2021. Any suggestions?
Filmwise, our evenings have been taken up watching the Harry Potter films again as M is obsessed with the entire world. Al and I have also watched Knives Out and Emma. I loved the aesthetic in both.
Last but not least, I’ve started to try out podcasts. The one that has kept my attention the most is Josiah’s Voice, which is run by a bookstagrammer friend (Josiah) as he talks about his journey as a writer and filmmaker. Definitely check it out if you are a creative.
Family Days Out
Instead of a proper summer holiday, we’ve had lots of days out – picnics in the Peak District, Chester Zoo, Peak Wildlife Park and a long weekend with family in London where we had the chance to visit a couple of fantastic indie bookshops (The Alligator’s Mouth and The Open Book in Richmond). Our adventures inspired a couple of literary travel and bookshop posts:
Atmospheric Literary Places to Visit in Derbyshire
14 Brilliant Children’s Bookshops in Britain
Looking to September there’s no shortage of activities as we prepare for M to go back to school and cosy up for darker nights. I’m also going to make the most of the upcoming online literary festivals which I’ve listed in this post.
We hope you’re excited about Autumn as we are. Here’s to crisp countryside walks, snuggly blankets and steaming mugs of hot chocolate!
Mel, Al & Little M
Lovely wrap up post Mel!
Thanks Clair! It was a super-productive month and felt so good to be out and about again x
Great book choices this month. A few are on my tbr list like girl women other and Midnight library. I will bump a few up xx
I can highly recommend both of these. Both really life affirming and positive xx