August ’16 Notes

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Welcome back to another in my monthly Notes series. As I have a lot of new followers this month, I thought I’d explain that you can essentially think of this as a monthly wrap up. I tend to hit on more than just the reading highlights, so I call it my Notes. I realize I forgot (or didn’t finish) my June or July ’16 Notes…whoops! If you want to read my last one, it was my May Notes. Anywho, August was an eventful month! I went back to Dallas for my second year of graduate school and I dyed the remainder of the blue out of my hair. Despite how busy I’ve become, I also managed to read a great deal this month.

What I Read

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My goal, as stated in my August ’16 TBR, was to read ten books, but I only managed to finish seven books in the end for a few reasons. I struggled at the beginning of the month because I was reading some books I just did not enjoy all that much. But I am pleased to say with the help of the Bout of Books 17.0 Read-A-Thon, and in general just not having access to WiFi at my Airbnb place this month, I’ve managed to do some good reading in the end!

The Golem’s Eye by Jonathan Stroud. This was the first book I decided to tick off my August TBR, and in hindsight I kind of regret starting here. It took forever for me to finish. I just could not get into enough to power through as I normally do with a book I’m thoroughly enjoying.

Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud. After struggling through The Golem’s Eye, I felt determined to finish this series once and for all. Once again, I found myself struggling with this book. It was slightly better than The Golem’s Eye, just because it tied up a lot of loose ends that had been dangling since the first book. I was unsatisfied with the character development and the quite put off by the ending. It just felt lazy to me with specific regards to Kitty’s character and the state of the world. I think I might have enjoyed these books much more if I had read them in middle school as I did The Amulet of Samarkand. If I had not had the emotional attachment to the first book, I would have put such effort into finishing this series.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. By the time I had returned to Dallas, I knew I needed to kick my reading into high gear to make up for the first half of the month. I remembered fondly reading Murder on the Orient Express last year and how quickly I was able to do it. So I picked up this book and And Then There Were None knowing they’d help me catch up on my Goodreads Challenge again. Roger Ackroyd was indeed an entertaining read, making me once again marvel at the genius of Ms. Christie.

How to Do Media and Cultural Studies by Jane Stokes. I’ve been reading this small tome all summer and realized I could very easily just finish it if I made my mind up to do so, so that’s what I did immediately after completing The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I have found this book valuable in numerous ways, but it isn’t all that applicable to the Capstone project I had in mind.

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer. I wasn’t willing to buy this anthology, but I was very happy find it stocked in my school library. I started it the Sunday before Bout of Books just because I couldn’t wait and who was to say I couldn’t?! It turned out to be nothing more or less than I expected. It was a nice revisiting of characters I loved from the Lunar Chronicles, but didn’t introduce any new insight to those books.

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh. This book was one of my most anticipated Bout of Books reads in my TBR after reading the first book in this series in April. It was no where near as amazing as the first book was for me (especially in terms of plot and conflict), especially as it felt unnecessary and removed from the first book focusing much more on Shahrzad’s family (which I didn’t want).

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Salt to the Sea feels like my most random read of August mostly because I’d not felt any great urgency to pick it up. The appeal was based on two things: Ely’s glowing review earlier this year and its shortness (a great trait for a read-a-thon pick). It might be my surprise favorite of the month, however, as it is still on my mind. It was also a great book to read as I’ve been learning about history of Germany in my German Lit. & Ideas class and this book gave me some context of the racial/ethnic tensions.

What I Watched

At the beginning of August I managed to binge-watch two Netflix original series: Stranger Things (2016) and Jessica Jones (2015). I loved them both and was sad to run out of episodes of each. I can’t help but feel like Stranger Things, while awesome, has been slightly overhyped at this point as I did have some criticism of certain story choices (like how unnecessary a character was my Mike’s little sister?). I am excited to see what will happen with Eleven and Hopper. Luckily Jessica Jones should be back sooner for me with a new season this fall, right? I know there are some loose ends with Simpson and how Jessica got her powers that will need to be explored!

What I Wrote

I’ve not managed to write any words for a few months, but I did make some great strides in my story at the end of August! I feel like I have a better idea of the overall plot structure of this novel and also the world conflict. Even the magic system I have a loose idea of where I want to go with it. So now I’m thinking I might start writing either in October or November for NaNoWriMo. I’m shooting more for October, though. I really want to be able to finish this draft by the end of the year and like the quality of my words.

End Note

August ended up becoming a pretty successful month with some great reading, watching, and writing. I’m sure September will also bring some great productivity and inspiration. I will be post my September ’16 TBR tomorrow night, as there are quite a few books I know I need/want to read this September. I also am tentatively planning two other posts for this week! We’ll see if they materialize. I currently have about two days left here in Conroe before I need to return to Dallas, then I’ll only be there for two nights before returning back to Conroe to house-sit. So time will be of the essence until next weekend!

Thank you for reading!
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