I feel like expressing awe at how fast 2021 is going is the way I could start every single wrap up this year. But truly, it’s going so fast! We are practically in fall now, I see pumpkin-related things popping up everywhere now as well as fall colors in decor at the stores.
Work was quite busy this month as well but it did get a bit better in terms of stress levels. I think things will stay busy for the rest of the year but nothing I can’t handle! There are cool projects coming up so that will also be something I’ll be looking forward to.
In terms of books I managed to finish reading 8 books!
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: This was a super powerful and amazing book. Stevenson writes about his experiences working as a lawyer for people who have been sentenced to serve life in prison or given capital punishment. We follow the lives of people who were wrongly convicted as well as those who were given awfully harsh punishments that were not proportional to the crime they committed. Overall, amazing, highly recommend.
A Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose: I listened to this audiobook on a whim and it was fine. This is a thriller that deals with a man who is accused of murdering his mistress and ends up being represented by his wife who is a fairly famous defense attorney. Reading this right after Just Mercy was not what I had planned and it was unfortunate for this book. I couldn’t have much sympathy for the characters even though I’ll admit that I couldn’t stop listening to see what twists and turns would happen next.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi: Changing gears a bit I read this young adult fantasy book, a sequel to Children of Blood and Bone. It was cool being back in this magical world based on African mythology and seeing how the magic system evolved. I was a bit disappointed in the characters’ decisions and motivations but it was a fun read nonetheless.
An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn: Next I hopped over to a romance, again continuing the Bridgerton series! This time we followed Benedict’s story in a sort of Cinderella inspired twist. I can’t say that this was my favorite so far, it felt a bit meh but what saved it for me was all the interactions with the rest of the Bridgerton family. That’s where the real love was and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.
Hunger by Roxane Gay: This book was the pick for one of my book clubs and I actually listened to the audiobook. This was narrated by Roxane Gay herself and it was so powerful and emotionally difficult to hear. However, it is a very valuable perspective about living as a black fat woman in the United States. Gay tells the story of her life but also gives us her perspective on what society and popular media have contributed to how we view fat bodies. Highly recommend it!
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki: I’ve been dipping my toe into learning more about meditation for the past couple of years and this book really helped me learn a lot about a way to approach this education without letting my desire to learn cloud the actual meditation (if that makes any sense.) I’ll definitely be reading a couple of these talks from time to time as I continue my journey into meditation.
Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto: This book was so much fun! Murder, weddings, aunties, an ex! There was a lot going on in this book and it was just a riot reading about all the shenanigans that the characters got into. If you’re looking for a fun light read, this is the one!
The Sandman Omnibus Vol 1 by Neil Gaiman: I finally finished it! This collection of comics is only Volume 1 of 3 and I loved it! There were for sure some sections that were difficult to read, either because they were super violent or psychologically intense, but overall it was all very immersive. I am in awe at how Gaiman constructs his stories and I can’t wait to read Vol 2.
There was also technically the book about aliens…. but it was just not good at all so I didn’t even dedicate a review to it because I did not deem it worth that. So I guess technically I read nine books but I’d just as soon forget I read that last one XD. Other than that, it was a great reading month! Next month is going to be so fun, I already have my TBR ready so look out for that coming up soon.
How did your August go? Are you ready for fall/winter?
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind is a very unique book. This is a transcription of Shunryu Suzuki’s talks, which were recorded on tape by Marian Derby and then edited and organized by Trudy Dixon, one of Suzuki’s closest disciples. Suzuki was a Zen master who moved to California because he was very interested in how the people living there were so open to the Zen practice. The book is a collection of talks that Suzuki gave that address many aspects of the Zen practice.
I have attended some meditation classes/sessions before and, while I was able to sit through them, I always had so many questions and distractions that I concluded that it was just something that was just too hard for me. This book told me that, well, I’m clearly overthinking it! This book goes through what the posture, breathing, and sitting position should be in order to make the Zen practice the most effective. After that it is all a mental game. Overall it is all about simply practicing. It is about having that discipline to sit and face my own thoughts and everything that comes when I stop.
I highly recommend that, if you’re interested in meditation, you check out this book. I also saw that this is available as an audiobook, which would definitely add to the experience. These talks definitely feel like listening to a mentor and it will be a book that I will revisit time and time again as I continue my practice towards a Zen mind.
Hello August! July was a bit of an intense month for me, you can read about it in my July Wrap Up, and I finished reading 5 books. So, what does August have in store for me?
Let’s look first at the books I’m currently reading:
The Stand by Stephen King: My friend and I are making good progress on The Stand. We are currently about half way through the book and I love how all the characters are starting to come together while there’s still a mystery of what will happen next.
The Sandman Omnibus Vol I by Neil Gaiman: I’m about half way through this collection of comics as well! I’ve loved how the mythology is weaving through all the different characters while moving along Morpheus’ storyline.
Todos Los Cuentos by Gabriel García Márquez: This book has been a bit slow for me. Each story so far is one that I need to take my time with and pay a bit more attention than most books. That’s not to say that I’m not liking it but I am definitely taking my time with each story.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi: I barely started this book so I’m about 50 pages into it. I’m really enjoying jumping back into the world of the Orisha so I’m sure I’ll breeze through this book after I’m done with Just Mercy.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: I am almost done with this book! It’s been a hard book to read because of the subject matter: people on death row, specifically people who do not deserve to be there because they are innocent or because the punishment is not on par with the crime. I love that it is opening my eyes to issues that I never imagined were issues so I’ll be researching more about it all beyond this book.
Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki: This was not in my plans for July but due to the stress of the month I thought that it was appropriate to read a bit about meditation and how to take that into my every day life. I love this book so far because it is something that I can incorporate easily without actually needing to sit for 20 mins with my eyes closed.
And now, let’s take a look at the books I’ll be adding to my TBR for August:
An Offer From A Gentleman by Julia Quinn: I’m continuing my journey of reading the Bridgerton series so I’m looking forward to reading about Benedict and his quest of finding love.
Emma by Jane Austen: This was the book chosen via my Want To Read List Cleanup #2. I’ve never read a Jane Austen book so this will be really interesting. I don’t actually know much about what the book is about but that’s fine by me!
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: I’ve heard a lot about this series and, seeing the teasers for the show, I’ve been very interested in reading it. It’s a looooong one so we’ll see how long it takes for me to read it.
Hunger by Roxane Gay: This is the book club pick for QB Alumns for the month of August. This book is about body image, Gay’s relationship with food, and self care. This one might be a bit of a hard book to read so I’ll likely read it in sections throughout the month.
The Allies of Humanity by Marshall Vian Summers: This is the new book pick for the book club with my friends and well, not my first choice so this will be interesting. Summers writes about aliens and their interactions with the people of Earth. Apparently it is non-fiction…!?
Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto: This is the book that will come in the Feminist Book Club box for August. This book looks like a lot of fun: murder and romance, what’s not to like?
I am quite glad that I’ll get to read more romance books in August. I’m hoping that this month is a bit less stressful than last month and that I’ll be able to dive into my books without much of a care in the world.