The Book Nook — August Edition

by Lori Walker
published in Writing

I’ve been having such a hard time doing anything productive. All I want to do is sip a cold drink and read…yet my attention span isn’t super great right now either. Thank you, August heat. (We’re actually having a bit of a weird cool spell at the time of this writing, but whatever.)

I haven’t been reading as much as I would like, but I have been finishing most of what I’ve picked up, which is a nice break from a bookish dry spell. Those drive me crazy. I pace in front of the shelves, silently begging the right book to leap off and smack me right in the face. So far, no flying books, but I have managed to pick some gems.

The August Books

Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

Initially, I was a bit on the fence about buying this one. Not because I didn’t think I would enjoy it, but because I wasn’t sure it could possibly compete with Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. 

But I caved to peer pressure and bought it and it’s the first book I’m sharing this August.

I love reading about the music scene in the sixties and seventies. This one is supposed to be inspired by James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and crew. It made for some really juicy reading. I was very tempted to have Mitchell’s Blue playing on repeat all month long, even after I finished reading it.

This was a fun read. It gives really good insight into the business side of the music industry and also a bit of the sexism women face within the industry. It would be a great beachy read to take on vacation this August.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino

I’ll be up front. I didn’t get super far into this one because some stuff came up, but I am really digging it. The thing I love most about it is its place within literary history. It’s a brand new book. But it’s written in the tradition of pulpy novelizations of films and I think that’s so fun. Even the design of the book pays homage to the history.

I really enjoyed the film, so I was ecstatic when I saw Tarantino was novelizing it. In it, he expands on certain parts—namely the backstory of the main characters, Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth—and trims other parts that were in the movie. I’m excited to pick this one back up at some point.

Anna K by Jenny Lee

I loved Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. So I was equal parts intrigued and skeptical when I heard about this modern retelling featuring super, crazy rich NYC teenagers. I love books set in New York. My issue was 15 year olds, who’ve never dated anybody else, pondering true love. 

*Eyes roll back in head*

Yes, the book features teenagers talking about true love and marriage and all that. But they’re also really hardcore into the drug scene and have way more freedom to do whatever (and I do mean whatever) they want than I have ever had, so I just let it go and enjoyed the ride. 

And it was a great ride. I love how Lee modernized the retelling. There’s definitely the whole rich-people-behaving-badly thing in the original, but she made it fresh and fun. I wish there had been YA like this when I was a teenager! 

Daddy by Emma Cline

I have a difficult time with short story collections. I think, for me, they’re more aspirational—I want to like them more than I actually do like them. And that’s OK. 

This one was an exception! Cline’s debut was The Girls, a novel about a teenager who stumbles across the Manson Family, so I was definitely prepared and looking forward to something equally gritty. And she did not disappoint. Each story in this collection is about a different pretty screwed up person who is trying to navigate life in a normal way, but things just don’t click. It made for really entertaining reading. 

The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West

I really love how Lindy West can write passionately, intelligently, and humorously about super serious topics. In this collection of essays, she’s taking on 2016-2018 American culture. The reading is enjoyable because her writing is that powerful, but I almost feel like I read it at the wrong time. Since the book is about current events, I am just far enough removed for information to be a bit dated (like reading a newspaper from 2 months ago), but not far enough for there to be perspective.

Still, it’s a great read and I love Lindy West!

Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski

Recently, Burnout by Nagoski and her sister came across my radar. I bought it. In the course of checking out the author bios and blurbs, I came across this book, so I decided to read it first. This book is fantastic! I am still reading it, but so far the most interesting part so far is the stress response cycle. Fortunately for me, the stress response cycle is the focus of Burnout

That’s what I’ve got for August. I’ll be back next month with another batch of books.

Total Books Read in 2021: 22

Tell me in the comment below: What’s on your TBR for August?

Lori Walker

Lori Walker is the Operations Maven at DIY MFA. Though she’s fallen off the wagon as a writer, she’s hoping to return to writing essays (perhaps even a novel!) through her involvement with DIY MFA. She is also Launch Manager, Web Editor, and Podcast Producer for DIY MFA and a Book Coach. She resides in Smalltown, Oklahoma, with her husband and their cat, Joan Didion. You can follow her on Instagram.

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