August Reading – The Month Ahead

Hard to believe that it’s already August(!) but… I must not dwell on that while there is plenty of reading that needs to be done :-). I am keeping up a five books per month pace so far this year (36 completed thus far), and I luckily have several books that are partially read that will make it easier to get five done this month. Here’s a recap:

Already started:
We Make a Life by What We Give by Richard Gunderman – this collection of essays on philanthropy (by a former college roommate no less) is taking me awhile to get through. Each essay, though they only average about 10-14 pages, takes me an Hour or so to digest fully since they are so thought provoking. I think I only have about 7 more to go though and fully hope to add this to the completed list this month.

A Good Man is Hard to Find (and other stories) by Flannery O’Connor. I’m reading this for a book discussion this week up at the Carmel Library (north side of Indianapolis). I’ve only got about 75 pages to go and hope to wrap it up tonight. I spent some time yesterday reading a little biographical info about O’Connor too, so hopefully I won’t be the biggest ignoramus at this discussion meeting… 🙂

Book Club books:
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. This is the reading selection for my primary book club (meeting 8/25). It’s one I picked and have wanted to read for quite awhile, but the reviews I’ve seen on have been a little mixed, and I worry that either I (or worse, the other members of my club) won’t like it. It’s a bit longish too, but the one fellow book clubber who’s read it swears it’s a fast read. We’ll see.

“A Book to be Named Later” by Kurt Vonnegut. I missed the last Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Book Club meeting, which was “just” a continuation of June’s discussion anyway, so I’m not sure yet what the next selection is. A strategically sent email or two should yield me the answer soon, though.

Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov. I enjoyed his autobiography so much last month that I went and read Foundation immediately after (it’s a short book). Foundation and Empire is the second book of the original Foundation trilogy and I’m sure I can make room for it is month.

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope. I need to get back to my mini-project of reading Trollope’s Barsetshire Novels” – especially if I’m to “keep up with the Joneses” (actually “the Anas” since my blogging colleague, Ana the Imp, is reading his Palliser Novels…)

What Else? Well, I simply must get back and caught up on my “Project: Deal Me In” and read a bunch of designated short stories. (as usual I’ve fallen woefully behind in a project, both in its execution and its record keeping) I’m sure there may also some random, wild card books that will pop up – as they always do. And of course I’m always open to SUGGESTIONS FROM READERS too. Got any? Even if you don’t, I’d love to hear what you’ll be reading in August…

Sent from my iPad


  1. Dale Barthauer said,

    August 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I enjoyed A Good Man is Hard to Find a few years back. I also read another novel by O’Connor, but the name escapes me. I’m currently reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, another facebook friend recommendation. It kind of reminds me of Pillars of the Earth with time travel thrown in. In August, I will also read The Historian and try to finish the Stieg Larsson books. I’d like to read the Foundation series, also. I’ll put them on my September list. I really enjoyed the short stories for our book club. I want to read some more by these authors, particularly Rudyard Kipling (Captains Courageous, Kim).


    • Jay said,

      August 3, 2011 at 6:04 am

      Hi Dale,
      I read Outlander last year and my reactions were similar to Megan’s below. It was a pretty fast read considering its length, but got a little too weird for me toward the end. I’ve had the second book for over a year but never picked it up, which I guess is kind of telling.
      The Larsson books are pretty fast reads too. Most people seem to read the three of them one after the other (as I did).
      I’d like to read some more Kipling too. All I have under my belt is a book of short stories – which I thought quite good. I need to delve deeper…


  2. Megan said,

    August 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Dale – I just finished Outlander, at the recommendation of my 10th grade English teacher (I’m long out of high school…which is good, since that’s not really a book a teacher should recommend to a student.) It was ok, but I’m not compelled to read the rest of the series.

    Jay – I read The Historian a while back. My boyfriend had previously read it, and when he realized I was maybe a quarter of the way through, he tried to convince me to stop reading. But I’d committed a lot of time to it already, so I slogged through. And boy, was it a slog. It was stories within stories within stories, and the author was clearly so impressed with how much research she had done that she decided to include every bit of it in the book. I know a lot of people really liked it, but I just couldn’t get past the feeling that she was an amateur writer who could have used an excellent editor.

    My recommendation to you is The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, by Walter Mosley. I read it on Saturday. It sucked me in and I couldn’t put it down. So touching and wonderful. It reminded me of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It was quiet and touching, and a reflection on a long life. Someone I know mentioned it on facebook so I picked it up at the library, but now I can’t remember who said they had read it, and nobody is responding to my query. I wish I knew because I’d like to thank them. It’s definitely going on my set of shelves of books that I will recommend to people.


    • Jay said,

      August 3, 2011 at 6:09 am

      Hi Megan,

      A teacher recommended outlander to me as well. In my case it was my nephew’s junior high teacher (glad she recommended it to me and not to him).

      Great… now I’m really ‘scared’ of The Historian, but I will read it anyway. Maybe it won’t be so bad for me, a former History major. 🙂

      Thanks so much for the recommendation of The Last days of Ptolemy Grey. I will definitely put that in the queue. I’ve also heard good things about Gilead, which an on line ‘book club’ I half-follow is currently reading.



      • Dale Barthauer said,

        August 3, 2011 at 6:29 pm

        I highly recommend Gilead. I read it when it first came out. She has a sequel or companion to it called Home. I haven’t read it, but it’s been on my “list” for a while now.


    • Dale Barthauer said,

      August 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      Megan, I am about 250 pages into Outlander and I am probably going to have the same reaction as you and Jay.


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