All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

July Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 26
Fiction: 21
Non-Fiction: 5
Library Books: 10
Books On My TBR List: 7
Books in a Series: 9
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 5/21
Kindle Books: 14
Books I Owned or Bought: 10
Favourite Book(s): Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie, The Farm At Peppertree Crossing by Lèonie Kelsall.
Least Favourite Books: Confessions of a GP by Benjamin Daniels
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 10 (technically 7 books but one counted towards 3 challenges)

Well, July was a month. We had about three weeks of June, where my kids went back to school and things began slowly opening up, with restrictions. The kids finished school and went onto winter break and as they did, the numbers of COVID cases began to escalate as it escaped into the community. From July 8, I think it was, greater Melbourne (which is where I am) went back into lockdown, essentially Stage 3, with only 4 reasons to leave your house: essential supplies, to give or receive medical care, work if it cannot be done from home and exercise within your suburb. The kids were granted an extra week of school holidays and then remote learning was to begin again. They’ve done two weeks of that so far and it’s a lot more face to face this time around, with zoom check ins every day and focus groups of 3/4/5 also doing zoom calls for things like reading and maths.

So I read a lot. The numbers are grim at the moment – Victoria has registered 3 days over 500 recently, including a 700+ and my postcode is the one with the highest amount of cases currently. We are staying very much inside here. My husband still goes to work, but his job is a solitary one and his industry has no confirmed cases. He travels in his car to work, he works alone in his room, he comes home. And for some overseas those numbers are tiny, I definitely get that. But they’re not tiny for us. It’s crept into aged care in Victoria and as everyone knows, once that happens it’s very difficult to get back under control and unfortunately the fatalities increase as those are some of the most vulnerable people in the community. This second stage of lockdown was originally scheduled for 6 weeks but given we are halfway in and registering our highest numbers of this whole illness being a thing, it’s pretty much a guarantee that lockdown will be extended and probably even tightened. (Edit #1 – Yesterday it was announced after I had written this post that we would enter stage 4 restrictions here in Melbourne for the next 6 weeks – there’s a nighttime curfew, restrictions on how far from home we can travel for food/essentials, how many people can go shopping/exercise etc).

My husband was supposed to be having surgery on August the 4th but last Tuesday the government announced that all surgery other than Cat 1 and the most urgent of Cat 2 would be suspended. My husband is Cat 2 but we don’t know how urgently they class it. Probably not very but at the moment getting an answer about it seems to be almost impossible. I suspect he’ll be told it’s been cancelled on the day, so right now we are in a bit of limbo about that. (Edit #2 – it will go ahead we found out this morning, but next Tuesday August 11th).

Reading is my escape and I certainly escaped plenty. I read 26 books in July, which is my equal highest total for the year (I also read 26 books in April). Well technically I read 24 books and listened to 2 audiobooks. I’ve been utilising my library a lot, both physical copies and those I can borrow electronically. The library has been excellent for allowing me to read books that fit with the mood I have at the moment, which is ‘please give me all the good feels’. However I’ve also been doing a bit of non-fiction reading as well though, which was one of the things I wanted to accomplish this year.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 49/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 7/12 {technically complete, upgraded the challenge to the top level and trying for all 12}

Reading Women Challenge: 13/26

And with that in mind, and how much I’m turning to books at the moment, I have a lot of books to choose from, for August.

These were mostly sent to me and the top one was a purchase I made myself. As well as these books, I have been taking advantage of the fact that we can still request books through our local library system (even though it is shut) and if you fill out a form, they will collect and deliver your holds to you each week. I received a pretty decent sized delivery from them on Friday:

Quite a stash! Plenty of Karen Swan books, in order to continue my project of reading all her backlist. I’m finding her books quite comforting at the moment. Also grabbed a couple of Connie Willis books but I think there’s some others I should read before these – my library didn’t have them, so I will have to hunt around. I’m really interested in Ronan Farrow’s book as well. I requested the Kiley Reid way before even the first lockdown – for now, we can keep library books until like October or something, but you can return them if you like. Someone must’ve just recently returned this one.

I also have a significant number of eBooks, including about 6 or so review copies for the month of August also also some books I’ve borrowed electronically from my library. This month is also the month of the Melbourne Writers Festival, which I normally attend every year. This year it’s 100% online and anyone can attend – and the best thing is you can pay whatever you can afford, for tickets. If you can afford to make a donation, excellent. However if times are tough, most events (not sure about the workshops) can be booked into for free, which is an amazing thing at this time. A lot of people will be doing it tough, having lost jobs or put onto JobKeeper or had reduced hours so the fact that there are things that can be enjoyed for relatively little to no outlay, is awesome. I have booked into quite a few sessions and some of the eBooks I’ve borrowed from the library relate to those.

If you’re in Melbourne like me, or another area where the numbers are still a concern, then I hope you’re staying safe & at home as much as you can. If July was a good reading month for you, let me know – and also, your reading plans for August!

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July Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 19
Fiction: 17
Non-Fiction: 2
Library Books: 0
Books On My TBR List: 7
Books in a Series: 5
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 2/17
Kindle Books: 4
Books I Owned or Bought: 5
Favourite Book(s): Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, Bowraville by Dan Box.
Least Favourite Books: Just like last month, nothing below a 3/5 this month!
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 11

I feel as though July helped bounce me back into a bit of a reading rhythm. I spent the first 2 weeks on holiday taking my kids to see my family. My grandmother is 90 this year, my brother and his kids are there, my parents too and I don’t get up there as often as I used to these days, with both kids in school restricting my visiting times, flight costs etc. But it was great to get away from a Victorian winter – the weather was glorious up there. About 20*C every day and a bit more sometimes, there were 2-3 days of on/off rain and the rest was brilliant sunshine. My kids even swam at the beach! We did quite a bit of walking along the river/ocean break wall, a bit of beach walking and my oldest went whale watching in this wave runner boat and got to see humpbacks making their northerly migration. And while I was there, I read 8 books and a 9th going home on the plane.

Since I got back, I read another 10 books to give me a total of 19 for the month, which helps after last month’s low total. It was also a really great reading month. I rated just one book 3/5 on Goodreads and the rest were 4 with 2x 5-star reads. I absolutely adored the book Red, White & Royal Blue and if the movie rights for that have not been snatched up yet then it will make the most amazing rom com one day, in the right hands. It’s funny and sweet and the two characters have great chemistry and contrast. Also great was Bowraville by Dan Box, a look into the disappearance and murder of three Indigenous children from Bowraville, a small town on the mid north coast of New South Wales, actually just over an hour away from where I spent the first 2 weeks of the month. That book was an eye opener for sure, in many different ways.

Moving on to August. Okay my plans for this month, they feel a bit intimidating.

Here are the review books! I don’t know much about any of these, most arrived while I was away and I really haven’t even sat down and had a proper look at most of them yet. I am excited about the new Barbara Hannay though, I love her books. I’ve heard great things about A Lifetime Of Impossible Days which was sent to me by the author (thank you Tabitha!) and also The Boy With Blue Trousers which gets a great review from my fellow blogger Theresa Smith. The Burnt Country looks interesting and I’ve read Kate Furnivall before and enjoyed the book. It’s been a long time since I read Philippa Gregory so curious to see what that’s like. Taking Tom Murray Home is the winner of the (inaugural) Banjo Prize, a Harper Collins award for an unpublished manuscript. So, lots to dive into here.

But! There’s more haha. I also have a couple of books that I didn’t quite get to last month, so they’re still on the pile.

Also I’ve requested a bunch of books from my local library to help me catch up a bit on my Reading Women Challenge. After getting off to quite a good start early in the year, I’ve slacked off over the last few months and I hadn’t read anything for a while. I did manage to complete two books in July that count toward it and so I’ve been searching for recommendations and plugging them into my library’s catalogue to try and knock off some of the trickier prompts where I don’t really have anything in the pile that fits. I’m also trying to read a good mix for that challenge as well, so fiction and non-fiction, women authors of colour and books set in places I don’t read about a lot. So I have to go pick up some books that have come in today so you can see how things this month look a bit ambitious! Also my parents will be visiting during the month for Child #1’s 11th birthday and I obviously read less when I have visitors! I haven’t been to the library in a while but I’m lucky that my local one is very good and it’s a convenient way to be able to flesh out this challenge.

What I’m reading at the moment: A book from my shelf that I’ve had for years that I’m going to be counting towards the Reading Women Challenge – The Signature Of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is actually eligible for several of the prompts so I’ll decide later which one I decide it’s for, depending on some other reads.

Hope you all had a wonderful reading July! If you’ve read anything on my pile, let me know!

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July Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 17
Fiction: 14
Non-Fiction: 3
Library Books: 2
Books On My TBR List: 3
Books in a Series: 7
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 1/16
Kindle Books: 5
Books I Owned or Bought: 6
Favourite Book(s): I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara, Fortune’s Son by Jennifer Scoullar, What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Pieces Of Her by Karin Slaughter, The Desert Nurse by Pamela Hart.
Least Favourite Books: Nothing. I didn’t rate anything below a 3/5 on goodreads this month.
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 0 – because this is the year of no challenges!

Hey July – you were pretty great in terms of reading! I got quite a bit of reading done during the month. Some things helped with that. It was school holidays for the first two weeks here and the weather was a bit grim for probably half of that and quite often I just got up, got my kids breakfast, made myself a cup of tea and went back to bed with a book while it poured with rain outside. Also my husband couldn’t drive or really go anywhere as he recovered from his operation and so we spent a lot of time during the month just at home and that meant reading time.

It gave me the chance to tackle a couple of non-fiction titles that have been on my TBR for a while – I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara and What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Both were really intriguing reads and I’m glad that I was finally able to make some time for them. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction but when I read a good one it always makes me want to put a little more on my reading piles.

But that will probably not be happening this month – as you can see, the August pile is well, massive! The bottom one is also 4 books in 1 so that makes quite a lot of books to get through for this month, but they all look really good. I’m doing a blog tour for The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn, my review will be up on the 10th. I’ve been a big fan of Caroline Overington’s previous novels, so I’m looking forward to this one. I’ve also read the first book in the 4-in-1, which all central around a small town and the closure of a cotton mill and really enjoyed it so I’m looking forward to the next three.

I hope July was just as good a reading month for you as it was for me. If you’ve read anything on my August pile feel free to let me know, or share your favourite read from July. Wish me luck as I dive into this huge pile and hopefully I find just as many 5-star reads this month as I did in July. Or maybe even more.

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