August Reading Recap

It is officially September and time to say goodbye to August. For me, August 2016 was a pretty rough reading month for me. I was in a slump for most of the month, and I didn’t finish anything much at all.

Let’s take a look at my outbox.

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Read August 4th, 2016 – Audiobook. Book 41 of the year.

This was my first time reading a Megan Abbott novel. Many of my Book Riot colleagues loved Abbott, and she seemed right up my alley, so I decided to give her latest, July’s You Will Know Me, a go.

"You Will Know Me" by Megan Abbott
“You Will Know Me” by Megan Abbott

Also, something to note. Much of my reading experience this summer was limited by a drought of poverty due to a clusterfuck of unfortunate circumstances and events in my freelance life. I basically put my wallet on lockdown and bought virtually no books.

So I decided to buy You Will Know Me as an Audible credit—book money!

This was my first time reading a Megan Abbott book, and it was also my first time listening to a book exclusively on audiobook from start to finish. Overall, I liked the audiobook experience. However, I did not like the narrator that much. I’ll get to why in a second.

I got to do puzzles on my phone at the same time!

Playing puzzles on my iPod while listening to an audiobook.
Playing puzzles on my iPod while listening to an audiobook.

And I was inspired to organize this group post on Book Riot, “Things to Do While Listening to an Audiobook.”

Overall, I thought the book was all right, a solid three stars. What bugged me was that so much of the “twist” or the “mystery” being solved hinged on the ignorance and naiveté of the main character and primary POV, Katie. It’s difficult to read a mystery novel when the main character doesn’t see what is right in front of him or her when it is so obvious. I’ve never been a fan of mysteries whose great reveal depend on a character being clueless. I also thought that the narrator made this worse. Katie sounded endlessly shocked by obvious details and clues and perpetually wide-eyed at the actions of those closest to her.

On the other hand, I did like the gymnastics subculture theme. That was really interesting to read about and probably my favorite aspect of the novel, especially because it wasn’t there to serve some vague and not at all shocking idea that maybe teen girls are deadly? So I liked that quite a bit.

You can find You Will Know Me on Amazon here and in a library in this search on Worldcat. You can also find it on Goodreads here.

Verdict: 3/5 stars.

Be a Network Marketing Leader: Build a Community to Build Your Empire by Mary Christensen

Read August 6th, 2016. Book 42 of the year.

I read Be a Network Marketing Leader: Build a Community to Build Your Empirefor work. I am a freelance writer with EBSCO Corporate Learning and write summaries of business books. I enjoyed Christensen’s book for the most part. The style wasn’t particularly remarkable. Christensen is a famous speaker and leader in the direct sales/direct marketing (e.g. Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Stella and Dot…) industry. At times the book felt like it was compiled solely of affirmations and truisms that Christensen had used over and over again in speeches and her previous books.

"Be A Network Marketing Leader" by Mary Christensen
“Be A Network Marketing Leader” by Mary Christensen

On the other hand, this book did make me take network marketing more seriously. It’s always been something I’ve been interested in, so I will file that away for future opportunities.

You can find Be a Network Marketing Leader on Amazon here and in a library in this search on Worldcat. You can also find it on Goodreads here.

Verdict: 3/5 stars.

Big Kids by Michael DeForge

Read August 7th, 2016. Library (Interlibrary Loan). Book 43 of the year.

I saw Big Kidson a few best-comics-of 2016 so-far lists, and I had spent much of 2016 away from comics. It also kept popping up on Amazon thanks to their algorithm, so I figured why not? My library system didn’t have it, so I placed an interlibrary loan request with my librarian.

"Big Kids" by Michael DeForge back cover. This Interlibrary Loan request came from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
“Big Kids” by Michael DeForge back cover. This Interlibrary Loan request came from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

The novel itself is quite small. Really, it’s only 5 x 0.6 x 6.2 inches and 96 pages long. Published by Drawn and Quarterly, Big Kids is a surreal trip exploring trees, branches, flowers, queer themes, first love, sex, virginity, and… other stuff? I’m still not quite sure. It was a trip, in a good way. The artwork is very unusual and unique, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. And yet it was fun, in a weird way. Very playful, distinct, completely believable and immersive…I came up for air after I finished the novel.

"Big Kids" by Michael DeForge
“Big Kids” by Michael DeForge

It felt like a weird, hallucinatory dream. And yet, I’m glad that I read it. The book has received critical acclaim. The AV club noted that: “A brilliant showcase of his talent for crafting introspective personal narratives and inspired alien worlds, Big Kids is a bildungsroman that focuses on how one’s perspective of the world changes as they get older.” In a mesmerizing interview with DeForge, Vulture wrote: “In the world of comics, there’s no shortage of narratives about adolescence. But you’ve probably never read one as memorably surreal as Michael DeForge’s Big Kids.” If you’re in the mood to have your mind = blown one night or afternoon, pick up the delightfully bizarre Big Kids.

You can find Big Kids on Amazon here and in a library in this search on Worldcat. You can also check it out on Goodreads here.

Verdict: 4/5 stars.

The month ahead…

I’m back in school in my first week of classes at Clarion. I’m taking one thesis prep course, one class in genealogy, and one class on multicultural literature and services. On the writing front, I’m working on One True Crime and The Magicals. I’m also in the final stages of writing and publishing my first spinoff book for this blog. More on that soon.

On the blog this month…

  • Posting more often. I’m hoping to publish 3-5 times a week. I’m going to be publishing my blog’s first ebook spinoff.
  • Getting back in the habit of publishing the newsletter on a monthly basis.
  • I’ve got a themed week planned, and maybe more:
    • Fall publishing season week – Monday, September 5 through Friday, September 9. Posts about getting ready for new releases, upcoming books YA and adult, and organizing your reading habits.
  • My first venture into vlogging!

Get ready and get pumped. This fall is going to be killer with some awesome books published. Welcome to fall here on Broke By Books.

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