August 2020 Reading

This month I read two novels; Again, Again (E. Lockhart) and Outline (Rachel Cusk). I gave both 4 of 5 stars. The first tells the story of Adelaide’s summer as she stays on school campus because her dad is a teacher. She walks dogs and meets new people, but in each chapter are a few paragraphs of alternate universes, which means entire conversations and actions differ in each universe. It sounds a bit strange, but I liked seeing different facets of a conversation or a person based on one thing being different and changing the course of their lives. For the first half of this book I was expecting to give it 3 of 5 stars, but the final chapter changed everything for me.

Outline’s premise is a protagonist teaching a writing course in Greece. I found the beginning of this book difficult to read, as it’s structured unlike anything else I’ve read. Told through ten conversations and heavy descriptions of people and places, we only discover the protagonist through her sparse comments in conversation. Most of the book is focused on long conversations she has with other people, going into depth about their life and experiences.

Apparently August was the month of poetry, because I read six poetry books. However, I wouldn’t call half of them ‘poetry’. Mouthful of Forevers (Clementine Von Radics) and The Princess Saves Herself in This One (Amanda Lovelace) I gave 3 of 5 stars. I wanted to like both of these books more than I did, especially because both titles hold a lot of promise. Overall, however, the ‘poems’ felt a lacking. I found this particularly with the latter, in which each page consists of a few lines of vaguely pretty or deep sentiments. I understand not all poetry has to rhyme, but I think this was called poetry

because every few

words were placed

on a new


I’m sure writing these words was a good experience for the author, but it doesn’t quite cut it for me.

I gave three poetry books 4 of 5 stars. Honeybee and The Dogs I Have Kissed (Trista Mateer) and Please Don’t Go Before I Get Better (Madisen Kuhn). Again, none of them are overly poetic, but I gave them the higher rating because I related to them more and found them to be prose-like rather than just… a few lines per page… Both poetry books explore love, loss, and freedom.

The Poetic Underground: Reverie (Erin Hanson) I gave 5 of 5 stars. A self-published poetry book, I found every single poem clever, relatable, and beautiful. The only thing I struggled with was the format. If a poem was made of three stanzas, instead of ending every four lines with a full stop, every poem consisted entirely of commas. (I know it’s a small thing that isn’t the biggest deal, but it made each stanza feel incomplete and like I couldn’t breathe or rest until the very end, not unlike a very long, unending sentence that won’t let you stop reading because the only punctuation is commas, which isn’t very nice when you’re trying to reflect on a poem and read it slowly.)

I’ve still been loving reading before bed. It’s a good way to unwind and find the time to read.

Happy reading!

Sarah xx

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