August 2013 Books – Part 3

Garlic & the Vampire and Garlic & the Witch by Bree Paulsen

Very cute and extremely low stakes (pun intended) middle grade graphic novels. I liked the second book slightly more but I liked how easy both were to read. I think I prefer the Tea dragons more for poignancy, but really liked this series and its very lovely artwork.

4.25/5 stars. Read August 27, 2023.

Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural World by Christian Cooper

Narrated by the author. My favourite book podcast and a someone in my book club recommended this in the same week. Over the years, I have consumed less memoirs because they started to feel more packaged due to the influence of publishers and ghost writers. They weren’t bad exactly, but they felt a bit more self-indulgent as an industry. Cooper is not a celebrity in the same way though and he does have a background as an editor and writer. He is intelligent, reflective, and considerate telling his story. His audio narration is great. He is expressive and warm. I am so glad I listened to it. I was really engaged and really wanted to finish the book after I read my print ones. I found the writing about his love of birds, nature, and family quite moving. His stories about traveling were good too. The book had the right amount of reflection for me. There are bird songs in the audiobook! I loved that. Probably one of the better memoirs I’ve read in the last couple of years.

4.5/5 stars. Listened August 17-29, 2023. 1.3x most of the time.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Narrated by the author. This is a short YA novella in verse. I borrowed it because I had read a great interview about Jason Reynolds in the New Yorker and then watched more interviews with him. His championing of children’s literature is wonderful. This novella is about gun violence and the endless cycle of revenge especially in youth gangs. The poetry aspect of it is well done and I am glad I listened to the audiobook.

4/5 stars. Listened August 29, 2023. 1.3x.

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

Narrated by the author. The book that named a genre. While cozy fantasy has always been a thing especially in my world, this book led the charge of the genre being prominent in book culture recently. I lined up the audiobook for it and the library hold finally came in. I decided to start with the audiobook or go between them. Baldree has been a prolific audiobook narrator for years. I was not sure about his narration at first but when the voices started, I was impressed. In the end, I listened to the whole thing on audiobook. It wasn’t long and it did have a cozy vibe. The plot is rather slow and there is a lack of depth in some ways. I found the romance was not built up well enough. I wanted more character and relationship development. It’s not an essential read nor is it my favourite cozy fantasy of this year. I do think it has its charming moments especially as an audiobook. I enjoyed how easy it was to listen to it while I did my chores or physio exercises. This book is a vibe as the kids say. I had a chocolate chip cookie because it featured one prominently. I look forward to listening to the prequel.

3.75/4 stars. Listened August 29-31, 2023. 1.3x.

Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet

This is a favourite of some friends in my book club. It’s a well done middle grade biography with great illustrations and art. I learned a lot of things about E. B. White and the book is a lovely homage to his writing. I read this during a silent book club meeting with a couple bookish friends.

3.5/5 stars. Read August 31, 2023.

New Yorker

July 24, 2023: I found this newer edition beginning of August. Since I had been reading all these 2021, I was glad to find a newer one. Maybe it was the not great weekend that I read it but I found this edition on the grim side. It had stories about M.S., Haiti and its gangs, changing Nashville, bears, and neoliberalism. Maybe I shouldn’t read these on my off days.
August 9, 2021: This had a David Seders essay which I read in his most recent book and did not have many articles I was interested in.
August 16, 2021: The James Webb Space Telescope. Learned about Jason Reynolds and watched some interviews with him as a result too. I skipped the Fiction and was reminded about Ted Lasson S2. I read the review about “Annette”. I like the actors in the cast but probably won’t watch it since I watch very few movies and TV these days because of books.

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