Saturday, August 1, 2020

Wrap Up: July 2020

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Books I Read In July

In July, I read 6 books. So . . . not a great reading month, but some of these books are chunky boys!

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman was a reread of a childhood favorite. It’s a science fiction story about parallel universes and a community of nomads who are trying to rescue their kidnapped children. I read this book many times as a teenager, but I’d forgotten how slow the beginning is. It takes forever for anything to happen! The middle and end make up for it, though. (Well, aside from the melodrama at the very end. OMG, people. Calm down.) Once the action starts, it doesn’t stop. I still love this book. It’s bizarre, a little creepy, and will (eventually) keep you on the edge of your seat. Now I want to reread the other two books in the series.

In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume. The premise is fascinating and based on events from the author’s real life. It’s about a town near an airport where planes keep crashing. The people in town are trying to live their lives, but there’s always the threat that a plane will fall on them. I enjoyed the plot, but I think there are too many characters and storylines. I was sometimes tempted to skim to get back to the characters that interested me the most. Good story, though!

Alabama Moon by Watt Key made me laugh. The main character, Moon, thinks he can solve all of life’s problems by punching annoying people. I believe Twitter would call that #mood. If you love books like Hatchet, you’ll enjoy Alabama Moon. It’s an easy middlegrade read with tons of action. Moon has spent his entire life in the Alabama wilderness. After his father dies, he runs into problems with the local constable and goes on a quest to discover why his father abandoned society to raise his family in the woods. It’s an excellent book. I would have loved it as a kid.

The Hunger by Alma Katsu is the story of the Donner Party, but with witches and supernatural zombie-wolf-human creatures. Mostly, I loved it. The beginning is slow because there are a ton of characters that need to be introduced, but I didn’t care. I’m fascinated by the Donner Party and have read a lot of nonfiction about them. (For nonfiction, I recommend The Indifferent Stars Above and Cannibalism.) I think it’s brave for an author to write a supernatural horror story about real people. I’d be too paranoid about offending their descendants. If you like historical horror, I recommend picking this book up. It’s a creepy, witchy, surprising twist on a familiar story.

Another childhood favorite: The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman. This is a sequel to The Golden Compass and was my favorite in the series when I was a young teen. The series is about two kids who can open doors to parallel universes. Chaos ensues. I liked The Subtle Knife because it was faster paced than The Golden Compass, and the vampire creatures gave me nightmares. I loved rereading it. Five stars! My only criticism is that some events happen too easily or conveniently. I didn’t notice that stuff as a kid.

Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok is set in 1800s Paris and stars a teenage journalist who uses her psychic powers to track down a serial killer. I love the setting, and I love that the main character is interested in morbid stuff. (I am too!) There are two major storylines happening in the book. One of them is about finding the serial killer. The other is about the main character learning to accept her psychic abilities. I was way more interested in the serial killer plotline. I understand that learning to be psychic is (probably) difficult, but I was impatient for the character to embrace her powers and concentrate on the killer. Overall, I had fun reading Spectacle. I’ll probably pick up the sequel if I come across it in my bookish wanderings.

Best Books Of July

Most-Viewed July Blog Posts

July Bestsellers

Here are the books that people bought on Amazon or Book Depository last month after seeing them on Read All The Things! (Don’t worry, the link-tracking robots only tell me which books people are buying, not who is buying them. That would be creepy.)

July Life Snapshots

1. Sprints, with apologies to my Twitter followers. In July, I rediscovered my love of book sprints on Twitter. If you’ve never done a sprint, a bunch of people read books at the same time and quickly answer questions about what they’re reading. I participated in sprints every day for a week. Sorry if I flooded your timeline with nonsense. (↓ Here's an example of the quality content I posted during a sprint. )

2. I still haven’t punched my computer! Since lockdown stole kickboxing from me, I started at-home kickboxing workouts. I just search YouTube for kickboxing workouts, push play, and hope no disasters happen. My house is not ideal for kickboxing because there’s not a lot of space. I’m very impressed that I haven’t accidentally punched the computer yet. *Pats self on back.* Cross your fingers that my computer (and furniture and body) continue to survive this adventure.

3. You’ve insulted my face, dear sir! I wore my mermaid tail mask to walk the dog. An old man rolled his eyes at me and said to his wife, “They’re forcing the fish to wear masks now?” Um, excuse me? Everyone looks fabulous in rainbow fish scales. You don’t know what you’re missing.

4. Attack of the sex robots, with apologies to my blog readers. I don’t know why, but this blog keeps getting swarmed by sex robots who leave very saucy comments 😳. I’m sorry if any of these comments have offended your sensibilities. I swear I’m deleting as fast as I can! Robots, if you’re listening, this is a book blog. We don’t offer those kinds of services here!

Wayward Googlers

Here are a few amusing Google searches that led people to Read All The Things! last month. I’m sorry to the unfortunate souls who ended up here instead of finding what they were Googling for.

“Rain sounds for sleep.” I use an app called Ultimate Sleep App: The Ultimate Sleep Solution. It has rain, music, and many other noises. You can even mix-and-match noises to create your own blend. I can confirm that it’s excellent at drowning out the depressing racket of your Fox-News-obsessed neighbors and their massive outdoor TV.
“Books with flaps.” Check out my Best Books of 2020 post. Baby Brooklyn has recommendations! She’s an expert in the "books with flaps" genre.

All The Things!

Number of unread books on my TBR shelf = 53 books.

I’m currently reading = The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman.

What did you do in July?


  1. Overall, July was a decent reading month for me and I'm getting back on track after a pretty slow year. I was about to reach my Goodreads total so I adjusted it to 120, and hope to get up over 150 by the autumn/before winter!

  2. You've definitely got me interested in The Hunger! I've seen it around but somehow it wasn't really on my radar. I've never done a book sprint, but it sounds fun. Maybe I should give it a try!

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed Spectacle. The sequel is also brilliant so I hope you'll get to pick it up. :)

  4. I also loved the serial killer plot in Spectacle, but I felt Nathalie's acceptance of her powers just dragged the plot. Sprints on Twitter sound so much fun!

    Happy readings!

  5. I am totally reading the Alabama book, Hatchet and Hunger. Thanks for posting.

  6. We love the Philip Pullman books, glad you're enjoying them too.

  7. You had some good reads in July. Perhaps I should try a kick boxing class on YouTube -- it looks like a good workout ... but I'll move the furniture first. Enjoy your August.

  8. Can you please post a picture of your mask. I need to know what it looks like. It's good to see your childhood favorites still delight you. Re-reads scare me because I worry that I won't love them as much the second time, and it will sully my memory

  9. I was today years old when I learned what a book sprint was. If I was ever actually on Twitter it would be fun. LOL

    Im with Sam... I really need to see the mermaid mask.

  10. hahah“They’re forcing the fish to wear masks now?” I SNORTED.

    "Robots, if you’re listening, this is a book blog. We don’t offer those kinds of services here!" ... and then I snorted again! haha

    It sounds like it was a really fun reading month for you! I love the extra stats and details you included in the post, as well. I'm an absolute nerd for statistics.

    I wish you the best in the coming month! Happy reading!

  11. I've been getting a lot of weird sexual spam comments lately, as well! It's so annoying. It's great that you're finding workouts to do inside. I need to vary my routine, especially since it's been too hot to do anything outside.

  12. You did much better reading wise than I did in July--and my two books were short. Haha. It is what it is, right? After reading Alma Katsu's The Deep, I have been wanting to read The Hunger. I've always wanted to try kickboxing, but I think I need to work my way up to it. I'm so out of shape and inflexible. Ugh. I hope you have a great month of August, AJ.

  13. I really want to read the His Dark Materials books.

  14. I've never tried kick boxing, but my Jazzercise class has kick boxing moves during some routines. So my living room, which is my Jazzercise studio now since March, has been cleared of most furniture and all breakables. Glad you had a great reading month and hope your August is going well!

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