Originally, I’d planned for August to be a relaxed reading month. Summers are often busier than most months, and I planned to read two books but ended up at five. It was a fairly average reading month to be honest, aside from my beloved Jade Legacy, and I’m already looking forward to resettling a little next month and discovering some great September books.

First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami

Rating: ★★★.5/5

I packed First Person Singular, a collection of eight short stories, for my trip to the French Riviera at the start of August. Murakami is one of my favourite authors but I found some of these short stories to miss the mark. Perhaps because I really enjoy immersing myself in his longer masterpieces, but also because the misogyny seemed to sing loud in parts here. Previously, I’d been able to overlook it to a degree (age, time of writing, etc.) but it sat oddly with me. I enjoyed a solid six of these stories; they’re magical, weird and rooted in human feeling.

The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton

Rating: ★★★★/5 

I finished The House of Fortune by the inimitable Jessie Burton a few weeks ago, and it definitely took me a while to properly gather my thoughts. I absolutely loved the first in the series, The Miniaturist, and so knew I’d love this. Purposeful and atmospheric with every turn, it was so lovely to dip back into this magnetic world. Burton captured the naïveté of an 18-year-old beautifully with Thea Brandt, she’s headstrong, romantic, a dreamer and a realist at the same time. The backdrop of 1705 Amsterdam was even more romantic – I love a smattering of historical fiction. I found Nella to be fairly insufferable, however, and the pacing felt incredibly slow, even for a Burton book. (I usually love the slow meandering books!) As always, I enjoyed that it’s character-driven, but felt the plot was slightly lacking overall.

Natives by Akala

Rating: ★★★★/5

I first read Natives in 2020 when prepping and researching for my book, and I knew I wanted to revisit it when I was in a different headspace. This non-fiction by BAFTA- and MOBO-winning musician Akala tackles race and politics in a personal way: he tells his personal stories and widens them to look at life in England through a social, historical and political lens. It covers a huge array of topics, including the police system and British denial of race, and left me feeling empowered to do better. From a non-white perspective, I found it both relatable and a hard read.

Komi Can’t Communicate: Volume 3 by Tomohito Oda

Rating: ★★★/5

If there’s one thing I love, it’s summer festivals in anime and manga, and that’s exactly what Komi Can’t Communicate: Volume 3 provides. Komi and Tadano and their friends are off to a festival together, and Komi must face her social anxiety head on to socialise within the group in a new setting.

Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee

Rating: ★★★★★/5

It was a bittersweet month, this month, as I finally mustered the courage to read the final book in The Green Bone Saga. And it surely didn’t disappoint. Fonda Lee has created an epic world with this series. The characters are incredible (and she’s never afraid to kill them off), the setting of fictional Janloon is beautiful (in my mind) and the world itself is intricate, believable and complex. In Jade Legacy, the clans are vying for better control of jade across the world. There’s plenty more power play and alliances between the Kekonese Green Bones as the struggle becomes deadly. And, best of all, Lee does a brilliant job at guiding the entire cast of characters to a rounded ending. Like I’ve said several times, I am and always will be captivated by the urban fantasy, gangster, family saga vibes of this trilogy; it’s SO unique and ridiculously well-executed.

September Hopefuls

  • The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
  • Not Quite White by Laila Woozeer
  • Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
  • Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

What did you read this month? And what’s on your list for September?

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