August 2022 Wrap-Up

I lived August like it was a Taylor Swift song.

It was busy as hell and also slow as hell. I went home to see family in Oregon for the first time in three years at the beginning of August, and my wife was on leave for about three weeks this month, so therefore my attention was split and I did very little in terms of reading and writing (and I threw out my back in the later half of the month, which was a delight, let me tell you).

But we finally wrapped up Ms Marvel (adorable), started She-Hulk (hilarious, loving it), binge-watched A League of Their Own (oh my queer goodness), and went to see Six: the Musical and I literally cried from happiness at the opening number.

I read 12 books this month, for 6 books, 6 audiobooks, and 4,246 pages.

To the books!


Babel was everything it said it was going to be, and then some. It was incredible and weighty and fantastic, and I can 100% see this taking home all of the awards. It’s a fascinating look at how academia is culpable in empire, and how translation is an act of violence, no matter how well intentioned that act is taken. I absolutely loved it, and I kinda hope that there is a spin-off sequel?

It’s no surprise that Carrie Soto is Back is five stars. Okay, actually, there is some surprise. I did not enjoy Malibu Rising that much, and so stepped into my third TJR book with some trepidation. But one thing TJR can write is driven, ambitious women, and Carrie Soto is Driven. However, there has also been a lot of valid criticism on TJR, a whyte woman, writing a Latine main character, so it’s something to consider before picking this one up. As a book on tennis from someone who grew up in a Tennis Family (I do not play, however), this was a great look at tennis of the 80s and early 90s, and the complicated nature of being a female athlete.

Terminal Peace is the third and final book in the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy, and the book that I never expected to read for a wide variety of reasons, mainly because I didn’t expect the author to return to writing after the loss of his wife in 2019. Reading this book was a return to military science fiction written in the best way, with humor and high stakes and winking nods to the tropes of the genre. It’s incredible and heartbreaking and heartwarming, and everything I ever wanted to read in a final book in a beloved trilogy.

The Hidden Life of Trees was illuminating and fantastic, and I highly recommend reading it if you’re a member of the timber industry, or want to know more about the forests and how everything is connected to everything else. I feel that as scientists learn more about systems instead of individual things, they begin to understand something indigenous peoples have always known: that everything is connected and that you must work holistically within that system instead of uprooting it for something else. It’s a mindset shift that would completely topple the capitalistic economy, which envisions an ever-expanding economy without limits, and yet as we steamroll into this late stage of capitalism and environmental crises, it’s one that needs to be toppled. And that’s my high horse for the day (just kidding, there’s one more high horse to be ridden).


This is the second-to-last book in the Vorkosigan series, and I enjoyed it more the second time around than I did the first, although I did cry horribly at the very end (IYKYK). I’m going to read Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen sometime before the end of the year, although it’s hard to say goodbye to Miles and company (at least until the next reread). Anywho, this book tackles death, and death.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches was near the top of my most-anticipated reads of. the year, but unfortunately I think I would have loved it better if I hadn’t read The House on the Cerulean Sea. The two books are distinct and yet very, very similar in many ways. What makes Witches better is the approach: a woman of color main character who connects to the transracial displacement experienced by her young witchy studentsβ€”all of whom were orphans plucked from their countries of origin and brought to England to be raised by a rich, whyte woman. Anywho, the story is heartwarming, and I liked that it didn’t pretend to have all the answers or to feel the need solve all the problems written into the book’s premise. It was enough to connect, to discover, to enjoy.

I really enjoyed The Oleander Sword, but I don’t know that I loved it as much as the first? Perhaps because I felt like this one dragged on a bit longer than it needed to? There was so much revealed and so much character development and it was beautiful and gorgeous and I need book 3 immediately, but also sometimes I felt like I was drowning in the extravagantly lush prose. However, still highly recommend it!

I really like reading about the jet set life and the environmental impact of globalization and imperialism. This was definitely a solid read, with a lot of research packed in and some great commentary, although occasionally Stodala’s message seemed to flip flop on itself as she tried to juggle to disparate thoughts together: allowing yourself to relax and have a nice vacation, and the ways beach resorts tend to be really awful for everyone and everything involved. I enjoyed the book, and it was almost a five-star read except that I really agree with much of Lauren Groff’s review (although at some point of that read I was like, Lauren, it’s okay to let people like things you don’t like!). Basically, the book boils down to: beach resorts are not eco-conscious and crush the local culture and resources, and there are ways to make them more environmentally friendly but just as the Judge discovered in The Good Place, there are always unintended consequences.

I’m halfway lumping the next two together (weirdly, yes), because I remember listening to and enjoying them, but not much else. Six Wakes was enthusiastically recommended to me by a former coworker several years (and a job) ago, and being that we were both fans of science fiction (although she preferred hard scifi and I can do without it), I finally decided to give this one a go. It was a locked-room murder mystery set in space, with cloning at the core of it, and it was good but not ground-breaking? It was also very queer, which I liked.

And Prairie Lotus was a fantastic middle grade historical fiction book about a Chinese-American girl living in the midwest in the late 1800s, and dealing with the rampant racism and misogyny built into America. She was also a dressmaker, and working to help get her father established in his new shop, while also finding her own footing in this strange new town where people looked at her with mistrust and suspicion. It was a tonal critique of Little House on the Prairie, and I really enjoyed it but again don’t remember many of the particulars.


And now for the three stars. To preface: I enjoyed these but did not love them.

The Seventh Bride was my third Kingfisher book, and my least favorite of the three. I love her writing style, but this was very much an earlier work and lacked a lot of the joys I found in the more recent things I’ve read from her. I’ll still continue reading her (extensive) backlist, however.

And You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty wins for that title, however, the rest of the book was not was I was expecting. For some reason I thought this was going to be speculative fiction and it wasn’t, and it was disappointing and kinda boring (I did like the discussions on grief and grieving, though)? Also, age-gaps and I do not get along, particularly when that age gap also comes with a power imbalance. Definitely a book to be loved and enjoyed by others, but not the book for me.

What books did you enjoy this month?

6 thoughts on “August 2022 Wrap-Up

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