Month in Review: July 2020

It’s the first of the new month, so you know the drill: time to look back on another month of reading! I’m slightly changing the format of these month-in-review posts by incorporating a small section dedicated to things I’ve cooked/baked. During a conversation with Melanie at Grab the Lapels (who I highly recommend following!), it came up that I don’t really post about baking, despite my blog being called “Books and Bakes.” So the new section is an attempt to bring baking back to Books and Bakes.

Books read:

  • Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas – DNF
  • The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell by W. Kamau Bell – 4 stars out of 5
  • Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh – 2.5 stars out of 5
  • Hunger by Roxane Gay – 4.5 stars out of 5
  • Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman – 3 stars out of 5
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid – 4 stars out of 5
  • The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe – 3.5 stars out of 5

Books in progress/August TBR:

Apparently I’m the type of person who sets a July reading goal of 9 books, doesn’t come close to completing it, then sets the same unrealistic goal for August! We’ll see how it goes. This month’s TBR is influenced by the Booker Prize longlist, which I’m going to try to read through (more or less) before the winner is announced.

  • The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison. I’m currently reading this short book of essays about how the act of “othering” people allows those in power to abuse their authority without feeling guilty about it. It’s very powerful.
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Still reading this for a book club! It’s also incredibly powerful so far.
  • Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. After absolutely loving Hunger last month, I’m excited to read Difficult Women. I’ve heard that Hunger is Gay’s best work, but I want to explore more of her books and decide for myself 🙂
  • How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zheng. This is from the Booker longlist, but it was already on my list of books that I wanted to finish before the end of 2020. Its place on the longlist is giving me the push I need to prioritize it.
  • Real Life by Brandon Taylor. Another one of the Booker-longlisted books that I was already really excited about (thanks in large part to Emily and Gil‘s glowing reviews).
  • Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga. This is also on my radar because of the Booker prize. The third book in this trilogy (This Mournable Body) got longlisted, but since I haven’t read the other books yet, I’m starting here.
  • We Want Our Bodies Back by Jessica Care Moore. This has been on my radar ever since reading Melanie’s excellent review, and I’m really excited to read it for myself!
  • Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler. Honestly, this is one of the Booker-longlisted books that I’m less excited about…but I’m reading it anyway because sometimes I end up really enjoying books that I “wasn’t excited about.” We’ll see.
  • The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi. Hahaha I was saving the best for last. I have been anticipating this release for so long and I’m SO excited for this read!!!

Some recommended posts:

  • Stargazer’s clever review of Circe in the form of a fictional interview! It was super creative, and perfectly captured Circe’s character.
  • Stephanie’s moving post about how reading “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” by Karyl McBride helped her out of a really (mentally and emotionally) rough place.

Things I baked!

This month I baked red velvet cupcakes with cookies and cream frosting, rhubarb pie bites, and a birthday cake for my husband!

Other July photos:

Author: Hannah Celeste

Hi! I'm Hannah, a book-blogger from the Northeastern United States. I enjoy reading many genres, cooking and baking, doing yoga, and spending time with my two cats.

24 thoughts on “Month in Review: July 2020”

    1. Thank you! Catherine House wasn’t bad exactly…I just couldn’t get myself to care about it very much. It was fine while I was reading, but every time I put it back down I felt so unmotivated to pick it back up. I think it’s worth trying though!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. i cant wait to see what you think of How Much of These Hills is Gold!! I was feeling kind of neutral about it (I was gonna read it, but wasn’t in a rush or anything) but then it got on the longlist and i was like ok i need to read this everyone has loved it lol (also your baked treats look so good!!!)

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  2. I too had a quick look at the Booker Prize longlist. Nervous Conditions caught my eye as well, but not sure I have the appetite for a trilogy. Will look out for your review, though.

    Great photo feature, the rhubarb pie bites make me hungry and the drawer photo is just so typical for cats!

    Thanks for linking to my “interview” with Circe. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The home life pics are amazing, Hannah! I was talking with Emily yesterday, who said, “Who doesn’t like food pics?” Indeed, Emily. I have to say, those rhubarb tart thingies are adorable. My mom makes a rhubarb crisp that people love, but NEVER IN MY LIFE HAVE I TRIED IT. Sorry, mom!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lol, I was just about to say how much I love food pics but I see Melanie beat me to my own opinion! Truly, there can never be too many food pics, and yours look fantastic! (Cat content is always appreciated as well, Frank is adorable in his drawer!)
    As for books, I’m happy to see Such a Fun Age was 4 stars for you, as I’ll be starting that soon. And I’m on the fence about Catherine House, people seem to either love it or hate it and I can’t decide whether to pick it up! Also, your entire August list looks great, I’m already getting excited for your reviews this month. Happy reading! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha thank you! Glad to hear the food/cat content is well received! I’m curious to see what you’ll think of Such a Fun Age! I think it’s a good contemporary novel with a great message…but I’m still not not sure how I feel about its place on the Booker Prize longlist. With Catherine House, I stopped reading it for a few days and realized that I didn’t care if I picked it back up or not, so I DNF’ed it lol.

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  5. I echo Emily’s sentiment—I was really looking forward to Catherine House, but I’ve seen mixed reviews and your DNF, so now I’m not sure if I’m picking it up, lol. We have similar Booker-inspired picks (and thanks for linking my Real Life rave!!) though overall the list was pretty… uninspiring, though the inclusion of a number of debut novels and new authors was a welcome change.

    I LOVE your baking pics! The cake and the cupcakes look sooo yummy! I must admit that I’m not even sure what rhubarb is… I don’t think we have it here?? but i would love to try the ones you made! And Frank is so cute!!! Cat used to do that too, and he’d look so content that I can’t bring myself to shoo him even if I get cat hair all over my clothes 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was so excited for Catherine House too! It wasn’t bad exactly, but it also wasn’t very interesting for a mystery novel. And yes!! I agree with you about the Booker Prize longlist! I’m so excited to read Real Life this year.

      Thank you Gil!! Rhubarb is a leafy plant with thick red stems – the stems are sour and good in tart desserts! HAHAH about Cat doing that! That’s how I feel when Frank jumps in the drawer too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I was so disappointed with Catherine House. I had such high hopes because of the creepy house trope and I had just read Mexican Gothic which was 5 stars! I thought it would eventually pick up but it doesn’t. Now I’m thinking I should have DNFed it too

    Liked by 1 person

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