Month in Review: August 2020

Just a couple days into September, and it’s already starting to feel like autumn in my corner of New England! Looking back on August, it was probably my best month of the year. The warm weather made it possible to socialize with friends IN PERSON (outdoors and distancing, but still!), and to go kayaking TWICE. I also got to have some nice virtual hangouts, including a Zoom pickling sesh with my little sibling and a couple lovely video chats with Melanie at Grab The Lapels! And while I didn’t achieve all of my reading goals (which were unrealistic to begin with), August was still a great reading month: I finished 7 books and rated most of them 4-stars or higher.

Books read:

  • Difficult Women by Roxane Gay – DNF
  • How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang – 3.5 stars out of 5
  • I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong – 3 stars out of 5
  • Real Life by Brandon Taylor – 4.5 stars out of 5
  • Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga – 4 stars out of 5
  • The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi – 4 stars out of 5
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo – 5 stars out of 5
  • The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison – 4 stars out of 5

Books in progress/September TBR:

Honestly, I have no business setting a reading goal of 10 books for September…and yet…here we are. This month’s reads are primarily inspired by the Booker prize longlist, books that I think would work well as audiobooks on my commute to work, and a fun read-along that Melanie at Grab The Lapels is hosting.

  • Bright Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich. I’ve been interested in this book for so long, yet never seem to prioritize it. I even incorporated it into my June reading plan, and still didn’t read it! But now I’m FINALLY reading this and really enjoying it so far!
  • Paradise Cove by Jenny Holiday. For Melanie’s read-along! A romance novel set in the tiny town of Matchmaker Bay, this seems like the book we need in 2020. There’s still time to join and read along if you’re interested!
  • Chemistry by Weike Wang. This has also been on my TBR for a while! I started it yesterday and find it incredibly moving so far!
  • We Want Our Bodies Back by Jessica Care Moore. I wanted to read this in August, but fell a bit behind on reading. Very excited to get to this in September.
  • The Book of Not by Tsitsi Dangarembga. Last month I read and enjoyed Nervous Conditions, so I’m really looking forward to the sequel!
  • Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. A short feminist manifesto by an incredible writer? Sounds like a powerful and necessary read!
  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. This was my September BOTM pick! I checked BOTM literally just a couple hours after TBRing this book, and it was such a pleasant coincidence.
  • Apeirogon by Colum McCann. This Booker longlisted novel seems like it will either be hit or miss for me…so hopefully it is a hit!
  • Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward. Another Booker title. This is one of my most highly anticipated Booker reads, but I’m trying to keep my expectations in check so I don’t overhype it.
  • Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall. This seems like it will be a great follow-up to So You Want to Talk About Race (which had one chapter about intersectional blindspots of feminist and progressive movements).

Some posts I really enjoyed:


I made: blueberry bars, pecan cupcakes (adapted from this recipe), and strawberry cupcakes!

More 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.

20 thoughts on “Month in Review: August 2020”

  1. Cats and baking? This post is blessing us! Thank you for the shout out too by the way; I always love taking part in WITmonth, so it’s great to know that others actually somewhat enjoy me banging on about it so much 😂

    I look forward to your thoughts on Yaa Gyasi’s new novel! I haven’t read her debut yet (I really should), but I’m already seeing lots of hype for this new one as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think she’s posting more baking pics because after I told my husband I met with “Hannah at Books and Bakes,” he asked what she bakes. I said I didn’t know, she never writes about baking. He then said, “Oh, she’s probably getting high.” LOL! Poor Hannah! The baking photos are lovely, though, aren’t they?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. HAH thank you!! And yes – I want to include much more translated literature in my reading repertoire (I’ve read very little so far), so I really appreciate your thorough reviews!!

      I actually haven’t read Gyasi’s debut either (but also should haha).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am always so impressed by your ability to get through more books in one month than I can in two, or even three — while baking, pickling, and registering it all by taking pics (as well as, clearly, nurturing your cats). Kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aww, your kitties! I’ve never seen them. Frank burrowing makes me think of when we talked about Jackson Galaxy and how cats are either high-up cats or floor cats. Apparently, Frank is a mole cat, lol.

    Were your strawberry cupcakes a big hit at the BBQ? They look delightful, and I love how you frosted them with a decorative pipping tip. I always use a butter knife and just try to make things look not lumpy. And my baking tends to be a disaster….I think we became friends after I did the Fairy Cakes post. If you’re interested, here it is:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m surprised they’ve never come in during a video chat – next time I’ll try to get them to say hello! And LOL “mole cat” is perfect for Frank.

      The strawberry cupcakes were good! Thank you!! I just bought the piping tips – before that I used to use the butter knife too (but it always looked lumpy lol). And ooooh this post sounds great!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I DNF’ed it because I didn’t like reading it as an audiobook on my way to work. I didn’t really like the narration, and the stories were too depressing for a work commute. I *might* try it again in print sometime.

      Why haven’t most of Roxane Gay’s books worked for you? I’ve only tried this one and Hunger (which I think we’ve discussed and both liked).


      1. Her essays in Bad Feminist are poorly written. She wanders around with no thesis, making points based on how she feels without evidence, and when you get to the end of the essay, it bears little connection to the beginning. An Untamed State had unrelatable characters are incredible brutal rape scenes — many, many, many — and I couldn’t stand it. Hunger was actually good. It’s focused and uses short sentences to get across big feelings. Ayiti is hit and miss.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, wow. It’s interesting that Hunger was so strong, but that Gay’s other works were such big misses. Difficult Women also had some brutal/unbearable scenes (that’s why it was too upsetting to listen to on the commute to work).


          1. Oh yeah, I had to turn off An Untamed State for some ridiculously brutal scenes. It honestly started to feel pornographic. I know there’s a touch scene in Hunger, but it happens once, it’s not in great detail, and it’s the root of her story, so it’s important.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great month! Your reading looks fantastic, burrowing cats are the funniest, and pecan cupcakes are the dessert I never knew I needed. I hope you’ll have another great month ahead with September, in books and beyond!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like you had a great month! I love kayaking, but only do it occasionally when I’m on holiday. Great set of books you have lined up for September. I am bit like you, trying not to have too high expectations to Love and Other Thought Experiments. I have a feeling that it’s quite alternative and that I will either love it or won’t get on with it at all! Great photos, you seem to be quite skilled at baking. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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