I read seven books in August, and I did enjoy the majority, which is always good! Let’s dive straight into the stats, and then we can move onto my thoughts.
So as you can see, from the books I read in August,
- 5 were from the library
- 2 I already owned
- 4 were physical books
- 3 were audiobooks
Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry
I listened to this book via my library as an audiobook, and was completely hooked. I’d never read a book like this before, erring towards true crime, while also tilting towards courtroom drama.
You might know Adnan’s story from the podcast Serial, who investigated his case in their first season, to huge success. However, while it did garner a massive audience, there are still many unanswered questions surrounding Adnan’s innocence, and more to the story than Serial produced.
In this book, Rabia Chaudry shines a light on the shadier aspects of the case, not only illuminating the holes in the prosecution and defense, but also putting forward evidence that Adnan’s incarceration may have been orchestrated by those in power. It’s a terrifying thought, backed up by terrifying evidence.
What I also appreciated in this book is that Rabia Chaudry was able to go into how Adnan’s Muslim identity influenced the case, in much more detail and with more nuance than Serial could. She delves into the effect the case has had on the Muslim community and also deconstructs the way that Islam was weaponised during Adnan’s trial. It was a tough listen, but Chaudry did a good job of keeping the narrative moving, while giving it the time it deserved.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
I loved this book so much that it has immediately shot up onto my favourites list. I loved how intensely magical it was, I loved each of the characters, and the premise itself was so easy to attach yourself wholeheartedly to.
Just talking about it is making me smile. Check out my review for more of my thoughts!
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Dread Nation is set after the fallout of the American Civil War with one small addition – zombies. As the casualties of the war begin to walk again, America is thrown into a dystopian chaos. The story follows a young black girl named Jane, who is trained to put her life on the line to fight the zombies, and protect the white gentility she will eventually be hired by.
I won’t go too much into this book either as I have a review coming up soon for it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing is polished to a very high standard, the characters well rounded and real. I loved Jane’s character, specifically because she had an edge. She had attitude and courage, but not in a way that was irritating or as an attempt at comic relief. She really made sense.
I’ll be picking up the sequel!
This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay
This book is what it says on the tin, and has been getting hype since it came out a few years ago. I picked it up as an audiobook to listen to while I was driving, and I enjoyed it for the most part.
I liked how candid Adam Kay was, how he didn’t shy away from both the terrible and incredible moments he experienced as a doctor, and how informative it was in the treatment of doctors by patients and the government alike.
However, I clashed a little bit with his sense of humour, and found myself wincing quite often as he made a particularly risky joke. I’m sure that was the point, as it is a very funny book, but it just didn’t always hit the mark for me.
Suicide Club by Rachel Heng
TW for suicide.
Suicide Club is set in a dystopian New York, where medicine has advanced at such an astromical rate, that people are being saved from death, and are living hundreds of years. Lei is one of these people, constantly being topped up with the enhancements to keep her young. But not everyone wants the lifestyle. A group dubbed the Suicide Club denounce society’s desire to live forever, participating in mutual suicides.
I think the premise of this book was incredibly interesting, and that interest for me continued through the book. I was fascinated by this world’s society, and at times, how it was so similar to ours. From the commodification of healthcare, to the moral panics around red meat, hormone levels, and alcohol, it felt at once very familiar, but also totally spectacular.
I didn’t feel that the plot hit the marks that I was expecting it to, so I only ended up giving it three stars (which could probably sit at a 3.5) but I did enjoy it.
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
This book follows a man named Pat, who after returning to his parents’ home after leaving a stay in a psychiatric hospital. He believes his life is a movie, and he’s waiting for it to be wrapped up and find his happy ending in a silver lining that will appear to him.
I didn’t find this the heartwarming story that reviews claimed it was, unfortunately. While at times I felt desperately sorry for Pat and the way people treated him because of his condition, I couldn’t help also being frustrated at the same time. Many of the characters and their motivations didn’t make sense and weren’t fleshed out enough to be believable, which took away the fun from a very character-focused story.
However, the book was written in a way that was very engaging and quick to fly through, and it did provide a lot of discussion at the library book club, so that’s a bonus.
The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How it’s Broken
This is a strange book to review because though there are memoir elements, I found this book to be primarily an in-depth study of the justice system in the UK, and as someone with no law experience other than what I’ve read in crime thrillers and seen on TV, I cannot critique the accuracy or the execution of that content.
What I can say is that parts of this book made me angry. So angry that while I was driving and listening to it, I was clutching the steering wheel hard enough to make my knuckles go white. You’d like to think that justice is something that your country can do right, that if you’re wrongly accused of a crime, the system will work alongside you to prove your innocence, and if it doesn’t, then society will be angry enough and make enough noise that it is forced to look again. It’s unfortunate that to have this mindset is naive and privileged.
Between this and Adnan’s Story, my faith in the justice system has been called into question – as it should be. Blindly believing that those in power will do right by you, isn’t an option.
I think this is a very important book, and should be read in conjunction with others such as Adnan’s Story to help make enough noise for something to maybe change, or at least, make it harder for the powerful to continue in the way that they have done.
So a pretty successful month! I listened to more audiobooks than I planned to but I’m so glad I did, as I felt they were extremely valuable and enlightened me on topics I previously was lacking in.
What did you read in August? Let me know and we can chat!