Book Chat

August 2017 Reading Log

Summer is winding down, and another month has flown by in a blur. I’m so glad that I got one week away at “summer camp,” hosted by my parents… a break from routine is always a good thing! I didn’t make as much time to read as I usually do, but c’est la vie! Silver lining: this post was a lot quicker to write than usual. With Fall approaching, I’m looking forward to cooler weather and cozy reading!


August 2017 Thoughts


Jane of Austin, by Hillary Manton Lodge

Start date: 7/30/2017
Finish date: 8/12/2017
Source: Blogging for Books
Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback
3 stars

We all know there’s nothing more polarizing than an Austen adaptation, but never fear: this modern retelling of Sense and Sensibility was charming, if a bit treacly sweet. Fortunately, this tale can stand on its own whether you’re familiar with the original or not, but personally I loved connecting the dots between the plot points of each version. The details are updated, but the premise is the same: two sisters with contradictory personalities suddenly find themselves in reduced circumstances, forced to move from their beloved home to live with distant relations. However, in these modern days the sisters have more resources; they have to leave their San Francisco tea shop when their landlord passes away and the rent triples, but their online business pays the bills while they search for a new storefront in Austin, Texas; both sisters deal with heartbreak, but the scandal of a breakup doesn’t ruin their reputations.

Compared to the original, this retelling lacks Austen’s acerbic wit; there are no absurd side characters or biting social commentary. Instead of focusing on the sisters’ opposing views toward love, their relationship takes center stage, which I found more compelling than Austen’s reason vs. emotion argument. And thankfully, we get to hear primarily from the “Marianne” of the pair, because let’s face it: no matter how sensible, Elinor is a bit boring!

I couldn’t resist the promise of a fresh twist on a beloved classic, and this retelling turned out to be a lighthearted and entertaining romance.

Full review here!


Good Night, Gorilla, written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann

Start date: 8/9/2017
Finish date: 8/9/2017
Source: Imagination Library
Genre: Children’s Lit
Format: Hardback
3 stars

As the zoo shuts down for the night, the zookeeper doesn’t realize that a mischievous monkey has a key to the cages… until all the animals end up at the zookeeper’s house. I love the lush illustrations of this nearly wordless picture book.

84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff

Start date: 8/12/2017
Finish date: 8/12/2017
Source: What Should I Read Next? podcast
Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Paperback
5 stars

This book is nearly perfect, and when I was reminded of it while listening to the What Should I Read Next? Podcast, I couldn’t resist plucking it from my shelves and indulging in a couple hours’ of reading after baby’s bedtime. This collection of (real!) letters from a writer in New York City to a used bookstore in England range over decades, cover swaths of literature, and give a tantalizingly brief peek into life in both post-War countries. It’s so short, but it’s funny and poignant and always leaves me nostalgic for a life I will never lead but wish I could in some alternate universe… is there a word for that feeling in some other language?

This one counts as “A book you’ve already read” in my 2017 Reading Challenge.

Here’s what I wrote about it in 2010, when I was still jotting down just a sentence or two in an actual physical diary:

Lovely, and nonfiction! Makes me want to research the sought-after books, and write letters, and read more of Hanff. Fun!

Anne of Green Gables: A BabyLit Places Primer, written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Allison Oliver

Start date: 8/25/2017
Finish date: 8/25/2017
Source: Instagram – @babylitbooks
Genre: Children’s Lit
Format: Board Book
4 stars

I’m just helpless when it comes to BabyLit board books: I love the style, the illustrations, the fun concepts that they pair with each title. (Sense and Sensibility: Opposites! Frankenstein: Anatomy!) So when they announced that the newest release would be based on Anne of Green Gables, well, I just pre-ordered it without a second thought. I love the quotes straight from the original that go along with each gorgeous illustration of places around Prince Edward Island, like “home,” “avenue,” and “brook.”

Still Reading:

A Court of Wings and Ruin, by Sarah J. Maas

Start date: 7/18/2017
Source: Sommer W.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Library book

Sigh… this is a book meant to be read by the fire with endless cups of tea and no plans on the calendar, but that just isn’t my life right now. I had to return the library book, but I bought the eBook and I’m trying to read the in bits and pieces while nursing or when I can resist the siren call of social media, but it’s not going well.

Love Letters, by Katie Fforde

Start date: 8/13/2017
Source: Emily C.
Genre: Romance
Format: Hardback

This book falls in the “Book in a genre you usually avoid” category of my 2017 Reading Challenge: romance! It started off slow, but with some time to read in the car to and from Alabama, it really grew on me. It’s basically every bookworm’s fantasy of branching out from the cloistered life of a shy bookseller to become the confidante (and romantic interest) of a famous wrier. And it takes place in both England and Ireland, which just adds to the fantasy.

Books read in August: 4
Books read in 2017: 52
Still reading: 2

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of August, the eighth month of 2017. I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

The Amateur Librarian is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


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