The dog days of summer are upon us. It may be sweltering outside, but our August reading challenge is seriously cool. But before we get to that, check out how we fared with our July challenge, and let us know how you did in the comments. Then, see below for the details of our August challenge!
Kelly’s July Challenge
This might have been my favorite month so far. I can’t begin to express my love of Sarah Crossan’s One, nor can I put into words how excellent the romance in C.S. Pacat’s Captive Prince series was. If you’re at all intrigued by these books, I’d highly recommend them.
Elizabeth’s July Challenge
I did it, guys! I read all three books that I selected for my July challenge. A Little Life is hands-down the best novel I have read in a very, very long time. Books rarely make me cry, and the end of this novel had me SOBBING for a solid 90 minutes. In public, no less. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was fascinating, and I loved Margo Jefferson’s insight on race and class in Negroland.
Want to know our thoughts on these reads? Check out our Friday Reads tag to keep up.
The August challenge is to read chronologically. This could mean starting with books published a long time ago, and working your way forward. You could also reverse it, beginning with books that were published more recently. If you really want to get fancy, you could read books set in time periods long ago and work forward. Read through one author’s books in order of publication. Move on to the next installment in a series you’ve been dragging your feet on. The sky’s the limit, Bookish readers!
Kelly’s August Challenge
I read Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts last year and was completely blown away. Her writing is intelligent and thought-provoking, lingering with you long after you’ve finished reading. For this challenge, I’ll be reading two of her other books. Though written independently and not originally intended as a pair, these two books follow a single, personal story over a significant period of time. It all starts with Jane, a mix of poetry and prose that explores the life and murder of Nelson’s aunt.
Maggie Nelson’s Jane was about to hit shelves when her family learned that her aunt’s murder case had been reopened and a new suspect had been charged. The Red Parts follows Nelson and her family as they attend the trial. It’s said to be an incisive look at grief, family, and the effect of the passage of time on old wounds.
Elizabeth’s August Challenge
I’ve slowly been working my way through Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-volume series based on his own life. Book two in the My Struggle series was one of my favorite books of the last five years (I still think about the way it is structured) and I think it’s time for me to move on to the next volume. I’m excited to read about the next chapter (if you’ll pardon the pun) of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s life.
Since this month’s challenge is about reading chronologically, it seemed like the perfect time to read the next installment in my other favorite series: the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante. I love how Ferrante writes about the power of female friendships, and I can’t wait to see what her beloved characters are up to in this book. It feels fitting to be reading this in the same month that I’m reading the next book of My Struggle—the two main characters are near-constants in my literary life, and I love witnessing their struggles and triumphs on the page.