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It’s a Wrap! August 2011

Despite my best intention to read more books than July, I got stuck somewhere in “Of Bees and Mist” and the 720-long “The Leopard”. Otherwise, looking at the lacklustre rating of this month’s read, it may mean my reading choice this month may be a bit of a drag.

  1. Legend of Suicide by David Vann 
  2. Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan 
  3. The Sunset Park by Paul Auster 
  4. The Castle in the Pyrenees by Jostein Gaarder 
  5. The Leopard by Jo Nesbo 
  6. The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw 
  7. Sharon and My Mother-in-Law by Suad Amiry 
  8. Woman With Birthmark by Håkan Nesser 
Of the list, I rank Sharon and My Mother-in-Law and Woman with Birthmark as my favourite. Woman with Birthmark was a surprise winner for me and I got sucked into the book very quickly and discovered another wonderful read at the very last day of the month. I think if all books are as enjoyable as Woman with Birthmark, I would be able to read more than I originally predicted! If there is one book that I would like to pester you to read from this list is this one, Woman with Birthmark.
Unfortunately, the rest of my readings are either powerful but not entertaining (like Legend of Suicide) or entertaining but not thought provoking and with not enough  substance. It makes me wonder what are the key ingredients of a 5-star read for me?
  1. Clear, beautiful prose
  2. A page turner
  3. Deep and thought provoking
  4. Substance
  5. Lingers in your head after I have put down the book.

There I have said it.

August Purchase

I had quite a haul in August. Mostly used books but I have got some good titles to grace my expanding bookshelf.

From the top to bottom:

  1. Consequences by Penelope Lively – I won this from lovely Helen and I enjoyed Moon Tiger and really look forward to reading this.
  2. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktore Frankl – Frankl’s quotes for human survival has been around for many years and publications and there is nothing like reading his entire memoir.
  3. Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson – I was so inspired when I first read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. I hope to find out what happens in his journey in building more schools at the Afghan terrain.
  4. The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig – one of the many author with a last name Z if you are doing the alphabet challenge, that’s how I got to know him.
  5. The Nightwatch by Sarah Waters
  6. The Longest Journey by E.M. Forster
  7. The Moors Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie
  8. Who moved my cheese? Dr Spencer Johnson – a bit cheesey but a good reminder of my management talk days. Not that it is getting any better now.
  9. To the Elephant Graveyard by Tarquin Hall – Besides writing cosy mysteries about detective Vish Puri, Tarquin Hall wrote non-fiction account of Elephants and live in Brick Lane in East End London.
  10. The Republic by Plato – always inspire to read this one. When I retire from full time work perhaps!
  11. A beautiful mind by Sylvia Nasar – I saw the movie many years ago but didn’t know there was a book and reading the blurb, it was a surprise John Nash is the man who invented the Game Theory.
  12. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon – is a second purchase. For a book I love so much, I like to have it hardback if you understand what I mean.
  13. The Plot Against America – Hardback for 50p. Great bargain but also time for some Roth in the future.

Plans for September

I have planned for A double read-along in September (details in the link), just another excuse to get myself reading from my own shelf! So please come join us if you can.

I hope to clear my ever growing library pile, which will never happen within next month:


  1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Path
  2. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  3. Acts of Worship by Yukio Mishima
  4. An Equal Music by Vikram Seth
  5. The London Train by Tessa Hadley
  6. Disappear by Talitha Stevenson
  7. The Cast of Iron Shore by Linda Grant
  8. The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna
  9. Shanghai Girl by Lisa See follow on with Dreams of Joy


  1. Googled by Ken Auletta
  2. Banker of the Poor by Muhammad Yunus

I am determined to finish the rest of MY TBR CHALLENGE LIST:

  1. Winter in Madrid – C.J. Sansom (read and pass on)
  2. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres (read and pass on)
  3. Love in the time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  4. Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates
  5. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides

I’ll be participating in Nigerian Literature Challenge hosted by the lovely Amy @ Amy Reads, she said:

“You may or may not know that October 1st is Nigeria’s Independence Day. I would like to propose a Nigerian Literature Celebration for October 1st. In celebration of great literature, and their independence, anyone who is interested can join me in reviewing Nigerian literature on Saturday, October 1st, and I would gather all links here to one place. As an incentive, I would offer a giveaway to one random participant (international of course!) of any book by a Nigerian author available on BookDepository, Better World Books, or Amazon.”

Hope you had a great summer and I wish you a wonderful Autumn, for some reason, my favourite season of the year. 😉


About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


20 thoughts on “It’s a Wrap! August 2011

  1. I find that “lingering in my head” can happen with surprisingly bad books but with interesting plots or twists or encounters. So I have eliminated that from my secret criteria! :–) You know, it’s like horrible pop songs that, the worse they are, the more they scuttle around in the bottom of your brain casing. Page turners, too: all you really have to do is have some guy charge in the room with an ax at the end of a chapter and you’re riveted, but is it good prose? I go with numbers 1, 3, and 4! :–)

    Posted by rhapsodyinbooks | September 2, 2011, 11:08 pm
    • Jill,
      LOL… yes, what you said it’s true but thank goodness I never had to “suffer” through a books like that, I usually abandon it. But and a bit but.. all my criteria are not necessarily mutually exclusive, I’m going to write something up there just to say a book has got to have all 5 of these criteria before it is rated 5 stars! 🙂

      Posted by JoV | September 4, 2011, 6:56 am
  2. You read some very interesting books-maybe we can do an October read along of The Moors Last Chance by Salmon Rushdie-maybe October? I have a copy

    Posted by Mel u | September 3, 2011, 5:32 am
  3. You had some quality reads in August. What a pity you didn’t like them better and got stuck in them! Maybe in September you can alternate with some lighter reads. I never like it when a book takes me “forever” (being more than 3 days). I usually try to pick out a lighter read after such a book.

    Good luck this month – I hope you get a lot of your list finished and done with. 🙂

    Posted by Leeswammes | September 3, 2011, 8:53 am
    • Judith,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. 🙂
      I will try to pick up some lighter reads just to get me going, I agree with you I hate books that takes me forever to read as well! and I really need that luck for September! 🙂

      Posted by JoV | September 4, 2011, 7:01 am
  4. The Penelope Lively is one of the books I have my eye on. Some very good reading here both done and to be done. Enjoy.

    Posted by Mystica | September 3, 2011, 2:55 pm
  5. Congratulations on a wonderful reading month, Jo! Hakan Nesser is so awesome? I don’t know why I am sitting on his books still! I loved the books that you bought last month and the books borrowed from the library which you are planning to read. ‘The Bell Jar’, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ and ‘An Equal Music’ are three of my favourite books. I felt sad after reading ‘The Bell Jar’, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ was beautiful and made me think and ‘An Equal Music’ filled me with joy and made me happy and sad at the same time. I think it is Vikram Seth’s greatest work till date, and it is a masterpiece. Happy Reading!

    Posted by Vishy | September 3, 2011, 7:27 pm
    • Vishy,
      Thanks! I think Hakan Nesser is awesome! and now I want to read everything he writes!
      is it true ‘The Bell Jar’, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ and ‘An Equal Music’ are three of your favourite books? wow! 😀 It’s my first book by Vikram Seth until I tackle “A Suitable Boy”…

      Posted by JoV | September 4, 2011, 7:14 am
  6. That is a beautiful picture! A great bunch of books!

    Posted by celawerd | September 3, 2011, 7:50 pm
  7. Well done, I think you had a great reading month, but I always do because you read so much more than me! I read both The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Bell Jar for the Mental Illness Advocacy challenge I’m taking part in, and thought they were both great reads. You have some interesting choices to add to your tbr, look forward to many more varied reviews 🙂

    Posted by jessicabookworm | September 3, 2011, 8:29 pm
  8. Great month, love that you’ve listed what makes a five star read for you – I should think of the same for me! Also, wow to the fantastic purchases you made, lots of great reading coming up for you. Thanks so much for posting about my Nigerian reading challenge and for joining in!

    Posted by amymckie | September 4, 2011, 3:41 pm
  9. You had a great month I like the tash aw book I must read my copy soon some great arrivals I ve read Roth zweig and haddon all wonderful reads I managed ten books last month and have started with a blast this month as on fifth book all ready as I stock pile books for my 1100 page novel I Wang to start in two weeks all the best stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | September 5, 2011, 8:47 am
  10. Fantastic reading in August, can’t have all of them be amazing, but I’m sure they were interesting at least and diverse! 🙂
    I am about to settle down with Frenchman’s Creek and a pot of tea, so that’s my plan for September 🙂

    Posted by Bina | September 12, 2011, 4:51 pm

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
Share book reviews and ratings with JoV, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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