A beach, a precocious child, and a tech trailblazer—just a few highlights from this month in reading. Check out the rest.
Slower reading pace in August
I read only 3 books this August (2 fiction, 1 non-fiction). It’s been a busy month and I haven’t had as much time to read as I would have liked. In addition, I read mostly hardcover books this month, and I tend to read print books a little more slowly than e-books. I retired 9 reading challenge tasks.
My reading rate is down from July, when I read 5 books. Luckily, I had accelerated my reading last month, so this slow August won’t negatively impact my ability to achieve my goal of reading 40 books this year.
On average, I read about 3 books every August, although that number varies significantly from year to year. I read just 1 book each August when I was in school. When not in school, I tended to read more, typically because I would take a week-long vacation during August. (I didn’t take any vacations this year.)
This month I logged 764 pages read, a little under average, but not my worst August, page-wise. I read one very short book (play) so this number is a bit low given how many books I read.
A month of eye-opening reads
I enjoyed most of this month’s books. I gave one book a 2/5—it was overall a dud with a few exquisite moments. The other books each received 3/5; one for inaccuracies that I felt undermined narrative credibility and another for failing to reach its potential. The average rating was 2.7.
Reading highlights from August 2023
Something Cloudy, Something Clear
The final published work from acclaimed playwright Tennessee Williams reckons with themes of death, sexuality, and disappointment.
A young Chinese immigrant experiences challenges while working alongside her parents in a Southern California motel in this award-winning (and teacher-recommended) novel for middle-grade readers. Perfect for reading with children!
Play Nice But Win: A CEO’s Journey from Founder to Leader
Michael Dell shares highlights (and lowlights) from his storied career as one of the tech industry’s most visionary leaders. This book was a walk down memory lane for me, as I worked for Dell during some of the pivotal events showcased in this memoir.
August 2023 reading in a single chart
You know I love a good data visualization! Here’s a view of how my reading stacked up this month in a tree map graph of pages read per book.
Got 2 minutes? You can also view highlights from this month in the August 2023 My Month in Reading recap video.
Memorable moments from August 2023
- Reading Front Desk with my daughter. This book came highly recommended by my daughter’s teacher, and it didn’t disappoint. It was so fun to read with my kiddo and talk about the story as we experienced it together. My daughter loved the book and couldn’t put it down—and has gone on to read the next two books in the series.
- Finishing our Library’s Summer Reading Challenge. Local library Summer Reading Challenges are the best! My daughter and I participate each year. This year she completed several levels within her age group (thanks, Front Desk!) and I completed all of the adult tasks, plus a few extras. Can’t wait for next year’s program!
- Reminiscing and conversing with a book. Reading Michael Dell’s memoir was a highlight of my month. I read it with a pen and a highlighter and enjoyed a bit of a walk down memory lane, annotating passages in the book with my own recollections and experiences, and reflecting on Dell’s learnings and advice.
- Added Pinterest to my socials. I’m still working on my social media strategy. One of the things I have learned about myself in this process is I enjoy seeing the fruits of my labors represented visually. Pinterest is one option to do that—it’s gratifying to see all those pins for published posts! Check out the Eve-Marie Reads Pinterest boards.
- Experimenting with video reviews. After years in the content marketing trenches, I am always looking for ways to repurpose content. What better way to repurpose a written book review than to convert it into a narrated video book review? I polished off my (rudimentary) video editing skills and even learned the ins and outs of AI voice narration! Watch a 2-minute video book review or subscribe to my new Eve-Marie Reads YouTube channel.
- Taking a new approach to social. The emotional ROI from my Bookstagram was quite low last month and I considered abandoning it altogether. However, I tried an online social media scheduler tool that made it easier to plan posts in advance and that alleviated much of the time and administrative burden of manual posting, which in turn lowered the bar on realizing ROI. I also experienced an unexpected benefit: I received a little thrill each time one of my pre-scheduled posts appeared in my (non-book) feeds. I’ve decided to try pre-scheduling posts Monday-Thursday to see how that feels.
- Diving into AI. Established social media channels are ravenous for content—yet I find social content some of the least gratifying to produce. Dipping my toes into the waters of AI voice narration opened the door to exploring other generative AI tools like ChatGPT for social post content and Bing Image Creator, Microsoft Design, Craiyon, and DreamStudio for social image creation. I have been so creatively revitalized using these tools! I love that I can provide strategic direction on creative yet do not have to toil over content and imagery that has a lifespan of 15 minutes. Generative AI is an emerging technology not without its quirks, but definitely an artistic medium I will continue to pursue.
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Coming up in September 2023
It’s going to be a busy month for work and back to school, so my reading and blog plans are a bit lighter in scope. My TBR list features a memoir by a Hawaiian woman grappling with issues of identity and belonging and a book in translation. Can’t wait!