What I've Been Reading in August

I spent August with my nose inside a book.

Five books, actually - which is one more than I thought I'd get to enjoy this month. (Keep reading to find out why.*)

If you're like me, you have an ever-growing TBR pile and August was just the right time to knock out a few titles. With the days vacillating between 100+ degrees of dry heat and days upon days of unexpected rainfall, spending any length of time outdoors this month was an easy pass.

If the temps this month have been temperamental in your area, as well, I want to share What I've Been Reading in August - five literary adventures that have been just what I needed to beat the heat.

Who knows? Maybe you'll discover a title to add to your own TBR pile - you know, to save for a rainy day.

The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick

This little gem was brought to my attention by my friend, Mirah. It's the second book that she and I have read together outside the Monthly Book Box and it provided the perfectly fun, summer "popcorn" book with which to begin August. It was a pretty easy book to say yes to because (like so many others) I fancy that I will one day write the Great American Novel - and so did the main character in this book so chock-full of authors and titles that you'll want to grab a pen and paper.

The Messy Lives of Book People is kind of like a Cinderella story for aspiring authors; Pretty Woman, but with pages.

While the primary storyline follows aspiring author Olivia as she faithfully fulfills her day job duties as a household helper and her struggles through a quasi-midlife crisis as her nest empties, the book also touches on deeper subjects of fidelity, family, and the choices we make (for good, or bad).

I also appreciated that the author touched lightly on the subject of love in its various forms - from girlhood "crushes" & first love to marital commitment, unconditional parental love, and friendship - while maintaining as a whole the summer "popcorn" book vibe.

My takeaway from The Messy Lives of Book People: Seize the opportunities that present themselves in life. 

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon

Okay, okay, okay. Let's get this out of the way from the start. I did NOT read Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone from start to finish during August. I received this 900 page tome as a Christmas 2021 gift from my husband (by request, as I'd read everything else in the series) and have been slowly chipping away at it each month, as time allowed. When I started looking forward at August's 22 in '22 Reading Challenge (a book made into a television series), I knew that this was the book that I wanted to {finally!} complete. August was the month that I was going to land that plane - but I knew I would need help.

Enter Audible.

Yep. Even though I owned a hard, heavy copy of the latest in the Outlander series, I opted to use my Audible credit in August to buy the audiobook version, as well. And I'm so glad I did! Not only did the narrator bring a little something extra to the experience, but I was able to finally finish this book that I've been working on for the past 8 months - and enjoy every minute of it!

Fellow Outlander fan (and Monthly Book Box member) Kristin pointed out recently that anytime you get to spent time on Fraser's Ridge is a good time - and that includes the audiobook version of Gabaldon's cult classic. There were parts that I struggled to remember in the context of the entire series (since seven years had elapsed since the last book was published), as well as some shockingly unbelievable bits and a cliffhanger ending that I still have one eyebrow raised about, but I immensely enjoyed my time with everyone's favorite Scot and his growing family's exploits (in both book forms).

Finishing Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone was my "reading priority" this month and the sole reason I did not know I would be able to enjoy many other books.*

My takeaway from BEES: Young Ian is still and most unequivocally my favorite character. 

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

I have been eager to watch the newest Kenneth-Branagh-as-Hercule-Poirot movie Death on the Nile since it first hit the theaters in February, but I had yet to read the novel and as someone that prefers to read the book first, I had put off the movie.

Until this month.

Again, Pretty Literate's 22 in '22 Reading Challenge helped me accomplish my goal of reading this Agatha Christie classic and then {finally!} enjoy a date night with my man watching the 2022 screen adaptation - both of which I am glad I experienced, but feel a sense of let down about. (Don't hate me.)

Both the book and the movie had a slow roll and if you're into that kind of thing, Death on the Nile is definitely made for you. Go enjoy them both.

Personally, I found that there were too many characters introduced immediately & I struggled to keep them straight. In addition to that, I continued to struggle until I was 1/3 of the way through the book when {finally!} something happened. Until that point, I am afraid it felt like I was on a vacation with a bunch of strangers that knew one another previously and I was simply the odd man out.

Lest you think I did not find anything redeeming about Death on the Nile, I want to point out that the premise is solid and I did NOT see that ending coming - both of which are must-haves for a good murder mystery.

My takeaway from Death on the Nile: Stay away from Poirot, people. The man cannot even go on a vacay without work following him.

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

The War of the Worlds was the first sci-fi novel we've read inside the Monthly Book Box and boy, was it an adventure!

Wells classic (the Granddaddy of Sci-Fi and alien invasion stories) begins small - in the English countryside outside of London where life is experienced in an unhurried pace. The setting is tranquil.  Neighbors waved to one another on the street. Life was peaceful, enjoyable, until an alien invasion disturbed all that in the most spectacular way!

By the time Wells shifts focus to the 6 million people fleeing London by foot, rail, carriage, and water, the pace has completely changed. The mood is heavy. The prospects are grim. And the writing is so out-of-this-world that you physically feel the multitudes crowding in panic on every side.

Wells is such a masterful storyteller that I saw portions of the novel as clearly in my mind as if they were my own memories!

My takeaway from The War of the Worlds: Never has an English invasion story been this dang exciting!

photo credit: hastybooklist.com

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The hubs and I took our Aunt for a last-minute day trip about 5 hours away from home last weekend - the absolutely perfect set-up to enjoy an audiobook! Since I had just finished BEES (FINALLY! - see above), I perused my local library's audiobook section on Overdrive and decided to give a new-to-me author a chance. 

Y'all, The Woman in Cabin 10 did not disappoint! It was a thrilling, suspense-filled story that kept me guessing all the way til the end. Seriously, I had no idea what was going on until the last page and I was there for it!

A travel journalist who was recently the victim of a crime takes an assignment on a cruise in which a crime occurs. Or did it?

If you like thrillers & don't mind harsh language (because there is a LOT of it), you will enjoy this book by Ruth Ware.

My takeaway from listening to The Woman in Cabin 10What else has Ruth Ware written because I'm picking up what she's dropping.

What have you been reading in August?

Share your favorite titles and takeaways from your August books in the comments below.

Have you read any of the books I listed? Share your thoughts on those, as well.

Interested in even more book recs? Check out August's Virtual Book Club Recs here.




  • During the month of August I’ve enjoyed reading The War of the Worlds, The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting by Evanna Lynch, Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher, Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune (which they compare to ‘A Man Called Ove’ meets ‘The avoid Place’), and I went ahead and finished The Clanlands Almanac by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish (I was trying to hold out and read a month at a time).

    Heather Q.
  • This past month I read The War of the Worlds (❤️); The Pale Horseman by B. Cornwell (❤️); The Nightingale by K. Hannah (❤️); The Outsiders by S. Hinton (🙂); Behold the Dreamers by I. Mbue (😊) and Tamarack County by W. Krueger (❤️) which is another in the Cork O’Connor series I am a huge fan of.

    Lynda A.
  • I haven’t read all of Ruth Ware’s work, and I’ve enjoyed the 3, I think m, that I have read, but if those 3,The Death of Mrs Westaway is phenomenal

  • I also enjoyed The Messy Lives of Book People. This month I listened to The Last Rose of Shanghai. I thought the ending was a little abrupt but really enjoyed the overall story and the narrators were great. Most recently, I read book 3 of the ACOTAR series, A Court of Wings and Ruin, and I think it is my favorite of the series so far!


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