the august booklist

It’s the second day of spring today.
I love nothing more than watching the seasons change, and the light in my house change, too. The sunshine through the blinds paints stripes across my bedroom wall.
If I leave the blinds open in our back room, the sunrise makes it glow.
There are kookaburras—I don’t remember hearing them this often, and I wonder if they’re nesting.
I haven’t been reading much lately. For one, uni is back for the semester.
Secondly, we are on season seven of an eight-season tv series (that shall remain nameless to protect my reputation as an upstanding Christian girl) and knitting and watching has taken priority over reading.
So it’s small potatoes for August. Just three reads. However one of them is a must, must, must read. Please do, so we can talk about it’s loveliness:

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
This was last month’s book club read, and the first one that I didn’t read in time for book club discussions and now I’ve read it and I’m so sad, and I’ll 100% be hijacking this coming month’s book club meeting with my thoughts about this one. I listened to the Bolinda audio version of this one (ahem, Bolinda is also now following me on Instagram, just a sidenote) and it was wonderful. Set in early 1900’s Oxford, in the shadow of a coming war, a dictionary is being created. Esme, our protagonist, grows up in the shadow of both. It’s a fictional tale that encompasses the suffragette movement, and draws on real people and events and it is lovely. Historical fiction is my favourite: books where I am simultaneously immersed in a story, (strong heroines are a bonus) and am learning about places and people and events that did actually happen. Love, love, loved this one.

Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard
Imagine this; you go to work and are accosted by your librarian-boss, who introduces you to Western Australian Premier’s Book Award winning author as, “Emma-Lee, she’s a great writer… [insert something something something about your blog which is fuzzy because you are playing it cool and also blushing and also thinking crap one of my bosses reads my blog, how?! Hi Kate, if you happen to be reading this too]”
Author proceeds to very warmly greet you and chat to you about what you’re working on.
Internal dialogue: Um, shit, what am I working on? Blogging? Journaling in the mornings? I’m a terrible writer, I’m going nowhere fast!
Anyway, lovely author walks away and you are left for the rest of the day thinking about what you’re even doing with your writer-life, and also placing a reservation on one of the copies of his books at the library.
All that to say, last week I met Holden Sheppard, he was lovely, and then I read his book in less than 24 hours.
It’s set in Geraldton (Gero, for all you West Aussie folk) and about three high school guys struggling with their sexuality. Each of them have very likable qualities, occasionally I admit to forgetting which one was which. This one isn’t for the faint hearted. There are some explicit scenes. It is heartbreaking. It also tries to end triumphantly, but I didn’t feel triumphant. It took me a bit to shake. It is brave though, and needed. So is compassion. So is friendship that crosses the boundaries of belief and sexuality and difference.
Holden Sheppard also now follows me on Instagram.
Am I an influencer yet?

Suffering is Not For Nothing by Elisabeth Elliot
This is a book put together of some of Elliot’s preaching messages (which is a disclaimer to anyone with love for grammar and the well-written word. This is literally transcribed from her speaking so it’s not always correct). I don’t know what I was searching for when I picked this one up. I guess in a world of uncertainty—my work life is uncertain, our financial world always has an element of uncertainty, where we’ll be living next year is uncertain, where our kids will go to school is uncertain—I’m feeling, as we all are in Covid-season, the weight of this uncertainty and trying to find answers. I think all the answers I could find in this book are summed up in this quote: ‘Just start thanking God in advance because no matter what is about to happen, you already know that God is in charge. You are not adrift in a sea of chaos.’
I’ve reminded myself of that a lot lately and it’s somewhat comforting.
Faith is my whole world, and despite this fact it’s fairly easy to lose my grip on it, and instead start wobbling along with the rest of the world. But I am not adrift in a sea of chaos.
Say it out loud, it helps.

So, I hope your month has been full of lovely reading moments, curled up in blankets or in sunshine, and watching the light change with the season.
I don’t even know what book I’m picking up next – any recommendations?
Also, are you doing the Goodreads challenge this year? I’ve read 41 of my 40 book goal, so anything now is a bonus!


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