Bookish & Writerly Recaps: July 2017

Happy August, everybody! (AUGUST. What is time. What is life.)

I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with things lately. I’ve taken on a new project, which I’ll talk a bit about next month when I’ve hopefully been able to work a bit more on it. TBH, I haven’t really had the mental capacity to think much about it just yet.

I’ve been struggling a little more than usual with the concept of balancing work and writing and social stuff and family stuff and healthy living and life admin and reading and just, you know, everything in general. It’s been one of those situations where I realise I have so much to do that I get entirely overwhelmed and end up doing pretty much none of it.

So it’s a pretty simple recap this month (and if I’m honest, I’m surprised I managed to get it done only two days late). Hopefully next month I’ll have found a little more balance and stability in myself, and will have some exciting things to share!

What I’ve been writing

6,385 words. That’s what I’ve been writing. It’s not much, especially for an entire month, but it’s something.

I’ve been feeling a bit better about writing lately. A bit less scared, a bit more optimistic. Still not to the point where I’m writing regularly, or even to the point where I’m feeling vaguely confident. But it’s something.

Over on Writer’s Edit, I’ve written about how to set achievable goals for your freelance writing career, so if you’re like me and still tend to flounder around a little when it comes to freelancing, check it out (and let me know how to take my own advice??). I’m still in the fledgling stages of my freelance career, but I’ve made a start and stuck with it, and that’s something.

So, yeah – a little over 6,000 words of fiction and one advice article is all I really have to show for the past month. But you know what?

It’s something.

What I’ve been reading

Last week, glaring at the rude little ‘7 books behind schedule’ reminder on Goodreads, I gave in and amended my yearly reading goal to 50 books.

I KNOW, I KNOW, I’M A QUITTER. A literary quitter. A litter. I freely admit it.

But I’ve realised that my circumstances are a bit different this year, and that I can probably be forgiven for cutting back a little. 50 books is still a pretty good goal, I feel – it averages out to almost a book a week, which isn’t bad.

Here’s July’s reading list…

Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer

I’d had my eye on this one for a while. It’d been featured on Tor.com, it has a beautiful cover, and best of all, it was written by an author who used to live in Newcastle (where I live). Plus, its concept sounded super intriguing – a magical forest ruled by gods who live in the canopy, while their subjects live below in the understorey.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love Crossroads of Canopy. As I’ve mentioned here before, I don’t like giving negative reviews. So I won’t go into much detail – suffice it to say that, much as I love supporting authors close to home, this one just wasn’t really for me. Give it a try if you’re into fantasy, though, and see what you think for yourself.

Crossroads of Canopy

King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Mark Lawrence is quickly making it onto my list of must-read-everything-they’ve-written authors. I read Red Sister and Prince of Thorns a couple of months back, and was super keen to continue the Broken Empire trilogy with King of Thorns.

I loved it just as much as the first instalment. Mark Lawrence’s writing is poetic and clever without being wanky, and funny without really trying. I adore the story and the world (medieval-style fantasy, but with an interesting twist that I won’t spoil for the uninitiated). And, as always, our antihero Jorg is delightfully entertaining. He’s still a shit, but he’s a self-aware, gradually improving, kind of heartbreaking shit, of whom I’ve actually grown rather fond.

King of Thorns

The Dry by Jane Harper

Well. I picked this baby up from the library at lunchtime on a Wednesday, and had finished it by 9:30 Thursday night. That’s the fastest I’ve finished a book in some time. (I must admit I did give myself some cheeky extra reading time on Thursday, making up for it with extra work hours the next day. The beauty of being a freelancer.)

I’m always banging on about how I know I need to read more stuff that isn’t fantasy, but as you know, I rarely make the effort to actually do that. So the timely arrival of an Australian mystery in my library holds queue made things a lot easier.

The Dry had me hooked right from its gruesome opening vignette: an apparent double murder-suicide by a desperate farmer in the depths of drought. But ‘apparent’ is the key word – of course, there’s more going on in that sleepy country town.

It’s a pretty standard mystery plot, but that’s usually just what I want when I pick up a crime novel, and this definitely didn’t disappoint. More crime and mystery in between my fantasy reads in future, I think!

The Dry

The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape

And now for something completely different. Yep, Nate and I have been reading a FINANCE book. We are very boring and old.

The Barefoot Investor is really good, though. My boss told me how great it was, and then very kindly bought it for me for my birthday. Scott Pape lays out a super straightforward plan for taking control of your finances and setting yourself and your family up for the future.

I don’t really like dealing with money and finances – it confuses me a little and worries me a lot when I really stop to think about it. But Scott is super chill about it all. He’s basically just like, ‘Look don’t even worry, just do this stuff and you’ll be bloody fine.’ And I believe him!

Nate and I will slowly be enacting the Barefoot Steps as best we can, and I’m excited to see where it gets us.

The Barefoot Investor

***

That’s it from me this month, folks. Wishing you a wonderful August and hoping I’ll be able to check in with a slightly more interesting review next time!

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