August 2020 books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in late 2023. Every six-ish days, I’ve been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I’ve found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

The month began grimly, with the notorious 2020 Hugo Awards ceremony unfolding in the early hours of 1 August (in my time zone). I think we have to be clear that it went very badly wrong. Having put many hours of my own time into working on the awards that year, I felt personally that my efforts had been thrown back in my face. The fact that the first actual Hugo winner was not announced until more than an hour into the ceremony demonstrated a fundamental lack of respect for the people who should have been at the heart of the occasion. (Not to mention the rest of us.)

There was some emotional high points of the grim evening, however, and the one that will linger with me was Neil Gaiman’s acceptance speech for Good Omens.

I blogged about the Hugos, the Retro Hugo trophies and the Retro Hugos that weren’t; I also blogged about famous Welsh lesbian Amy Dillwyn, who was a distant relative; the Lib Dem leadership election; and the Bible and the Bechdel test.

This was another month when, due to the pandemic, I did not leave Belgium, but I plucked up my courage to go to Train World with U for a Paul Delvaux exhibition.

Also culturally, Anne and I went to the Fondation Folon south of Brussels, which I strongly recommend.

And I had an exciting physical meeting with an EU official.

I made one last local video on a cartographic curiosity.

Not so many books this month – several were very long, and my demi-commute hit my reading.

Non-fiction: 1 (YTD 38)
From Barrows to Bypass: Excavations at West Cotton, Raunds, Northamptonshire, 1985-1989, by Dave Windell, Andy Chapman and Jo Woodwiss

Fiction (non-sf): 5 (YTD 23)
Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens
Jerusalem: The Boroughs, by Alan Moore
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel

sf (non-Who): 3 (YTD 79)
A Boy and His Dog, by Harlan Ellison
Jerusalem: Mansoul, by Alan Moore
The Conqueror’s Child, by Suzy McKee Charnas

Comics: 1 (YTD 28)
Star Wars IV: A New Hope, by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin

Doctor Who: 2 (YTD 10)
The Secret in Vault 13, by David Solomons
The Maze of Doom, by David Solomons

3,700 pages (YTD 47,900)
4/12 (YTD 58/177) by women (Woodwiss, Mantel x2, McKee Charnas)
None AFAIK (YTD 18/177) by PoC

Best books this month were the first two volumes of Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (which you can get here) and Bring up the Bodies (which you can get here), and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (which you can get here).

Hugely unimpressed by Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend (which you can get here).