The Summer of Reading And Re-Reading

The sun is blazing, the sky is clear, the short trousers are being unpacked, and people are heading for the pools and the lakes. What better way is there to spend a day by the lake with a good book by your side?

Even though, I left school and university already a few years ago, I still see summer as a kind of resting period - partly related to the fact that it is my favourite season - and thus I also decided that I should make a summer reading goal again. A few years ago, I had simply picked a few books that I had always wanted to read but hadn't found the time yet, while this summer, I decided that I should re-read some of my favourite books. After all, I never take the time to do such.

So during the warm and comfortable days of this summer, I managed to read 12 books, 5 of those were part of my re-reading project. Then 6 had been given to me in exchange of an honest review, these are marked with a * here.

Despite the feeling of holiday my season started with "work" reading:


by Eris Young

This was my least read for Pride Month and it focuses on non-binary and genderqueer identities. It covers a wide range of topics starting with history, and mental health, all the way towards law aspects and looks at each of these from a perspective of someone who identities as something other than cis.

I felt that it was a very insightful and informative read that included facts and interviews with NB/GQ people but everything in a way that someone who has only vaguely heard of these things before can understand them. Furthermore, Young highlights personal struggles someone faces and gets the variety of the non-binary community across by taken different opinions and experiences into account.

The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

Obviously, I had to start my re-reading challenge with a good one. I had yearned to re-read The Hunger Games trilogy since a while but had never taken the time. Now it had come!

Back in the olde days of 2009, I had finish the book on a hot day of summer all within a day. I love it! I bought the other two parts as soon as possible and read them as well, still in love. When the movie rolled on, I sat in the cinema with popcorn on my lap, also in love.

I am glad to note that this had not been a teenage summer fling, instead "The Hunger Games" is just that good. It still is 10 years later. It is raw, personal, and Katniss is a very human character. I read it within a few days and I knew that it had been the right pick for my re-reading project. I couldn't wait to pick up the second part for a re-read ... this sounds familiar.

The Children of Sinai*

by Shelley Clarke 

"The Children of Sinai" is a mystery thriller with biblical elements. In it John Milburn always has the same dream in which he tries to climb a mountain. Instead of waking up refreshed, he is exhausted. So he is intend to uncover its meaning, and things become even more complicated when it transpires that his daughter have the same dream ...

Clarke's debut novel provides a thrilling read with religious elements. I greatly enjoyed it, and felt that she used just the right amount of everything to make it interesting while remaining unique. The story has two climaxes which couldn't be more different from one another. On top of this, there is a stunning cover as well:

Catching Fire

by Suzanne Collins 

Back on the re-reading spree of The Hunger Games triology. There is the second part: Catching Fire. After Katniss survived the first Hunger Games, she tries to return to a life of normality. However, things don't really work out for her. President Snow makes it very clear that her rebellious acts have sabotaged the peace over Panem and Katniss has to play the role of a lovely girl to convince them that her actions had been nothing more than foolish. If she doesn't play along, worse consequences will follow ... deadly ones.

While "The Hunger Games" mostly focuses on Katniss' survival, "Catching Fire" looks at the bigger picture. It takes a look at the political situation and how one idea can spread across a whole country. Furthermore, in "Catching Fire" everyone is much more aware of what they and what is happening. Despite the continues theme of being sent back into the arena, Collins manages to make this feel different than the first part. She doesn't fall into the trap of making it repetitive.

100 Days of Sunlight *

by Abbie Emmons 

After a car-crash temporarily blinded Tessa, the last thing she wants to do is leave the house. This is when Weston enters her life, who wants her to do anything but. Instead, he is determined to help her see the beauty in everything and see the world with every sense: smell, taste, hearing, and feeling. After all Weston knows better than most, that having a handicap is not the end of the world.

Despite this being a love story, being handi-capped ins never taken lightly. In fact, the story is split into two point of views: one is Tessa's current story and then other is Weston's past. They progress at the same time, and give you a glimps into their minds. As the plot progresses, there are many cute moments and they slowly become attune to each other.

Personally, i thought that it was one of the cutest love stories I had read in a long time. Furthermore, it includes some lovely poetry as well.


by Suzanne Collins

And we come to the conclusion of The Hunger Games trilogy. When I had been a mini-me, I thought that "Mockingjay" was the weakest link of the story. I had read the first two within a few days but this one took me weeks. However, since I am now wiser and maturer, I can safely say, that this is bolder dash.

"Mockingjay" is anything but the weakest links. It perfectly works with the other two stories and expands further on the story and Katniss' well-being. In fact, I think Katniss has the most human way to deal with such a horrible situation. At the same time, I can follow and understand all the changes in the characters - e.g.: why Gale became so cold-hearted, and why that Katniss and Peeta are better together by the end because they share a history and similar experiences.

In fact, I was so excited to re-read the whole trilogy again, that I am going to review it next month 

How to Raise A Plant And Make It Love You Back*

by Erin Harding and Morgan Doane 

This cute little book about planter-y caught my attention because my ability to treat plants kindly is somewhere close to none. The few that survive in my flat, exchange battle stories about what they have been through.

"How to Raise A Plant" consists of six flower-y chapters: Green Up Your Space, Maintaining Your Collection, Tools, Materials and Troubleshooting, Our Favourite Plants and How To Care For Them, DIY Projects, and Living With Plants. All of these contain beautiful and instagram worthy photos.

However, while parts were brimming with new information, most felt superficial. For a plant lover who had never held a plant in their hands before, it covers the basics. For anyone else, the chapters "Our Favourite Plants [...]" and DIY Projects are the most interesting.

Angels in America

by Tony Kushner

... is technically not a book in its original form. Instead it is a play that happens to find its medium in book form. However, I am going to let this count, the same way anyone would count a Shakespeare play. The way I found "Angels in America" is even more twisted - it happened through Good Omens [link], and due to its popularity someone shared a photoset mixing Good Omens scenes with "Angels In America" quotes. Most of them had been funny, but one was so beautifully heartbreaking, and so I decided to look into it and get the print version myself.

"Angels in America" is very much worth a read. It depicts so many important topics that come with being queer: AIDS, repression, self-acceptance, and even how you accept it yourself. Roy Cohen doesn't call himself gay because he equates it with being weak, which he is not - in fact he is universally hated. Most of all, the play is unapologetic homosexual, and has many funny lines as well.

I bet everyone knows a line or two from "Angels in America" that have been taken out of context. At the same time, it deals with hard topics as well: dealing with loss, running from your fears, and a terminal illness. There are even parts that discuss racism but I feel only touches on the topic.

I recommend "Angels in America" for every queer but you need to keep an open mind that not everyone's experience equals your own. Not everyone is meant to be liked as well. In fact, I liked the script book so much that I am itching to get my hands on a filmed theatre version.

The Veritas Guild: Book One*

by Spring Horton

After The Atticus McLaren Mysteries, Horton takes on another adventure. This time it comes in the form of a supernatural mystery:

A magical investigation team consisting of an eternal vampire, an angel, a lycran and a young Valkyre, need to find the solution why other eternal beings disappear into thin air. Things start to get more complicated when they realise that the God of Tricks has their fingers in play.

"The Veritas Guild" sets up the world and story for a whole series to come. Furthermore, you can tell that Horton sharpened their writing skill over the years, creating a more thrilling read that grabs your attention during the first few pages. Even though, the pace is off in some places, and there are a few pet peeves, my overall perception of the book had been good. It shares trades and atmosphere with Good Omens and Rivers of London.

Per Anhalter durch die Galaxis

(The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
by Douglas Adams

This is another of my old favourites that I re-read during the summer. Even though, when asked about my favourite book of all time, it would take me a moment to remember that Hitchhiker's Guild even exists. The reason why I call it an old favourite is because until this day, I can still refer to parts of it, makes jokes, and know what is meant when someone says 42.

A good ten years later, I held the same battered and beaten copy in my hand, and I loved it even more than before: the absurdity, the dry humour, the sarcasm, going along with a plot that sort of happens and is loopy. All of this works out because the book knows it. It is a brilliant and relaxing read that I can only recommend.

Lion's Head Revisited*

by Jeffrey Round

... is the seventh part of the Dan Sharp Mysteries - a private investigator who specialises in missing persons. This time, he needs to look for a young boy called Jeremy. The more he digs into the case, the more twisted it becomes. Even when Jeremy is returned to his mothers, Sharp can't let go of it ...

Dan Sharp is Jack Reacher but queer, that pretty much sums it up. The story has feeling, action, a mystery, dodgy parts, and a little bit of humour. It also gives us a glimbs into Sharp's private life - at the same time, being a gay PI does not directly influence the plot. Instead, "Lion's Head Revisited" is a detective story where the main character happens to be gay. This had been such a pleasure to read!

The full review is going to be published closer to its publication date in February 

Between this book and the next, I started reading "The Black Veins" by Ashia Monet. It was part of our infamous Book Club read. However, I found the going rather tough and as summer neared its end I found a more pressing read. Thus, I put it aside to pick it up later and started reading ...

The Fault In Our Stars 

by John Green 

This was one of my re-reads that I wanted to save for later because I feared that over the years, I would have grown out of the story. "The Fault in Our Stars" was the first - and as far as I can recall from the top of my head the only - book I managed to read within a single day. It made me cry sweet and bitter tears towards the end. It was also the first book I re-read when the movie came out. So technically, this would be my re-re-read.

However, in case you were only 13 when this book was hyped up, let me tell you what it is about:

Hazel suffers from lung cancer and has accepted long-ago that it was going to kill her. One day during support group, she meets Augustus: a handsome, one-legged boy. Despite the odds, they fall in love but this can't have a happy ending?

Over the years, I dare to say that The Fault In Our Stars has not lost its charm. Nowadays, I don't read it as a super cute love story with a tragic ending. Instead I see some brutal honesty that hasn't been there years ago. The story is still good, and you go along with Hazel and feel her pain, love, joy and all other emotions. I dare to say that The Fault In Our Stars is still John Green's best novel to date.

Those were all reads, and re-read of the summer 2019. For the next season, I don't have a lot of great plans, I want to finish reading "The Black Veins" for our book club and maybe find a Christmassy read that isn't all love-y, even if I know the chances are slim. If you happen to know of one, don't forget to drop the name in the comments.

Have you read any of those books? And which are your old favourites you'd read again and again? 


  1. I'm so scared of picking up the Hunger Games trilogy again. I know it is good, I know I love it, but still... I'm afraid it won't be the same as it was ten years ago. I, like you, was among the wave of original fans and the way the world claimed the trilogy made me so cynical. True hipster behavior right there. I can't believe I'm saying all this. I used to advocate for the Hunger Games to be included in high school reading lists!
    I planned on reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy this summer too, but didn't get around to it. I'm glad to know it's one of your favorites, that makes me more excited to pick the book up :D

    x Envy
    Lost in Translation

    1. I was also scared that The Hunger Games triology wouldn't be the same anymore. If I am honest, it wasn't. Instead it was better because you understood and saw things that you missed ten years ago. Nowadays, I totally understand why Katniss "went" for Peeta and why she and Gale wouldn't work anymore. And the whole character development as a whole.

      Also yay for Hitchhiker's! Please read it! :)


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