Who does paper mâché anymore? That’s what a neighbour asked in response to our description of the Black Swan Project, which has completely and entirely devoured our main room and a good chunk of my reading time this month.

A lot of my hobbies directly conflict with reading time. Even though I can read and walk familiar routes at the same time, I find it impossible to knit and read at the same time, and I can’t even listen to music and follow a novel; but few activities fall into the anti-reading category like paper-and-paste activities. When a book begins with instructions titled “How to Make Goo”, you know you’re not going to be reading anytime soon.

So I’ve read less than half the number of books that I have been reading monthly, but the books I’ve squeezed in have been good ones. Highlights include my first (of seemingly many to come) Neil Gaiman books (Odd and the Frost Giants) and the first in Maureen Jennings’ Murdoch mysteries (Except the Dying).

The latter counted as the ‘X’ in the A-Z reading challenge, and I also read Cara Black’s second Aimée Leduc mystery for the Paris in July event, Nicole Brossard’s Fences in Breathing for the Women Unbound Challenge, but overall I wasn’t very challenge-oriented this month.

Still, I did participate in my first tour: the Spotlight Series on Graywolf Press by reading David Treur ‘s Native American Fiction. And I’m sure my propensity for reading plans will settle back into place next month. The only reading habit I’ve maintained this summer so far is my bookish Fridays, which will extend until Labour Day.

What I didn’t read in July was a single Orange-hued book. I still plan to read Zadie Smith’s On Beauty this summer, but that was delayed because I planned to read some E.M. Forster (including Howard’s End, which I want to read before I read Smith’s novel) and I have been reading more mysteries than classics this summer. In August, I hope to make this up, but I’m not making any promises until the swan takes wing.

Favourite spam comment for July: I saw something about that on TV last night  [A comment on Nicole Brossard’s book, which would surely win the award of Least Likely to Ever Be Discussed on TV for my July reads, to which anyone who has read her work can attest.]

Quickest read (shortest sitting) in July’s log: Adrian Tomine Shortcomings

Longest read (most sittings) in July’s log: Monica Dickens’ Mariana

Most anticipated August read: the same as July’s, because even though I’ve read more mysteries than anything else this month, I still didn’t get around to this one yet; I’m a baa-ed summer reader.

How was your reading July? What are you looking forward to reading in August?

Adrian Tomine Shortcomings (2007)
Cara Black Murder in Belleville (2000)
David Treur Native American Fiction: A User’s Manual (2006)
James Wood How Fiction Works (2008)
Jane Gardam Going Into a Dark House (1994)
Maureen Jennings Except the Dying (1997)
Nicole Brossard Fences in Breathing, Translated from the French (2007), Susanne de Lotbiniere-Harwood (2009)
Monica Dickens Mariana (1940)
Peter Temple The Broken Shore (2005; 2008)