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Action Replay + Gratitude List: August 2020

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And the birthday month comes to an end! August moved comparatively slower than other months and it was good because it gave me a chance to slow down as well. The last few months were about rushing with the times, but August helped me calm down and relax a bit. Yes, I'm someone who constantly likes to be busy, but I found my calm in my own way. Since I had a work release in August, most of the month kept me busy with work and I'm not complaining at all. My time management skills have improved and I have found my own rhythm in my way of things. I was able to balance my work, household chores, reading, writing, working out and other small things pretty well. August has been a very content month in terms of getting things done.

A lock-down birthday turned out to be more fun than I expected. I cut my favorite cheesecake (the vanilla one from Magnolia) at the stroke of midnight and spent the rest of the day answering calls and messages. We watched my favorite trilogy, the Dark Knight series, again. Oh, how much I love those movies! Lunch was homemade desi Chinese that the husband and I both love, followed by a takeaway dinner from my favorite restaurant in the city, Burma Burma. This birthday both of us realized that most of our celebrations revolve around food and each-other. Most of our happy occasions, big or small, have been with each other, having endless conversations over some good food and drink. As people who love food, it plays a very important role in our day to day life. Every time we've stepped out during the pandemic, it has been to get food from some of our favorite places. Restaurants are struggling, so we're doing our bit to help them stay afloat.

Almost 90% of the gifts that I received this birthday were books and that plays a very important role in making this year's birthday one of the best I've ever had. The awesome people who planned the books and went through quite a circus to get my house address, did a fabulous job in gifting me books that I wanted to read but did not have in my collection. No books were duplicated or read before. This is such a feat and I feel so blessed to have such awesome people in my life who spent time and effort in understanding my tastes and going through the books that I've already read before. Books never fail to make me happy and August was an excellent month in terms of reading as well. Eleven books! Some of them even made it to my favorite reads of all time. I even completed my Goodreads challenge of reading 50 books this year and I'm so thrilled! If there is something 2020 has been good at for me, it is for giving me ample time to read. I've read 56 books so far this year and I know that I have a lot more to go. 

The books that I read/listened to in August are:

~ City Of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I listened to this one on Audible and it was an insanely long listen. As someone who hated 'Eat Pray Love' by the same author, I wasn't sure why I decided to pick this one. While the book was good in a few parts, I did not enjoy this one much. It got 3 stars from me.

~ Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat.

This was Reese's book-club pick for August. I listen to this one on Audible too and I quite enjoyed it. Although I'm not a fan of short-stories, this one was heartfelt and gave me quite an insight on the Haitian culture. It was real and handled emotions really well. 4 stars.

~ Lullaby by Leila Slimani.

This one was an Audible listen too and it left me short of breath and claustrophobic. Deeply disturbing but a well told story about the intricacies of the human psyche. 4 stars.

~ Two Stories by Sally Rooney.

Sally Rooney is on her way to becoming on of my favorite contemporary writers. Her take on emotions and relationships is something else. So raw, so real, so unfiltered! I listened to this one on Audible as well and I could finish it in under two hours. 4 stars to this one.

~ The House In The Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune.

This book is perfection! Nothing else to say. Full 5 stars to this one.

~ The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

This book was being praised all over social media and I knew that I had to get it. It sure is worth the hype. 4.5 stars to this.

~ Ungirls by Lauren Beukes.

This was another Audible listen and it was so 'Black Mirror' like. A short read that leaves a hard impact. 4 stars.

~ Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield.

Diane Setterfield is one of my favorite authors now and with this one I have read all of her books so far and all of them have got a full 5 stars from me. I listened to this one on Audible and it was mesmerizing and haunting at the same time.

~ Anonymous by Uzodinma Iweala.

Just like 'Ungirls' this was another short listen as part of Amazon's Disorder collection. While it does try to make an impact, I have heard this story before. 3 stars.

~ The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

I read this book decades ago and loved it. Thanks to its controversial nature and most people hating it, I decided to re-read it this month just to check if my opinions have changed. I listened to this one on Audible and I loved it just as much as before. I read this one as part of the #TBRChallenge2020 and it still remains one of my favorite books of all time. Full 5 stars!

~ The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy.

I got this as an early birthday gift for the husband and we ended up reading it back to back. A stunning, innocent take on life with gorgeous artwork. Another 5 stars to this one!

Have you tried Audible yet? Read my experience with it here.

Follow me on Goodreads or my bookstagram page to follow my reading journey.

Audible has become my primary source of reading and I'm thrilled about it! It is so easy and hassle-free. While I was able to read 10+ books per month over the past few months, in September I plan to read only four. Three large books and the other one would be Reese's book-club pick. These books are really long and have been on my TBR list since forever. Since my reading challenge has now been completed successfully, I can take it slow and read these long books. I plan to complete three large ones this month, fingers crossed!

While reading was good as usual, writing was too. I plan to write more personal and opinion oriented posts from now on, limiting blog-hops to just two. I finally wrote poetry after ages and while I feel that I'm still a bit rusty and can do better, the poem was highly appreciated and that made me feel good. 34 on 34 was a heartfelt post and something that I have been wanting to talk about for a while. I even spoke about a taboo topic and I was surprised when so many women messaged/mailed me to thank me for writing that post as they were going through the same thing. Somebody needed to talk to about it and I'm so glad I did. Book Reviews took a backseat this month and I'm actually contemplating if I should stop writing them altogether. I have a very active bookstagram page on Instagram and I speak about and review every book that I read there. My Goodreads is also regularly updated and my honest, unbiased reviews are always present there. I'll think about this more and then take a call if I would continue writing book reviews here.

August came with a huge share of gratitude. Here's what I'm thankful for this August:

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~ Work: Keeps me going, day after day.

~ Workout: I was being too hard on myself earlier, so I have eased a bit now. Alternating between yoga and dance helped me stay calm and in shape.

~ Friends: I have such wonderful friends and I feel so blessed to have them all in my life.

~ Books: Best gifts ever!

~ Celebrations: We celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi at home with a puja and lots of stuff to eat. The birthday was another fabulous celebration, followed by Onam. August involved a lot of eating thanks to these celebrations.

~ Plants: It was time for fertilizing the plant babies and my husband and I sat down to get our hands dirty. We now have so many plants and they are teaching us so much!

~ Outside Food: We have been stepping out pretty often these days and life seems a little normal because of this. We used to eat out quite a lot and have been getting takeaways from our favorite places. We're yet to muster the courage to go in for a dine-in though.

~ Privilege: I'm grateful to have the privilege of working from home, step out when I want to and try to keep life as normal as I can. Everyday feels like a blessing and I cannot be thankful enough.

~ Secret Project: The second phase of this is still in-progress. I couldn't complete it this month due to office work and I plan to complete it soon. By next month, it should be done.

~ Love: Lover, husband, soulmate, companion. Most importantly, a partner. We believe in equality and this has made staying cooped up at home so easy for both of us. He's my rock!

August has been a pleasant month and we move on from my birthday month to the husband's birthday month! Another month of joy and celebration coming up.

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How was your August?


Linking this post to Vidya's Gratitude Circle for this month.


  1. It felt so good reading your post on August, Soumya!
    May September bring along with it more books, and more smiles your way :)

  2. It's lovely to hear about your August being such a books filled month. Books are the best friend ever and it is exciting to hear that you got 11 books as birthday gifts!!!

    1. Thank you, Geethica. The books I read this month aren't the ones I got as birthday gifts :) But yeah, I did get quite many.

  3. Oh you sound so much calmer and happier from this post and I am so happy about it. Yay for the yoga practice and the book list- that is a huge win and I can so relate to both. Thanks to you, I am getting hooked to audible too and thats really making a dent in my reading list.

    I love Onam Sadya and wish you were my neighbor yaar- I want the delicious food I keep seeing on your timeline all the time.

    Wishing you a fabulous September ahead!!! xoxo

    1. Thank you so much, darling! I'm so glad Audible is working for you :)

      Visit Bangalore someday!

  4. You've had a lovely August; glad to hear your birthday month was a good one! Great going on the bookish front! I haven't been able to get into audiobooks but I imagine it would make having multiple books on the go simultaneously easier. Hope September is just as wonderful!

    1. Thank you, Sanch. Audible does make life very easy.

  5. How amazing we are as humans, aren't we? We adjust to any situation, even if it takes some settling down. Glad your birthday month was enjoyable, Soumya! 54 books is quite a feat! I haven't been reading as much as I usually do, but I never set myself any goals. I have enough to read for as long as I live and beyond, I think--still, thanks for adding to my TBR list :-) Books are always welcome! And yes, our celebrations also revolve around food, and I like it that way. During my childhood I thought it was such a wonderfully tangible way to remember occasions. I hope September is even more wonderful for you <3 Sending you love and thanks so much for being part of the Gratitude Circle. (And yes, writing is all about YOU. <3)

    1. Oh you bet! I'm so surprised with myself for the changes that I can see within :)

      Wishing you a fabulous September as well, Hottie! <3

  6. Your reading accomplishments always impress me. I dont know how you get so much reading done. And I absolutely love your plants. They look so healthy and beautiful. You two have been taking good care of them. Wish you a lovely september

  7. My Belated birthday wishes. I wanted to read Fountainhead from a long time, may be someday I will.

    1. Thank you, Ramya. Do read The Fountainhead, it is a splendid book.


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