Thursday, 3 July 2014

the year in books - July

I am linking up with Laura over at Circle of Pines. On her beautiful blog Laura hosts The Year of Books 2014 where bloggers share their reads. I have found some great reading suggestions there and I am sure there is a book waiting for you, too.

June has definitely been a better month for reading than May. Because I knew June would be quite busy, I chose "The extraordinary life of Frank Derrick, age 81" by J.B. Morrison. It was a bit of a random buy-one-get-one half-price choice but I liked the blurb and it is suitably thin. The book describes the life of Frank, who is run over by a milk float on the first page of the book. After a short stay at hospital, Frank returns home with his arm in a stookie*. His home help, Kelly, brings a bit of frisson and excitement into Frank's life, reminding him that there is more to life than just sit at home doing nothing much at all. The book was a quick read and not one that I would pick up for a second time. It was just too predictable and a little boring. The issue of loneliness in old age however is not one that I would dismiss lightly and is certainly something I would like to explore further.

Other reads in June:

"The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot. This book was fascinating and I enjoyed every page of it, even the references in the back (some of which I will explore). It is a work of non-fiction and describes the life of Henrietta Lacks and her family. Henrietta died of cervical cancer in the 1950s. During her treatment, cancerous tissue was removed from her cervix and cultivated in vitro. The cells continue to grow in many laboratories around the world and have been crucial for many scientific breakthroughs, for example the development of the first polio vaccine. The book raises many problematic issues, medical care for the poor in the United States, ethical research practice, and informed consent are amongst them. As a trained scientist, these issues are close to my heart and I found this book one of the best reads I have picked up this year.

For my earthly book group, I read "Life between oceans" by M.L. Stedman. This was an easy but by no means a light read. The main characters are Tom and Isabel Sherborne, light keepers on Janus Rock, an isolated spot of the coast of Western Australia. After two miscarriages and one stillbirth, a boat with a dead man and a baby is washed up on their rock. Against Tom's better judgement, they claim the baby as their own..... I don't want to give any more away but will leave you with this sentence from the blurb: "
And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss." It is not a book I would have chosen but I did enjoy it and it left me with plenty to think about.

On my ipod I had "The luminous life of Lily Aphrodite" by Beatrice Colin. It was a recommendation by a blogger linked up with Laura but I can't remember who. Thank you, it was a good read. Here the description on the back of the book (because I am a bit lazy today): "This novel tells the story of the orphaned daughter of a cabaret dancer and her rise from poverty and anonymity to film stardom, all set against the rise and fall of Berlin, the background of WWI, the debauchery of the Weimar era, the run-up to WWII, and the innovations in art and industry that accompanied it all." What I enjoyed about his novel is that it describes the life in Berlin during WW1 and in the run-up to WW2. It is not a perspective that was covered in my history lessons and I found it very interesting to read about the hardship of life in Germany during this time.


I am also reading "The tipping point (how little things can make a difference)" by Malcolm Gladwell. It is interesting enough but not very gripping. I have not finished yet but I am left unsatisfied by Gladwell's theories, which are explained in a rather longwinded way. I think the book could be summarised in about 10 pages without loosing content. This seems to be the case for many of the popular science books I have read in the past but maybe I am experiencing the scientist effect here and other readers without rigorous scientific training may experience such books differently.


For July, I haven't made up my mind yet. The two books at the top of my pile are:



I am fairly confident that I'll have plenty of time to read during our holiday in Cornwall. I just can't wait!


Have lovely day where ever you are. Cx  

* P.S. For those readers not familiar with the Scottish vernacular: a stookie is a plaster cast. I couldn't help using this word because for some reason, I just love this word :)

18 comments:

  1. Some words just appeal, don't they? We call spring onions 'scallions'. And, for some weird reason I don't know of, we call willow 'Sally'.

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  2. Wow, you must be a really fast reader!! I hope that you enjoy your book choice for July! xx

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  3. Gosh, you manage to read so much! I gave up with the Malcolm Gladwell book as I found it very repetative. Like you I think the whole thing could be summerised in a short essay! My husband calls a cast a stookie... but he's from Dundee!

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  4. Hey Christina,
    I read Henrietta Lacks for my book group, and found it a fascinating read. I will be interested to read what you think about Unexploded.
    Leanne xx

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  5. Some interesting reads here, Christina. Like the look of your July choices too. It amazes me you find time to read so much with four kids.

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  6. I have The Extraordinary Life of Frank Derrick sitting on my Kindle, waiting patiently to be read. I started A Light Between Two Oceans last fall and got halfway through it, set it aside for another book, and for some odd reason haven't gone back to it. I liked what I had read, and your post has reminded me I need to finish it. Good luck picking a winner for July. It would be a shame to waste summer reading on a rotten book. And thanks for adding to my Scottish vocabulary. :-)

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  7. We read 'The Light between oceans' in our book group last year. I really loved it! Lots of moral issues to discuss too so a good book group choice. Have a great holiday in Cornwall X

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  8. HI there, thanks for sharing your books. I've done an update of my recent reads during the week - http://stonefruitseason.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/recent-reading-viewing-and-books-on-go.html . It includes DVDs that we're lucky to get through our local library system - lots of great things to watch!

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  9. Hi Christina! You're a prolific reader - I'm impressed. I like the sound of 'The Light Between Two Oceans'...
    Happy reading and I hope you have a lovely holiday.
    Sarah x

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  10. I really enjoyed Frank Derrick, it was that opening line of Chapter one that did it for me... made me laugh and there were several places in the book that had the same effect. But it does make you think about old people and their isolation doesn't it, how a kind face, a friendly word, even if only once a week, can make such a difference.

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  11. Wow you do read a lot! I like the sound of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, my kind of read.I love to read but always find myself bogged down with reading group books and the pile of those I really want to read gets bigger and remain unread. I'm seriously thinking of giving up book group so I can read more books!!

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  12. They all look like great books, I need to get to the library stat!
    ~Sophia
    http://plaidismyfavouritecolour.blogspot.com/

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  13. I have never heard of a stookie! Well, I have to try to use that word at some point to confuse all of my friends. Thanks for the book reviews, I am always looking for new books to put on my list but my reading is not going to well lately. I am still stuck on hunger games! :o/ I do take a while to read books though as I need to be in the right frame of mind, I am easily distracted!

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  14. More good books for my to-read list. All the best there, Christina x

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  15. Stookie - love it. I am sure there are a ton of slang Scottish words that you could share with us. I don't know why, but I've always loved the look and sound of the word bescheinigung - as you know, it has nothing to do with being shiny, but somehow it should! I really don't know how you manage to find the time to read, I am limited to children's picture books at the moment, my brain can't handle anything more by day's end.

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  16. Ooh even more books to add to my list! I'm loving this challenge...happy reading for July.

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  17. Great list - you get through far more than I do! I'm usually a fiction person but love the sound of Henrietta Slack so will add that to my list and the Lily Aphrodite book - like you, I didn't get much German perspective in my history classes. Enjoy Cornwall and happy reading. :)

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx