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.
If you remember my June post in this series, back then I couldn't make up my mind which of two books I wanted to read during July:
I have read "Unexploded" by Alison Macleod. Well, I haven't quite finished because I could not bring myself to read the last 50 odd pages. The story suddenly seemed unbearably sad. I blame the post holiday blues for this. The novel starts in 1940 Brighton, where Evelyn, Geoffrey and their young son Philip struggle to keep their life together amidst threats of invasion by the German army. It is a beautifully crafted story. All characters are drawn carefully and they feel like friends or acquaintances at the very least. I have only got a couple of chapters left and once my holiday blues is over, I shall finish the book.
Other books I have read or listened to:
Elly Griffiths "Janus Stone". I found this crime novel disappointing. The plot was shallow and predictable. The two main characters are annoying with no real depth to their personalities. Finally, I thought the writing was unimaginative, too. I was tempted by the idea of reading a crime novel about a forensic archaeologist because I do actually know one through my previous work. I like crime fiction but prefer it to be subtle and well crafted with a good deal of suspense. I like Christopher Fowlers "Peculiar Crimes Unit" series for example, featuring two ancient detectives, Bryant and May. Whilst the crimes committed are nearly as far fetched as those in Janus Stone, the stories are at least cleverly constructed and well written.
"The Universe vs Alex Wood" by Gavin Extence. I listened to the audio version narrated by Joe Thomas. This was a refreshing listening experience and I really liked Alex, and his mother, too, even Mr Peterson. The dry matter of factly story telling makes Alex particularly endearing. The story is about being different, friendship, love, and dying with dignity. I have tried to convince my teenager to listen with me but it is just not his kind of book. Sadly. Because sometimes, I recognised Sam in Alex. Oh well.
"The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd. This was also an audio version, narrated by Jenna Lamia. At first I was a little annoyed by the narrators voice but it grew on me and actually, she has a good voice for a teenage girl. The story is told by Lily who is 14 and has lived with the believe that she has accidentally killed her mother when she was four. The story is set in the 1960s in South Carolina, where racial discrimination is still very much an issue. I enjoyed the story very much, it was uplifting and optimistic despite the underlying sadness of Lily's and Rosaleen's story.
"The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowlings. This book was on my pile for months and I now regret not reading it earlier because I liked the story very much. I enjoyed the writing, the description of the characters and their lives. It is a sad book dealing with terrible issues (for example drug addiction and domestic violence) but it didn't make me sad. If this makes any sense, all the better :). I wonder if J.K. Rowlings has read "King of the Badger" by Philip Hensher? Although both books are very different in content, both describe beautifully the life in a small community with a shiny façade that looses the shine when you open the door and look in.
I just realise that I have read more than I thought I did!
For August I am going to read Sarah's Key by Tatiana the Rosnay. On my ipod I have "Elisabeth is missing" by Emma Healey.
What have you been reading/listening to?