Wednesday, 22 June 2016

June reading

I am persevering with my reading posts although they seem to be less popular than any other posts. More than anything, it gives me an opportunity to reflect on my book choices and see how my reading preferences change over time and with the seasons. I read pretty much everything except romance, which I can't stand.

I finished the big fat book that I decided to read in June, 'A Little Life' by Hania Yanagihara pretty quickly. It was a compelling read, challenging, too. I loved it, loved it a lot. If you have time and strong wrists, I really recommend you read it, too. I guess you could read it on your Kindle. Here the blurb (because I am lazy):
When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome - but that will define his life forever.
It is a beautifully written story, and it is a heartbreaking story, too. Occasionally I felt like giving Jude an encouraging slap on the back but felt guilty when I did. He is a broken man, he really is but there is so much love and support in his life that you one hopes it might be enough. Don't be put off by the blurb, the book is not just about the consequences of horrendous childhood abuse, it is also a book of friendship, family and love. 

I also finished my April read, 'Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither' by Sara Baume, that I couldn't bare to finish earlier. I am not actually sure I understand the ending but I don't seem to be the only one. If anyone could enlighten me, that would be great. It is a sad story but it is not all doom and gloom. The friendship and love between a dog and a man, both not part of 'normal' society is touching and I enjoyed the book.

Then I powered my way through an urban fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman, 'Neverwhere'. I just love a bit of fantasy and the thought of a city within the city is quite appealing, although I would probably prefer to live in a more gentle place than London Below. Here the first half of the blurb from Neil Gaiman's own website
'Richard Mayhew is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but demanding fiancee. Then one night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her--and the life he knows vanishes like smoke. Several hours later, the girl is gone too. And by the following morning Richard Mayhew has been erased from his world. His bank cards no longer work, taxi drivers won't stop for him, his landlord rents his apartment out to strangers. He has become invisible, and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere.'
I chose the audio version. The story is narrated by Neil Gaiman himself and I enjoyed the timbre of his voice and his accent. I also enjoyed the witty language and the very English humour. I have just downloaded another book by Neil Gaiman, to listen to during my holidays ('American Gods').

The last book I listened to this month was the next translated instalment of a Norwegian crime series, 'Ordeal' by Jørn Lier Horst. I would feel comfortable in William Visting's hands if I was the victim of a crime. He is a reassuringly normal man with a not very exiting private life and a good working relationship with his colleagues, unusual for a fictional detective but just what you would want in an investigator. Although of course the private life of an investigator would be none of my business. 

In July I am picking up a book that has been gathering dust under my bed for a while. I started reading it ages ago but forgot all about it. Should hoover more often under my bed :-) Anyway, the book is 'Lady Oracle' by Margaret Atwood, one of my all time favourite authors. I am looking forward to reading it. 

I hope you are enjoying your books, too. I like loosing myself in a good story, I'd happily stay up half the night if a book is just right.

Two more days of school. Well, one actually, tomorrow schools are closed because of the EU referendum. I am holding my breath as the outcome may affect me considerably. Have a lovely rest of the week! x


  1. An interesting selection.

    I'm struggling with reading this month (I knew I would though!) but have finished two books and am reading two others, very slowly!

    There's another 4 weeks of school here sadly, but then of course, we go back later than you so while I'm jealous right now, I won't be in a few weeks, hehe!

  2. Margaret Atwood is one of my all-time favourite authors too. I'm currently reading 'Stone Mattress', subtitled 'nine wicked tales' and they are so good I'm rationing myself. Always good to hear about your good reads. Do you ever listen to Rafio 4 extra on iplayer. I've been listening to 'The Day of the Triffids' by John Wyndham. I've not read it but I'm loving the serialisation.

  3. I like Margaret Atwood very much, but was rather disappointed in her Crake and Oryx trilogy, only got through the first volume. I love Neil Gaiman and have read all of his books. American Gods is a strange, strange book. Please keep doing your book reviews, I always enjoy them.

  4. Margaret Atwood I will definitely read. I love her work. A little life sounds fascinating. I will have to find that one. Maybe on Kindle if it's that big :) Hope the referendum vote goes well for you. Sadly we can't vote not being part of the EU although we will suffer any back lash. C'est la vie! Happy holidays. B x

  5. I am afraid reading alludes me at the moment apart from the odd magazine I really do need to get back into a better habits.

  6. I keep thinking I should try something by Neil Gaiman, he pops up everywhere. Neverwhere sounds like a good one to start with. Fingers also crossed here on the referendum outcome. CJ xx

  7. You always read the most interesting sounding books :). I have not read much lately other than books about teaching maths, a guidebook on the new forest and a few cook books!

  8. Dear Christina
    I love Neverwhere - funny and clever. If you like Neil Gaiman, can I also suggest Good Omens (if you haven't already read it), which was written with Terry Pratchett and made me laugh out loud several times. I have just enjoyed a Jane Austen-fest and am now reading various books about the Pre-Raphaelites and their wives/muses.
    Enjoy your reading!
    Best wishes

  9. I'm surprised to hear that your book posts are some of the least popular ones. I always enjoy them a lot! It sounds like you've had some interesting reads/listens this month. I'm jealous of your ability to stay up half the night reading. I used to be able to do that, but now fall asleep after about 10 minutes, no matter how good the book is. :-)

  10. My book posts are my least popular too but doing these posts are a good way of documenting what I've read for my own purposes. I enjoy reading posts about what other people are reading, many of the books I read are ones which have been recommended in blog posts. I like the sound of Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither, I may put that one on my list of books to read but I hope I understand the ending if I do.

  11. I always enjoy your book posts... Anyway, I'm a big Margaret Atwood fan, too, and will look out for this. I seem to have become a bit out of touch with fiction at the moment. Just read Girl on the Train which I romped through. Implausible but a good quick read. I'll def look out for all your recommendations. Thanks! Sam x

  12. My book posts are probably my least popular as well. I enjoy reading others posts though to see what they think about different books. I enjoy writing mine too because it gives me a chance to reflect on the book and record my thoughts. Enjoy your reading!

  13. Both books sounds great but I am especially loving all things 'New York' at the moment, I think have a look for it. I have tried an audio book but love to listen to plays on the radio so might try that too. I have my fingers crossed for the right result for you tonight xx

  14. I love your reading posts as they are very informative about books I might like. I have been listening to Louise Penny's mysteries and I am in love with them. Frankly I want my earphones on all the time which might not be good for general conversation. I read the first few and enjoyed them but listening to the rest has raised my level of appreciation for the wonderful stories.

  15. Hey Christina,
    I haven't read that particular Atwood novel, so will be interested in your review (which are great by the way). I am currently reading Winter In Madrid, but it's starting to get on my nerves. Does a book ever do that to you?
    Leanne xx

  16. I always enjoy your reading posts. I read such low grade books (which I enjoy as they calm my soul) it intrigues me greatly to see what genres other people prefer. x

  17. I still like your reading posts and will often make notes of the titles in a little book I carry around with me, in the hope I might pick them up in second hand shops!

  18. I'm always interested in what other people are reading and will shamelessly look over someone's shoulder to have a neb. I'm a Margaret Atwood fan, too (loved Alias Grace), and an avid reader of crime novels, Scandi or otherwise (I seem to enjoy all of that unpicking and working out). Currently reading Midwives by Chris Bohjalian which I recommend.


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