My reading was up and down in July. There were days I read for hours, but on other days I didn’t pick up a book or my Kindle once. Reading challenge wise, I’m still ahead of schedule so it’s not something to worry about in that regard. It is frustrating, though, when you’re in the mood for reading but your brain can’t focus on the words in front of you.
In a move that will surprise regular readers of this blog mystery/thrillers don’t feature at all this month.
The Museum of You by Carys Bray*
I’ve already written a full review of The Museum of You*, so I won’t go into too much detail here. The Museum of You* is thoughtful exploration of family, grief, mental ill-health and the role memories play in our lives.
Ctrl Alt Delete: How I Grew Up Online by Emma Gannon
Ctrl Alt Delete featured in my 6 Memoir Recommendations post, so I won’t go into too much detail here. It’s a smart, funny and accessible memoir about the affect the internet and social media in particular had on Emma Gannon as she was growing up.
Fates And Furies by Lauren Groff*
If spend any amount of time in the bookish parts of the internet then you’ll probably have heard of Fates and Furies* by Lauren Groff. It’s received rave reviews and Barak Obama named it as his favourite book of 2015.
Told in two parts, we follow Lotto and Mathilde’s marriage over the course of twenty-four years. When they married in college, after a whirlwind romance, no-one expected Lotto and Mathilde to make it to their first wedding anniversary. Those people were proven wrong, but at what cost?
We first see the relationship through Lotto’s eyes. I found this section slow moving and incredibly frustrating. I couldn’t warm to Lotto. While liking a character isn’t always necessary and sometimes it is actively discouraged, my dislike of him made reading feel like a chore at times. He got under my skin in a way that had me not so quietly seething throughout. He’s the type of man who spends his time ‘well, actually’-ing women and acting shocked when people question his misogynistic behaviour.
The latter part of the novel is told from Mathilde’s perspective. Mathilde is no more likable than Lotto, but there’s a richness and complexity to her that Lotto lacks.
I liked Fates and Furies*, but I didn’t love it which puts me in the minority. Maybe all the hype gave me unrealistic expectations. Maybe it was never going to be the book for me. Either way, Fates and Furies* left me with a distinctly ‘meh’ tasting feel in my mouth.
Notes On Being Teenage by Rosalind Jana
Notes on Being Teenage is, as the title suggests, about navigating your way through the teenage years. Rosalind Jana is one of my favourite people to follow on social media. Her blog, Clothes, Cameras, & Coffee, is full of gorgeous photos and insightful writing.
I’m a couple of decades past the target market for this book, but that doesn’t detract from the pleasure of reading it. If you have or know teenagers I recommend buying a copy or two for them.
The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel*
The Summer That Melted Everything* is an incredible piece of literary fiction. That it is a debut novel makes it even more so. Tiffany McDaniel’s writing is evocative, complex and full of confidence.
The summer of 1984 brings an intense heat wave to Breathed, Ohio. It also brings the devil. Things will never be the same again. Fielding Bliss has never forgotten that summer and it is through his eyes that we learn what happened. The novel alternates between 1984 and an unspecified year in the future.
The Summer That Melted Everything* is a thought-provoking novel that deals with religion, racism, homophobia and mob mentality amongst other things. My words cannot do it justice, but it’s a novel I’ll be recommending for a long time to come. Seriously, you need to read it.
Fat Chance: My Life In Ups, Downs And Crisp Sandwiches
Fat Chance featured in my 6 Memoir Recommendations post, so I won’t go into too much detail here. This is an emotional read. I laughed, I cringed and I cried. All in the best possible way! It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished Fat Chance and I’m still thinking about it.
Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman
Shrill featured in my 6 Memoir Recommendations post, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Shrill is smart, funny and frank look at what it’s like to be an outspoken fat woman in a world tells women to sit down and shut up.