July Summary and Plans for August

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I’ve been going through a non fiction phase this month. I’ve loved learning so many new facts and think this shift in my reading focus will continue to some extent for a while.

I’ve read an eclectic mix of books this month and all are worth reading for different reasons. I was disappointed that The Colour of Milk didn’t make the Booker longlist, but I hope it will be rewarded by other book prizes later in the year and encourage you to give it a try soon.

Books of the Month

The Colour of MilkZeitoun

Books Reviewed in July

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers 

The Colour of Milk by Nell Leyshon 

Merchants of Culture by John Thompson 

The Hand of Fatima by Ildefonso Falcones 

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo 

The Doctor Will See You Now by Max Pemberton 

Wonder by RJ Palacio 

The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey 

Lacrimosa by Regis Jauffret 

Plans for August

August will mainly be devoted to trying books on The 2012 Booker Prize Longlist. I have a copy of The Teleportation Accident here and so will try that first. Communion Town is in my local library system and winging its way towards me now. I will then work my way through the rest of the list, adding a few random choices from my TBR pile whenever I’m in need of something lighter.

On a personal note, things are very busy for me at the moment. My youngest son was five this week and I’m busy planning his party. We’re also out most days, enjoying the Summer holidays. I have plans to go to the Olympics next week and I’m heading up to the Edinburgh festival later in the month. I’ll try to blog when I can, but I’m afraid it might be intermittent for a few weeks.

I hope you have a wonderful Summer!

Happy reading!


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  1. Harvee says:

    I have the Katherine Boo book to get to sometime end of summer. Good idea to read the books on the Booker List. I should do the same!

    1. Jackie says:

      Harvee, I hope you enjoy Katherine Boo – have a lovely Summer!

  2. David says:

    Hmm… I tend to have an aversion to non-fiction – I don’t know why, I just tend to prefer learning things via fiction. Having said that there are a couple of non-fiction books out at the moment that I’d be keen to try: Will Cohu’s ‘Wolf Pit’ and Simon Armitage’s ‘Walking Home’.
    I had a pretty good July too – stand-out reads for me were Alan Warner’s ‘The Deadman’s Pedal’ and Susan Fletcher’s ‘The Silver Dark Sea’, and I also thoroughly enjoyed Kim Barnes’ ‘In the Kingdom of Men’. I read my fourth Alex Miller novel this month (‘Landscape of Farewell’) which definitely confirmed him as one of my favourite authors.
    Three star reads: Robert Williams’ ‘How the Trouble Started’, Joanna Kavenna’s ‘Come to the Edge’ and Kitty Aldridge’s ‘A Trick I Learned From Dead Men’ – all solid, enjoyable reads but nothing out of the ordinary.
    On the Booker front I just read Deborah Levy’s ‘Swimming Home’ and whilst I found it to be an interesting read full of ideas, the characters did nothing for me and it didn’t really engage me. Wouldn’t have been on my longlist.
    My last book of the month is Joyce Carol Oates’ ‘Rape: A Love Story’ which I shall likely finish tonight – not read any Oates for a while (despite always buying her new ones!) but I am being reminded of just how good she can be.

    I’ll probably read a couple more from the Booker longlist in August but I’m thinking it is going to be a largely Canadian month in the run up to the Giller longlist announcement on the 28th.

    Sounds like you have a busy summer planned – hope you enjoy it!

    1. Jackie says:

      David, I used to prefer my facts wrapped in a fictional story, but I have recently discovered narrative non-fiction which is basically identical to fiction, apart from the fact that it is all true. I recommend trying Zeitoun – I think you may be converted.

      I enjoyed Williams first novel so I’m disappointed to learn that ‘How the Trouble Started’ is nothing special. Same goes for ‘Come to the Edge’ as I loved ‘The Birth of Love’.

      Alex Miller and Joyce Carol Oates are both authors I’ve wanted to try, but not got around to yet. I really should put them to the top of my TBR pile.

      Let’s hope we have a fantastic August and discover a few real gems on the Booker longlist.

      1. David says:

        I think I know what you mean by narrative non-fiction. The last book I read like that was Christina Lamb’s ‘The Africa House’ which I really liked.

        ‘Come to the Edge’ is a satire or maybe a black comedy and had me nodding and smiling in agreement, but it didn’t make me desperate to go out and read anything else by Kavenna. The Williams likewise was very readable but I could probably think of a dozen other books that it was similar to. Both are worth a read though.

  3. Chinoiseries says:

    Non-fiction sounds like a good way to expose the mind to something completely different. Sort of cleaning the slate for more fiction? ;-)

    I see you’ve had quite a few good reads, with high ratings! I’ll have to add the Colour of Milk to my to-read list.

    As for the Man Booker… I don’t think I’ll get started on it anytime soon. My library doesn’t have any of the books (which is understandable, as most of them are quite new) and don’t feel like buying them all :s
    Perhaps I’ll wait for your reviews and then decide which books to get :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Chinoiseries, Please add The Colour of Milk to your list – it is a wonderfully atmospheric little book!

      My library only has a couple of the Booker longlist, but I’m hoping they’ll order a few more in soon. If not, I’ll buy them and let you know which ones are worth it.

  4. JoV says:

    So many stars this month Jackie. It is wonderful to read interesting non-fiction, they are my guilty pleasure unfortunately most of the time I get suck into reading hot out of oven fictions.

    Do enjoy yourself in the Olympics and Edinburgh Festival, both great events!

    p/s: which event are you going to? Maybe I can spot you amongst the crowd. ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      Jo, No need to feel guilty about reading non fiction – if anything it should be the other way round (why waste time reading stories when you could be learning stuff ;-) )

      I’m going to watch the cycling time trials tomorrow, but I’m also off the London next week. I have tickets for the Olympic Park and will get tickets for whatever is available on the day – keep an eye out for me next Monday!

  5. Sandy says:

    Girl, you had a good month! And how cool to go to the Olympics! Take pictures and have fun. Happy birthday to your little one!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, Thanks! I’ll try to take some photos and put a blog post together some time.

  6. Communion Town is one of the titles on the Booker list that has caught my attention too.

    Lucky you going to the Olympics – enjoy! I’m enjoying the TV coverage half a world away ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      Jo, Communion Town has been compared to David Mitchell so I’m excited about trying it. Hopefully it lives up to expectations.

      Enjoy the rest of the Olympics!

  7. Lindsay says:

    I loved The Colour of Milk. I hope you have a great day at the Olympics, we went last week and it was a fantastic day!

    1. Jackie says:

      Lindsay, The Olympicsis amazing – I wish we had it every year!

  8. stujallen says:

    no real plans but just in a large Polish non fiction book so that take a week to read ,all the best stu

  9. Jenners says:

    I’m reading this late … hope you got to see some of the Olympics in person. That would be so cool!

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