June Summary and Plans for July

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June has been quite a slow reading month for me. After reading the outstanding book, HHhH, everything else seems poor in comparison. I’ve abandoned almost everything I’ve started and have been unable to concentrate on a single book for any length of time as nothing is engaging enough. Hopefully I’ll find another gem soon and get back on track.

Book of the Month


Books Reviewed in June:

HHhH by Laurent Binet 

Little Princes by Conor Grennan 

The Book of Answers by C. Y. Gopinath 

Half-Sick of Shadows by David Logan 

Gold by Chris Cleave 

Quiet by Susan Cain 

The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall 

In the Name of Love by Katie Price 

Lionel Asbo by Martin Amis


Plans for July

The Booker longlist is announced on 25th July so I plan to try a few of the contenders and then come up with my prediction for the longlist.

I also plan to take part in Winstonsdad’s Spanish Literature Month by finishing The Hand of Fatima by Ildefonso Falcones and reading The Seamstress by Maria Duenas.

 I also hope to read most of these books:

Dirt by David Vann

The Watch by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya

Flight by Adam Thorpe

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

The Portrait by Iain Pears

Zeitoun by David Eggers

I hope you have a wonderful July!

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  1. David says:

    I really must get around to trying ‘HHhH’ – it sounds like it’s going to be on a lot of ‘books of the year’ lists come December. For a ‘slow’ month you got through a lot of books!
    I had a really good month with lots of excellent reads. The standout for me was Ben Fountain’s ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ which reminded me a bit of ‘The Art of Fielding’ (very readable, strong cast of characters, and subjects I’d normally avoid) which I thought was brilliant. I also loved Philip Hensher’s ‘Scenes from Early Life’, ‘loved’ not being a phrase I ever thought I’d use for one of Hensher’s novels! Maria Semple’s ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ was a complete joy to read and for pure reading pleasure was easily as good as ‘Heft’. I was also very impressed by Alix Ohlin’s ‘Inside’, so much so I ordered two more of her books as soon as I’d finished it. And Nell Leyshon’s ‘The Colour of Milk’ is a deceptively powerful little book that I wouldn’t be surprised to see on the Booker longlist.
    Also very good: Linden MacIntyre’s ‘Why Men Lie’ (though you really need to have read the first two in the trilogy to get the most from it), David Adams Richards’ ‘Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul’ and (an older book) Larry Watson’s ‘Montana 1948’.
    Disappointments: Mark Haddon’s ‘The Red House’ is wonderful in parts, but is perhaps a bit too ambitious – he doesn’t quite pull off his chorus of voices. Gwendoline Riley’s ‘Opposed Positions’ is beautifully written but I didn’t really see the point; and Tom Bullough’s ‘Konstantin’ (which I’d been looking forward to) didn’t really work for me – it didn’t seem to know whether it wanted to be biography or fiction and felt a bit confused.
    (I’ll not mention the short story collections I read as I know they’re not your thing).

    Looking forward to July: really looking forward to the new books by Kirsty Gunn, Susan Fletcher and Kitty Aldridge, and a couple of American books I want to read: ‘The Year of the Gadfly’ and ‘The Infinite Tides’.

    Have a great month!

    1. Jackie says:

      David, it sounds as though you had a much better reading month than I did. I`d forgotten about `The Colour of Milk`. I started reading it a few days ago and am loving it. Is it long enough to qualify for the Booker though?

      Semple`s book sounds great. I hadn’t heard of it before, but I`ve just reserved it from the library. Thanks for the recommendation! I might also try Hensher`s new book on your recommendation. I have liked his writing in the past, but never fallen in love with his plots. Perhaps this will be the first?

      Hope you find lots of great reads in July!

      1. David says:

        Hmm… the Hensher doesn’t really have much of a plot, so you may not like it. It really is, as the title suggests, a collection of ‘scenes’ that build up into a picture of family life in Bangladesh around the time of the 1971 war. In the past I’ve found his writing well-crafted but it hasn’t wowed me, whereas this one was really quite beautiful and rich. Very different from the others of his I’ve read (‘The Northern Clemency’ and ‘The Mulberry Empire’).

        ‘The Colour of Milk’ is a similar length to ‘The Sense of an Ending’ and ‘On Chesil Beach’ so it ought to qualify.

  2. Stephanie says:

    It’s so irritating when you just can’t get into a book. I hope July turns out better for you!

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, Thanks! Let’s hope we find some great reads in July.

  3. cbjames says:

    I read HHhH on your recommendation and LOVED it. I’ll have a review up later this week. I may even do two posts. There was so much to think about in HHhH.

    Of the books on your reading list I’ve read Inkheart and Zeitoun. I loved Inkheart; it’s gets love/meh reactions from my students, but I did not like Zeitoun at all.

    1. Jackie says:

      Cbjames, I`m so pleased that you enjoyed HHhH as much as I did. There is a lot to talk about – I`m still thinking about whether or not it matters that the car is described as black if it was really green. I look forward to reading your reviews.

  4. Such a pity you didn’t have much enjoyment from your reading (after HhhH) this month! I do hope that either Dirt or Zeitoun will get you out of your reading slump again. I thought they were very good.

    Good luck with predicting the Booker Longlist.

    1. Jackie says:

      Judith, Glad you enjoyed both books. Hopefully at least one of them will appeal to me.

  5. Shan says:

    Do you have any predictions (or wishes) for the Booker long list?

    1. Jackie says:

      Shan, I`m still trying to compile my Booker prediction list, but I imagine Hilary Mantle will make the list and I think The Marlowe Papers deserves a mention. Will try to finalise my list soon.

  6. Vasilly says:

    If HHHH did that to your reading, I think I should read it too. Zeitoun has been on my tbr list for ages! I can’t wait to read your thoughts on it. Happy reading!

    1. Jackie says:

      Vasilly, Zeitoun has been on my TBR for ages too. Let’s hope we both enjoy it.

  7. Good luck getting back on track. I love stumbling across gems but it’s a bummer when they stump the rest of reading for a while.

    1. Jackie says:

      Andi, Hopefully July will be a much better month. Enjoy your reading!

  8. Lindsay says:

    Sometimes it’s hard to find a book that will follow up when you’ve read a really outstanding one isn’t it? I loved The Colour of Milk, so glad you’re enjoying that. I have recommended it to others who have all loved it so far. I haven’t read any of the books you’ve got planned for July but I hope you find one, or more, that you can really get into. I have been thinking about my favourite reads this year so far on my blog. I know you share some of them too.

    The Little Reader Library

    1. Jackie says:

      Lindsay, I`m thinking about my favourite reads of the year too. It will be interesting to see how many we share and whether `The Colour of Milk` makes the list.

  9. stujallen says:

    great see you joining Spanish lit month Jackie ,hope some gems turn up nothing worse than a run of bad books or ones that don’t appeal ,all the best stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, I hope Spanish literature month goes well. I look forward to seeing what everyone reads.

  10. Beth F says:

    I’m curious about how you’ll react to Inkheart, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and Dirt.

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, I hope they all live up to my high expectations :-)

  11. Charlie says:

    The Booker long list AND the list you’ve made? That’s quite a plan! The issue with reading a great book and nothing else catching you for a while afterwards, it might demonstrate just how great the book was but yes, frustrating!

    1. Jackie says:

      Charlie, The Booker longlist doesn’t come out until the end of the month so I probably won’t read many in July – it will dominate my August reading though. :-)

  12. Wishing you all the best with your readings in July

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