July Summary and Plans for August

July was a fun month for me. It was dominated by preparations for my youngest son’s 6th birthday party which we did in our garden and our deck that we just finished using materials from Trex decking so it was all ready for this day. He wanted a Star Wars theme and I went a bit overboard by making Jedi robes and light sabers for all 15 children (+ 2 for me and my husband!). I hadn’t done any sewing for 10 years so it was a steep learning curve, but it was worth the effort as they all had a fantastic time. Here is my husband doing some Jedi training in our garden:


On the book front things were a bit more average. Only Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach really stood out. Its messages about our online relationships were so relevant to modern society and it raised some interesting questions about suicide. I really hope it becomes the best seller that it deserves to be.

Book of the Month

Kiss Me First

Books Reviewed in July

Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach 

The Angel Maker by Stefan Brijs 

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens 

Heaven and Hell by Jón Kalman Stefánsson 

Absolution by Patrick Flanery 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates 

Death of an Ancient King by Laurent Gaudé 

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida 

Did not finish: Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi, The Childhood of Jesus Christ by JM Coetzee, TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

Plans for August

August will follow two distinct themes for me: Bookers and Icelandic fiction. I plan to try as many of the Booker longlist as I can get my hands on, but priority will be given to Icelandic fiction, which I will read almost exclusively during my two week trip around the country. I hope to read most of these books:

Fish Can Sing by Halldor Laxness

The Sorrow of Angels by Jón Kalman Stefánsson

Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason

Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

The Atom Station by Halldor Laxness

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

The View on the Way Down by Rebecca Wait

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

A Man In Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Blog posting may be sporadic over the next few weeks as I will be spending a lot of time with my boys. We have some fun days out planned, several nights away, and our holiday to Iceland. I’ll try to schedule some posts in advance, but be prepared for a few quiet spells.

I hope you have a wonderful August!

17 replies on “July Summary and Plans for August”

Haha, love the party costumes – the little Jedis could be Jawas.

I’ve read very little this past month due to being snowed under with work, but I did get through ‘Americanah’ (liked it a lot though with some reservations); ‘The Exiles’ by Allison Lynn (very enjoyable novel about a couple and their infant son who can no longer afford to live in Manhattan and move out to Rhode Island only to have their car and all their possessions stolen. It has a good plot strand about Huntington’s disease and is well-written, but on the whole it was a bit disposable); ‘The Road Between Us’ by Nigel Farndale (again, very enjoyable and a slightly different take on the Second World War, but a bit too neat and contrived perhaps); and ‘Eleven Days’ by Lea Carpenter, which if there is any justice ought to be on some prize lists later in the year – a superb novel about an American woman whose Navy SEAL son goes missing in action overseas (there have been some great US novels in the past year or so about the ‘war on terror’ – this one, ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’, ‘The Yellow Birds’, ‘Fobbit’…).

I did find the time to get through five collections of short stories, which I won’t bore you with, except to say keep an eye out in the future for Chinelo Okparanta’s first novel which she is apparently writing. Her story collection ‘Happiness, Like Water’ lacks variety but individually the stories are excellent and she easily stands comparison with Adichie or Petina Gappah.

Despite saying I wouldn’t be reading the Booker longlist, I seem to have ended up acquiring all but the three still-to-be-published books so will probably be getting through some of those in August if time allows. I also want to read David Gilbert’s ‘& Sons’.

Anyway, hope you have a fantastic time in Iceland!

David, It is good to see you enjoyed ‘The Road Between Us’. I loved ‘The Blasphemer’ and have been looking forward to trying his new novel. ‘Eleven Days’ also sounds good – I’ll give it a try too.

I’ve been very impressed by the Bookers I’ve tried so far. They haven’t been to my taste, but the judges have picked a better quality of writing than in the past. Hopefully I’ll stumble across a real gem soon.

Have a lovely month!

I haven’t read ‘The Blasphemer’ though I do have a copy – just flicking through it the two books seem to be almost identically structured, so I may leave off reading it for a while.

That’s good to hear about the Bookers. ‘The Luminaries’ arrived yesterday and I am seriously daunted by it – it’s huge! I think I might try ‘The Spinning Heart’ or ‘A Tale for the Time Being’ first .

David, I thought ‘Tale for the Time Being’ was a very good book and am impressed by the start of ‘The Spinning Heart’ – I think you’ll enjoy it. I’m also scared of ‘The Luminaries’ I think I’ll leave it for a while so that a few more people have read it – I needed a few explanations to understand ‘The Rehearsal’ and I can see her latest one being even more complicated.

You are your husband are saints! But I bet those boys were jazzed over Jedi training. My son is 13 and he still loves Star Wars (hell I still love Star Wars!). I’m impressed that you have been so busy and still managed to read so many books. I was a reading maniac in Poland but since then I’ve come to a dead halt.

Sandy, I can see my boys loving Star Wars forever too. I’ll probably do the opposite to you and be a reading manic before the holiday and then do next to none whilst I’m out there. I could be wrong though!

Jackie, what a great month. I love that you had so many high ratings. I respect your opinion on books and always add a few of yours to my reading list. This month – Kiss Me First goes on the list.

Have fun with the boys and enjoy Iceland – my coworker loved Iceland.

Oh my gosh, look at all of those little Jedis! You are SUPER MOM! Love it 🙂

Great month! Here’s to an incredible August. I’m looking forward to Burial Rites as well.

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