June Summary and Plans for July

The BookDepository

June hasn’t been a very good month for me. I wanted to tell you that Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts is one of the best books I’ve ever read and that Familiar Wars by Julietta Harvey is an amazing book that reminds me A Fine Balance. Instead I’ve been in and out of hospital; both for myself and members of my family.

It started early in the month when my knee swelled up and I became unable to walk. They successfully drained some strange orange gunk from it (which enabled me to walk again) but still haven’t worked out what is wrong with it. Then my husband went in for surgery on his shoulder; and finally my youngest son was admitted to hospital for suspected epilepsy. Things seem to be on the mend for us all, but we still have far too many hospital appointments scheduled for the next few weeks.

Anyway, enough of my troubles…let’s get back to the books!

Book of the Month:

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth 

Books Reviewed in June:

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield 

Professor Andersen’s Night by Dag Solstad 

The Hunting Gun by Yasushi Inoue 

Quicksand by Steve Toltz 

Mary Poppins by PL Travers 

Plans for July

Hopefully I’ll have time to write a few reviews soon. I haven’t had any thoughts about what I might read next – I’m afraid it will have to be a surprise for you! 

Let’s hope July is a much better month!


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  1. Diane says:

    Jackie, so sorry to hear about all of you and your loved ones recent medical issues. Sending positive thoughts your way.

    Shantaram was one of my favorite books –all time–as well.

  2. Oh my gosh, what a harrowing month you’ve had! I only managed to read 3 books in June but it’s because of fun things like vacations. I’m halfway through the audio of An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth and I’m really enjoying it. I think I’m going to pick up a paper copy so I can more easily look back at some of the parts I especially like and want to remember. It’s so hard doing that with audio – I’m usually on the bus or the treadmill so I can’t easily take notes while I’m listening!

    1. Jackie says:

      threegoodrats, I’m so pleased that you are enjoying Astronaut’s Guide. I loved it on audio, but can see that having the paper copy would be good too. I don’t think it’s possible to have too much Hadfield in your life!

  3. Lisa Hill says:

    Sorry to hear about this, life plays these horrid tricks sometimes and it’s not easy to deal with. All the best, Lisa

  4. Sorry to hear about the recent health issues, Jackie. I hope they resolve soon and July is much easier for you and your family.

  5. Hope July is much better for you and your family :)

  6. Jackie, I’m so sorry to hear about all of the health issues you and your family have been plagued with recently. So stressful for you; I hope everyone is doing better now!

    I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Shantaram. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years!

  7. David says:

    Crikey, it never rains but it pours, eh? Really sorry to hear about all your problems, Jackie and hope they can all be resolved soon. On the issue of the knee: mine swelled up on holiday in 2003, quite painful and gave me a limp – went to the doctor who tried me on anti-inflammatories, draining the gunk (two big syringe-fulls!) and then was going to try me on steroids. Personally I thought it was something ligament-related (my knee had been clicking out of place – or that’s what it felt like – on and off for years) so, not having much faith in the doctor I didn’t go back. It’s still swollen, it still gets stiff and causes me discomfort sometimes but I can walk miles and miles on it and it certainly hasn’t got any worse, so I’ve just sort of put up with it. I really should go and get it seen to, so please do let us know what yours turns out to be and what the remedy is – might just spur me into getting mine seen to! :)

    Anyway, books – I’ve had a fantastic month with some real corkers. I read a lot of new Canadian books this month. Highlights were ‘Close to Hugh’ by Marina Endicott (reminiscent of ‘The Rehearsal’ but with real warmth and engaging characters), ‘Under the Visible Life’ by Kim Echlin (a beautiful book about two mixed race pianists in Montreal), ‘In the Country’ by Mia Alvar (best debut short story collection I’ve read in the past twelve months), and ‘A Dance for the Moon’ by the late Richard Burns (similar to Pat Barker’s ‘Regeneration’ but written five years earlier and equally as good).
    Also very good were ‘A Beauty’ by Connie Gault, ‘Old Soldiers’, a 1980 novella by Paul Bailey, ‘The Redemption of Galen Pike’ by Carys Davies, ‘Every Minute is a Suicide’ by Bruce McDougall and ‘How You Were Born’ by Kate Cayley.
    ‘Welcome to the Circus’ by Rhonda Douglas is a decent story collection but I was a bit disappointed by Jane Urquhart’s new novel, ‘The Night Stages’ – beautifully written with lots of interesting storylines, but just too much crammed into one book with some parts much better developed than others.

    Anyway, I hope July is a much better month for you.

    1. Jackie says:

      David, Sorry to hear you’ve been having knee troubles too. I’ll let you know what happens with mine and hope I can inspire you to get yours sorted.

      It’s great to hear that you read so many fantastic books. I haven’t read any of the ones you mention and almost all are new to me. Canadian fiction always seems so appealing.

      Have a wonderful July!

  8. There are days and there are days. I hope July brings you many better days.

  9. V R Heal says:

    You inspired my blog today. Thank you. I love your reviews.

  10. Shan says:

    Sorry to hear about all the health problems in your family. Here’s to a much better summer!

  11. Judith says:

    How awful, Jackie, about your knee! I hope they’ll find out what it is, soon. And the rest of the family. Hope you can spend August away from the hospital!

    Happy reading this month. My list of planned reads is growing by the minute, it seems! I need 5 summer months!

  12. nomadreader says:

    Oh my goodness! Hope things are on the mend for all of you soon. And whenever you find time to tell us more about those books, I’ll be looking forward to it. I managed to find my reading time again in June, but I’m somehow behind on more than twenty reviews. Ugh.

  13. Alex says:

    So sorry about your health problems. I hope you all continue to mend. I am going to have to look out for the Juliet Harvey. Anything that can be compared to ‘A Fine Balance’ has to be on my reading list.

  14. Jackie says:

    Thank you all for the kind words!

  15. Aparatchick says:

    Here’s to better days ahead! Hope you’re all soon on the mend.

  16. Athira says:

    Jackie, sending positive thoughts your way! Hope all three of you are feeling better now. Hospital visits always suck. I hope your son is doing fine and that he doesn’t have epilepsy (my brother has it and I know how hard it is).

    Hope you have plenty of reading in July to tide you over.

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