May Summary and Plans for June

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Book of the Month: Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

Golden Boy

This book about the difficulties of facing puberty as an intersex teenager was eye-opening and emotional. Recommended to anyone looking for a gripping page-turner. 

Books Reviewed in May:

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin 

Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami 

Brilliance by Anthony McCarten 

Out in the Open by Jesús Carrasco 

School Blues by Daniel Pennac 

Euphoria by Lily King 

In the Beginning Was the Sea by Tomás González 

Demons by Wayne Macauley 

The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall 

Plans for June

I’m continuing to read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It is outstanding and I’m sure it will become one of my all-time favourites. 

I have recently finished Quicksand by Steve ToltzAn Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield and  Mary Poppins by PL Travers and hope to review them soon. 

I also plan to try most of these books in the near future:

The Hunting Gun by Yasushi Inou

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

Under The Skin by Michel Faber

Professor Andersen’s Night by Dag Solstad

This House is Not for Sale by EC Osondu

I hope that you have a wonderful June!

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  1. Ah Judy Blume. i’m so glad she has a new novel out.

    1. Jackie says:

      Tanya, Let’s hope it’s good!

  2. David says:

    Well, we both read ‘The Wolf Border’ during May, Jackie, though I think I liked it a little bit more than you did (still not as good as ‘Haweswater’ though!). ‘Euphoria’ and ‘Demons’ are both books I might try at some point.

    I had two May highlights: Kent Haruf’s final book, “Our Souls at Night” is more of a novella but is perfect in every way (it even goes a bit metafictional at one point when the two main characters have a conversation about Haruf’s other novels!). So sad that readers won’t get any more visits to his Holt, Colorado.
    The other stand-out was Laurie Colwin’s 1978 novel ‘Happy All the Time’: Colwin is sometimes described as Jane Austen meets Woody Allen and that’s probably about right. It takes a kind of genius to write a novel about two couples who meet, fall in love and stay happy, without any big dramas, and to make it witty and compelling and full of wisdom and not at all slushy. Colwin died in 1992 and perhaps isn’t as widely read now as she deserves to be, which is a shame as she’s fantastic.

    Plenty of other very good books read in May too:
    Alix Hawley’s ‘All True Not A Lie in It’ just won’s Books in Canada First Novel Award (it was up against last year’s Giller winner amongst others) and is a wonderful bit of literary ventriloquism, being told in the voice of Daniel Boone, the American pioneer whose exploits inspired ‘The Last of the Mohicans’.
    Helen Humphrey’s ‘The Evening Chorus’ tells the dual stories of a British airman who is shot down in the early days of the second world war and spends his days in POW camp making a study of a family of redstarts; and of his new wife and her lover back in England. Pretty standard fare but elevated by some lovely writing and the themes about birds and flight.
    I belatedly got around to reading Eleanor Catton’s ‘The Rehearsal’ and was hugely impressed. A book that leaves you with a lot to mull over – if I had one quibble it is that sometimes it tries too hard to be clever and can seem a bit cold, but I’m now not quite as daunted as I was by ‘The Luminaries’.
    Melissa Harrison’s ‘At Hawthorn Time’ was the only novel this month that I wasn’t particularly excited by. A lot of the cover quotes talk about her as being as much a nature writer as a novelist, but I didn’t see anything special there to be honest. She’s certainly observant but her story was a bit pedestrian.

    I also read short story collections by Victoria Patterson, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Andrew Fox, Lauren Acampora (‘The Wonder Garden’ – a new writer to watch I think), and yet more Laurie Colwin.

    June looks like being a very busy month for me so I might not get through much but I think I’m off to a fine start with Richard Burns’ ‘A Dance for the Moon’, a beautifully written novel about a war poet being treated by a psychiatrist for shell-shock. If that sounds familiar it is a bit, but Burns’ novel was published five years before Pat Barker’s ‘Regeneration’.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you make of ‘Shantaram’ when you finish it (I still haven’t taken the plunge) and of ‘Under the Skin’ (‘The Book of Strange New Things’ was enough to put me off Faber for life but I’d love to be convinced otherwise). And I know it’s been sitting in your “Top of the TBR pile” sidebar for months but I’m thrilled to see you have a collection of short stories in there!

    Have a great June :)

    1. Jackie says:

      David, I think it will be very hard for anything to beat Haweswater, but do let me know if you find anything!

      It’s good to know that Haruf’s book is a fitting end to his series. I look forward to reading it one day, but it is sad to know there won’t be any more.

      Colwin sounds like a great author. I hadn’t heard of her before, but I’m keen to add a bit more humor to my reading so will see if my library stock any of her books.

      I’m pleased you read The Rehearsal. It sounds as though we had a similar reaction to it. Part of me wondered if it was trying to be too clever, but in the end I can only admire her ambition. I think you’ll enjoy The Luminaries a lot more. It doesn’t feel as obviously clever – it is all much more subtle and is impressive because of it.

      Shantaram is amazing. I highly recommend that you take the plunge. The only problem is that it is so long, so will probably sit in my sidebar for a while longer.

      I didn’t think I had a book of short stories on my list. What am I missing/mistaking for a novel?!

      Hope you have a wonderful June too!

      1. David says:

        “The Circus in Winter” is, as far as I’m aware, a collection of linked short stories.

        1. Jackie says:

          David, I didn’t realise that! Linked short stories might be OK. I hope they’re well linked!

  3. Mystica says:

    Shantaram is one book I intend to re read someday.

    1. Jackie says:

      Mystica, I haven’t even finished it and I can already tell that I want to re-read it one day too! It’s so good :-)

  4. Emily says:

    I’m so curious about Shantaram! It wasn’t on my radar until recently, but I’ve been hearing more about it in several different places, and I’m so curious about it. Looking forward to your review!

    1. Jackie says:

      Emily, The sequel is being published later this year so I suspect it will be everywhere in a few months time. Read it now, before the rush!

  5. stacybuckeye says:

    I read Shantaram a few years ago at the recommendation of my husband and loved it. Worth the length for sure. Enjoy :)

    1. Jackie says:

      stacybuckeye, It’s so good! I’m in the last section now and can’t wait to see how it ends! Well worth the length :-)

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