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2022 Review Of Books 6/12



This month has been a far more productive one in terms of my reading and part of this has been because of audiobooks. For the first time in months, I feel like I've read a 'normal' amount of books, read a range of genres and more importantly, actually enjoyed the books I've read. It's been quite liberating to turn off the television and listen to a book while I sew, instead of watching whatever my husband has put on. I have tried listening to the books in bed, but within five minutes I'm asleep so I never get very far with them! This month's books have often challenged my thinking and made me view events both current and historical in a different light. This is definitely a good thing, particularly in how it relates to my own future writing.


Books Read This Month: 13

Annual Total: 70


As we're now half way through the year, it's also time for another check on how the TBR pile is progressing.


Kindle Unlimited list: 0

On Wish List and Available from library: 76

Not in library/on bookshelf/on kindle already: 87

Total: 163 (down from 170 at the end of March. I have actually cleared more books than this suggests, but people keep recommending more to me!)


Reviews


Romance


The Colour Of Summer – Victoria Connolly (3rd & last in the House In The Clouds series. Lovely gentle ending to the series. Would definitely read the others before reading this one. Full review was on 21st June and can be found here.)


Literary


Under The Net – Iris Murdoch (Audiobook. An interesting study into the human psyche. The story isn’t massively complicated but there’s a lot going on at all points and the relationships between the main characters are all intertwined. I found myself drawn more to the minor characters than I was to the ones who actually drive the story on.)


Children


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making – Catherynne M. Valente (a very unusual children’s book set in a fantasyland that is both bewildering and wonderful. September leaves behind 1940s America to travel with the Green Wind to fairyland, but she has no idea of the danger that awaits her. She is a sensible, logical child, but sense and logic don’t always mean success in a land that contains a Wyverary (a cross between a Wyvern and… a Library… Switching between audio and a physical book kept this feeling fresh.)


Historical


After The Party – Cressida Connolly (audiobook. From what I remembered about the blurb, I expected this to be about a shocking event at a party and the after-effects of it. However, by the end I realised the title was as much about events after the rise and fall of Moseley’s fascist party, as it was about the physical party. I was utterly fascinated throughout – Phyllis is a flawed and interesting narrator and events never seem to quite turn out the way you expect them to. Perfectly captures upper class British society in the 1930s and 40s.)


The Clockmaker’s Daughter – Kate Morton (Listened to the first half on audiobook & highly recommend Joanne Froggatt as a narrator. Read the second half. I was surprised to see this had very mixed reviews online. I was engaged from start to finish, found the differing voices captivating and loved how the stories were all brought together at the end. Utterly heartbreaking and beautiful. Loved the idea of the house itself being the central character that held everything together. Magical book.)


Non-Fiction


The Rise and Fall Of Ancient Egypt – Toby Wilkinson (Interesting if brief look at the history of Ancient Egypt. Really brought home what an expanse of time it covered and solidified which Pharaohs I had an interest in learning more about.)


I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou (Book Group pick. Not always an easy read, but Angelou has a deceptively gentle style which allows her to confront some difficult issues without overtly drawing attention to them and her tone is as matter of fact whether she is talking about her love for her family, or her various childhood traumas. Her voice is a fascinating one.)


Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge (audiobook. A challenging and uncomfortable listen which raises many questions I don’t yet have the answer to. Well worth listening to though.)


Contemporary


Montpelier Parade – Karl Geary (audiobook. A good book but the ending left me feeling very unsettled.)


Brown Girls - Daphne Palasi Andreades (audiobook. A narrative that follows a group of 'brown girls' from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood. The book is written in the second person present tense and it works remarkably well. It draws the reader into the story and allows them to experience everything alongside the narrator, even when we have no frame of reference with which to compare our life experiences to hers.)


Tomorrow And Tomorrow And Tomorrow - Gabrielle Zevin (read for review, coming on 13th July. Fabulous book, well worth reading.)


Ella Minnow Pea - Mark Dunn (audiobook. I love the concept of this book and am in awe of the technical skill required to write it. The idea of banning the use of particular letters is so quirky, but the attention to details that writing so much of the book without using those letters would have required is, quite frankly, mind-blowing.)


Fantasy


Time’s Convert – Deborah Harkness (4th in the All Souls series. A Discovery of Witches is one of my favourite books and TV series and I’ve been really looking forward to reading this continuation of the De Clermont story. Marcus and Phoebe are the focus of this book and their story is just as compelling as Matthew and Diana’s.)


Book of the month?


Tomorrow And Tomorrow And Tomorrow was the standout book of this month, but of the ones I've been able to review properly, my favourite was After The Party - Cressida Connelly. I thought the title of this book was incredibly well thought out. The plot was not what I had expected at all but I found myself looking for excuses to sit and listen to it and just admire the quality of the writing. I would never have believed that I would have felt any level of sympathy for a prominent (even if fictional) supporter of Oswald Moseley, but with Phyllis I found I couldn't help myself. It wasn't always a comfortable feeling, but in some ways that sense of being unsettled made me enjoy the book even more.




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