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August 2016 Reading Round-Up

This month has been busy. And good. And sunny and hot despite the constant ‘it’s going to be heavy rain and thunder’ from the weather reports – they do like to be stereotypical. I learned that you can order macchiatos at Costa even if they aren’t listed on the menu, and wrote lots of emails. I also watched the Carey Mulligan version of Far From The Madding Crowd, which I have to refer to as such because it was her role in it that got me reading the book after so many years of saying it wasn’t going to happen. Watching the film spawned at least two blog posts – two written, one other still in the idea phase. I also watched Disney’s live-action Cinderella for the second time, which in this case means I spent half the time getting all philosophical about the way we’re changing what we focus on in the story, meaning a couple of rewinds were in order for the person watching it with me. Oops. There may be a post in there, too.

The Books

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Dan Richards: Climbing Days – Discovering his great-great-aunt was a mountaineer, Richards sets out to learn more and follow in her literal footsteps. Utterly superb.


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Colette Dartford: Learning To Speak American – A few years after the death of their child, Duncan and Lola’s relationship is still in pieces and Duncan hopes that a house in America might make Lola happier again. Okay.

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Lewis Carroll: Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Alice falls down a rabbit hole and finds herself in a bizarre world. I don’t think it’s possible to say this is a bad book.

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Rachel Elliot: Whispers Through A Megaphone – Miriam hasn’t left the house for three years but she’s finally ready to put a bad experience behind her and conquer the voice of her mother that resides in her head; Ralph has had enough of his home life and decides it’s time to leave. Very good.

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Sara Taylor: The Lauras – Ma whisks Alex off for a road trip to track down a series of people who used to be in her life, all the while Alex is struggling through the teenage years and figuring out identity. Amazing.

My favourite this month was Climbing Days, The Lauras very close behind it. I found Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland to be a little different than I expected, though that was in part due to the way I was thinking of the 1950s, forgetting it was written in the Victorian period.

Quotation Report

If you wish for people to not visit, take a leaf from Dan Richards’ relative and wear a hat whilst in the house so you can say you’re off out… though it might not work in our present day so much.

September is likely to be even more busy. I’m not ready to let the summer go, or, rather, I don’t mind that so much as I wish the evenings would remain bright, but I can see myself getting more done without that constant feeling I’m missing out when I’m stuck working indoors.

What was your favourite book this month?


Jenny @ Reading the End

September 2, 2016, 2:39 pm

I was just reading someone’s post the other day about how they don’t like Alice in Wonderland. And I mean, I can see it — it’s very strange and silly, and I can see that not being everyone’s thing — but still I was surprised!

August was a pretty good reading month for me, all things considered. My two favorites were My Holiday in North Korea (scary and funny!) and Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me. Both excellent.


September 2, 2016, 5:15 pm

I have had such a good month of reading in September I found it very hard to pick just one favourite. In the end I narrowed it down to historical fiction A House Divided by Margaret Skea and Christian non-fiction The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson; both of which I still need to review!

I am pleased to see you enjoyed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I must admit it far more surreal than I thought it would be, but lovely all the same.


September 2, 2016, 5:30 pm

I love Alice in Wonderland. I’ve read a few spin-offs too, but none compare. It is an adult read though, and quite sophisticated… many too much for some?
The Lauras looks interesting from here. Might have to go find that one. :-)
Happy September!


September 4, 2016, 5:14 pm

Is it weird that I didn’t love Alice in Wonderland? I read the first book and just felt a bit meh. I think it’s because I always got teased about my name.


September 6, 2016, 7:12 pm

A good month! Alice is awesome. I actually didn’t read it until I was an adult and I was surprised how different and better than Disney it was. How are you enjoying Far from the Madding Crowd? The movie was good but I like the book better :)


September 7, 2016, 10:39 am

Jenny: I can’t say I loved it, but then when it’s a classic there is an expectation I think, that you will. I do wonder how much the Disney film might have affected me in that regard – you’re almost expecting a polite heroine and because in the book she’s your average person and, I think, a teaching method in some ways, it’s a bit of a shock.

That’s two intriguing titles you read, for sure!

Jessica: Yay! That’s the best, isn’t it, a difficulty to pick. I’ve heard of A House Divided by can’t picture it at the moment.

It is, isn’t it? Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. I’m currently comparing it to the Disney animation; I can see why they cut out what they did. It’s got a literary psychedelic thing going on, if that makes sense. (And see below comment to Freda.)

Freda: Oo, which spin-offs are these? Comparable or not, I love the idea. (I think, Jessica, you’ve reviewed Queen of Hearts? That’s one, isn’t it?) There is an element of adult read to it, yes. I wonder how much of that is down to history, though – talking about it on Twitter I noted how Alice was a bit… precocious? it’s difficult to describe exactly – ‘irritating’ isn’t really appropriate… and Claire Watts and Jan Jones rightly pointed out the Victorian setting.

Alice: Not at all weird. Totally understandable. And I can’t say I loved it, either. Perhaps ‘very much appreciated it’ is better?

Stefanie: It is a lot different to how I’d imagined, I have to say – enough that it’s a good idea to experience both. I liked FFTMC a great deal; thought the last section was incredible, just not so keen on the filler-ish parts. Agreed – the film wasn’t bad but it’s no patch on the book. There’s too much of Hardy’s narration that understandably gets left out.



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