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August 2017 Reading Round-Up

Lots of reading this month – I decided early that I wanted to make up for the last two and I managed it. The small moments helped but just making a firm decision and stopping yourself from watching a film (or Mozart In The Jungle in my case, the follow up series to the last several months’ Parks & Recreation) is great. I can’t say I remember having many conversations about a topic other than books but for one month that’s okay.

The Books
Non-Fiction

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Adrian Mourby: Room’s Of One’s Own – Wanting to find out about and experience the spaces past writers have inhabited and worked in, the author journeys around the world to visit them. An okay book; often Mourby is denied access to the buildings which means you end up reading his suppositions instead, and there is a distinct lack of diversity.

Fiction

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Alison Sherlock: A House To Mend A Broken Heart – A self-proclaimed bad housekeeper struggles to keep a large historic house clean without any estate income and when the Lord’s grandson arrives and schedules some builders the company may end up being dodgy but the man himself seems a winner. Lacking in chemistry, characterisation, and writing.

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Barbara Erskine: Sleeper’s Castle – When Andi’s partner dies and his long-gone ex-wife reappears looking for a fight, Andi travels to Hay-On-Wye to house sit and finds herself dreaming of people who used to live in the house… and it seems they are aware of her presence. Strictly okay.

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Eric Beck Rubin: School Of Velocity – Jan’s lined up to play in front of an audience, one of many occasions he’s done so, but this time the random music in his head is too much to bear; he takes us back to his childhood, his extremely popular and extroverted friend, and a relationship that he’s still to get his head around. A super book about the lasting affects of a friendship and a whole lot about music in all its technicality.

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Isabella Connor: Beneath An Irish Sky – When Jack’s estranged wife is killed in a car crash he doesn’t want to visit the hospital bed of the teenager people are calling his son but he does, even if it would upset his snobby parents; he still doesn’t know why his wife left him and young Luke’s councillor is interested in helping. The basic story is all right but there are some stereotypes, and the relationship between Jack and his son’s trauma councillor raises questions.

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Kitty Danton: Evie’s Victory – Britain during World War Two; Evie wants to be a better person. There’s no plot to this book – it’s a series of social calls – and there is far too much telling and explaining of commonly understood things.

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Naomi Hamill: How To Be A Kosovan Bride – The story of two women from the day of their weddings, one who passes her virginity test but doesn’t like her husband, and another who fails and goes to university instead. A wonderful book interwoven with stories of the conflict and folklore tales.

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Terri Fleming: Perception – With Jane, Lizzie, and Lydia married and away, there are just two girls remaining, and whilst Mary doesn’t think she’ll ever marry there may be a bookish man out there for her. A sequel to Pride And Prejudice, this is a very well told book with an excellent use of language, great knowledge of the characters, and no fear in sticking to the idea of less action in a story… and there is a fair amount of time spent organising library.

I think the Fleming just gets it this month in terms of pure enjoyment – it’s an easy read and a very pleasant surprise (I’m suspicious of sequels). In terms of literary appreciation the Hamill wins with the Rubin following swiftly afterwards.

Quotation Report

In School Of Velocity, Jan recommends a musician use the energy in the air as the house lights go down as a kind of armour. Then there’s this:

Accompaniment is a particular skill. You are the bridge between the audience and the soloist, a lens that magnifies the leading melody, a handler to the outsized personality next to you, one player who sometimes has to be two.

And in Rooms Of One’s Own, Mourby quotes from William Morris (“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”) which makes one wonder whether Marie Kondo is a fan.

The coming month is likely to be chock-a-block. I’ve a lot of reading to do – we’ve secured an author for the conversation in Southampton for So:To Speak – and I’m working with the festival generally, which means lots of content to write. But I’m very much looking forward to it; by the end of October I imagine we’ll all be exhausted but hopefully it will pay off in spades.

Did you make a rough goal of how many books you wanted to read this year, and, if so, are you on track to achieve it? (I’ll probably be somewhere between my usual 50-60.)

 
 

April Munday

September 1, 2017, 10:53 am

Perception looks like fun. I like Mary and suspect that she will grow up to be sensible.

Kelly

September 1, 2017, 4:15 pm

You did well this month.

Rather than set a yearly goal, I usually join a few challenges throughout the year and try to keep them manageable. I like it to be fun, not a chore.

Freda

September 2, 2017, 1:03 am

This was a good reading month for you! Happy September!

Lisbeth @ The Content Reader

September 4, 2017, 12:44 pm

I try to reach 100 books per year, but do not always manage. Looking at the last years I have read: 2012 – 70, 2013 – 108, 2014 – 92, 2015 – 121, 2016 – 77, which all in all gives an average of 93,6 books a year. It is ok for me. This year I have read 55 so far, so I am not sure I can reach 100. In spite of this I still have around 200 on my TBR shelves, which means I read far too many books that I buy new or borrow!

jessicabookworm

September 8, 2017, 8:19 pm

I didn’t make a goal for how much I hoped to read – I like to just see what happens. Happy reading in September :-)

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