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July 2013 Reading Round-Up

July was incredible. For the first time in I don’t know how many years, the UK finally got a proper summer. I say ‘got’ because it’s over now, but we had over three weeks of sun and heat without rain and it was amazing. I’m a bit confused by the complaining, everyone complains about the wet and then they complain when we finally get a true summer, but at least the complaining didn’t ruin the weather. We had a music teacher at school who made us sing a rain song that always worked so I do worry about jinxing things. Reading wise I’ve not done badly because the heat made it impossible to be at my computer when home. But I did some day-tripping this month so it all evened out, and to be honest, not being able to be on the computer isn’t bad when your work is primarily reading and writing notes. I’ve been able to carry on my critique work regardless (I’m considering calling myself a Developmental Editor to make my role more obvious).

The Books

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Michael Pollan: The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Pollan explores the GM industry, the organic industry, natural farms (those two are different things) and becomes a hunter gatherer, in order to find out where our food comes from and how to find the ‘perfect’ meal. A very good book with a lot of information on both sides of the fence, and whilst I couldn’t identify with everything, not living in America, I loved Pollan’s accessible humorous style and the general atmosphere of it – I’ll be reading more of his work in future.

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Sheryl Sandberg: Lean In – Sandberg explains why women need and should take a more prominent position in the boardroom. Half of it is great, half of it is very bad.


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Elizabeth Fremantle: Queen’s Gambit – Fiction about the life of Katherine Parr. In general very good, though some will not appreciate a few of the speculative elements.

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Jill Myles: Wicked Games – A book reviewer joins the cast of a reality survivor show for a book deal and to keep her job, but falls in love in the process. This was discussed on Dear Author and sounded good, but I wasn’t keen overall (it was a light read at the end of a long day, though).

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Kate Forsyth: The Wild Girl – The fictionalised tale of Dortchen Wild who fell in love with one of the Grimm brothers and helped them in their task of collecting fairy tales. Very good, hard to put down.

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Kristina Carlson: Mr Darwin’s Gardener – An exploration of faith and identity via an oft-busy-body crowd of villagers who think too much of others and not enough about themselves. Good, and a lovely style, but quite confusing.

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Pavarti K Tyler: White Chalk – Chelle is neglected by her parents, the only person who gives her any time is her male teacher, and she finds it difficult to live in such a state. A harrowing story, it’s very good except for an abrupt ending that whilst appropriate and shocking nevertheless closes the door on any possibility of teaching (though if the point was to shock and to educate on the single issue it has done well).

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Taylor Stevens: The Doll – Whisked away under the pretence of an accident, Munroe finds herself at the mercy of criminals who want her to deliver a ‘package’ in return for the life of her loved ones. Excellent book.

My favourites this time were The Doll and The Wild Girl. In the case of the former I was able to read most of it in one day which was fantastic because I couldn’t put it down. In the case of the latter it was compelling and should be well met by fans of Bitter Greens. I knew that Lean In carried mixed reviews, and mine only added to that. It was an interesting book with promise but never kept that promise, and as it carried on it just became more and more alienating.

Quotation Report

None this time.

July’s been good and I had a non-fiction phase which I’m glad about. August is set to be rainy so I’ll likely be reading (and blogging) quite a bit.

What was your favourite book this month (or week if you round-up each week)?


Tanya Patrice

August 2, 2013, 1:50 am

I’m adding The Doll to my reading list! And ya for a proper summer in the UK – glad you enjoyed it.


August 2, 2013, 11:20 am

I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the British Summer this year. It has been a bit hot for me but then again I’ve always been more of an Autumn girl.

Well done again you’ve read an interesting selection of books. I am particularly interested in hearing your thoughts on The Wild Girl. I’d really like to read Kate Forsyth. As for me I read 8 books in July which beats the rest of the year. Hard to pick a favourite! I had to spilt the accolade between Prince Caspian and A Street Cat Named Bob. Here’s to August being another great month.


August 2, 2013, 4:11 pm

It’s been a surprisingly cool Texas summer. I’m enjoying it!


August 2, 2013, 4:53 pm

Love your thoughts on Lean In. That’s pretty much what I’ve read elsewhere except not expressed in such a pithy manner! :–)


August 2, 2013, 6:12 pm

It’s funny how weather affects our reading habits. You’ve had a good month, bix mix of genres :)


August 2, 2013, 7:21 pm

I think people just like to complain about the weather no matter what is dealt out. We’ve had a wonderful summer here (cooler than normal) and everytime I want to complain about the heat I have to remind myself of how much worse it could have been. Do wish we would get some rain, though!!

And it’s tough to make time to be at the computer when it’s what you do all day, huh? You’ve gotten a lot of great reading in this month and I still have your post about the castles to read. Looks like a lot of really great trips. :)


August 3, 2013, 3:18 am

Congrats on a great month :) I’m glad to hear you’ve been enjoying the weather!


August 3, 2013, 8:44 am

I have totally loved the British summer – finally some warmth in this country! I don’t understand the complaining either, but I’ve certainly been hearing a lot of it.

I’m reading The Wild Girl right now and you’re right, it’s a great read!


August 3, 2013, 9:44 pm

I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the summer weather! I’ve got a copy of The Wild Girl which I’ll be starting to read soon, so I’m pleased to hear it was one of your favourites of the month.


August 5, 2013, 2:34 pm

I was visiting the UK during those, what were they, 12 days of sunshine? It was magical to be there and have no rain. The summer in the Netherlands has been pretty good as well. That is, since July (a little later than the sun started appearing for the UK). Befopre that we basically had rain, rain, rain and 13 degrees. I hope August won’t be all rain, though I could do with a little below 30 degrees because work is torture on the third floor with no airco!

I really want to read The Wild Girl! I’m looking forward to your thoughts on it.



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