What I’m Reading – July Update

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One of my #40before40 challenges this year was to devour 40 books this year. I say devour because I might be listening to them too and not just reading them. I find listening to books when running, travelling or cooking a fun way to pass the time. 25 in, I need to step it up a gear to make 40 as we are 7 months in!

So what have I read, what have I listened to and what am I going to read next?

Listened to:

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone – JK Rowling (for about the 5th time!)  I started this again as I was hoping the kids would be interested but sadly they aren’t yet. They will be I’m sure!
The Missing – CL Taylor
Haunting and definitely creepy, you think you’ve worked it out and then you haven’t.
The Widow – Fiona Barton
I listened to this because it’s the same reader as The Missing – Clare Corbett and I like her voice. It was a good read and I enjoyed the story unfolding. A murder mystery type book told from a different angle.

A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson – for me not as good as Life after Life and the summary of the book was a little confusing and I kept expecting another life to begin when it didn’t. Still enjoyed it though.

The Taxidermist’s Daughter – Kate Mosse – I really enjoyed this tale and it ripped along.  I really enjoy listening to Clare Corbett’s voice too so have chosen some books based on her voice.

Nutshell – Ian McEwan – I pretty much love anything by Ian McEwan. This book takes a little getting used to due to the unusual style but it was witty, dark and engaging all at the same time.

The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead – A harrowing book but absolutely fascinating to think this actually existed and the good people that existed to make it happen!

Life on Air – David Attenborough – I really loved this and had no idea what a pioneer David Attenborough was.  Narrated by him beautifully. Highly recommended.

Into the Water – Paula Hawkins – By the author of Girl on the Train (which I really enjoyed) it’s a similar style but with a different theme and it keeps you guessing throughout (although I think I did guess who did it so to speak fairly early on!).

I See you – Clare Mackintosh – Another fantastic book by Clare Mackintosh. For me not as gripping as I Let You Go but very eerie and terrifyingly possible.

Since We Fell – Dennis Lehane – Rachel’s husband adores her. When she hit rock bottom, he was there with her every step of the way as she slowly regained her confidence – and her sanity. But his mysterious behaviour forces her to probe for the truth about her beloved husband.  And was she right to ever trust him?  I persevered with this one. I enjoyed parts of it but not all. A decent story, byt strangely long winded in parts that didn’t seem to matter in the end.  (Summer Reading List)

Dear Amy – Helen Callaghan – This was another one of the books recommended by friends in my Summer Reading post over on Mini Travellers. It was fun, easy to read and very quick to finish as you really did want to know if your guess as to what had happened was right.  Distressing at times.

Read:

The Letter – Kathryn Hughes Easy reading, nice story but not overly challenging

The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver An epic book, excellent characterisation and a tad hard to read a times but towards the end I loved it.

The Noise of Time – Julian Barnes.  This wasn’t really a book for me but hubby has read and loved it.  All about a man in his early thirties in May 1937 who waits by the lift of a Leningrad apartment block. He waits all through the night, expecting to be taken away to the Big House.

The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell – I found this pretty difficult to follow at times and I’m not sure I entirely enjoyed it. Some great chapters but didn’t quiet stack up for me. Most reviewers love it though.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society – Mary Ann Shatter and Annie Barrows – A very easy and sweet read. It took me only a few hours but I enjoyed it a lot. Unchallenging.

The Shadow of the Sun – My African Life – Ryszard Kapuscinski – Enchanting. For someone with a love of Africa I nodded along to this, gasped, cried and laughed.  It is AMAZING> if you like Africa, love it, are going to visit, want to some day. Buy this!

The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell – Nadia Hashimi – a very beautiful story about the heartbreak of life in Afghanistan for women under the Taliban and before.

The Awkward Age – Francesca Segal – Set in a Victorian terraced house, in north-west London, two families unite in imperfect harmony.   Reading true to life accounts of teenagers makes me panic about my three teenage girls in a few years time.  It’s a good read throughout, mostly believeable. Favourite character definitely Philip

The Summer Book – Tove Jansson – Magical and beautifully written, suspend thoughts about ‘real’ life and imagine life on the Island. You will definitely want to visit.

The Girls – Emma Cline – Spectacular – I loved this and the conflicting emotions of the young teenage girl. One to read!

This Must be the Place – Maggie O’Farrell – It gets love it or hate it reviews on Amazon but I was a loved it. Loved all the character development and loved the honesty and imperfections of the characters.

The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena – This booked ripped along, was easy to read and I enjoyed most of it. The end was rushed and I was a little disappointed at that but still worth a read.

The Power – Naomi Alderman – Naomi Alderman talks about this book and said, “Nothing happens to a man in the book that hasn’t happened to a woman.” When you read it you will be horrified and saddened that this is actually the case. Excellent book.

Mid-way through!

I’m midway through listening to The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah all about life in occupied France in WW2. The imagery is something else and currently the characterisation is very well done.

I’m also midway through reading A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman which I have just had to buy again as I left in on the aeroplane by mistake! Annoying.

I also took part in a type of pyramid scheme on Facebook earlier this month where you post a favourite book to someone else and you receive books from their friends. I did very well, posted one (as you are asked to) and received around 12 in return from friends of friends. Some of those are above and they included The Letter, The Poisonwood Bible and The Noise of Time – a total mix of books! Good fun!

What are you reading this month?

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